/The same words that make a job irresistible in one city can scare away applicants in others

The same words that make a job irresistible in one city can scare away applicants in others

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job listing words 2x1Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

The specific words a company uses in its job listings affect how long it takes to fill positions.
The words that work in one city often don’t have the same success in other cities.
Using the word “synergy” in a job listing leads to quickly-filled positions in Phoenix and Salt Lake City, but it slows down the process in Miami and Philadelphia.

Imagine you’re a CEO in San Jose, California, with a management position to fill.

You post job listings around the internet searching for someone “with a great work ethic,” and like clockwork, you’re bombarded with applications from top candidates.

Meanwhile, a CEO in Everett, Washington, posts the exact same job listing — yet their position takes weeks longer to fill than the one in San Jose.

The reason for the discrepancy has nothing to do with the quality of candidates in either city. No, the difference-maker was the inclusion of the phrase “work ethic.” As it turns out, job listings that say “work ethic” are significantly better at attracting new hires in San Jose than in Everett.

That was one of the conclusions from Textio, a startup that analyzes language performance to improve hiring. Textio recently examined hundreds of millions of job listings from around the world submitted by its user base, as well as the amount of time it took for each position to be filled, to isolate the words that are most conducive to a quick job search.

The results are fascinating. According to Textio, using the word “synergy” in a job listing works particularly well in Salt Lake City, Honolulu, and Phoenix, but not in Miami, Philadelphia, or Washington, DC. Openings for “intense” jobs are quickly filled in Portland, Denver, and Dallas, but not in Cleveland, San Francisco, and Chicago.

Meanwhile, people in New York City seem to be turned off by the words “competitive,” “cool,” and “fast-paced,” but respond well to the phrases “meets commitments,” “casual company culture,” and “excellent critical thinking,” according to Textio.


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And as for our CEO in Everett, Washington, they’re better off searching for someone who is “dedicated” — the word performs especially well there.

Take a look at the cities where the right words can speed up the hiring process, and where the same words can grind it to a halt:

‘Super’ attracts job candidates in Washington and London, but not Philadelphia or Miami.
Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
‘Competitive’ is a good word for job listings in London and Sydney.
Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
‘Cool’ won’t get you very far in Los Angeles or San Francisco.
Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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