Jettisoning Job Post Jargon

Are you a self-starting blue sky thinker that’s ready to streamline and optimise brand architecture with your growth hacking thought showers?

If you understood that, then you just might be. The world of business loves it’s jargon, so it’s no surprise that job posts often overflow with bizarre language. The question is, do job titles like ‘Pastry Ronin’ or ‘Accounts Payable Interspatial Navigator’ make a role more attractive, or elusive?

While it is, of course, important to keep your job adverts as interesting and eye-catching as possible (and you can find out how here, with our job posting guide), going too far with the desire to stand out or seem quirky can quickly undermine any candidate search. Given that job ads are a crucial part of any hiring process, as we mention in our Ultimate Hiring Guide, making sure you’re using the right terminology in the right way is a subtle but fundamental aspect to master.

The first step to banishing any unnecessary jargon use is to understand some of the worst culprits, and also why it’s so tempting to use them in the first place.

A jobseeker struggles to understand jargon in a job post


Why do We Use Jargon?

One of the most common reasons for using jargon is that it simply makes us feel like we know what we’re talking about, or that we’re superior to the ‘common folk’ who can’t understand our ultra-niche terminology. It actually tends to have the opposite effect entirely.

In the States, a company called Elevator Speech, that specialises in communications, found some interesting things with regards to jargon use in business.

The company conducted a workshop for 15 executives, and asked them what ‘optimisation’ means. Despite the fact the word only has a single definition, the executives gave seven different ones. The icing on the cake was this: The company the executives worked for produced price optimisation software.

It’s not all bad though – jargon does have some benefits. It can help create tighter-knit working communities by encouraging a common identity, and often becomes an essential way of communicating specific working concepts quickly. Interestingly, it can be compared to slang – and it comes with the same pitfalls. Jargon can be just as exclusive as it is inclusive.

In the workplace itself, the use of jargon could arguably be seen to be positive, but that doesn’t alter the fact that it’s incredibly detrimental in a job advert. The people reading job posts aren’t members of the team yet, after all, so there’s really no benefit in confusing them with insider language.

The Nonsense Effect

Just in case you were still in any doubt about the uncertainty jargon job posts cause, here are some statistics (correct at time of writing):

  • 68% of UK jobseekers wanted employers to write clearer job adverts.
  • 48% of graduates arrive at a job interview unsure of the role they’re applying for due to jargon-filled job ads.
  • 50% of jobseekers have not applied for a position due to being unable to understand the job description.
  • 64% of graduates don’t feel confident applying for a job if they don’t understand the job description.
  • 71% of graduates said that business acronyms in job adverts made them feel underqualified.
  • 61% of men and 74% of women don’t understand business acronyms.

Additionally, some of the most misunderstood (and most amusing) examples of jargon are:

  • Open the kimono
  • Growth hacking
  • Thought shower
  • Low-hanging fruit
  • Brand architecture
  • Blue-sky thinking
  • Cloud-first

Next up are the most despised and off-putting terms to jobseekers – don’t include these in your job posts whatever you do:

  • Proven track record
  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • Laser-focused
  • Ninja
  • Action-orientated
  • Hit the ground running


An alien employer talks garbled nonsense to a confused jobseeker


Banishing the Buzzwords

Now we can see the effects of using buzzwords, empty jargon, and job titles like ‘autonomous cloud program philanderer’, it’s easy enough to avoid them. It is important to note though, that using acronyms and specialist terms shouldn’t be thrown out completely. In fact, using specialist terminology can sometimes be beneficial, especially if your advertising a niche role in a small sector; it can help your ad catch the eye of a potentially perfect candidate more quickly.

The trick is to make sure that if you do use any acronyms, that they’re clearly explained to avoid any confusion. Keep your job adverts lean, clear, and concise, and chances are you’ll engage more of the right candidates with more success.

If you’re currently on the hunt for applicants, then register with us today, and start posting your job ads for free.

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