If job ads were honest – 41 HR phrases, explained

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A few months ago, the holy internet brought this jewelry before my eyes (for my English speaking peeps – translate that, I guarantee it’s worth it 100%). You might even know it because, at some point, it became viral in Romania. If not, I invite you, even urge you, from the bottom of my non-existent heart, to read it. In an eloquent fashion and with strong arguments, the author managed to outline the HR incompetence hidden behind the classic, cliché, error-404-logic-not-found phrases that we usually encounter in a job ad.

We all know them, we hear them daily and we’ve certainly just about had it – motivating salary, dynamic team, provocative working environment. They annoy us, irritate us and, above all, frustrate every potential candidate. Why? Because, as you’ve probably gathered from personal experience, these phrases that vaguely resemble amateurish marketing usually deliver the opposite of what is promised.

The topic evoked in the above article is one that is as relevant today as you can imagine and it deserves some expanding upon so I decided, more or less seriously, to continue the basic idea (disclaimer: about 50% of this article is a joke so interpret it wisely).

I invite you to join me as we decode what the lovely HR people and managers really want to tell us and how a job ad would sound if employers were at least 10% honest with potential candidates:

What would be said beyond words if there was such thing as an honest job offer....

#1 Motivating salary

  • minimum wage + food stamps
  • it motivates you to learn Math because you’ll have to split 0 into 30 days and not die of hunger

#2 Dynamic team

  • the only physical activity you’ll get in 8 hours is a trip to the coffee machine and back
  • everyone bounces around for no reason so you get agitated too because you’re a team player

#3 Competitive salary

  • you’re in a competition with your bills every month – let the games begin

#4 Young and friendly team

  • everyone acts like they’re in kindergarten and gossips like a high-schooler
  • the average psychological age is 12, although you’ll be surrounded by adults

#5 Relaxing work environment

  • we relax while you work

#6 Real potential for growth within the company

  • you can get promoted from „slave without experience” to „slave WITH experience”

#7 We’re looking for enthusiastic people who can take initiative

  • we’re looking for people with enough initiative to sit down and enthusiasm to follow orders, precisely as given

#8 We organize team-buildings periodically

  • we’ll pay a fruit smoothie for you out in town so we can discuss the future projects of the company (sidenote – we don’t remember the names of more than two people, so expect us to use the phrase „our team” a lot)

#9 We offer specialized training

  • you’ll listen to a long lecture about nothing and we don’t encourage interaction or the free flow of ideas

#10 Stress resistance

  • we want you to function like a robot 24/7 without the luxury of a lunch or toilet break

#11 Multitasking abilities

  • we want you to do 100 things at once and do them well – we offer a toothpick in exchange, we still have it from lunchtime (you know, that thing you don’t get)

#12 Client-oriented

  • we want you to let clients insult and belittle you and not breathe a word about it because they pay our bills and you are easily replaceable

#13 Money for transport

  • ...if you live 10 minutes away from company’s headquarters

#14 Profit share/commission/performance bonus

  • you’ll get half a bagel for every 100 bagels that you make for us

#15 We’re looking for young, positive people who want to make an impact

  • we’re looking for slaves who lack job experience that we can pay with minimum wage and we want them to be #extra happy about it

#16 Internal support for meeting goals

  • ....ours, our goals. You didn’t actually think we support your career path, did you?

#17 Flexible schedule

  • you have the flexibility to clock in and clock out when we say so

#18 Thank you for your application, we’ll call you back

  • we’ll never call you again

#19 Negotiable salary

  • you have the possibility to negotiate within the salary interval that we already established. You want more? We don’t have funds. Ignore the BMWs parked out front, will you?

#20 We’re looking for passionate people

  • ....not passionate about the job, passionate about meeting the financial targets of our company

#21 The possibility to work from home

  • you’re joking, right? Here in Romania, if we pay that seat for you, you’d better sit down

#22 We’re looking for motivated people

  • we want them to motivate themselves because we don’t offer anything

#23 Accommodation provided

  • we have a wooden barn near the company headquarters but you gotta bring your own blanket

#24 Healthy lunch

  • the company provides a healthy daily lunch of two olives and a tablespoon of mustard

#25 Experience is not necessary

  • we’ll gladly turn you into a slave without opinions for free, it only costs half of your soul
  • we want youngsters with empty pockets agreeing to get paid in „recognition” and „thank you for your service”

#26 Real possibility to stand out

  • we DON’T want you to stand out...at all

#27 We want you in our team

  • we DON’T want you in our team but there’s two more sacks of debris to carry and we don’t have the manpower

#28 The opportunity to work in shifts

  • everyone clocks in, God knows who clocks out

#29 Competitive work environment

  • everyone talks behind everyone's back so it's a constant contest
  • we’re in a fun competition at the end of the shift to see who can run through the door first

#30 We’re looking for someone with a completed BA/specialization course

  • ...that we will treat and pay as an unskilled laborer because diplomas are bought in Romania and youngsters just don’t want to work anymore and have no practical knowledge. Back in my day....

#31 Personal and professional development

  • you’ll lose your unique self, you’ll internalize our company culture and become a carbon copy of us. From now on, your name is Walmart Andy

#32 The opportunity to work for a prestigious company

  • our company headquarters is in a block of flats and we’re offering you the benefit of selling your brain to us

#33 Salary paid on time, internet and laptop provided by the company

  • they are benefits that we offer out of the kindness of our heart, not our legal obligations towards you...what are those, again?

#34 We’re expanding our team

  • everyone quits after a month and our staff-turnover is huge

#35 We are looking for loyal people

  • we want you to never leave, no matter how awful we treat you

#36 We’re looking for hard-working people

  • you have one month to make as much as your salary and something extra for us, we don’t care if you’re a beginner

#37 We’ll teach you everything there is to know

  • we won’t teach you anything and you have to know everything

#38 Provocative work environment

  • it provokes you to quit

#39 Do you want to be an independent woman?

  • Videochat, MLM, politics or all three

#40 Team spirit

  • We want you to sell your soul to the team

#41 Come join us

  • We're so desperate we'll literally hire anyone

How did a job offer delight you?

What other phrases did you find in a job ad and what do you think the lovely HR people, these champions of modern language really wanted to tell you?

Tell me in a comment down below – the list of shame stays open and it’s always eager for new additions. After you do that, I invite you to join me in my bunker so we can hide from all recruiters/employers/managers that I’ve offended with this article.

I offer a relaxed work environment and a healthy lunch. :)

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