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The Recruiters Guide to Jargon

This week's guest blogger is Rob Gorby, marketing director at conference technology specialists powwownow

When liaising with multiple stakeholder groups at once colleagues, clients and candidates, for example professionals cannot afford to risk any sort of confusion. In the world of recruitment, when sourcing placement opportunities and reaching targets to deadline, time is of the essence and inhibitors like jargon are the enemy. It could be that recruiters who depend on non-sensical commercial terms such as touch base or SWAT team are sabotaging efficiency and effectiveness by confusing their affiliates.

Results from our research on jargon in the workplace suggest that many of us are hampering clear communication with certain terms and phrases. We polled more than 500 people with the ten most common pieces of business terminology such as take it offline and EOP and a staggering 70 per cent knew the meanings of a third or less. Furthermore, 74 per cent of those we approached believe that, usually, the person responsible for introducing these terms to a line of communication doesnt understand their meaning either.

Critically for recruitment professionals though, the data reveals that jargon can affect those all-important relationships and the ability to generate an effective rapport. Only 21% of those people we polled are happy dealing with someone who relies too much upon terms like blue sky thinking - cited as the most irritating phrase to hear in an office environment. Worryingly, 38 per cent of people will think twice before answering the phone to someone likely to bamboozle them.

So, how can recruiters weed jargon out? Here are a few ideas:

  • Working with a particular industry for years at a time can impair your ability to determine what will confuse those outside of your existing professional circle. Using technical terms or jargon can feel as natural a part of your day as your morning coffee, but it could affect your ability to recruit in new sectors or make new contacts.

  • To test whether what youre saying is likely to be understood by all, why not try talking about your job and what you do with professionals that you meet from other disciplines, even your newsagent, your butcher, your hair stylist etc.

  • Type up a list of words that are specific to your field or you worry might be considered jargon and then attempt to write a definition for each. If it takes you longer than 10 - 15 seconds to type up an adequate explanation of a term, it might be worth trying to limit its use wherever possible

  • 62 % of those polled believe that jargon appears most frequently in meetings. Try to conclude every face-to-face catch up by asking whether everyone involved understands what youve said. The fewer the questions, the greater the likelihood that your oration was clear and understood.


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