I was sent a job post for a position at a brewing company. It started off pretty generic, but buzzwords quickly weaved their way into the content, asking questions like “What will you brew?” and “What ingredients will you bring?”
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m all for a fun play on words here and there. When I rewrote that job post, I could have added in a few of my own: Do you have the right flavor to cook up your career? Are you bringing the highest quality ingredients to the table when you interview?
But let’s be honest. Candidates don’t want buzzwords. They don’t want to read your job post only to be left more confused than before they took a look at it. When a candidate reads what you have to say, they should have a solid understanding of what the position needs from them – what working for your company is like, and what you have to offer.
What’s the problem with buzzwords?
Look. My issue with that brewing company’s job posting wasn’t that the jokes were in bad taste (pun intended). It’s that buzzwords don’t have a universal meaning. You may be thinking, but if they’re words, of course they have a universal meaning – that’s why we have a dictionary filled with definitions.
But when it comes to job postings, that’s not the case. “Collaborative Team Player” at Three Ears Media means something totally different than “Collaborative Team Player” at Disney. If you want to be a collaborative team player at Three Ears Media, you gotta love dogs.
Buzzwords get copied and pasted so often that they actually mean nothing. You want someone who “thrives in a fast paced environment,” but doing what? A fast paced environment is different at a restaurant than it is at a doctor’s office – are we handling multiple plates of food at the same time, or answering phone calls while also talking to people right in front of us? These situations require different types of candidates, but buzzwords leave job postings phrasing these qualities the same way over and over again.
You might think you’re being quirky and unique by titling your position “ninja” or “rockstar,” but the candidate you’re looking for probably isn’t typing that into Google. Or Indeed. Or LinkedIn. Buzzwords leave job postings empty – hollow and artificial. Ditch the buzzwords for what sounds more human – because candidates are human, and they want to work for humans, too.
Banned Buzzwords of 2022
With all that said, here are the buzzwords I’m banning in 2022, and you should too.
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 Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.