“Communication Skills” and Other Bad Job Ad Jargon

small 11528630884State of the American Workforce Study revealed that 70% of US workers don’t like their job. Few people will take a job that they know isn’t a match for them, so how is it that the percentage of unhappy workers is so high? While there are about 498 answers to that question, bad job ads are in part to blame.

The following are either what we call “no-duh” phrases, or highly overused buzzwords and fillers that you should never use in your job listings again. When crafting a job ad, always think about what you’re actually looking for in a candidate and stick with those specifics. Fluff, redundancies and common sense phrases are a waste of everyone’s time, and they do little in the way of qualifying candidates and finding matches that will lower that 70%.

“Communicates well with others”

Our first “no-duh” phrase! Unless you’re hiring for a tollbooth operator position, this person is going to have to possess either verbal and/or written communication skills. This is also called useless jargon. A 2012 Monster survey revealed that more than half of job seekers are turned off from applying for a job by jargon in the job advertisement.

Get to the root of the communication needs by letting the job seekers know who they will be working with and what levels of the team they will be on. For instance, if this person needs to be able to effectively communicate with warehouse workers and then relay information to higher-ups, that should be indicated.

Use Instead: “Must have the ability to effectively and comfortably communicate with team members in all levels of the organization.”

“Ability to multi-task”

Do you mean chew gum and answer phones at the same time? Again, give an example. This phrase does none of the following things: inform, attract or qualify. Each part of the job listing should accomplish at least one of those things.

Use Instead: “Multi-tasking is an integral part of the position. The right candidate will need to be able to accomplish clerical work, while answering the phone, greeting customers and staying on task.”

Not everything has to be (or can be) “Awesome!”

Workplace issues examiner, Gene Reynolds talks about how generic and ineffective job ads have become:

‘“Awesome’- is that the most over-used word in the English lexicon?” Reynolds says, “Once you filter out the specifics of the jobs themselves and just focus on the adjectives or phrases used to describe jobs, it’s amazing how homogenous this vast array of jobs sound in print.”

Awesome is in the eye of the beholder. Instead of stating that the job or perks are awesome, simply defined and let the job seeker figure out if it’s actually “awesome” or not. Or at least use another word, and not “dynamic”!

“Hate your job?”

Yup, that’s exactly what you want, a bunch of people who hate their jobs. In the same manner that recruiters and hiring managers can look for a history of engagement, they should certainly have their eye out for disengagement as well.

Dale Carnegie study revealed that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%. Disengaged at work? Join us! When we put it that way, it doesn’t quite make sense does it? Switch the hook to catch job seekers prone to engagement.

Use Instead: “Do you want to love your job?”

It’s worth stating again; each part of the job ad should inform, attract and/or qualify. Simply getting people in the door is how we end up with workplace dissatisfaction rates as high as they are. When recruiting practices are aimed at finding matches rather than bodies, the entire organization benefits through engagement, productivity and overall satisfaction in the workplace.

Check out our main blog here.

photo credit: brizzle born and bred via photopin cc

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Tags: Ads, Communication, Corporate Recruiting, Human Resources, Job, Recruiting Tools / Sourcing, Skills

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on March 19, 2014 at 4:56pm

Sean: Awesome" is Matt's word. Don't diss it!

Isn't it possible that it's not that the wrong person is in 70% of the jobs, but that 70% of jobs suck to some significant degree?

Cheers,

Keith

:(

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