Loser Language

Cut Back on Loser Language and Defeatist Thoughts!

Robert Braathe

The language a recruiter uses is a key indicator of their mind set and attitude. A potential client or candidate listening to the recruiter will pick up on these verbal cues. Using “loser” language is a major “turn off” for many and should be avoided. So, what is loser language? Loser language is anything that presents your situation in a way that states that it is unsolvable. Words and phrases like confused, frustrated, struggling, busy, “I don’t have time”, and “I don’t know” are all dead ends to conversations and can adversely impact you relationship you’re your client or applicant. To avoid indulging in loser language, here are some suggestions:


Instead of confused, ask questions for clarity. You can demonstrate to your clients and applicants that you are in control of the process and are striving to find the best solution.


Instead of reaching the point of frustration, set expectations clearly. Over-promising is an ever-present danger. If your client expects you to find the perfect candidate in a week, and it takes a month, they will be sorely disappointed when you don’t deliver. Similarly, you will suffer the aggravation and frustration of not being able to meet promised deadlines.


Instead of struggling, state “Here’s something I am dealing with right now, can you provide me some advice on how to effectively handle it?” It may well be to your advantage to consult with your peers to sound them out on how to solve your problem. A good, solid network of peers or membership in an industry association can help you gain suggestions on how to overcome an obstacle. And don’t be shy about consulting with others on alternative approaches; they will be honored that you esteem them enough to seek their advice.


Instead of busy or “I don’t have time”, let people know what you can do. We all make excuses about not having the time to do something. Telling someone “I don’t have time” is deadly and creates the impression that your time is more important than their problem. Be positive and outline some actions you can take to make some progress towards helping them. This placates the person somewhat and buys you more time to deal with the issue.


Instead of “I don’t know” or “I didn’t know”, be sure to follow directions and re-read or ask questions for clarity to learn more. The lamest thing you can say is to admit to ignorance. This indicates lack of respect for the person and may drive them away. A thorough understanding of the issues, the steps needed to resolve them, and careful questioning are needed to prevent you from falling into this trap.

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Robert Braathe

A part-time and online professor at several colleges and leads his company, the Career Service Station, where he finds people the jobs they desire and deserve through resume writing, career coaching and LinkedIn assistance. Prior to his teaching career, Robert worked in management and sales roles for Disney, Gap and Apple between 1995 and 2018. Robert received his MBA from Western Connecticut State University, and a Bachelor’s in Hospitality, Restaurant and Travel Administration from UMass Amherst. Since 2014, he’s been writing lyrics for Fresh Oil and Chips featuring vocals and music from Brian Huff. Robert’s inspirations for writing lyrics include Michelle Branch, Bernie Taupin, Quincy Jones, Dua Lipa and Debbie Gibson. He enjoys connecting with others through LinkedIn, Zoom calls and meeting for coffee.