HR Language: Speaking the Language of the Candidate

By   |   August 9th, 2018   |   0 Comments

hr languageAre you talking in your own private HR language at work? Do only you and your immediate coworkers, or closest associates understand the linguistics? Candidates sometimes feel they are trying to decipher a foreign language when reading a job posting/description or interviewing with a potential employer. Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing and speaking to candidates without using too much HR language.


HR Lingo

Recruiters and hiring managers should carefully avoid HR-speak when communicating with candidates and new hires.  ATS, EEOC, ESOP, AAP, ERG, EVP… human resource acronyms that not all candidates know off the top of their head.  In addition, familiar terms discussed in HR, such as onboarding, company culture, performance assessments, and at-will employment might be just as alien to the general candidate.


Company Jargon

Organizations also need to beware of using too many internal or company-specific words and acronyms when communicating with candidates.  Information needs to be clear and understandable to someone OUTSIDE your organization. Eliminate jargon and abbreviations specific to your company. Numbers can be especially confusing to outsiders: where does a new trainee begin, Associate I, II, or III? Which is the higher-level role? For instance, “Senior Quality Assurance Manager” is more easily understandable to an outside candidate than “Quality IV, Mgr.”


Call in the Experts

We’ve been emphasizing the need for language simplification in recruitment. However, there are situations that require specifics and it helps to bring in the experts. Ag employers report that technical roles are the most difficult to recruit for. These recruiting circumstances necessitate involvement from current employees that are well-versed in the technological or role-specific vernacular, truly understand what the position entails, and can “talk the talk” to a potential new colleague.


Speaking the language of the job seeker improves the candidate experience, and thus recruitment, hiring, and retention.  Candidates tell us the job description properly aligning with the real job is the most influential factor in creating a positive candidate experience.  Stay away from jargon and HR terms so you’re clearly communicating with job seekers.  To learn more about “Delivering a Meaningful Candidate Experience,” register for our August 24, 2018 Webinar.

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