Hiring language: what do your job ads say about your company?

What words and phrases commonly appear in your company’s job ads? And what do they reveal about your organisational culture? David Drew, Principal Mining Engineer at MEC Mining reflects on hiring language in our industry.

What does ‘hiring language’ tell us?

I recently read an interesting article on the ‘hiring language’ of a company written by Kieran Snyder of Textio. It reported on the analysis of thousands of job postings from major internet companies, to see which phrases were used most often.

The patterns that emerged showed that, while particular phrases weren’t necessarily unique to certain companies, some used them much more frequently than others in their job ads.

Here are some of the standouts in the list of commonly-used phrases for well-known tech companies:

● wickedly
● fast-paced environment
● maniacal

● comfortably
● maintaining control
● empathetic

● lasting relationships
● meaningfully
● care deeply

● whatever it takes
● high-performance culture
● all-star

Snyder asserts that ‘the patterns that show up across your company’s jobs show what you truly value’. Because these phrases are used so regularly, they arguably offer a true insight into a company’s culture – even if they’re at odds with public face they show.

It’s interesting to note also that Textio’s statistics suggest that certain phrases are more likely to attract applications from men than from women, and vice versa.

Hiring language in mining

I thought I’d try and apply the same principles to job advertisements in mining. Here are some of the words and phrases that stood out in the hiring language of companies in the mining industry:

● diverse
● inclusive
● work environment
● we are committed
● parental leave

Rio Tinto:
● foster a culture
● our people
● accepted and valued

● you will
● responsible
● continuous improvement

● skills
● coal
● safety

● software
● relaxed
● social
● team

● technical
● experience
● solutions

Note that the words above aren’t exclusive to particular companies. For example, everyone uses the word ‘diverse’ in their job advertisements but BHP uses it far more frequently – it shows up more than twice as often in BHP advertisements than it does in the ads of its nearest rival.

It seems that, in the mining industry at least, the larger the company, the more they emphasise the culture, work environment and ‘soft skills’ they’re looking for, while the smaller the company, the greater the focus on ‘hard skills’.

It’s an interesting entry point to thinking about company values and how we position ourselves when we’re recruiting. Have you seen any interesting trends in the hiring language for your company?

Article by Principal Mining Engineer David Drew.