When you’re in the tech recruiting game like us, you end up looking at a lot of careers pages. For the most part, it’s an enjoyable experience. A careers page often offers an unfiltered look into a company’s culture and philosophy, providing a sense of what it’s really all about. But after you see a few thousand, you start to notice certain trends. Some of them make sense, but others have been so overused that it’s time to put them out of their misery. Here’s our list of the seven most common cliches found on tech company careers pages.
1 - Work hard, play hard
Work hard, play hard is a Wiz Khalifa song, not a corporate virtue. The phrase is so open to interpretation that it’s become virtually meaningless. Some job seekers may interpret this to mean wild nights at the bar with their coworkers, while others will picture family-friendly picnics and outings. Also, consider that many candidates are interested in keeping their personal and professional lives separate. Your claim of playing just as hard as you work may not scare these individuals off, but it certainly won’t draw them in, either.
2 - Disrupt, disruptive or disrupting
No matter which variant of the word you choose, this is one cliche that needs to be kicked to the curb. Dubbed “Silicon Valley’s emptiest buzzword,” more and more people are expressing their disdain for the term so we won’t beat a dead horse. It’s so overused that people simply tune it out, so don’t waste your time.
3 - Innovative/at the forefront
We’ll give you a twofer here, as these phrases are essentially interchangeable. Look, every industry has its leaders, and if you’re lucky enough to be one of them you should be proud of it. But if you are an industry leader, odds are good you won’t have to tell candidates — they’ll already know. Instead of using tired adjectives to tell your story, take the time to demonstrate what it is that makes you so innovative, and why potential candidates should want to be a part of it.
4 - Like a startup, but…
Just like the first time you received a Snap from your Aunt Carol, listening to a century-old investment bank or accounting firm tout its similarities to a startup can be awkward and a little sad. Before we go any further, let us say one thing: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being an established firm. In fact, many candidates appreciate the security and stability these organizations can offer, but if you are going to go down this path, make sure you can backup your claim. What is it about your company that makes it similar to a startup? Is it a fail-fast mentality? A dedication to open source technologies? A vibrant culture and flexible work/life balance? The best thing you can do is be specific.
5 - Fast paced
This is another one that’s typically used with the best of intentions, but it can actually be a red flag for savvy candidates. The simple truth is that employment at certain companies comes with long hours and tight deadlines. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, provided candidates know what they’re signing up for, but these aren’t the sort of selling points most recruiters would want to lead with. So the term “fast-paced” was coined to sort of imply what an applicant can expect, should they accept an offer. It may have been a good idea when first implemented, but candidates have caught on. Don’t believe us? Google “what does fast paced job mean” and take a look at the results. Odds are good you don’t want your organization to be associated with this.
6 - Changing the future of…
Remember when the future was going to be cool? We were going to have jet packs and flying cars, all food would come in pill form, and come hell or high water, we’d be living in luxury condominiums on Mars. But according to your average tech company’s careers page, the future is an awful place that’s in serious need of change. Sarcasm aside, this is another one of those phrases that’s become so watered down it’s nearly disposable. If you want to make an impact, don’t tell candidates you’re changing the future. Tell them how you’re changing the future. Better yet, show them how.
7 - Gratuitous foosball/ping pong table shots
Nothing says “culture” like the ubiquitous shot of two brogrammers, La Croixs in hand, throwing down over a high-stakes game of ping pong, right? Wrong. Yes, office space can be a key factor for job seekers considering new opportunities, but few top candidates will make their decision based on your foosball/ping pong table situation. When thinking of ways to show off your office space, get creative. RetailMeNot, for example, lets job seekers take a 360-degree video tour of its headquarters, and Bigcommerce uses Google maps to provide an immersive walkthrough experience.