Branding/Marketing/PR Magazine Thought Leadership

Confessions of a Recruiter – should we stop using buzz words?

Written by the Editorial Team

Kelly LaineBy Kelly Laine, BPS World


Are you a highly-driven, passionate team player? In recruitment we get to see a lot of LinkedIn profiles and work with many of the people behind them. As you would expect, there are many words and phrases that are used a lot.

You think by using buzz words you’ll ‘tick the box’, but be careful, the subtext to your handy phrases are not always so positive. I’ll let you into a secret; we get a really good idea as to what those phrases can actually mean.

Below are the more cynical, negative interpretations that can be put on them. Of course this isn’t always true, but be warned, a potential employer may not interpret things quite how you expect.

  • Perfectionist – Gets bogged down in the detail and loses sight of the bigger picture. Not good at delivering on time and within budget.
  • Team player – Prefers to let others do the work, not good at driving things without a lot of support.
  • Passionate – Argumentative and will come in late, wearing the same clothes, the day after a Tinder date.
  • Highly driven/ Ambitious/ Motivated – Will always be looking for a promotion and a pay rise. Will move on as soon as you have trained them.
  • A people person – Have had to work really hard at their interpersonal skills and learned this phrase on the numerous courses they have been forced to attend.
  • High achieving/ Gifted – Arrogant.
  • Delivery focussed – Struggles to understand or take account of sensitivities.
  • Senior – expensive
  • Very senior – very expensive.
  • Good time keeper/ Word/ Excel – Really struggling to find any skills to mention.
  • Sociable/ Good networker – Will come in late and hung-over but will always have a good story.

Of course negative interpretations can be put on almost anything you say, so it is always better to be specific (what are you actually passionate about?) and wherever you can, demonstrate your skills by talking about achievements (how has your networking delivered results?).