Remove Jargon, Wordiness, and Vague Language From Job Posts

Jargon, wordiness, and impersonal or vague language in a job post can confuse qualified and unqualified job seekers alike.

A job post is a window, and it’s often the only view of your job and your organization that potential candidates see. Including jargon, wordiness, and impersonal or vague language in your job post is like smearing mud across the window. 


Why is jargon bad in job posts?

Clarity is key. If your job post is the only piece of messaging from your organization that a potential candidate reads, it has to be clear. Jargon, which not all job seekers understand, can get in the way of that clarity.


Job posts set expectations

Hiring teams have historically viewed the job post as a mechanism by which they attract candidates. But that’s not all it is. It’s also the way job seekers gauge whether they qualify for a position and, crucially, whether they want to work for your company. 

Think about a job post’s most basic function: describing your organization and your open job. (We’re talking about external job ads that you use for recruiting, not internal job descriptions that you use for human resources purposes.) 

Candidates are looking at your job post from the outside in. And they’re typically reading it on a third-party job search site. That means they aren’t seeing how multifaceted your company culture may look on your careers page. In that way, how you write about your company and your role is the main way you’re communicating your company culture. 

But think about a job post’s other function: setting expectations. For you, these expectations include the minimum requirements a candidate should have to apply and what you’ll expect of them as an employee. For the job seeker, expectations include the compensation and benefits they’ll receive and what they can expect regarding workplace culture. Setting expectations is no small thing, and it requires clarity, not corporate cliches



Jargon gets in the way

Jargon can be confusing and sometimes even meaningless. How do ninja, Jedi, guru, or wizard really describe someone’s skills or experience? (Especially when one person’s Jedi may be another person’s Padawan.) And how many jobs out there don’t require someone to be a self-starter, team player, or multi-tasker

Rather than saying a candidate needs to be a ninja or some other vague thing, just describe what the job requires more specifically. Saying exactly what tasks someone will need to do in the job paints a clearer picture of the skills and experience necessary.

Meanwhile, wordiness and vague language make it hard to set accurate expectations. A job seeker may think they know what you’re saying when they don’t. (Which can mean more applications from unqualified candidates and fewer applications from qualified candidates.) Or they may not know what you’re saying and decide to pass on your job altogether. (Which means smaller candidate pools.)

For example, saying a role is “responsible for effectively articulating the value of products or services to customers” is needlessly wordy and filled with corporate-speak. A statement like that may not be clear to candidates, especially to those for whom English is a second language. It’s clearer just to say something like the role “will promote the value of products to customers.”

Lastly, impersonal language dilutes your message. The ideal candidate isn’t the same as you to someone reading your job post. Speaking to them directly helps them internalize your messaging.

Andrew N.

Andrew N.

Linguist

Search Datapeople

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