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.
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, Care.com, 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.