Pithy The Fool: Deconstructing Recruiting Best Practice Buzzwords.

I-call-bullshit-jpegI’m just going to jump right into this one; no one wants content or complexity in their content, therefore, leads are just kind of a waste of space. Everyone wants sound bites, instead – 140 characters or less, preferably.

So if you hate reading, love infographics and think critical thinking or subtext kind of suck, you’re in luck. Forget nuanced blog posts or balanced argumentation or even BS business cases.

Here are 40 talent trending topics for all you non-readers (er, “thought leaders”) out there, explained in one line or less:

1. Employer Branding: If working there sucks, recruiting is a whole lot harder.

2. Big Data: People trust math more than they trust recruiters.

3. Diversity: Everyone should be welcome and included at work. Except, of course, for bigots.

4. Compliance: The threat of a lawsuit is the best path to preserving power and sticking to the status quo.

5. Engagement: If you want a candidate to take a next step, you’ve got to initiate the first one.

6. University Recruiting: Teach a man how to find a job, you’ll feed him (and his referrals) for a lifetime.

7. Compensation: People work for paychecks. Period. Company culture doesn’t pay the bills – no matter what.

8. Sourcing: Finding people on the internet is easy. Getting them to talk to you? That’s the hard part.

9. Gamification: All recruiting is a game. You win when you get a job. The rest is bullshit.

10. Outsourcing: No one’s taking your job. Only the shitty parts of it you complain about all day, anyway.

11. Content Marketing: The best way to sell is by having something interesting to say. Seriously.

12. Talent Communities: Please. Shut up and start calling them mailing lists, already.

13. Boolean: Everyone knows how to use Google. Stop being such a self-important douche canoe with your strings.

14. Thought Leadership: Following thoughtless people without thinking about it, first.

15. Retention: The best way to keep people around is by keeping them happy.

16. The Cloud: It’s not a selling point, it’s how the internet works, Gramps.

17. Wearable Tech: In 6 months, you’ll be glad you weren’t that guy.

18. Company Culture: We value all forms of diversity, as long as you think and act like we tell you to.

19. Work/Life Balance: Balance is impossible. The best you can do is cope.

20. Globalization: Getting shit done, like money, is language and location agnostic. So too are excuses.

21. Gen Y: The people who are just now having kids, buying houses and becoming as boring as you are.

22. Gen Z: Same shit, different demographic.

23: Candidate Experience: Looking for a job shouldn’t have to suck. Seriously.

24. Brand Ambassadors: Who actually does the work is always more interesting than the actual work.

25. HR Technology: This is what Steam Punk will look like in 10 years.

26: Performance Management: Yawn. Next.

27. Learning Management: You can’t learn unless HR requires it – and when that happens, you won’t want to.

28. Hiring Manager: The person who not only makes the recruiting decision, but has to live with it, too.

29. Interviewing: Confirmation bias, followed by 29 minutes of small talk. Silly, really.

30. Data Privacy: You know this no longer exists, right?

31. Video Interviewing: The camera always lies. Handshakes rarely do.

32. Job Boards: Where you’ll keep getting your candidates until you learn SEO. Until then, they’ll never die.

33. Corporate Social Responsibility: The ultimate oxymoron.

34. Employee Agreement: “At Will” means never having to say you’re sorry.

35. STEM: Revenge of the Nerds is a dish best served cold. That’s an old Klingon proverb, you know.

36. Gender Gap: Gender is fluid, so if it’s really a choice, why not choose to make more? Problem solved.

37. Professional Certification: Since you can’t prove you know how to do your job at your job, try taking a test.

38. Authenticity: A blanket disclaimer for blatant lying and subterfuge.

39. Best Practices: Attempting to create disruption by doing the same thing as everyone else. Futility, defined.

40. Recruiting: Anyone can sell something everyone actually needs.

Got any to add to the list? Join the conversation. Better yet, shut up about this stuff, already. Seriously.



  • derdiver

    I am sharing this everywhere for the rest of my life!!

    • Matt Charney

      Please do. It will help with my traffic numbers.

  • Michael Cox

    #21 made me laugh a lot on the outside and cry a little on the inside!

  • And THIS, folks, is why Matt Charney is – and forever will be – my favorite favorite. xo

    • Matt Charney

      This is faint praise from anyone who’s not the Most Connected Woman on LinkedIn. And also one of the people fighting the good fight against this kind of BS, which is more appreciated than any kind words. Crap. Now I’m blushing and shit.

  • billboorman

    Predictive Analytics: Guessing. Flight Risk: Spying on employees personal social media.

    • Matt Charney

      #Tru that.

  • Jonathan Rice

    Complex algorithm: We’re a tech start up who know nothing about recruiting, but recruiters seem pretty dumb so it should be easy to replace their thought processes with some fancy algebra

    • Matt Charney

      That’s on the roadmap for next quarter.

  • Tim Spagnola

    Dude – much love!

  • David Schreiber

    well played sir, well played

  • Steve Ward (@CloudNineRec)

    Brilliant Matt, as ever.
    I would add:

    Algorithms – Something tech people sell to lazy recruiters who can’t be arsed to do the filtering bit.

    Employee Advocacy – People talking about their employer in the pub, without using the words, “shithole”, “thieving bastards”, “slave-drivers” or “work sucks”.

    Candidate Marketing – An agency recruiter politely letting an internal recruiter know, that a good person is open to new roles. Cue LinkedIn search, identification, and direct connection.

    Quality of Hire – measuring recruitment success by the quantity unambitious jobs-worths still there in 2 years.

    • Matt Charney

      Thanks for writing my next post for me. Consider these co-opted.

  • Pingback: 40 Recruiting Buzzword Definitions, Zero Bullshit. | Snark Attack()

  • “Purple Squirrel” — something everybody else is too lazy to find and too uncreative to stop saying

  • talent version of urban dictionary


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