Padlock on a door, the padlock has the word jargon written on it
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Exactly how bad jargon is holding back your hiring

Jargon happens—often to otherwise good words. Even words that start out novel and cool become cliches over time. What is GOAT today is YOLO tomorrow. When a new turn of phrase is introduced into a business environment, it shows that you’re on top of the right trends. But over time it becomes overused (and misused), to the point of simply losing its linguistic value. Sometimes a cliched term represents a cultural metaphor that is moving away in relevance such as being a team player. Team player, like many sports analogies in business, has seen mounting criticism in recent years.

People love to mock corporate jargon, and there are plenty of good reasons to do so (here’s one from Textio CEO Kieran Snyder!). But language can evolve quickly. Who decides what’s cool and cutting-edge and what’s a cliche? One way to know is to let people vote with their actions. Here are some top stats on jargon from Textio’s data set of real-world job posts and hiring outcomes:

Horizontal bar chart showing 7 phrases with their likelihood of causing a job posting to fill more slowly

What we see here are some very real reasons to avoid jargon in your hiring: using corporate cliches in a job description can make the role three times as likely to fill slowly.

Corporate cliches is just one category of phrases that are identified as “orange phrases” by Textio’s predictive engine. These are key phrases that are negatively impacting your Textio score, which means your job will fill slower and attract fewer good candidates than it would if you were to replace that language with something better. (And we know it’s current because Textio is constantly adding new data—at the rate of more than 10 million hiring outcomes every month!)

Everyone knows cliches are annoying, and this proves it: every time someone publishes a job post with terms like overachiever, more job-seekers are “voting” against it by not applying for the job, causing it to fill more slowly. Put simply: people are less likely to be interested in working at a company that speaks too much “corporatese.”

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