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The language of hiring shows us companies’ real values, not what they say they are

3 minute read

language of hiring company values branding

Words are the most important part of any advertising effort. No matter how flashy supporting video or imagery is, the language that is used is pivotal. Words are the endoskeleton holding any brand’s efforts together, allowing them to communicate effectively to a variety of recipients with clarity and purpose. This use of language and branding also extends to writing for job advertisements: a necessity for every company. 

Textual analysis company Textio has recently analysed 25,000 job descriptions, research that has found some interesting commonalities within companies regarding vocabulary. From this analysis, the company created an image with the common hiring terminology used by 10 prominent tech companies (below). The research found that certain words came up across each company’s job advertisements with notable density, suggesting an intentional branding effort to push these as important cultural values.

“In large organizations, you don’t end up with thousands of people using the same words by accident. The patterns that show up across your company’s jobs show what you truly value.” – Kieran Snyder, Textio.

Snyder continues, “It’s common to talk about company culture as a part of recruiting. Organizations spend significant time and money on shaping their employment brand. But however you try to spin it, the truth of your cultural environment shows up in the language that your team uses to communicate — especially when your entire company uses the same words.”

I’ve always been fascinated with branding and the need for brands to effectively communicate their values. This should, ideally, be communicated through the slogan or mission statement. Slogans and mission statements can sometimes be considered separate or defined as the same thing depending on how they are used.

When you think of each of these 10 companies that Textio has chosen, it’s interesting to see how their brand values (through their slogans) actually connect with the type of candidates they’re looking for, and the culture that they’re ultimately fostering.

textio tech company hiring words branding


Let’s take a look at each of these companies’ corporate slogans, in comparison to the language they use to hire.

Actual corporate slogans:

Amazon: “Work hard. Have fun. Make history.”

Apple: “Think different.”

Facebook: “Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you” later changed to “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

Google: “Do the right thing.”

Microsoft: “Be what’s next.”

Netflix: Netflix appears to have numerous taglines on its advertising, including “See what’s next.”

Salesforce: “No software.”

Slack: “Be less busy.” Although now seems to have been replaced with “Making work simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.”

Twitter: “Give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.”

Uber: Previously “Everyone’s private driver.” Now seems to be without an official slogan, but uses “Uber’s mission is to bring transportation — for everyone, everywhere.”

Looking at the language of hiring and values a bit closer

Amazon is a prime example of how brand values can seep into hiring vocabulary. Amazon’s usage of “wickedly” seems to be out of place in its overall brand messaging, a word that seems to pertain to indulgence and mischievousness. Its instructional “Work hard. Have fun” seems to be a dialectical statement that only partially relates to the “maniacal” “fast-paced environment”, one that comes across as pressurised due to the palindromic association with relentless hard work. However, the company’s services, which involve a lot of shipping, were definitely considered in the hiring terms. Its hiring terminology overall seems to imply an industrialised bent that favours fast processes and production over enjoyment or innovation. Interestingly, this could be said to be fitting since the words “Work hard” are prioritised and come first.

Do you think these companies’ ostensible values in the form of their slogans reflect the real values suggested by their hiring language? Let us know on social media.

If you have a question, you can ask us on social media using the hashtag #AskTheUKDomain and we’ll get back to you.

See also (for the laughs): ‘honest’ corporate slogans http://bgr.com/2015/12/01/honest-logos-apple-amazon-comcast-netflix/

Terrible tech slogans from 2018: https://qz.com/1180044/ces-2018-these-slogans-show-that-marketing-your-new-gadget-or-app-is-hard/

If you’re interested in company culture, see this article: https://www.theukdomain.uk/improve-your-company-culture-with-these-tips/

Rosie is a qualified Journalist, NCTJ certified, and is currently an MSt student in Literature and Arts at Oxford University. Having worked in editing, communications, and brand strategy in agencies in Seoul and London, she is passionate about producing intelligent writing with practical and creative value. Previously a Content Editor and Writer at the UK Domain.

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