5 clues to look for in job descriptions about a company’s culture

  • White-collar workers in the United States are on the move after the hiring freeze over a pandemic.
  • Experts have a tip for new job seekers: read the job posting and description correctly.
  • They highlighted 5 Ways to Read Job Postings for Coded Language and Insight into a Company’s Culture.

The pandemic has created turmoil in the U.S. labor market, as workers tired from burnout, low wages or working from home reassess their priorities.

While the current labor shortage is mostly hitting front-line positions in hospitality and retail, white-collar workers are also on the move, looking for positions that offer flexible working and other new ones. advantages.

Renata Dionello, Human Resources Manager at ZipRecruiter, has a tip for anyone looking for a new role: read the job description.

The quality of the job description is a ‘clue to the job seeker as to the organizational health’ of the company, “she said.” I think most applicants will read the job description at very early in the process, then they ‘I’m going to apply and I’m not sure if they reread the job description before going for the interview. “

Carol Cochran, vice president of human resources and culture for FlexJobs, told Insider: “I think job seekers have choices when it comes to their approach to job searching.

“You can go for the quantity and play the odds there, or you can go for the quality and maybe apply for fewer jobs, but be very intentional about the jobs, the companies you are applying to, and I thinks quality is more strategic and likely to produce better long-term employment outcomes for people. “

Here’s what you should look for:

1. Language coded according to gender

Gender-coded language is “a clue of what kind of culture you would like to join,” Dionello said, noting that large companies tend to use artificial intelligence to avoid the problem of using language that only speaks single sex.

Dionello adds that “small businesses cannot” use programs to filter out gender-coded language in job descriptions, so the use of gendered language could potentially indicate a “more aggressive, male-dominated environment.” .

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that certain words in job postings may attract male applicants more while alienating female applicants. These words could include “independent”, “self-sufficient”, “champion”, “dominant” or “aggressive”.

Cochran points out that such language “doesn’t mean you walk into a misogynist workplace,” but it could prompt other questions for job seekers that they should ask during the interview.

2. If a job description doesn’t mean much to you, it still does.

A vague or uninformative job description can also tell you a lot about a company.

Cochran said there is considerable competition for applicants in today’s environment, so “the effort a company puts into setting that environment up, setting that stage for applicants up front goes tell you something “about the culture.

Elisa Nardi, executive coach and mentor, recommends that candidates “compare and contrast” job descriptions for similar roles.

“One of the best things to do when you get a job description and you’re not sure, go take a look at other job descriptions for the same job,” she said.

This could give you an overview of typical expectations for the particular role and help you formulate questions to ask during the interview.

3. Signs that the business is changing

Nardi urges applicants to search for “loaded terms” in job descriptions because “there is a reason.”

These terms can reveal “what is not written but can be deduced from what is written”.

One example she gave was the phrase, “The incumbent needs to be ready to roll up their sleeves and focus on the details.”

This could imply that “the company has a lot of work to do” and that the role requires “operational and practical focus,” she said.

4. Mentions of the benefits of the office to keep you in the office

Attractive social and work benefits like happy hours, cafes, gyms and more can be a great addition to the office. They may also allude to a culture “designed to keep you on the job longer,” Cochran explains.

These extras are not always a bad thing, as they can also “open up your creativity and get the job done very easily.”

However, it is important that job seekers are “aware of what will motivate you and what will produce your best job,” so identify if these perks in the office are something that interests you or might put you under pressure. to overwork.

5. Generic language

Dionello says that a well-written job description should make candidates feel comfortable that “what’s going on inside the company is well structured and organized,” while a generic job description could be a clue that the company has “a lot to do.” “

Tone is also essential, as Cochran told Insider: “You also want to assess tone, there’s a voice that goes through, which is probably quite revealing of how they communicate with each other in internal, and how they feel about things, which is important for again, values, you are probably going to find some clues and clues about that, again that can kind of trigger some questions when you get to the maintenance phase. “