Want A Long Term Employee? Quit Using Buzzwords In Job Descriptions

I spent the better part of last year sifting through job postings, and I spent more time than I would like in the past decade doing the same. I assumed that by 2017 the buzzwords would disappear and a level of professionalism would return for job postings that are trying to reach experienced talent who are seeking a job with stability.

The words “ninja”, “rockstar”, “hacker” and similar buzzwords do not represent stability. To an experienced professional, these words represent flightiness, low salaries, foosball and office projectiles of the Nerf persuasion. It would be one thing if these companies were looking to fill entry-level positions, but often they are seeking talent with 5, 10 and even 15 years’ experience.

At mid to senior-level career levels, the last thing we want is to work for a company that is just going to lay us off next year and isn’t willing to invest beyond the childish culture.

Basically, when you ask an experienced interviewee if they have any questions for you, the question should not be, “What does your severance package look like?”. Yes, I have asked this question and yes, I was being dead serious.

When I interviewed with companies with job descriptions filled with these buzzwords, my questions always lingered around turnover, why their last person left, why so and so said what on Glassdoor and the policy around severance packages. I got to the point where I wanted to ask for P&L reports and budget projections, but I never went that far.

As an interviewee, I no longer wanted to ask these questions, so I started avoiding job descriptions with this content altogether.

I started finding myself drawn to corporate job listings. Yes, they were canned and rarely do they describe the actual duties of the position, however their lack of the word ‘rockstar’ in the job description was just that rare and appealing.

It brought me back to college #1 where I was studying Interior Design. Bank buildings have historically been constructed with symbols of stability; Dark woods, thick columns, stone exteriors and heavy furniture. Psychologically this tells the customer that they are there for the long haul, they are not moving, they will be in business 50 years from now and your money is safe with them.

All I was looking for in a job description was verbiage that represented the same; that we value talent, we invest in growing revenue and your employment is safe with us.

Now some would say that the ‘startup culture’ just isn’t right for you. Perhaps so, but I enjoy the challenge of it and reaching growth goals, when the goals are in line. Too often, I find that they are hiring just because they got a round of funding, not because it hurts and a pain point needs to be relieved.

I have respect for a startup that is building off of hard work, not frivolous spending on things. I am not going to enjoy a drunken company-wide trip when it is going to cost me, and half the company their jobs the following month (that really happened). I would personally rather work for a company that invests in growing revenue and retaining its employees, so I can enjoy trips of leisure with my family.


Also published on Medium.

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