Employers would be better off adopting plain English in their job advertisements after research by graduate jobs specialist Milkround showed applicants are put off by jargon and buzzwords.
Firms are being asked to write job adverts in plain English after the research suggested applicants are put off by jargon such as “entrepreneurial mindset” and “action-orientated”. As per the report, half of 2000 adults surveyed stated that they had not applied for a job because they did not understand the advert.
The most confusing expression used in job ads was ‘open the kimono’, with 82 percent of job seekers surveyed saying they didn’t understand the phrase, which otherwise means to “reveal what is being planned or to share important information freely”.
Forbes named the expression among the most annoying business jargon, alongside phrases ‘drinking the kool-aid’ which is used instead of saying ‘revealing information’, ‘it is what it is’, and the words ‘empower’ and ‘leverage’.
‘Cloud-first’, ‘blue-sky thinking’ and ‘thought shower’ were other big deterrents for jobseekers, the report stated.
The most misunderstood jargon terms among recent graduates were:
• Open the kimono (82 percent had not heard of the term)
• Cloud-first (76 percent)
• Growth hacking (73 percent)
• Blue-sky thinking (67 percent)
• Thought shower (64 percent)
• Brand architecture (61 percent)
• Low-hanging fruit (64 percent).
Three out of four of those surveyed believed job adverts could be “deliberately ambiguous”, while three out of five would not apply for a job if they are not able to understand the jargon.
As per the study, the most misunderstood phrases included ‘growth hacking’, ‘brand architecture’ and ‘low-hanging fruit’. It also found that men were more comfortable with business jargon and acronyms than women.
Three-quarters or 74% of women claimed not to understand business acronyms compared to 61% of men. 77% of women said this would lead them to lack confidence in applying for a role, compared to 65% of male counterparts.
The research shows that businesses need to offer concise information and clarity in order to ensure that top talent is not put off by jargon. Employers should clearly outline expectations and offer full details to the candidate in a clear language just as they expect candidates to share information about themselves in their resumes in a lucid fashion.