We all use them, those specific words or phases that have a meaning in a particular context but are often associated with impressing those around you. Even more so in recruitment where both the company recruiting, and the candidate are simultaneously attempting to strike a connection in a short period of time.

There’s a theory that buzzwords within a corporate context represent an important separation between your work and home life. You likely don’t dress at the office the way you do at home and possibly don’t act the same way around your friends as you do in the office with your colleagues. Buzzwords are markers of that boundary and also allow you to communicate with colleagues in a way that reflects the type of environment you work in – business jargon is like its own language.

Within the context of recruitment, here are some of the buzzwords we hear (and use) the most and our attempt to decipher…

Transformative, disruption, break things, change agent

These words had their origin in tech startups, repurposing what were once considered negative sounding words and turning them into positives. From both a candidate and client perspective, what we are essentially talking about here is an environment where there is a lot of change and challenge that requires a candidate who is flexible or “agile”. If you are the type of person who prefers the comfort of normality and systems, then this is probably not the right place for you. However as recent events have demonstrated, we are constantly faced with change and seem to adapt reasonably well. If you are the “change agent” who thrives in “transformative environs” then just be sure to back this up during the interview process and be really clear about what challenges you have met, how you approached them and what the outcome was.

Wheelhouse, wear a lot of hats, blue sky thinker

Similar to above, these terms are often used by candidates as a core strength or area of expertise, when they are trying to impress that they can operate effectively outside of their comfort zone. Conversely, employers may advertise for a “self-starter” who can “work well under pressure” in a “fast-paced environment”. These terms are however overused and in some ways are diluted from their original meaning. Our recommendation is to avoid this type of jargon and instead talk more about experience, competency and qualification.

Ninja, wizard, assassin, guru

These titles are more common within tech or creative/customer focussed roles and can gain cut through in job adverts. Essentially what an employer is looking for is a candidate with a high level of expertise. However, for the most part they are considered somewhat vague and at their worst, can have gender connotations that discourage female job seekers from applying.

While they do have a place in business, over time buzzwords can lose their meaning and within recruitment there is the danger that they can create opportunities for miscommunication. Rather than trying to decode what someone is actually trying to say, the best advice is to stick to simple, plain English.

Need help?

If you are looking for direction and assistance with creating your personal brand to tap into exciting opportunities, get in touch with us. We’d love to chat.

The Decipher Team

To stay on top of current recruitment trends and technologies follow Decipher Group on LinkedIn.

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