The Top 10 Buzzwords Recruiters Should Avoid

January 25, 2017

You are a recruiter. You talk to dozens of people every day, scan their resumes, hear all about their accomplishments. And your single biggest eye-roll moment (that also happens every day) is when candidates tell you how passionate, how strategic, and how driven they are. Like you haven’t heard these highly evocative and trustworthy descriptions before… ever.

But as the cliché goes, every story has two sides and you have to remember that candidates also assess your communication style -- the exact same way you assess theirs. Sadly, even the most amazing of human beings (ahem, recruiters) are not immune to clichés. A few pesky buzzwords always manage to find their way into how you talk about yourself or your company, and we took it upon ourselves to expose them.

Our data team analyzed millions of LinkedIn profiles (how you present yourself) and millions of LinkedIn Company Pages (how you present your company) to find out the 10 worst offenders in each category:

Top 10 Most Overused Buzzwords on Recruiters’ LinkedIn Profiles

1 Specialized 6 Passionate
2 Leadership 7 Excellent
3 Experienced 8 Expert
4 Focused 9 Generalist
5 Strategic 10 Successful

Top 10 Most Overused Buzzwords on LinkedIn Company Pages

1 Solutions 6 Great
2 Unique 7 Innovative
3 Leading 8 Creative
4 Expert 9 Platform
5 Vision 10 Strategic

Now that you know who the fluffy culprits are, here are some tips for how to avoid them and communicate more effectively with candidates:

Making your LinkedIn profile buzzwords-free

Nail your profile summary: First impressions matter, and after seeing your dapper professional LinkedIn photo, your profile summary is up next. It can be punchy, humorous, or even an anecdote, while leaving words like “strategic,” “experienced,” and “passionate” behind (because remember, you’re better than that). Draw people in while giving them a succinct picture of how you can connect them with relevant career opportunities.

For a detailed plan on how to revamp your resume, check out: 7 LinkedIn Profile Summaries That We Love (And How to Boost Your Own)

Write for your candidates: As a corporate recruiter, your LinkedIn profile should communicate why top talent can’t wait to work for your organization. If you’re on the staffing side, why should candidates work with you instead of countless other agencies? Write with potential candidates in mind and describe your company’s culture, values and what it means to work with you, sans buzzwords.

Show, don’t tell: Were you one of the top recruiters in your previous role? Don’t just say it, prove it with numbers of placements filled or projects completed because of the great talent you brought into the organization. Convey the same detailed information you’d want to hear from candidates instead of generalities.

Making your LinkedIn Company and Career Page buzzwords-free

Before talking to a recruiter, the majority of candidates take time to research your company and form an impression on what it’s like to work there. If you want to make sure this impression is a good one, invest in polishing your LinkedIn Company and Careers Pages:

Articulate your company vision, values, and mission (in a unique way): Nearly 65% of candidates say they wouldn’t consider working for a company whose values they don’t agree with (or simply couldn’t find clearly explained). Can you articulate your company vision? Go beyond the buzzwords and show firsthand how they’ll be working toward a greater purpose. Here are some examples of how companies like Starbucks, TOMS and Patagonia do it.

Tell the story of your company by focusing on your culture and employees: If you believe you have a unique vision and creative strategy for finding solutions and building new platforms, it’s not enough to simply state that. Because frankly, candidates’ eyes will gloss over. Instead, show what makes your company different by demonstrating how your culture informs the work your company does. Showcase employees who embody your vision, and explain the impact your company wants to have on the world.

And remember, avoid clichés like the plague (<-- yes, clichés like this one).

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