The Global Recruiter’s Handy Translation Guide

In today’s global recruiting environment, you must be sensitive to cultural issues and the nuances of translation. Because we here at Roundup want to help further your career, today’s column is a primer on those essentials.

Let’s begin. Like Realtors, recruiters have their own language. You probably won’t ever see “purple squirrel” in a help wanted posting, but “detail oriented”? Indeed finds it in 15,000 jobs in California alone.

So common. So ordinary. So what does it mean? It could mean you don’t want your employee mistaking $75 for $75,000. More likely it means, “The boss is sloppy. Your job is to catch the errors.” Or, “You’ll never get to work on the big picture stuff.”

LinkedIn writer Maria Ignatova provides a translation guide for such common job description phrases as “some overtime required” (which means you’ll work late every night), and “duties will vary” (meaning you’ll be everyone’s gopher).

Now to the job interview.

Fast Company’s guide is conveniently presented as a split-screen video: What the candidate says vs. what you hear.

Example: When the candidate says her last company didn’t know how to take advantage of her skills, what you hear is, “I  have no skills.”

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Now, let’s put your own new skill at speaking job to the test. What are the job descriptions here on the Pied Piper tech site actually saying? And would you reach out to the few who posted their interest?

Give up? Clearly you do not subscribe to the right premium cable channels.

If you scored 100 percent on our quiz there or if you just read this far, I award you 10 HRCI points and the same for SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP.

Class dismissed.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


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