5 Baffling Words Recruiters Use Instead of ‘You’ (Please Stop)

by Maria Magdaleena Lamp June 16, 2017

What is it about the word ‘you’ that recruiters hate so much? At Jobbatical, we see way too many clumsy third-person stand-ins for this handy personal pronoun, and I say that’s quite enough!


This gentleman here is shocked. Shocked! Or should I say… this individual? (Image via Shutterstock)

Disclaimer: It’s none of my business what words you use to describe your dream hire in your company’s internal documentation. But once these words leak into your public-facing job ads, you’ve got yourself a recipe for tasteless jargon soup. Good luck getting your dream hire to eat it. Here are the worst offenders:


‘The role’

Not even joking: there are job descriptions that say ‘the role’ when they mean ‘you’. As in, ‘the role will do x and y’. Nope—not even the person in the role. The role. This is weird enough to get points for sheer audacity.


‘The candidate’

Boring-boring-booooring. Zero audacity points. We see so much of this one that it doesn’t even raise an eyebrow anymore, but it—like everything else on this list—will probably make your position fill more slowly.


‘The incumbent’

This is a particularly fancy one, so you get (useless, made-up) points for dusting off the ol’ Thesaurus and making an effort. There’s a certain regal quality to being the incumbent. But still—please don’t.

The incumbent shall rule over these lands!! And also be in charge of restocking the fridge. (Image via Shutterstock)

‘The individual’

Granted, this one isn’t as dehumanising (by definition) as the others. It almost sounds like a positive thing—oh goody, you see me as an individual! But oh boy, what a dull, impersonal way to talk about someone you’re supposed to want to work with. Just switch to second person already.


‘The resource’

Personally, I don’t hate the idea of being a resource. The word brings to mind natural resources like gold and diamonds, and I can live with it if you’re basically calling me a gem. Sadly, that’s probably not going to be most people’s reasoning when they see this word used to describe them. For the love of all that is good, just switch to ‘you’.


You’re right though—I am a total gem. (Image via Shutterstock)

This special recruiter edition of the Friday Roundup series was brought to you by Jobbatical’s Jargon Fatigue Support Group.

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