What employers want

Having wallowed a little in your dreams of accepting the Best Office Manager of the Century award from the shaking hands of Donald Trump, you’ve probably also browsed the web for any offers that might take you in that direction (for further tips see section 3 in this short guide).

There is a slight possible snag on the way – that of actually understanding the ads.

What employers want

Apart from the actual important and valuable information – such as education requirements, place of work, rough area of responsibilities etc., one reason some ads might be somewhat undecipherable could be that the HR department, probably in a wild attempt to prove that they have studied a university, honestly, resorts to terminology exclusive to the HR field which leaves the average job-seeker flabbergasted. This or similar internet glossaries might be of help when it comes to actual technical terms: http://www.jaluch.co.uk/hr-jargon.html.

One also comes across terms not so much technical as standardized – or, more precisely, clichéd. Reading mere ten ads will probably leave your head buzzing with phrases like “proactive, dynamic personality” (particularly saucy, show me one employer who actually looks for a lazy git who doesn’t move a finger until he’s told), game plan, forward thinking and other jewels of the modern language. The advantage here is that with a bit of practice and creativity, it can yield quite some information – and possibly also entertainment.

For inspiration, enclosed is an enlightening quote from an article by Ken Armitage from 1997 published at instam.org:

"(Our client is a leading (in what area) and highly successful organization (they hope to be), an autonomous subsidiary (they might be sold off) of a major international (offices in London, Bradford and perhaps even the Channel Islands) company looking for a mature individual (maybe up to 40) in order to broaden their horizons (set up an office in Edinburgh) to optimize growth opportunities (sales are sluggish). Having gone through a process of reengineering (the company is in turmoil) they are seeking to recruit (they went too far in removing layers of management) a self-motivated (there are no internal training programmes) and ambitious (probably only up to 35) individual (you are on your own) to develop (get out and sell) their services.
As a skilled communicator (you can read and write), you will support the organization (you will need to work flat out) and be decisive in the management of change (we have to downsize and re-structure even further). You will develop and implement (we have no marketing strategy) major areas of focus (we are myopic and have lost direction) with full responsibility and accountability (if you don't make it you are out) for critical path analysis and progress (we definitely have lost our way). On a personal level you must be an ambitious self-starter (you are definitely on your own), have a strong vision of the future (you are a cousin of Mystic Meg), with the ability to explore and consolidate new opportunities (you must be aggressive and will have to chase business wherever possible).

First class communication and interpersonal skills (you can read, write and talk), with the ability to influence senior management (they cannot make up their mind) and respond to rapidly changing circumstances (we definitely have to downsize and delayer again and may go into receivership if sales don't increase). Of graduate calibre (? did you go to university or do you have professional and practical experience) with forward-looking ideas (you will need a crystal ball), but with the ability to focus (look for short-term solutions and profits) on immediate areas of interest (critical concern). Salary is negotiable (but only on their terms) but will relate to experience (you might want £40,000 - £50,000 but we will pay you as little as possible) and will include an attractive benefits package (the previous manager’s motorcar)”.

And – careful with job titles. Again, it is a good idea to take these with a grain of salt, applying for a Sales Representative position might result in becoming a Shop Assistant, the interesting title of Public Liaison Representative could well be a position which in real life sits in a small customer claims window in front of a winding queue of enraged females. It is therefore advisable to go through roles and responsibilities described with a discerning eye.



All articles are written by the Czech translator and interpreter Katerina Janik

 © Michael Janik - Internetagentur