Words have power – Words and jargon to avoid in today’s job descriptions..

Getting the right people in the door for the right job is a challenge for many businesses. The recruitment  process begins with a well-crafted job description. Job descriptions are a communication tool between the employer and candidates, and it is viewed by candidates as a mini preview of your company culture.

I recently consulted with a small business in hospitality on job descriptions, and as a result, their recruitment campaign was a huge success. By applying simple changes, they were able to attract a calibre of talent they had previously not been able to tap into.

Revisiting job descriptions and paying attention to wording and phrases will impact how your business is viewed as an employer. After all this is what will attract a candidate to your business, and represents your employer branding. Descriptions packed with jargon and words that you are used to have become meaningless, and in today’s era can have a double meaning. Many of which can be deemed as red flags for the workplace culture.

As an example, ‘Family’. Once a key word and viewed as welcoming, is now one to avoid. Family means different things to all individuals, good and bad so be mindful of using this term, as it can be misconstrued that boundaries are violated and remember not all family life is happy. As a successful HR senior peer recently pointed out to me, many families can be dysfunctional, and individuals don’t want that culture in a workplace which is a very valid point!

Here are some other examples of words and phrases we see featured in job descriptions daily which are simply off putting in today’s era. If you can, try and avoid words such as:

  • fast-paced
  • enthusiastic
  • detail-oriented
  • multi-tasker
  • Passionate
  • enthusiastic
  • dynamic
  • Works well under pressure

These types of words and phrases are used so much in job descriptions that they have lost their meaning and effectiveness. If you use them in your job ad, you risk your description blending in with the rest, and you want you want to stand out from the other job descriptions the candidate has just glanced over.

When detailing what you are looking for in a candidate, specificity is key. Vague business jargon is simply content filler that is distracting from seeking out the qualities and skills you want.


Instead, use phrases that show what the job entails as well as the skillset required for the job. For example, instead of saying that you are seeking someone driven, indicate that the role requires someone with a proven ability to meet quick deadlines. This prompts anyone applying to have evidence of this skill ready to be discussed in an interview or cover letter.

The more natural your job posting reads, the more likely it is that candidates will respond.

To avoid any mishaps, always use neutral language whenever possible. Not sure if something has a bias or reads inviting?  Ask a colleague to review and get their interpretation of the wording prior to hitting “Post.”

Daly Recruitment offers an hourly consultancy service to assist businesses in this area, if you would like to discuss options for your business, please email Nichola on Nichola@DalyRecruitment.com