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Careful with those words in job ads

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by on
in Centerpiece,Hiring,Human Resources

job adWriting a job ad is easy. Just reach for the jargon, grab a buzzword or two and craft a handful of sentences that says you’re a remarkable company seeking an even more remarkable employee.

But before you run it by a like-minded peer, through your trusty spell-checker and out into cyberspace, take a second look at your words to see the “code” a job-seeker may be sensing.

Here are some innocent-sounding blurbs that were pulled from some actual job ads:

Are you aggressive and don’t mind long hours as long as they lead to big money? Do you like to work hard and play hard? We want to talk to you!

The job-seeker’s chances of reading even a single line further may depend much on his or her gender. Play hard? What does that mean? Does the staff mosey to the bar across the street after work every night for drinks?

How about this one:

We’re looking for analytical professionals with street smarts to boot. Here, you’ll find great career challenges—but we like our office parties and Fantasy Football too!

Note there’s not a single word in either of these ads that excludes one gender or the other, but which do you think they appeal to far more?

And is this next ad looking for anyone who can do the job well—or is it really calling out to a certain age range without coming right out and saying so?

Tech-savvy? Seeking innovation? We hire go-getters on the rise who want to hit the ground running in a fast-paced, dynamic environment.

See if this one seems to skew in a certain direction too ...

We’re not looking for just another employee—we’re looking for a ninja! This jack-of-all-trades will be relentless in doing what it takes to get the job done.

Take a moment to note which words in these ads contain a subtle cue that the job poster has a specific demographic in mind, subconsciously or otherwise. Now look at your company’s own job ads and you may be surprised to find you’ve inadvertently targeted one group far more than the other.

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