What the hell was that? Job ads and jargon

Have you ever read a job advertisement and thought, what the hell was that?

That was a page of jargon, drafted by a hiring manager or HR team, then buzzed up by a recruitment consultant to sound more like ‘what job hunters expect’. (No wonder it was incomprehensible!) I’ll bet the company was an innovative industry leader offering work-life balance within a positive culture. And I’ll bet you had no idea what the role entailed or whether you were qualified for it.

I’m not sure how these jargon-filled job ads became the norm, but they’re everywhere. I ranted about one to a friend who works in recruitment. She tried to educate me: ‘You’d understand it if you were the right person for the job.’ They hired me, so I guess I was the right person for the job, but I still didn’t understand the job ad.

Before we hired again, I approached the HR coordinator about rewriting the company blurb to make it more informative — and less cringeworthy. While a little job-specific jargon can help weed out unqualified candidates, a job ad full of management-speak fails to connect with its target audience.

How do you expect your job ad to stand out if there’s nothing to distinguish it?


Tips for advertising your job

Be clear and concise: a good job ad includes all the information needed to pique a candidate’s interest…and nothing extra to lose it. If you need more bragging space, include a link to your company’s careers page.

Be specific: unqualified candidates are less likely to apply if you’ve listed your expectations. Distinguish between what you require and what you desire so you don’t scare off suitable candidates.

Don’t be mysterious: are you concealing information about your company name or the salary range? At best, you’ll get applications from candidates who aren’t interested in working for your company or for the budgeted salary. At worst, you’ll miss out on recruiting your perfect match.


Editing pro-tip

If you’re going to use a bulleted list in your job ad, do it properly:

  • Introduce your list.
  • Give each point the same structure, either completing the introduction or standing alone as a full sentence.
  • Use the same formatting for each point.
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