On the Language of Job Posts

One of the articles in this week’s Diversify Tech newsletter was interesting: Not Applicable: What Your Job Post is Really Saying.

The whole post is great, and you should read it. Here’s what really struck me:

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the recruiting process for early- and mid-career developers at my company. The first thing that I did was to review the language that was typically copied-and-pasted into each job listing. I immediately saw words like “drive”, “influence”, “solve”, “impact”, and “lead”. What these words communicate is that we were looking for very confident and influential engineers whose primary focus would be on problem-solving. We further related that many of our key engineers had worked at companies like Google, Netflix, and eBay.

What would all this mean to an early-career developer? Someone who lacked the confidence of their more advanced peers? Someone who was looking for the opportunity to learn and grow, maybe under the guidance of a mentor? Someone who had enthusiasm but lacked experience?

It’s simple. The message is, “You don’t belong here.”

 Coraline Ada Ehmke

I think I’ve only written a job post a couple times, but I definitely switch to this other “job post” language. Until I read this post, I didn’t even realize I was code-switching.

I guess once you’ve read a bunch of ads written like this, you just assume that’s how they should be written. When you stop to think about it — who the hell speaks like this in normal life?

Anyways, now that the blind spot has been pointed out, I can work on fixing it. I don’t expect I’ll be writing job posts in the near future, but I can at least whine about them being bad (and explain why they’re bad) to the powers that be 😛