Top Clichés To Avoid In Job Advertisements

Are you guilty of using clichés and jargon when creating your job advertisements? 

We are back in the world of job advertisements again. Well, these few words – spoken and written – are sometimes the first words many young people will have seen by you, as a company, trying to attract their attention.

The job advert is all about attracting the attention of young people – be they students, school leavers or graduates – and trying to hook in that top talent.

The advert is about selling your company to them. Persuading young people that your company is the place for them to kick start their career or gain some valuable work experience and build transferable skills. 

We have written in previous articles about how to write the perfect job advert and the job ad jargon to avoid. It is so easy to be guilty of using jargon associated with your sector.

After all, these are words and phrases used often in your line of work so your colleagues will understand your meaning. For many young people, however, they have little or no experience of the workplace or your particular field. 

If your job ad is filled with jargon they simply do not understand, they won’t apply for your role.

And that could be some top talent that you have missed out on right from the get go. 

Clichés To Avoid In Your Job Ads

After the overuse of jargon, the next recruitment trap that employers can fall into with the job advert is the use of the dreaded cliché – or, even worse, the use of multiple clichés. 

In the competitive landscape of recruitment, crafting an effective job advertisement is paramount to attracting top talent.

However, too often, recruiters fall into the trap of using clichés that not only fail to differentiate their job postings but also risk alienating potential candidates. 

Whilst those standard phrases might seem like typical and accepted job ad language, think about your potential audience. What impression are they getting of your company when they read your job ad?

These tired, overused phrases can make your job advertisement blend into the sea of other job postings rather than standing out as an opportunity worth pursuing. 

Your job ad needs a USP; because when you are trying to recruit young talent, you need to sell your company to them so that you stand out above the competition.

So it is time to get creative. Don’t lose your potential job candidates to boredom right at the beginning of the recruitment process.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common clichés found in job advertisements and provide alternative approaches to help your job postings shine.

We are looking for a ‘Team Player’

All companies want people working for them who can work effectively as part of a team but the phrase ‘team player’ has become so ubiquitous in job postings that it has lost almost all of its original meaning. 

Nearly every job requires some level of collaboration and teamwork, so using this cliché adds little value to your advertisement. Your candidates know they will likely be working with others so there’s no need to tell them that.

Instead, focus on specific examples of teamwork or collaboration that are relevant to the role you are advertising. 

For example, you might highlight successful cross-functional projects or instances where the team achieved exceptional results through collective effort.

Specific examples like this are what will make your job ad stand out from those of other companies and show your potential candidates that you are not just churning out a standardised job ad. 

We are looking for a ‘Self-Starter

Young people who are looking for jobs are already showing that they are a ‘self starter.’ They are being proactive in the hope of getting into the workplace to learn – whatever the type of role. 

While it is important for employees to be proactive and motivated, labelling a candidate as a self-starter is often vague and subjective. There will be times when some of your young staff will be able to work under their own initiative and maybe even take the lead sometimes. 

But there will also be times when guidance from more senior members of staff is needed or training opportunities. In these cases, the phrase ‘self starter’ can be off putting to young talent.

Again, make your job ad more personal and directly related to the role you are advertising by mentioning specific instances where young recruits can work under their own initiative and be trusted to work on projects, unsupervised – but where constructive feedback and support is available. 

Come and join our ‘dynamic work environment’

Describing your workplace as “dynamic” is another cliché that lacks specificity. 

What does ‘dynamic work environment’ mean? Is your potential young applicant reading that and seeing ‘very busy workplace where people are overworked?’ 

If you feel your workplace is dynamic because you have a diverse and inclusive culture or because you have worked on specific projects that have really benefited the environment, this is what needs to go in your job ad. 

If you encourage professional growth and development by way of courses and in house training, use these examples of dynamism rather than just stating that you have a ‘dynamic work environment.’ 

For students, graduates and school leavers, this cliched phrase means nothing. And it fails to sell the unique environment of your company. 

