On the job hunt anytime soon? Read on.
"We're looking for a committed architect of exceptional consumer experiences designed to increase customer loyalty and revenue per customer."
Okay-that last one. Huh? That was for a job answering phones! I lifted these descriptions right from the classifieds. With all those words describing the company's "ideal candidate", a person can go bongos trying to figure out the mind-boggling, over used, sometimes meaningless terms in the wanted ads. So what exactly does the human resource department at your-dream-company really mean when they say they’re looking for a dynamic go-getter? You'd think the words are self-explanatory, but after you read them over and over again, your strong analytical skills go a bit fuzzy.
To help clear things up, I asked Jim Bolton, CEO of Ridge Associates, Inc. (www.ridge.com) a company that trains managers and supervisors in Fortune 1,000 companies to communicate more productively. One of the skills they teach is called “descriptive speaking” which turns abstract jargon like entrepreneurial spirit—into specific behaviors. Bolton says when you’re interviewing, no one really tells you what those obtuse terms are-- so they end up sounding pretty meaningless. In fact, he says, there are tons of those difficult-to-define buzzwords in the corporate world and no one-size-fits-all translation. “The truth is these often mean different things at different companies. Team player may mean the ability to collaborate at one company: at another it may mean that you pull your own weight,” says Bolton. His advice to put your best foot forward: take a peek at the company website and try to find the mission and value statements. That can give you the heads up as to what these terms mean to that particular organization. And don’t feel bad if you’re confused. According to Bolton, these terms are often obtuse-- on purpose. “Interviewers want to know what YOU think they mean, as well as how you bring them to life.”
David Nour, managing partner of The Nour Group, Inc.(www.nourgroup.com) -- agrees. He works with a lot of HR departments in attracting, retaining and developing their top talent and explains, “Sometimes the ambiguity of the terms is a test of creativity-- to engage the candidates.” Nour, who says he probably helped a dozen Fortune 500 clients search and fill some 5000+ jobs in the past three or four years-- helped me out with this little classified ad cheat-sheet below. According to Nour, specific to entrepreneurial spirit (since it’s one of the top requirements in every one of their searches), he’s also seeking:
Translation: Either because one or both parents were entrepreneurs and they grew up with it (i.e. “my dad always worked Saturdays and growing up I never got why other dads didn’t” or they themselves had it in them (i.e. the PT thing they started in their college dorm which ended up employing 20+ kids and generating $3M in revenue before they sold it by their senior year!)
Translation: These people don’t need babysitters; you show them something once and they’ll run with it.
Translation: If it was their fault; they fix it; even if it wasn’t their fault, they’ll do whatever it takes to fix it
Seeking: Unbelievably Fast Learning Curve
Translation: Entrepreneurial environments don’t have the luxury to train; you need people who will hit the ground running, even if it is with a bruise or two. Don’t know what Podcasting is – figure it out by this afternoon and launch one tomorrow!
Seeking: Passionate about Execution
Translation: I don’t need to know everything you know; just what we need to do to move this project from point A to point C. Don’t need a 400 page strategic analysis from you; just what you need from me to get this done – today!
Bonus Translation! Team Player
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