Let's stop saying this stuff

The things we say as marketers and recruiters is sometimes telling in how we feel about job seekers, candidates, and talent. Our out-loud voices can be really obnoxious if you think about it. I’ve been marketing things for about 20 years and in those years, I’ve been to countless meetings and read thousands of blog posts. In these posts and meetings I come across some language that simply sucks and should not be how we talk about these things. So, here’s a few that come to mind that make me pretty damn uncomfortable. I’d love to never hear us talk about them again. If you catch me saying these, call me on it. It’s going to take some work, but here goes:


Target is a store. Target is not a person. Let’s talk about People, or Talent. Not target, unless you need to go to the store, and that’s cool. While we are at it, can we also not talk about people as “users”. I am not a user. There’s a well-known brand who refuses the word “users”, instead, they say “people”. I like it. If we want to humanize our marketing, let’s remember, we are talking to people.

Get in front of

We talk about this all the time. We talk about getting in front of the candidate, the customer, the target (shiver, target). I grew up in Akron, Ohio. It’s not fancy, it’s gritty. You know what happens when you “get in front of” a kid from Akron? They push you down. Let’s stop trying to impede people’s progress and instead talk about how we can influence their day/experience.

Owning a relationship

This one makes me VERY uncomfortable. The great Doc Searls pointed this out at a conference. You do NOT want to own a relationship. It implies things that are very ugly. Owning a relationship is counter to the meaning of relationship. Brands do not own a relationship with people or talent, it’s a transaction. To get to relationship status, we have to do more. And to get there, we cannot think about ownership. Period.

Serial applicants

I have an entire post formulating in my head about this issue. The fact that someone is SO INTO YOUR BRAND that they will apply for 30 jobs doesn’t make them a bad person, it makes them a super fan. I hear recruiting leaders talk all the time about how they hate serial applicants, and I do my best to tamp down the fury I feel when I hear that. It’s like saying people who wait in line to buy the newest phone or sneaker are bad. They are awesome. They love you and will do anything to work with you. When we treat them poorly, we are just being bad boyfriends. We need to let go of the negative connotation of serial applicants. More on this topic to come!

What are some of the phrases that make you shift in your seat that we need to let go of? Hit me up in the comments, I’d love to see them!