January 28, 2016   view past issues

Our newsletter is
brought to you by

Next Practices: Don’t Put Talent Into the Wrong Box

In This Edition of WEDDLE’s Newsletter:

  • Next Practices: Don’t Put Talent Into the Wrong Box
  • Next Practices: The Book
  • The One Conference You Can’t Afford to Miss
  • A Prescription for the Soul – Peter’s New Novel About Boomers & the American Dream
  • The Recruiting Resources You Deserve.

Next Practices: Don’t Put Talent Into the Wrong Box

Amidst all the talk about optimizing the candidate experience, one topic has been all but ignored: word choice. The vocabulary we use has a significant impact on the perceptions of those we are trying to recruit. And, one term, in particular, is widely used, but conveys a message that turns off top talent or, worse, drives them away. That term is “job seeker.”

A.S. Byatt once opined that “Vocabularies are crossing circles and loops. We are defined by the lines we choose to cross or to be confined by.” Today, we’ve replaced circles and loops with “boxes” to describe the lines we create with words, but their impact is just as great. Our boxes have meaning, of course – they typically have an explicit definition – but often they also transmit a subliminal message – an insinuation – that colors the way the definition is perceived or interpreted.

For that reason, words matter as much as for their insinuation as their definition, whether that insinuation is intentional or not. And that’s especially true in recruitment. In the minds of the people who visit corporate career sites and read job postings, an employer is defined as much by the subliminal message of its words as it is by the information it provides or the practices it follows.

That’s why the words “job seeker” are so problematic. Though so widely used by recruiters it’s become jargon, the term is anathema to every high performer on the planet. Its definition is explicitly benign, but its insinuation is exploitive and demeaning. It says an organization views those in the job market as nothing more than a supplicant for work.

The Active & Passive Interpretation

To put it bluntly, the top talent – whether they are actively looking for a new job or passively considering a change – think the term “job seeker” signals an organization that is prejudiced against them. Why? Because countless surveys reported in the media have found that many employers view today’s job seekers as damaged goods – obsolete, unskilled or defective in some other way. Why else would they be investing the big bucks on social media sites that promise to connect them with people who aren’t looking for a job?

Those actively in the job market look past the term – they have no choice – but to them it says the employer considers them the least desirable alternative, even if they have a track record of high performance. Passive prospects, on the other hand, don’t see themselves as job seekers, refuse even to acknowledge that the term applies to them and, in most cases, conclude that any organization using it is not a place they want to work.

If you have any doubt about that latter point, do a survey of the visitors to your corporate career site. Ask about their employment status, and you’ll almost certainly find that the vast majority are either unemployed or expect to be soon. And, yet, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, at any point in time, just 16 percent of the workforce is actively in transition. In other words, your site is plumbing the depths of the small cohort of the population that has no choice and missing out altogether on the much larger cohort of people who do.

How can you redress this situation? Not simply by using different words. To be credible, your talent acquisition vocabulary must be more than what you can find in a Thesaurus. It must reflect your organization’s culture and values.

So first, audit your organization’s view of employment candidates and, if necessary, change the mindset to remove any conscious or unconscious bias against a prospective hire because of their employment status. Make sure that hiring managers as well as recruiters see the person and evaluate their capabilities, not their position in the job market.

Second, change the vocabulary on your corporate career site and in your job postings and explain your rationale for doing so. Jettison the term “job seeker” but only after you’ve made sure your hiring managers and recruiters understand the importance of the switch and support it. Then, implement the change and tell those in the job market why you’ve done so. Make your vocabulary a part of your organization’s employment brand.

For example, you might decide to replace “job seeker” with a more respectful word like “candidate.” Site visitors and ad readers will undoubtedly notice the difference – it’s such a rarity among employers – but they may not understand what that change means for you and to them. So, post a visible statement – not one hidden six clicks deep in your site or 12 paragraphs down in your ad – that explains the vocabulary shift is a public affirmation of your organization’s commitment to treating everyone as a valued employment prospect.

Jargon is often criticized for its lack of clarity, but in the case of the term “job seeker,” its impact is exactly the opposite. To top prospects, whether they are active or passive in the job market, it locks them in a box that implicitly defines them as damaged goods, an insinuation they resent and in many cases, walk away from. A better term will accurately define prospective employees but not put them in a box with such a negative insinuation. It will acknowledge their potential availability for employment, while offering a subliminal affirmation of their potential contribution as a person of talent.

