In an ideal world, a job description would clearly summarize the essential responsibilities, activities, qualifications, and skills for a role. But, unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Canva, the graphic design platform, recently analyzed 6.3 million job ads across multiple countries and industries to explore the problem of jargon in job postings. And what they found is astounding.
The research revealed that 38% of job postings contained confusing jargon words and phrases, with the top three being “team player,” “dynamic,” and “self-starter.” So which industries are most guilty of using buzzwords in their job ads? You guessed it: information technology, marketing and finance.
You want accurate and engaging job descriptions to improve your organization’s time to hire. Here are some additional reasons why it’s best to avoid jargon in job postings.
Unnecessary jargon confuses applicants
There is no real benefit to using jargon in job postings. One study found that it prevents job seekers from applying because they don’t understand it, particularly in the 16-24 age group and those from foreign or disadvantaged backgrounds. Another study found that applicants take between 49 to 77 seconds to decide whether a job posting is right for them. With this in mind, recruiters need to position the role so that applicants quickly grasp what the job entails. Clarity at this stage is beneficial for recent graduates who are less familiar with industry terms than more experienced candidates.
Your audience may not trust you
A study by New York University found that the use of jargon led people to think a company is lying. In four experiments, the impact of concreteness of language on judgments of truth was examined. It was found that statements of the same content were judged as more probably true when written in concrete language than when they were written in abstract language. In the words of Aristotle, “Style to be good must be clear. Clearness is secured by using words that are current and ordinary.” So, to build trust in your company, use plain terms that are easy to understand.
Jargon can be off-putting
Not only can specialized language elicit mistrust, but it can also be intimidating. According to Professor Michael Handford of Cardiff University, one big issue is that jargon can “turn people off, so potential candidates that may be highly creative, potentially very collaborative, great communicators, etc. may find the language very off-putting. If potentially suitable candidates do not apply because they do not understand or feel intimidated by the language in the advert, that is clearly a loss to both the candidate and the organization.” In theory, plain language is more accessible, easier to understand, and more engaging. Also, for new recruits, learning the corporate language can be difficult, time-consuming and sometimes alienating. “I’ve been at Cardiff University for over five years, and I’m still learning ‘the lingo’, for instance abbreviations for groups in the University,” adds Handford.
You’ll attract better candidates
The quality of your job description dramatically affects the quality and type of candidates you attract. Using simple search terms used by job seekers will result in a more qualified set of applicants. “Crafting a compelling job description is essential for employers to attract the best, most qualified candidates for an open role,” says Bill Richards, UK Managing Director at Indeed. The key to writing compelling job descriptions is to find the perfect balance between providing enough detail so candidates understand the role and the company while keeping the description concise. Make every word count.”
Ultimately, the key to an effective job posting is to know your audience. Job seekers are aware that every job requires multi-tasking, detail-oriented and self-motivated individuals to get things done. So, avoid stating the obvious and substitute meaningless corporate babble with easy-to-understand language. Only then will you be able to target the right type of candidates for the job.
QTC Recruitment can help your organisation craft effective job postings and find the right type of candidates and professionals for your position. Get in touch to get started!
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Published on Forbes.com