Why There Is So Much Job Ad Mumbo Jumbo And How To Decode It

If you're struggling to make sense of the situations vacant ads, you're not alone, says our expert

decoding job ad mumbo jumbo

Why is it that today’s job advertisements contain increasingly greater elements of corporate mumbo jumbo?

Twaddle that makes no sense to anyone bar the writer?

Here are a few theories (with a dash of cynicism!):

  1. If you use big words and long-winded colourful phrases you must be smart.
  2. The complex wording is designed to make an otherwise straightforward job seem more appealing.
  3. Employers don’t really know what they are looking for and fill the advert with ‘fluff’.
  4. The writer has an MBA or an English degree from Oxford University (or just too much time on their hands.
  5. The organisation has already found someone for the job, so they make the job sound more complex than it is to scare other applicants off.
  6. If English is your second language, don’t even think about applying

…and there could be others.

Not only are job adverts filled with corporate buzzwords and claptrap, the ‘essential requirements’ for the role are many in number, thereby meaning there’s not a person on the planet who can practically fit every requirement!

Here are some recent job ad examples with an attempt to decode them:

1. Finance role for a major telco

Ad extract: “Our high performing teams design, deliver and manage integrated end-to-end go to market delivery, focused on strong cross-company engagement and embedding of customer centricity.”

Decoded: They just want someone who can work well with colleagues and customers to get the job done. Simple really…

2. Senior editorial manager for a lifestyle website

Ad extract:Support CS team in ensuring social channels are moderated in the most effective, customer-first, business-focused way.”

Decoded: If you cut away the twaddle, they are simply asking for an individual to work with their customer service team to ensure company social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn attract the right attention from customers in order to build business.

3. Regional sales manager for an accommodation booking site

Ad extracts: (1)The ability to navigate local and global senior level management and understand the political pressures of an organization to get to a positive decision is key to success….(2) Effectively communicate value proposition, products, and partner relationships to current and prospective client accounts.”

Decoded: (1) Get along with everyone, learn (play) the internal politics and you’ll survive…err, be successful! (2) Know what you are talking about when you are representing the company to clients and prospective clients.

4. Portfolio risk reporting analyst

Ad extract: “Collaborating with key business stakeholders in gathering requirements and proposing strategies when either implementing new risk models or making enhancements to existing ones.”

Decoded: Fundamentally, you need to work with the relevant people in the business to get the information you need to develop – and determine risks associated with – business strategies.

5. Head of HR for an executive recruitment company

Ad extract: “The successful candidate will have the ability to hit the ground running and add immediate value from day one whilst offering an approachable, adaptable attitude that adds strength to the culture of this business, protects what has already been built and drives innovation with imagination.”

Decoded: You will need to get early results to justify our decision to hire you, not be ruffled and to use your previous experience to build on what the last job-holder introduced.

  • About the author:  As The Career Medic, Paul works with corporate professionals and managers over 40 who have lost their jobs due to redundancy or who are in jobs they don’t like and want to change. He has an honours degree in psychology plus over 25 years of corporate experience in senior Human Resources roles in IT, transport and logistics and manufacturing.


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