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The jargon to avoid on job listings

While workplace jargon might not seem like a big deal, certain phrases can provide additional information about a company’s culture if you dig a little deeper.
The jargon to avoid on job listings

Job search fatigue: it is absolutely a thing. It’s completely common to feel stressed and overwhelmed during what can often be a protracted hunt for a new role. In fact, the Pew Research Center has measured it and found that about half of US adults who are looking for a job are pessimistic about their prospects for future employment. 53% feel they’ve lost a piece of their identity during the process and 56% say they’ve experienced anxiety or depression due to unemployment.

One thing that doesn’t help is the bewildering proliferation of buzzwords and jargon that often litter job postings. Canva, the design app, analysed 6.3 million job ads globally and discovered that 38% of postings contained confusing jargon words and phrases, such as ‘dynamic’, ‘team player’, and ‘blue-sky thinking'. HR, IT, and finance came in the top five industries which are most guilty. 

While jargon might not seem like a big deal – we’ve all rolled our eyes at the tech company looking for a “rock star ninja” – these phrases can provide nuance and additional information around the nature of a job, and even a company’s culture if you dig a little deeper.

So which ones are the worst offenders, and what do they really mean? 

“Fast-paced work environment” 

Often one you’ll see on start-up and scale-up job advertisements, what this really means is that things are hectic. Start-up companies are just that: at an early stage before most of the business processes and operations you might be used to may not have been put in place. So if you're familiar with a very structured organisation that has an established hierarchy and set-in-stone processes everyone follows, you might be in for a rude awakening.

“No two days are the same” or “must be willing to switch lanes or directions quickly” 

Often seen in conjunction with “fast-paced work environment'', in a nutshell, this place is chaotic. You’ll be pulled from one project to the next, priorities will change like the wind’s direction and you’ll be constantly on fire-fighting duty.

“Team player required”

This one can mean a couple of things. While it sounds nice, what it could mean is, “shut up and do exactly what we want”. Potentially, your ideas and input won’t be welcome here. It could also indicate leadership who like to micromanage and meddle.

“Peel the onion”

This peculiarity of language is code for, you will have a lot of issues to solve - as in, you’ll be peeling them back, layer by layer. Forever. We know one thing for sure: you will be crying.

“Self-starter”, “Fast learner” or “Able to manage your own time”

All of these are significant red flags. They might initially appeal if you’re an independent type who doesn’t love a manager looking over their shoulder, but what these really mean is you won’t be given any direction, you'll have to figure it all out on your own – say goodbye to any training –- and your workload will be so intense you’ll be managing it into the night, every night. Yes, that’s what “your own time” means in this instance.

“Good leadership skills required” 

Fine if you’re applying for a management role where leadership skills will be a given. However, if you’re applying for a job that doesn’t involve people management and if this is part of the responsibilities, run. You’ll be doing the job of a manager without being paid for it.

“We’re like a family”

Beware. Families can be lovely – close and supportive. But, they can also be claustrophobic, dysfunctional, and hard to get along with. 

Ready to start your job search? We’ve got three jobs to check out below, and plenty more on the Job Board too.

Senior DevOps Engineer, Juni

Juni is the fastest-growing Fintech in Europe and is hiring a Senior DevOps Engineer for its SRE team. Its vision is to set product teams free so they can focus on what they are best at: build and run awesome product features. Juni’s self-service platforms and shared code libraries solve common problems and achieve best practice with minimal effort. Apply here.

Android Infrastructure Engineer - Developer Experience, Spotify

With a goal to enable Spotify mobile engineers to build features at scale, faster and with higher quality than any other company in the industry, the company is now looking for a passionate Android Infrastructure Engineer to join the Client Platform team. Your primary goal will be to help with re-architecturing its mobile apps, to unify build system support, and transition Spotify’s mobile applications to a monorepo structure. Interested? Find out more.

Customer Success Manager - Netherlands, Flipdish

Flipdish has built a digital ordering system that helps put hospitality businesses of all sizes in control of their business growth. The Customer Success Manager for the Netherlands will join the success and sales team across Benelux, building meaningful relationships with Flipdish customers. You’ll manage key metrics that feed into team-based goals around retention, growth, and advocacy and you should have a passion for building and developing business relationships and be willing to take on new challenges. More information is available here

Discover thousands more open roles now on the Job Board 

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