Say This, Not That! 5 Work Clichés to Avoid Using in the Hiring Process

These five work clichés are major red flags to job candidates.

Language is important. Whether we realize it or not, the words we use are subconsciously setting the tone for the type of candidates we are drawing in. Words we think are doing the trick might seem empty in meaning to some. Or worse, they might actually be hindering candidates from applying for and accepting roles. Common office phrases that you’re saying might be raising red flags for job candidates. You’re probably even using some of these work clichés in the hiring process right now – and we’re here to tell you why you should rethink using them.

In this Bryq Blog, we recognize five work clichés and overused office phrases hiring managers and recruiters use, why they might scare candidates away, and what language you can use instead to prevent this from happening.

5 Work Clichés To Stop Using in the Hiring Process

Whether you’re using these work clichés in your job descriptions or during your interviews, they’re definitely raising red flags for some candidates. Preventing this from happening is as simple as using different language. Here are our big five phrases to avoid.

1. “We’re like family here!”

This work cliché is one of the most common ones – and one of the most disliked by workers. Don’t get us wrong, employees should absolutely strive to develop supportive and cordial relationships with their co-workers. You spend 40 hours a week with them, after all!

But at the end of the day they are not your family. Many workers feel that this phrase often means that they will be expected to prioritize work over their personal lives and that it will be difficult to set healthy boundaries at their jobs.

What Should I Say Instead? Instead of referring to your workers as a family, use “team” instead. Let candidates know that your team takes the time to get to know each other. If you need help, one of your team members will be there to take the time to help you overcome an obstacle or finish a project. Keep the emphasis on your team being supportive and respectful.

2. “We want you to hit the ground running.”

When candidates hear this overused work expression, the only place they’ll be running is away from your company! To some workers, this office phrase indicates that you’re looking for somebody that knows everything and is perfectly qualified. It might also indicate that there’s no room for growth – something job candidates are prioritizing going into 2022. Our advice? Run away from using this one.

What Should I Say Instead? Understand that you will rarely find a candidate who is perfect in every way for a role. And no matter how qualified they are, there is always going to be a learning curve at a new job. Be clear about the job requirements candidates must have to be successful, but emphasize that training will be provided to set any new hire up for success. By being clear and transparent about your expectations, you’ll attract candidates who will be able to get into the swing of things quickly.

3. “You’ll need to wear many hats in this role!”

We all want employees that are multifaceted and have a selection of talents that might help our companies grow. But when job candidates hear this phrase they might think that they’ll be required to perform a greater amount of job duties for inadequate pay. This is a work cliché that should definitely be avoided.

What Should I Say Instead? We only have one head, and we can only be expected to wear one hat at a time. (And let’s face it – some people just can’t rock a fedora!) Simply be clear about how many job duties employees will have to balance upon being hired. Ensure that these job duties are focused. Make sure that all of the duties line up with the role they are being hired for and compensate them fairly for the workload expected of them.

4. “This is a fast-paced environment.”

Think about being in a fast car. It’s exhilarating, a bit scary, and an adrenaline rush. But that car is going to run out of gas very quickly! The way your company functions may indeed be fast-paced, but you aren’t hiring racecar drivers. (At least most of you aren’t!) Candidates may think your working environment is too chaotic or that they might burn out too quickly. Additionally, it’s such an overused work cliché that it might not be very impactful to some.

What Should I Say Instead? Your working environment doesn’t have to seem so intimidating to candidates! Instead of using “fast-paced”, try letting candidates know that you’re growing quickly and that your customers expect things quickly from the company. As for swapping out the hollow “fast-paced environment” work cliché, why not try inspiring candidates? Put an emphasis on leadership and how important quick, quality customer service is. Additionally, assess candidates for problem-solving skills and leadership ability through talent assessments.

5. “We are looking for a rock star/ninja/wizard, etc.”

There are layers to why using these terms during the hiring process is unproductive and problematic. Firstly, are you looking to hire Bruce Springsteen for a customer success role? Is Harry Potter your ideal sales lead? Ninjas don’t code – they fight enemies! While some candidates might find this terminology fun, many might feel like your company doesn’t take things seriously.

Also, we present a challenge to you: think of three rock stars, two wizards, and a famous ninja off of the top of your head. Write them down. Put them aside.

Are they all men? We bet they are. These buzzwords have a tendency of attracting young, white men to roles. Studies show that job descriptions that use this kind of coded language hinder women, minorities, and workers over 40 from applying for a job. The language you’re using throughout the hiring process should be inclusive and encourage anybody capable candidate to apply for the job, no matter their background.

What Should I Say Instead? Simply let candidates know you want to find somebody that is going to do a great job. No coded language or frills are necessary. List relevant cognitive abilities you’d like in an ideal candidate and then assess them to see if they’re a good fit. No bias involved!

Language is Good. Trusted Science is Better.

So there you have it! The lesson we can all learn here is that language is important. Remember the hiring process isn’t just a way for us to learn more about candidates. It also acts as an opportunity for a candidate to learn more about you. This is a great opportunity for you to highlight your company culture in the best way possible.

Make sure that all of the language you are using in both your job descriptions and throughout the interview process is inclusive and free of ambiguity. Avoid work clichés and keep it real with your candidates. If you’re looking for specific personality traits or cognitive skills in a candidate, using language like this won’t really help.

By using a scientific approach and using a talent assessment like Bryq that is built upon psychometric data, you’ll not only be finding the right talent, but you’ll also prevent unintentionally scaring strong candidates away with the wrong language! Click here to book a demo with the Bryq Customer Success Team to get a better understanding of how Bryq helps enhance the candidate experience. We can’t wait to help you find your next hire!

Do you want to see how Talent Intelligence helps you create the Future of Work?

Book a meeting with our team today to find out!

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