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Do You Really Want to Hire a Rock Star?
By Judy Kneiszel

There’s an expression, “be careful what you wish for.” For those creating job listings, that might be amended to “be careful what you ASK for.”
Phrases that might seem clever could confuse or turn off those looking for work. In a recent social media post, job seekers shared what they thought common phrases in employment listings really meant. Here are some examples:
  • “Self-starter,” some said, means “we don’t want to train you,” or “you won’t get any direction.”
  • “Competitive wage” to some job seekers can be interpreted as, “the bare minimum for this position.”
  • “Rock star,” commenters said, means whoever is hired will end up doing the jobs of several people.
  • “Fast paced environment,” said one commenter, “means you’ll be burned out in a month.”
  • “Detail oriented” translates to, “don’t you dare make a mistake,” in at least one job seeker’s mind.
  • “Flexible schedule” to some means “inconsistent hours.”
  • Many interpreted, “Wears many hats” to mean “We’re short staffed.”
  • “Like a family” to at least one respondent means, “We expect you to stay late for no overtime and answer our calls at any time of the day or night ... you know, like you would for your mom.”
You might be shaking your head and saying, “No! That’s not what employers mean when they use those phrases!” But maybe the responses in this thread are a wake-up call for employers. It might be time to review the word choices in your job postings and say what you really mean.
For example, if an ad says, “flexible scheduling” what an employer might mean is “we offer flex time as a benefit.” A little rewording will clarify that and likely increase interest in the job.

If by “competitive wage” an employer means that market studies have been done and pay is better than average for similar companies, that good news should be shared.

Of all the phrases in the post, “rock star” is possibly the most off the mark. Consider what a literal “rock star” would bring to an organization. You probably don’t want that. No offense to the exceptions, but historically rock stars have been egomaniacs with a tendency toward illegal drug use. If what you are actually looking for is someone with an established record of success, just spell it out.

 
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