The language a company uses in its job listings can
reveal a lot about its culture.
Amazon, for example, was much more likely to use the
words “maniacal” and “fast-paced environment” in its job
listings than other companies.
Some gender-coded words can inadvertently attract more
men or more women to apply.
One of the hardest things about choosing a new job is determining
whether you’d fit in with the company culture.
Apart from reviews on job sites like Glassdoor, you often have no
other information to work with before you actually step foot
through the company’s doors.
But as it turns out, the job application itself can be a telling
window into what a company’s culture is really like.
According to Textio, each company demonstrated unique language
patterns in its job postings that set it apart from others in the
Amazon, for example, was 33 times more likely to use the word
“wickedly” in its job postings compared to the next closest
company. Other distinctly Amazonian phrases included “fast-paced
environment” and “maniacal.”
Facebook, on the other hand, was more likely to use the words
“our family,” “ruthlessly,” and “storytelling” than other
And while Netflix’s distinctive words were “weed out,” “bull by
the horns,” and “disciplined,” Textio found, while Twitter’s were
“nerd,” “passion for learning,” and “diverse perspectives.”
In several cases, the words that disproportionately appeared on a
company’s job listings suggested a clear message about the
It’s no coincidence that common language would pop up in
thousands of seemingly unrelated job postings, Textio CEO Kieran
Snyder wrote in a
“In large organizations, you don’t end up with thousands of
people using the same words by accident,” she said. “The patterns
that show up across your company’s jobs show what you truly
The language a company uses in its job listings can affect the
type of candidate that applies.
2011 study showed that companies could inadvertently be
attracting more male candidates than female candidates by using
words that are colored with gender bias.
Words like “aggressive,” “competitive,” and “individual” are all
masculine-coded words, and thus attracted more men to
apply to the companies that used them in their job postings. At
the same time, words like “builder,” “cooperative,” and
“understanding” are all feminine-coded words and attracted more
women to job postings that included them.
“Organizations spend significant time and money on shaping their
employment brand,” Snyder wrote. “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.”