Speak the lingo

If there’s something I really can’t stand about the corporate world it has to be the bizarre rhetoric and wording they use to describe basic things. The corporate language is a foreign language to most people that move around outside of open office space and air-conditioned conference rooms. It gets even better when foreigners have a go and create an even more obscure bastard child of the English language.

The reason why I’m ranting about business talk is because I just saw this job ad and I really get a kick out of the lengths to which someone at the HR department has gone to make this position sound unique and important. Here are a few of the gems dotted throughout the lengthy job opportunity. i have added comments of what I think(?) they mean to say…


We are looking to combine the UX advantage of XXXX XXXX with the reach advantage of our XXX website in designing the next generation of media products

– I’m pretty sure they are talking about usability and visibility but the last time I heard about so much advantage it was on the television watching the men’s final at the Wimbledon tennis Championships.

Our goal is a best-in-category user experience for each of our information verticals, across all device form factors that in turn will lead to growth in user base, engagement and monetization potential, whilst driving value for partners.

– I think they basically want to be the best everywhere and make loads of money because of it. I might be wrong though so answers on a postcard.

Key Responsibilities

– Define the optimal number of high-quality sources and mix of content required for each vertical
– Define & build the editorial team structure, roles & rosters for each vertical
– Ensure the right editorial mix and rhythm across all verticals

– I’m not sure what verticals are but they sound important. Maybe they should add ‘Those suffering from vertigo need not apply‘?

XXXXXXXXX Competencies Required:

– Influencing for Impact (Adapts style to most effectively engage and influence)
– Customer Focus (Allocates and aligns resources to optimize the customer experience)
– Cross-Boundary collaboration (Benefits by working together, sharing ideas & resources)
– Planning, Organizing and Executing (Understands business objectives and plans accordingly; implements metrics to drive continuous improvements)

– The employer obviously felt sorry for the candidate here and decided to help them out a bit by describing what they meant.

XXXXXX-XX-XXXX Duties in detail:

– Define the publishing schedule for each vertical & align across verticals & platforms

– Select content that meets a high quality bar
Draw on shared teams to use centrally available curated material

– More vertical activity (‘Must be good with heights‘)! There’s also some strange terminology that could lead to confusion. I think that content which meets a high quality bar is not seeking companionship over a mid-to-expensive price ranged cocktail. I think it just needs to be of high quality.
Likewise to draw on shared teams to use centrally curated material probably doesn’t mean using marker pens to maim and blemish your colleagues in a bid to be awarded a signed poster of the employer’s CEO for you office cubicle. I think it just means work with your colleagues.

Experience & Qualifications:

– Demonstrated ability to work quickly, coordinate multiple workstreams and prioritize in the moment among competing responsibilities.

– Couldn’t they have just said multitask?

Technical/Functional Skills:

– Excellent leadership skills including a desire to nurture, guide and develop direct reports.
– Excellent writing and editing skills, as well as visual sensibility (photo, video)
– Ability to thrive working under continual deadline in a fast paced, constantly-changing, high energy environment.
– Able to publish without proof-reader or fact-checker.

– A lot going on here in the technical-functional skills department. For starters, the desire to nurture, guide and develop direct reports sound very similar to parenting or social skills except that they are aimed at direct reports. What are direct reports? Oh yeah! They’re the conversations you have between one human being and another. Maybe you’ll be working with robots?
Next up is the very politically correct and proper skill of visual sensibility. Obviously the graphics department are not being serious enough and someone needs to crack the whip!
The third point almost sounds like the spiel you read or hear on adverts for video games or movies. I’m surprised the employer didn’t go so far as to expect the candidate to have the ability to work in a  death-defying, thrill-packed, break-neck, breathe-taking office space?
The final point gets me thinking that this position isn’t far off from that of the HR person who drafted this copy.


– Mothertongue NL or FR – good working knowledge of other Belgian language & fluent in English.

– Ok, so this job application appeared in Belgium where I have been living for the last 10 years. Unfortunately I was not aware of another Belgian language apart from Dutch (NL) or French (FR)? I mean, German is the third official language, so why didn’t the employer ask for that? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there are other Belgian languages somewhere out there..? Answers on a postcard (bis).

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