Fast-paced work environment, competitive salary, jack of all trades - have you ever heard these in job descriptions and not had a clue what they actually mean? You’re not alone. These phrases can seem rather misleading at first which could make you question whether a certain role is right for you, but don’t be too hasty. The use of these phrases is actually a perfect time for you to leverage them into an interview-acing opportunity.

Randstad’s Director of Talent Acquisition, Jenna Alexander, is here to tell you how to leverage these all-too-often-used phrases to your advantage.

leveraging the language

We sometimes fall into the trap of over-analyzing or reading too much into the language used in job adverts, rather than considering who the company is and doing some research. To use an example, you could interpret a ‘fast-paced work environment’ as a place where you will be overworked and overstretched, which would lead you to reject the job advert. Instead, research the company using Glassdoor and LinkedIn and consider that this could actually mean something like constant fluidity and synergy across multiple teams and business units to achieve a common goal. This is definitely the sort of environment I like and I naturally picture a high energy, positive, cohesive workplace where teamwork and comradery is strong! 

If it looks like a role you would be interested in, don’t take the job advert at face value. Get in contact with the vacancy owner and ask them to explain what this means in their company - it’s a great ice breaker!

don’t be biased based on experience

These phrases can sometimes seem like red flags, but be mindful that what you determine as a “red flag” is usually based on your previous (bad) experiences, so read the advert and go into the interview with an open mind and willingness to learn about the business

Use these “red-flag” phrases as an opportunity to break the ice and demonstrate your inquisitive nature, but be sure to be open minded with the response you receive - the term “red flag” already indicates that you’re closed to the explanation behind the term, when it could be harmless!

The best way to broach this would be to very simply repeat the phrase in question and ask what this means in their organisation. From the point of their explanation, you can ask why they feel this is important, how they have embedded the right behaviours into their culture to support the phrase and what they would expect from someone new in role, to support the phrase in question.

try them at randstad

At Randstad, we are always completely transparent in what we are looking for and what you can expect from us. You only have to check out our career page to find out more about us and what you can expect from a career with us.

This being said, we encourage you to challenge us on what we mean by some of the information in our job adverts! Your inquisitive mind could be just the thing we are looking for in the business. So why not click below to search our careers!


Jenna is our Director of Talent Acquisition for Randstad UK, Randstad Sourceright EMEA and Pareto. With a career in the industry spanning over 15 years, she has incredible knowledge of the recruitment and talent acquisition industry.
Jenna Alexander
Jenna Alexander

Jenna Alexander

director of talent acquisition