U.S. Job Market: Decoding "Help Wanted" Ads
1 year ago
We translate some of the more clichéd and obscure phrases.
We’ve all looked at want ads at one point or another in our working lives, and we’ve all seen them: the seemingly meaningless bits of corporate-speak that seem to indicate key skills or abilities required for the job. Phrases such as “self-starter” and “results-oriented” are, on the surface, completely nonsensical – who, after all, requires another person to “start” them? And start doing what? Also, is there any reasonably intelligent and motivated human being that goes through life conducting actions without expecting any results at all?
Fortunately, there are human resources experts out there who speak the often puzzling and unique tongue of job ads. However, it should be cautioned that, like any language in translation, words and turns of phrase can often be interpreted differently depending on who’s doing the interpreting. With that caveat in mind, we’ve come up with a few meanings for some of the most overworked expressions in want ads.
Perhaps the most hackneyed job classified phrase, and the most empty, is self-starter. If that phrase were taken literally, it would cover every single living person on this earth, since someone who cannot start themselves in any fashion is likely dead.
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But, not according to hiring managers. Says career counseling service Pongo Resume, this redundant phrase actually means initiative. The company is looking for a person who will not need a high level of hands-on management; a worker who will figure out various aspects of his or her job and get them done without being told to. Now, why these ads simply can’t state that the hiring company is looking for a candidate “with good initiative,” for example, is a question beyond the scope of this blog or any sensible human resources person to answer.