If you have spent any time applying for jobs you will be familiar with what I call “Recruitment Language”. It’s the words, phrases and just general tone that you see in a job advert that you never see in any other environment.
Phrases that are used and appear to be crucial to doing the job; but when you show up are never mentioned again.
You might think that because these phrases seem like empty business jargon purely designed to bulk out the description (which is probably true!) that you don’t need to consider them when applying.
Unfortunately however the people on the other side of the table, the recruitment team who do the application sifting, will be looking out for how you match to their specification. And their specification will include these phrases. So regardless of how “buzzwordy” we might think they sound, they are quite important to consider during your application.
That’s why in this post we are going to look at as many of these buzzwords as we can find and then I am going to explain exactly what it is the hiring manager is looking for and how you can evidence your capabilities in this area.
Share your favourite Business Buzzwords in the comments!
- 1 What They Say Vs What They Mean
- 2 Highly Personable
- 3 Detail Oriented
- 4 Excellent Stakeholder Management
- 5 Energetic Self Starter
- 6 Flexible
- 7 Fast Paced
- 8 Growth Opportunities
- 9 Passionate
What They Say Vs What They Mean
First though let’s have a look at what some of these buzzwords really mean
(this infographic is meant to be taken light heartedly – strong language warning)
So we may not like these buzzwords but if we can use them to our advantage then we would be stupid not to. Let’s take a look at each of the buzzwords in turn:
Might also be written as “people person”, “outgoing personality”, “relatable character”
What Does It Mean To Be Highly Personable?
‘Being personable’ typically refers to someone who is good with people. An extrovert. Someone who is fun to be around. Someone who helps out where needed. Think of someone that you truly enjoy spending time with. Imagine you have a problem at work, are you likely to go to the person you are thinking of or the sullen, grumpy colleague who shouts answers at you in a demeaning manner.
That’s what being personable is all about.
How To Show That You Are Highly Personable
Share examples of times you have interacted with customers or clients. Explain how the other person knew to come to you for help (e.g. an existing open door policy, generally helpful demeanour etc.) and describe how you took the time to fully understand their problem by asking questions AND really listening to the answer. Also explain how you checked in with the person afterward to see how they were getting on.
Might also be written as Excellent/Keen/Good/Solid/etc. “Attention to Detail”, “Punctilious” or “Meticulous”
What Does It Mean To Be Detail Oriented?
Being detail oriented means that you seek thoroughness and quality in anything you put your mind to. If there are any errors in your work they will be incredibly rare. Being detail oriented also means that you will chase down further information when it will help you make a better decision. All of your deliverables are high quality, high accuracy and have left no stone unturned.
How To Show That You Are Detail Oriented
Share examples of times that being ‘detail oriented’ has allowed you to catch errors before it was too late. Say for example you were pulling together production reports and you noticed one department had a significant increase in production from the previous week, so you reached out to confirm the numbers were accurate and it turned out they weren’t. That would be a good example to share and will show the hiring manager that not only do you believe yourself to be detail oriented but that you have the experience to back it up.
Behaviours tested: Managing a Quality Service
Excellent Stakeholder Management
This will also often be described as “Ability to influence a wide range of stakeholders”, “Able to deal with difficult stakeholders”, “Happy to communicate with senior and junior staff members”
What Does It Mean To Have Excellent Stakeholder Management Skills?
Stakeholder management is all about your communication and relationship building skills. It requires you to have a solid understanding of the business and on how your actions interact with the stakeholder’s actions/interests. To have excellent stakeholder management skills is to be able to get buy-in of your ideas from a wide range of people.
How To Show That You Are Good At Stakeholder Management
A lot of times in job descriptions/interviews they are looking to go beyond “communication and relationship building” and understand how you deal with difficult stakeholders. These are people who either do not want to talk to you OR when they do talk to you are not forthcoming with their needs. The best way to showcase your stakeholder management skills is therefore to share an example of a time when initially a stakeholder was not amenable to your work/project but you used your dazzling charm to win them over.
