When writing job listings for your company, you understandably want to make yours stand out from the rest. This includes calling out what makes your company different, highlighting the specific duties for the open role, and doing whatever it takes to find the perfect candidate. Unfortunately, this determination to write the perfect job listing sometimes results in listings filled with jargon and marketing buzzwords that can turn the candidate off from applying.
When it comes to job listings, there’s a fine line between using friendly verbiage and overdoing it with industry-related jargon. These marketing buzzwords often end up alienating certain audiences and returning a low application rate. Developers, in particular, are sick of seeing job postings dripping with marketing talk. In fact, marketing was the top industry characterized as a “jargon culprit” in a study done by Monster. The study also found that 60% of job applicants find jargon annoying, and 57% of job applicants say jargon in a job listing puts them off from applying to the role.
Two marketing buzzwords that developers often see in job listings are ninja and growth hacking. Shaharris Beh of HackerNest is on the ninja-hate bandwagon, saying, “Ninjas are never seen or heard and are therefore never part of your team.” Members of the engineering and dev teams at RJMetrics agreed, saying, “The terms ninja and rock-star can push a developer over the edge into a rage spiral.”
The abuse of the word growth hacking causes distress to Lei Sun, the co-founder and CEO of Yozio, who says “Today, [growth hacking is] a buzzword that suggests a sort of dark magic that is as nefarious as it is effective. We're told to believe it's a form of cheating that ends up hurting users by tricking them into doing something they normally wouldn't. We like to use the term Growth Science because it better aligns with the idea of introducing science and technology into observation and experimentation. ”
Skyler Slade, Co-founder and CTO of Tandem, says his biggest jargon pet peeve is when employers “say ‘big data’ when they don't actually have big data. A few gigabytes of data isn't [considered] big data.”
Scott Williams, an Operations Manager at Leighton says, “I personally hate the phrase 'Are you looking for a new challenge?' Chances are you wouldn't be looking on the job board if you're not even a little bit curious.”
Other popular buzzwords and phrases to avoid include guru, results-driven, advanced proficiency, cutting-edge, best and brightest, innovative technology, dynamic work environment, self-starter, and fast-paced.
When writing a job listing for a technical role, focus more on topics such as the hardware you offer tech employees or what a typical day would be like, and less on selling the position itself. Show that you are credible through honesty (sometimes marketing and sales people are viewed as dishonest to other industries). Dump the field-specific buzzwords that no one outside your department understands and write for your audience.