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Words Matter


Do you want better results from your job ads? The next time you start to post that lame job description, you may want to rethink it.


Many job descriptions follow a very antiquated format that apparently has become the comfort zone for too many employers. "Job responsibilities include" and "physical demands" and such. Unfortunately, someone in Legal or HR probably created that nonsense and who wants to read it? Much less respond to it. If you're serious about results from your job ads, well then you'd better get serious about the words you use. Great candidates want to hear what they can contribute; they want to picture themselves working for your company. The words that you use matter!


In many languages, there are masculine and feminine words. Those words are different depending on the inflection intended. The same holds true for English - although the affect is subliminal. What do I mean? For instance words like success, analyze, and pride all imply masculinity. While words like creative, community and growth all imply femininity. Applicants don't necessarily register this "out loud" while reading a job ad, but the implication does determine how they feel about the job, and whether they should apply to it. Your words directly affect whether they apply or close the window.


I have a client who was searching for a VP of Finance. When they gave me the job description it was typical - using "must have" and all of the other repetitive phrases that don't offer value. The tone of the job was so masculine, that they'd be lucky to ever get a female applicant. Would you purposely drive away female applicants? Likely not, but that's just what you might be doing. Inclusion starts with your words.

It's not just masculine and feminine words, either. Cliche phrases, repetitive wording ("must have", "responsibilities include", "hands on"), not enough verbs, not enough 'you' statements - these all affect the feeling the reader walks away with.


I'm not going to give away the farm here and tell you how to fix this, because this is part of what I do and what you would hire me for. What I will say is that the time is now - the hiring landscape is so competitive and you have control over the content you put out to the world! Branding matters, words matter. Represent yourself appropriately to attract the right people. The biggest part of recruiting is what you're saying, how you're saying it and to whom you're saying it. Are you interested in improving your success? Let me know how I can help.




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