Energetic Self Starter
Can also be referred to as a “Go Getter”, “Industrious”, “Able to work independently”
What Does It Mean To Be A Self-Starter?
Put simply, a self-starter is someone who does not need to be instructed to begin a piece of work. A self-starter will be switched on enough to identify the work that needs to be done and will undertake steps to complete the work without any prodding required from senior management.
How to Show That You Are A Self Starter
The best way to show your “self starter” abilities is to share an example of a time that you identified an opportunity for improvement or saw some work that needed to be done and got to work on what was needed. Explain how you were able to identify the work that needed to be done and explain why you felt it best to get it done rather than waiting to be tasked with the activity. Warning: be careful when sharing examples that it doesn’t look like you ‘went rogue’, there is a fine line between being a self starter and being a wildcard who works against management. Pick an example that shows you knew the needs of the business and while you pursued the work independently you were sure to provide your management team with regular feedback or status updates
Might also be written as “Dynamic”, “Adaptable”, “Willing to Pitch In”
What Does It Mean To Be Flexible In A Job Description?
Generally speaking when a job description describes the ideal candidate as flexible it means they are looking for someone who is able to handle a change in plans at a moment’s notice. This might be in the form of picking up work for an ill colleague or it might come in picking up new projects that just landed with not much prep time. How well can you manage with an ever changing environment?
How To Show That You Are Flexible When Applying For A Job
Share an example of a time that a piece of work was thrust upon you at the last second. Explain how you were able to make it work while also simultaneously handling your other responsibilities.
Might also be written as “Always changing”, “Energetic”, “Deadline driven”
What Does It Mean To Be Fast Paced?
Think of a fast food restaurant at rush hour. That is a fast paced environment. Team members have multiple things to do at once all while being timed for customer satisfaction. Now translate that into other roles. Maybe it means you will be tasked with delivering a number of projects all with similar deadlines. When a work environment is described as fast paced, assume that you will always be on your feet, always have a deadline coming and always have multiple things to juggle. No rest for the wicked!
How To Show That You Can Be Fast Paced
Share an example of a time when you were given a task with a very short timeframe to deliver. Explain how you were able to prioritise the delivery so that the end user / customer received a deliverable they were excited about within the timescales provided. Emphasise how you made the process more efficient through your efforts. Hiring managers are always looking for people who will make their processes more streamline in order to get more done at the same time.
May also say “Room for advancement”
What Does ‘Growth Opportunities’ Mean?
Generally speaking when a job description advertises a role as having excellent growth opportunities it means that the applicant can expect that the role and their responsibilities will expand over time. Or it could mean that the role itself is part of a fast track into promotion. This most often happens when the firm is expanding and they expect the role to grow with the expansion or when the role comes with training and development.
How You Should Respond To Jobs That Advertise ‘Excellent’ Growth Opportunities
Have a really strong response to the interview question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years”. If you just want to chill in one job for the next 5 years this is not going to be the role for you. This role is after a candidate who wants more responsibilities and sees themselves moving up the ladder.
Behaviours tested: Developing Self and Others
May also say “Enthusiastic”, “Shows pride in their work”, “Make a difference”
What Does Being Passionate About Your Work Mean?
You’ve heard the saying “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life”. That saying is for passionate people. People who genuinely love what they do. Generally speaking you won’t find this type of person in your standard 9 to 5 office job – not many people are passionate about quarterly earnings reports.
How To Show That Are Passionate About Your Work
Explain why you do what you do. Show the hiring manager where your passion drives from. Are you an animal lover wanting to work at an animal charity? Mention where your love of animals comes from, explain how you do volunteer work already and how you own 17 rescue dogs. That kind of thing. Hint – if you can’t explain why you are passionate about the field itself, talk about how you are passionate about helping customers, that is always a value that hiring managers like to hear.
What’s your most/least favourite job description ‘Buzzword’. Share in the comments below!
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