Are You Scaring Candidates Who Should Be Applying For Your Open Position?

BY Kathy Crosett
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We all know we’re dealing with a booming job market right now. Maybe that partly explains why only a couple of barely qualified candidates applied for your open position. There could be another reason. You might have used too much industry jargon in writing the job description.

Trendy Jargon

Job boards are filled with descriptions that contain too much jargon. Your potential future employees don’t want to read about all the trendy terms you know. They’re trying to decide if they’ll be a good match for your open position. A new survey from Milkround asked nearly 2,000 adults what they thought of various terms used in recruitment ads. Over half of these people said they hadn’t applied for various positions because they didn’t understand some of the terminology being used.

This terminology had nothing to do with the technical aspects of the position. Instead, hiring managers were using terms that showed they were on the cutting edge of business. Here are the terms that job applicants least understood:

  • Blue-​sky thinking (same as open-minded)
  • Thought shower (same as idea generation)
  • Growth hacking (same as growing quickly while spending little)

Jargon Leads to Bad Hiring Outcomes

If you end up hiring a person who wasn’t scared off by your jargon, the experts say you risk hiring a person who doesn’t understand what the job is all about. Either that, or your new employee may speak fluent jargon. In that case, the new hire may put off their co-​workers or your customers.

Representatives from the Plain English Campaign have a clear position on this situation: “We would urge all who produce job descriptions to say what they mean — and mean what they say.” In writing your next description, keep that advice in mind. Your task is not to impress candidates with what you know, your true goal is to encourage the best people to apply for the position.