Creative Boundaries: Words We’re Banning From Career Sites

There’s a fine line between creative and creepy.

Know how I know? I did a Super Bowl campaign. (Also because I have a sense of humor, but that’s not the point.)

The campaign was called “The Fiddling Beaver.” (1/3 of you just started giggling.)

So, the beaver is going to find his dream job. He learned to fiddle in the dam and now he wants to play Radio City. He finds his dream job on the website of the company.

It had all the proper elements of a commercial. A hero. Product placement. The check-list, so to speak.

But not one person on the well-paid ad agency or our side Googled the phrase “fiddling beaver,” which leads you to many X-rated websites. That’s all I can say about that without flagging some filter on your company’s browser standards. 

My point? Sometimes things have unintended meanings (and consequences).

We wasted money on that ad. A C- in the Super Bowl commercial ratings.

I was the person who ran the social media account for the Fiddling Beaver. While it aired, we saw a blip of traffic (mostly from people who were laughing at the same joke I was), but overall, the concept failed.

I mention that ad to contextualize what’s happening on career sites, because unfortunately their success rates are similar and I think a lot of it has to do with language.

You probably know I feel that way if you’ve been reading this blog for a while. You know that what you say really does matter. That good isn’t good enough. That there is such a thing as a “bad word” when it comes to how we talk about working at our company.

After our first series on things to never say in a job ad, we realized there are bad words for careers sites too…

BANNED FROM careers page


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Katrina Kibben View All →

Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.

Katrina has written for,, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

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