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Buzzwords and Jargon: The Demise of Job Descriptions

Posted by Erin Borgerson on June 25, 2013

Self-starter. Heavy lifting. Extensive experience.

Let's face it, these terms are not helping you attract the right candidates. Why? For one, job seekers see them over and over again. By the time they come across the fourth posting offering a "competitive salary," the phrase has lost it's appeal and is teetering between annoying and irritating. More over, the use of buzzwords and jargon tends to make the company look lazy. Yes, it's the hiring manager using these terms, but it's a poor reflection on the company if they won't put forth the effort to be creative.

job description buzzwordsEarlier this year The Onion published an article regarding the inclusion of such cliché phrases in job descriptions. Mocking job requirements like "dynamic self-starter" and "high-energy A player," the article features a job-seeker questioning whether he is is dynamic enough to be considered for the position. The end result: He decides not to apply. If only all job-seekers were like this fictional one.

Think about it this way: If you were looking for a new job, would you opt not to apply because you didn't see yourself as a "blue sky thinker?" Probably not. Chances are you would wonder what a "blue sky thinker" is, and proceed to apply anyway hoping the company actually does offer a competitive salary. 

Writing a good job description takes time. But it's the investment of time that pays off when a strong flow of qualified candidates comes through after seeing the job description. Rather than looking to other job descriptions for inspiration and inevitably falling into the trap of buzzwords and jargon, take a few minutes to reflect on the attributes of your current employees. What comes to mind? Creative, dedicated? By looking at what makes your current team successful, verbalizing key characteristics within the job description becomes much easier. Plus you're much less likely to include phrases like "industry penetration" and "sales ninja." 

So what's the take away? Stop using buzzwords and jargon in your job description if you want to attract qualified candidates. 

When it does come time to interview, make sure you're making the best hiring decision by using validated interview scorecards. 

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Job Description, How to Hire


Erin Borgerson

About the Author

Erin is the Director of Marketing, Crisis Controller and Culture Ambassador (the last two titles she gave to herself) who joined the Hireology team in April of 2012. As a certified Inbound Marketer, Erin manages Hireology's marketing department, the Hireology Blog, and media relations. She is also a co-leader of the Chicago Hubspot User Group which brings together Hubspot users from around the Chicagoland area. Erin set off to Chicago after graduating from Western Michigan University. In her spare time she can be found shaking it in a Zumba class, reading a bestseller, or drinking a craft beer on her Wrigleyville porch.