Candidate will have ‘excellent communication skills’

Effective communication is essential in virtually every role, so stating that candidates must have “excellent communication skills” adds little value.

Instead, specify the type of communication skills that are most relevant to the position you are advertising.

What is the nature of the role you have available and what type of communication skills are necessary for that role?

  • Are you looking for someone who would be comfortable with doing presentations and public speaking?
  • Are you looking for someone who has a skill in written communication?
  • Or are you looking for someone who is good at listening to, and speaking with, clients and customers?
  • Are you looking for someone who is really skilled with digital communication?

‘Communication’ can mean lots of things.

Make sure your potential applicant knows exactly what you are looking for. This is also a win for you because your ad is then more likely to attract candidates with the relevant skills you are looking for. 

…to work in a ‘fast-paced environment’

Put yourself in the place of a young person who is looking for work. What comes to mind when you see the phrase ‘fast-paced environment?’ 

Many job advertisements boast about offering a “fast-paced environment,” but this phrase can be off-putting to some candidates who prefer a more structured or predictable work environment.

If you are advertising an Apprenticeship, for example, your potential applicants are going to be looking for structured training and guidance.

A ‘fast paced environment’ does not paint the picture of structure and learning.

Instead of focusing on speed, emphasise the exciting challenges and opportunities for growth that come with the role. 

What does a fast-paced environment mean for your company? Are you dealing with lots of customers on a daily basis? Does it mean there are lots of projects in motion at any one time? How will your young recruits fit into this environment? 

This is what needs to be highlighted in the creation of your job advert rather than a potential image of speed and chaos. 

Candidate will show ‘great attention to detail’

While attention to detail is undoubtedly important, using the term has become clichéd and does not really provide much insight into what specific skills or qualities you are looking for. 

What is the detail that is specific to the role you are advertising?

Describe the types of tasks or projects where attention to detail is crucial and provide examples of how meticulousness has led to success in the past. This will help candidates understand why this trait is important in the context of the role.

Ability to multitask

Similar to being able to show ‘attention to detail’ the ability to multitask is often seen as a standard requirement in many job postings. 

However, research has shown that multitasking can actually decrease productivity and quality of work and it can leave young candidates woırrying about whether burnout is on the cards or if they are going to be overwhelmed with the workload you are going to dump on them. 

This means you have just lost out on potential top talent applying for your role because of one statement that has now become a cliche. 

People multitask in all walks of life so this phrase isn’t necessary in your jod ad. Students are used to juggling various subjects and deadlines and combining this with part time work and leisure.  

Instead of promoting multitasking, emphasise the importance of prioritisation and time management skills.

Describe how the ability to manage competing priorities and stay focused on key objectives is critical to success in the role.

A ‘passionate’ individual

Passionate about what? Each of us is passionate about something. Whether or not that passion is relevant to the role you have on offer and the nature of your workplace is another matter. 

Describing candidates as passionate about their work is another cliché that lacks specificity. 

Instead of using this vague term, highlight what you need your applicant to be passionate about. This will help them to tailor their application so that they can demonstrate their passion in the area by giving concrete examples.

Help young candidates picture why they would be a great fit for your position – or not – by being specific with your wording. This will save both them – and your recruitment process – time. 

Avoiding Clichés

While you have been reading through this list of cliches used in job adverts, there’s a good chance you have thought of a few more that you have been guilty of using.

It’s an easy trap to fall into because we all know what standard jobs ads look like and feel we should be usşng the same language. 

But, if you are looking to attract young talent to your workplace, keep your audience in mind and write your job ad to them so that you improve your chances of standing out in a crowded market. 

By avoiding tired phrases and instead focusing on specific qualities, experiences, and opportunities that make your role unique, you will create job postings that resonate with candidates and inspire them to apply. 

So, the next time you are drafting a job advertisement, challenge yourself to think about your audience and showcase what truly sets your opportunity apart.

When you are ready to advertise your vacancies, take a look at the services on offer at e4s.