Thanks for Reading,


Visit me at

Next Practices – The Book

Best Practices are so yesterday! They are sourcing and recruiting techniques designed for a time that has passed.

Next Practices are strategies and tactics for winning the real War for the Best Talent – the one you actually face today and will face tomorrow. They maximize your success by modernizing your approach to:

  • Recruitment Advertising
  • Social Recruiting
  • Candidate Engagement
  • Optimizing the Candidate Experience
  • Managing Your Own Recruiting Career.

The book is composed of short, straight-to-the-point essays that can be read in ten or fifteen minutes and still transport you to a whole new dimension in the state-of-the art for recruiting and sourcing talent. With titles like Become a Talent Whisperer, Post-Social Recruiting, The Inconvenient Truth of Recruiting and Don’t Post a Job, Advertise Respect, they are sure to entertain and enlighten you.

So, don’t recruit with yesterday’s techniques. Get Next Practices and start recruiting right now with the next generation of recruiting mastery.

The book is available on Amazon. Click here to place your order.

The One Conference You Can’t Afford to Miss

Are you passionate about harnessing the latest talent acquisition capabilities for your organization?

Are you responsible for maximizing your employer’s ROI on its talent acquisition technology?

Are you the champion in your organization for new ideas, cutting edge techniques and outside-the-box solutions in talent acquisition?

If so, the TAtech Conference & Expo is the event for you! Brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions, this event is one-of-a-kind! It’s a new conference with a new focus.

  • First, you get the lowest conference registration rate anywhere. You save money for your employer AND get access to the latest developments in talent acquisition.
  • Second, you get your hotel room for free! That’s right – register before the early bird cutoff AND your hotel room is complimentary.
  • And third, you get uninterrupted access to the real experts. Unlike most HR conferences where recruiting is just one of many topics, this event will focus exclusively on talent acquisition technology AND directly connect you with the vendors who develop it.

The people who build and deliver talent acquisition products and services will present the latest in capabilities as well as the secrets of implementation success and performance excellence. You don’t have time to answer the phone during the business day, but in one two-day conference, you can open a dialogue with your current vendors and meet new ones in fireside chats and panel discussions, three education tracks and an exhibit hall.

So, what are you waiting for? The TAtech Conference & Expo will be held on September 19-21, 2016 at The Palms Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada USA. Click here to register today.

A Prescription for the Soul

Is the sun rising or setting on the American Dream?

A Prescription for the Soul answers that question with two parallel stories.

One is a coming-of-age tale about a group of American teenagers – Army brats – living on a small U.S. Army garrison in Verona, Italy in 1963. They spend their weekends exploring the ancient city of Venice … and themselves … as they try to understand the social and political upheaval taking place back home. And then without warning, they are thrust into a crisis that will shape their lives and their view of the American Dream.

The other is a coming-of-wisdom tale about those same teenagers – now aging Baby Boomers – living on the Gold Coast of Connecticut in 2007. They spend their days exulting in their exclusive class … the 1-percenters of 21st Century America … even as they confront the despair inflicted on others by their own corruption and greed. Then once again, they find themselves facing a crisis, but this one will shape the lives of their children and the legacy of their generation.

A timeless saga of growth and redemption and an unwavering examination of the challenges facing America today.

This historical novel is not yet in bookstores, but you can read a free excerpt and order a pre-publication copy of the book at

The Recruiting Resources You Deserve

The best recruiters use the best resources to get the job done. And, when it comes to reaching top talent online, their choice is clear. It’s WEDDLE’s Books. Get yours today!

WEDDLE’s Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. This is the 11th edition of the Guide the American Staffing Association called the “Zagat” of job boards and social media sites.

The Talent Sourcing & Recruitment Handbook. This is Shally Steckerl’s tell-all guide to his sourcing secrets and cybersleuthing for hard-to-find talent.

WEDDLE’s Guide to Association Web Sites. This book details the recruiting resources and capabilities that are available at the Web-sites of over 3,000 professional and technical associations.

Finding Needles in a Haystack. This one-of-a-kind guide lists over 25,000 keywords and keyword phrases, across 5,400 job and position titles in 28 industries and professions.