I’m not an Uber-hater. I use the service every couple of months, and I’ve always had a positive experience.

Marco Rubio Speech On Innovation At Uber's DC Offices

What I am is an employment branding strategist. I live in the online recruiting world every day. This includes assessing job descriptions. I’ve read thousands of them in 2014, and I just read one for Uber that really caught my attention.

Given the recent publicity about the company (drivers striking, attacks on riders, journalists threatened, etc.), phrases used in the first paragraph of this job description could hurt them in attracting their next generation of employees. Especially top quality employees.

Candidates reading this description may perceive that the company isn’t listening to feedback, doesn’t care, or feels insulated by their strong growth. Sure, they may be alienating people they don’t want to hire. But at what cost?

Three phrases caught my attention

I get it. This job description is written for the “Growth” team. They’ve got to be innovative, fast-moving, and live on the edge with the business.

However, there are three phrases in the very first paragraph that reveal Uber’s mindset behind the scenes:

  1. “We prioritize growth at all costs”
  2. “Our team has the autonomy”
  3. “(We) get down to experimenting”

Employment brand impact

Top candidates, especially millennials, are expressing a desire to work for companies that have a purpose. They seek positions where they have an opportunity to make the world a better place.

Phrases like “growth at all costs” can scare away top candidates who want to make a positive impact on society. It illustrates a myopic, company-centric mindset that doesn’t put Uber riders first. Especially when it comes to safety.

Candidates may also question Uber’s ethics when they talk of having a “team (with) autonomy” that “gets down to experimenting”. This isn’t unusual copy to find in a job description, but anyone who has heard of Uber’s Godview function will likely pause when reading this.

Uber is likely to get loads of applicants for this opening because of their success. So much of this may not matter. However, the mindset in writing this job description is revealing to what is happening behind the scenes. And that’s the bigger narrative that quality candidates are building in their head.

I’m a big fan of being aggressive and innovative with your employer brand. But there’s also got to be a sense of putting your employees and customers first. Uber really misses that balance in this example. They’ll find someone who wants to “grow at all costs”, but will they be ethical and of top quality?

Given recent publicity, it seems Uber could benefit from embracing a rider and community-first approach in their job descriptions. This could be a positive impact on their employment brand, which will grow more important over time.

Image: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg


Ongig is the first ever Employer Branding SaaS — it allows enterprises to create, distribute and measure interactive job descriptions at scale. American Express, Autodesk, Intel and Yelp are among the early users of the Ongig SaaS.

Jason Webster

Jason Webster is a social recruiting enthusiast and co-founder of Ongig, a platform that creates shareable, visually-appealing job descriptions. He has spoken at multiple social recruiting events, where his passion for candidate experience is the primary topic. Connect with Jason and Ongig on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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