Corporate Eye

Communication, Jargon and Recruiting

Today’s post comes from Chris Lee, and talks about choosing when to use different kinds of language when recruiting: using the right tool for the job. I thought it aligned neatly with our earlier posts about plain English, and with our posts about recruitment. Over to you, Chris…

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Effective communication during the recruitment process

Normally, when a business tries to communicate what it does to the wider population it tries to avoid using esoteric terminology. However, it becomes necessary to use industry-specific terms when advertising job roles and recruiting new staff.

The reason is simple: customers may find jargon confusing, but professionals working within an industry should not, especially if they are applying for positions that are more senior.

It is important to gauge whether applicants have the correct level of knowledge to do the job: not only to save time, but to allow the maximum about of candidates to be shortlisted. Businesses should not shy away from using the relevant terms required by the new employee, but pitching the language at the correct level is an important consideration.

As an example, in the cloud computing industry, acronyms and jargon such as SaaS, IaaS and Hypervisor are regularly used to refer to some of the foundations of a cloud-based system. Engineers and other members of staff will use these acronyms to communicate with each other on a daily basis, so when hiring a new engineer it is imperative that they have a working knowledge of these terms.

Jargon in the recruitment process

While it may seem beneficial to leave jargon out of job postings, the discrepancy between application and interview may catch the applicants off guard, wasting time on both sides. Instead, using the necessary language from the beginning of the recruitment process will help a business create a better, more informed shortlist of candidates.

Gauging a candidate’s suitability in an interview is key however, as many terms can be researched by an applicant before initially applying for a job: using jargon in an interview setting allows a business to confirm their understanding of required concepts on the spot.

It is important not to dismiss an applicant entirely for their lack of jargon knowledge: some companies use different terms, and many applicants can be trained in the terms they do not yet understand – especially in junior positions.

When to use simple language

If a business decides to use jargon in the recruitment process it is worth knowing when to explain things using simple, easy to understand language. The following rules explain when a business should and shouldn’t use jargon:

  • Only use jargon to refer to key skills and processes, e.g. applicant must have a working knowledge of Iaas and SaaS
  • When describing what the job involves, always use clear simple language
  • When explaining what a business does, always use clear simple language
  • Provide entry level applicants and juniors with glossaries or other explanatory resources before interviews

Producing a jargon buster can be even more beneficial for a business if it is also hosted on the company’s website, having two main advantages:

  • It shows that the applicant has done their research
  • It provides a source of information to clients and customers who may wish to learn a little more about the services a business provides

Referring back to the cloud-computing example used previously, the Six Degrees Group (6DG) have implemented a jargon buster to give clients and customers alike the opportunity to understand any terms that may be unfamiliar – this is a great example of how to clearly explain difficult to understand terms.

Conclusion

There is a time and a place for jargon! Used well, it is a shortcut for explaining complex concepts to people who share an understanding, used poorly it can be off-putting and daunting. Just ensure you get the balance right.

Chris writes on behalf of the Six Degrees Group, a group who enjoy their contradictions. They are a fresh new brand but have got a 15 year heritage. They’re a mid-market player but have the portfolio of a corporate. For more information, head to www.6dg.co.uk

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Lucy is Editor at Corporate Eye
 
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