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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Kat Kibben View All →

Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster,, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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