What your job description really says

Job scouting is one of those activities that feels like rock climbing. It can be fun when you try to reach your goal to the top, making it through smaller and larger hurdles to get to your goal.

Sometimes, you’re without a line and feel like you might fall down a cliff. Sometimes, you just don’t really know where you are going. Job ads don’t seem to make the climb much easier with their sometimes vague and confusing language.

It makes sense: Employers want to intrigue you without telling too much. Although the method makes sense, it sometimes goes beyond attempting to avoid revealing too much and might even border deception.

Have you ever wondered what those vague kind of fancy words in job descriptions actually mean? If yes, we are here to tell you!


If the job ad in question is looking for someone flexible, they don’t mean how good you are at doing the splits.

Usually, this just means companies look for someone who isn’t afraid to step out of the box and isn’t too uptight in their daily schedule. However, many people stray far away from this word, since many people believe the term “flexible” is where work-life balance comes to die.

Companies asking for flexible employees could also mean that you should be ready to work overtime, strange hours or do spontaneous tasks. Be sure to always ask exactly what is expected of you, if this is something that might bother you in your work-life.

Did you know that 1st Choice Home Health Services is the highest rated company concerning work-life balance on Kununu?


This one might not seem to vague or mysterious, since many people would assume that employers want someone who is enthusiastic about the role.

It’s not too hard to understand why it might be beneficial to have employees who enjoy the tasks and believe in their work.

However, this might have the hidden meaning which implies that the company and their goals become the only priority in a person’s life.

This means, an employee might have to work more hours, take on multiple tasks at once and be on call all the time. Many companies use “passion” as a mask to reveal a type of employee that lives for their job and only for their job.


Similar to “flexible” and “passionate,” a dynamic employee is one that goes beyond the job description- without being told.

They are the employees that take the initiative and take on tasks perhaps not otherwise obligatory. While having an employee that is independent and enjoys new tasks is probably a great thing, using this descriptor loosely could imply that your workload will be vastly different than wasn’t described.

This is something that not everyone looking for a job would want since many people like to know right away what their tasks will be and how they should go about them. As mentioned earlier, if you don’t wish to be surprised, it’s best to ask for immediate transparency about your job profile.

Growth opportunity

This phrase is probably one of the most ambiguous in the bunch. Like all the phrases we mention, there can always be the obvious meanings, but in this case, it is ambiguous on purpose.

Not only could this mean that you have the chance to climb the work ladder, but more often than not, this just means that the position doesn’t need to be filled for long.

This could either imply that you will get a higher position early on, or that you won’t be needed at all shortly after. It could also imply that it’s a position that doesn’t pay too well since the only way is up. Best to find out early on to avoid misunderstandings.


If you work best with a lot of check-ins, meetings, feedback, and communication with your supervisors, then a job with this descriptor in the ad will probably not be for you.

An employer looking for a self-starter is looking for someone who will work almost entirely independently and will do the job well alone. If you prefer jobs that have clear tasks, deadlines and direct communications about those things, keep this phrase in mind.

Competitive salary

This phrase is pretty straight-forward, just not in the way you would assume. Being competitive doesn’t mean the company will offer a salary that ranks better than others, it means it will offer a salary that is exactly within the average range of that particular position.

So, if you have been confused and thought the company will offer something someone else doesn’t, this isn’t the case. They simply offer the normal amount for that job and it is still up to you to find the best option.

Inter-personal skills

It’s a no brainer that employers want people who will get along well with other colleagues and work well with them.

If you see this phrase in a job ad, the employer really wants someone will be in consistent contact with people in the job.

Someone who is bold and able to speak up when need be. If you are a person that prefers to do your work in a quieter environment, maybe this could be an issue for you.

It’s definitely not easy to always be able to read out the intentions of your potential employer through a small job description.

However, with the help of this list, maybe this will open up a broader understanding for what is exactly asked for, so you won’t be falling down that cliff. The only way is up!

This article first appeared on Kununu.