It’s no secret that Silicon Valley, and the larger tech industry, is insanely competitive for talent — so much so that companies are willing to do almost anything to convince top-tier candidates to come over to their side.
To stay on top of it, tech companies are always trying to make sure their job postings are as up-to-date as possible. To reel in top talent, recruiters need to make sure any job listing has the right words to reflect how great the role is, from the (ideally) cutting-edge technologies they will work with to the lavish company perks they will enjoy.
Still, it’s historically been more of an art than a science, as recruiters load their classified ads up with tech buzzwords in an effort to catch a qualified engineer’s eye.
That’s where startup Textio comes in: Founded by ex-Microsoft and Amazon manager Kieran Snyder, it uses artificial intelligence technology (incidentally, one of 2015’s top buzzwords) to track the words and phrases that cause some job openings to fill up right quick, while others languish without any qualified candidates finding it.
With prominent tech companies like Slack, Microsoft, and Twitter using Textio for at least some of their hiring practices, it means that the company has a lot of data on what it takes for a job opening to stand out…especially when you’re trying to avoid words like “code ninja” or “cultural fit” that might turn off women and people of colour.
So without further ado, here’s the results of Textio’s annual “Tech job language” report for 2016, which tracks, in Snyder’s words in a blog entry, “the particular phrases that performed overwhelmingly better (or worse!) at the end of the year than they had at the start.”
The list of top movers:
- “Gender identity” — As Silicon Valley moves to be a more diverse and inclusive place, Snyder says that tech job postings that mention “gender identity” fill up three times as fast as they did at the start of the year, and above the overall average.
- “Systems engineering” — As software keeps eating the world, there’s new demand for experts that can build and manage complex systems of hardware, software, and cloud computing services.
- “Security clearance” — The federal government is looking to modernise its technology across many agencies, and so those with security clearances are in high demand at startups and companies looking to sell to the public sector.
- “Minimal supervision” — Lots of programmers like to work solo, without distractions. The fewer meetings and the less red tape, the better.
- “Written communication” — As tools like chat app Slack become more common in workplaces, and as the remote workforce continues to grow, written communication skills are in demand.
Of note: This year’s list from Textio contains fewer tech skills than last year’s, where “artificial intelligence,” “real-time data,” and “high availability” were the top movers.
Conversely, here are the bottom movers, with words that are appearing in fewer job postings and filling more slowly:
- Linux, the free operating system.
- Subject matter expert — “At the end of 2015, jobs containing subject matter expert filled much more slowly than average. At the end of 2016, they’re faring even worse: jobs with this phrase are four times as likely to be the slowest fillers at your company,” Snyder writes.
- Fast-paced environment
So if you want to find and hire top tech talent to your company, these are the words you should perhaps be using (or not).