I have been working as a journalist and copywriter for almost 20 years. But I still can’t get used to the term that is often used in job vacancies for my profession: content creator. I have never heard a colleague without irony say: “I will come to lunch a little later, first to create this content.”
In fact, the term has something irreverent and reminds me of my failed career as a course filler (I once wrote this blog about that).
But content is not the only word in job vacancies that makes my hands itch. I would prefer to rewrite every day texts on Monster and in understandable language.
Since I don’t have the time to do this, I list 23 clichés and itchy words in this post that I believe are all too often found in vacancy texts. Behind every word you will find the translation for applicants and instructions for copywriters to come up with something better.
(You can find an extensive manual on writing vacancy texts here)
22 itch words in job vacancy texts
Hands on mentality – Ok, so someone who knows how to handle things. But what exactly should your ideal candidate address? Do you want to work overtime? the tray to get coffee? Give examples and delete this meaningless term.
No 9 to 5 mentality – What kind of mentality is there? Are you looking for someone who occasionally works half an hour longer, or do you regularly call your employees in the middle of the night? And does it work the other way around; can an employee go home when there is little work? Dare to be specific about what you mean by this cliché.
Millipede – An employee who can do everything only exists in a fairy tale. What should your ideal employee be able to do exactly? If you cannot specify that in your vacancy text, do not expect applicants who are suitable for the job.
Proactive – Everyone is looking for an employee who shows initiative. But this description is vague and lazy. Does he or she have to come up with his own work, deliver ideas at meetings, copy for colleagues? Be proactive yourself, and give examples of situations in which you expect action from your ideal employee in your vacancy text.
Communicative – Communicative is a broad concept. Does the applicant regularly have to give presentations to clients? Is it important in your company to assess each other’s work and to make mistakes without offending others? Sketch a picture so that the applicant knows what you are talking about. In short: show yourself how communicative you are.
Bruggenbouwer – A job vacancy text is not a novel in which you can sprinkle with imagery. You are probably not looking for an engineer, so what do you mean by a bridge builder? Do different departments work together? Does the applicant have to satisfy disappointed customers? Make it specific, because that’s how your job description falls into the water.
Fast switching – Every employee nowadays has to “switch quickly”. But between which tasks? Give examples and explanations. Show that you have thought about this, because with this term you can also give the impression that you want to scare people into a burnout as quickly as possible by overloading them with tasks and goals. Oh yes, and it has been scientifically proven years ago that fast switching between different tasks does not benefit the work.
Resistant to stress – No, you do not want someone who falls headwind at the smallest breath. But explain exactly what you expect. How great is the stress within your organization? How are deadlines within the company, how do you prevent too much pressure being put on the employee? Be not only demanding, but also transparent about what you expect from an employee. Or do you get stressed out of it?
Out-of-the-box thinking – Sounds hip, but are you sure? Or are you, if you’re honest, just looking for someone to take over your approach? Oh yes, and in addition, out-of-the-box is the wrong term (it’s the name for products that require little installation – or you have to see your employees that way ;-)). You probably mean thinking outside the box.
Flexible – What should applicants be flexible about? Are you going to call them regularly at the weekend, are they always at a different workplace? Give examples. Or should your employees just do all the odd jobs?
Innovative – so innovative. But what exactly do you want to innovate in your company, and how should the potential employee help you with that? It would be quite innovative to explain that in a vacancy text.
Synergy – Ok, you want your employees to work well together and therefore to rise above themselves. Unfortunately, an applicant cannot achieve this on his own. So how does the company help with this? Go into that. Synergy is not something that you can demand from one side.
Dealing with areas of tension – Tension is everywhere, but what does that mean to you? Do you dare to give the applicant an insight into the choices and considerations that can lead to tension in daily practice? Or do you find that yourself at the spanned?
Customer-oriented – You would think that every employee in every company should be customer-oriented. But if you really want to name it, do it well: give some examples of clients and their requirements in your vacancy text, so that the applicant can get a good idea of what is expected in your specific case.
Extrovert – Every company seems to be looking for extrovert people. Realize that extrovert is not a character trait, but the ultimate point of a scale. Do you really want someone who mainly talks all day long? Or are you looking for someone with a more moderate character? Describe what type you are looking for, and don’t get rid of it with this buzzword.
Affinity with – Ok, the applicant must have a bond with what you do. Logical. But affinity is a somewhat vague concept. What do you mean exactly? Do they have to be interested in your product or company, have a deep passion, or do you just want them to be able to empathize a little?
Dynamic – This is one of the most popular and unnecessary smurf words of our time. Everyone understands that you are not sitting still all day at the office. So what exactly do you want to make clear with the word dynamic? Give examples and dare to distinguish yourself from the 10,000 vacancy texts in which this word appears.
Agile – Nice that you have followed a management course, but can you also explain in one concrete sentence what you are asking from your future employee with this word? If not, you may want to omit the term and follow the course again.
Growth opportunities – everyone wants to grow. But with only that empty word you won’t convince anyone. To which position can the applicant progress, do you have examples of employees who started in the same place and now work at the top of your company?
Informal atmosphere – What is informal for you can be oppressive for the other. Do you sit on skippy balls instead of office chairs, do you regularly play karaoke, or do you only always have lunch together in the garden? Describe the atmosphere and make the term concrete.
Content – An ugly word for texts, photos and videos and with which you can conceal exactly what the employee is going to work on. Here you will find 7 reasons for not using the word anymore.
Good secondary employment conditions – Good, you make the applicants curious. But again: make it concrete, tell what they can expect. A thirteenth month? An annual winter sports trip? Free lunch? Or do you guarantee that your employees never have to read texts with itch words (I would sign immediately).