My Guru Will Disrupt Your Ninja


Help Wanted: Only Ninjas, Gurus, Jedis, and Rock Stars need apply...

Recruiting has a problem. In the crowded world of social media it's becoming more difficult to stand out. 

I applaud most efforts to create compelling job descriptions, I've experimented with infographics and other formats myself, but I'm afraid we've gone a few steps too far in our efforts to compel clicks, likes, and RTs. Job descriptions have become so buzz-jargonized that it's hard to take some of them seriously. In a world of ninjas and gurus, how does a regular job seeker know where they fit in?

According to, there was a 2,500% increase in jobs using the term 'ninja' from May 2006 to May 2012. The term 'guru' has seen a steeper climb, increasing from 6,500% from its debut around March 2008 to its peak around March 2011.

I've spent most of my career with at least a toe in the waters of technical recruiting, and assumed most of this buzzword abuse came from that sector. I was surprised to find that these terms have made the leap outside of tech, and now can be attached to anything. In a few minutes of research I found these terms applied to internships, grilled cheese cooks, coffee baristas and my favorite - fun guru.

Let's look at a few examples from actual job postings

Data Ninjas are our “farm team” that are the first to get sent into more involved, detailed projects. [PS - these data ninjas are unpaid]

Solar Web Developer Ninja 'What's in it for you: you get to be a ninja'

Creative Ninja (internship) seeking organized, motivated, and detail-oriented Creative Ninjas to join their Frientier League baseball club for the 2013 season.

Grilled Cheese Ninja Chedd's Gourmet Grilled Cheese is looking for enthusiastic, up-beat, and hard-working people to add to our team.

Fun Guru Do people tell you that your parties are a blast? Are you creative, fun and passionate? Do you believe in rolling up your sleeves and doing whatever it takes to get the job done? Then look no further; this may be the perfect opportunity for you!

A social media guru is able to express a brand effectively via social platforms and directly engage with consumers to inspire confidence in the company’s products or services.

Coffee Guru Assume all responsibilities of Master Roaster with immediate focus on production and sample roasting, coffee quality, the art of blending, green coffee selection and coffee education.

Now let's take a look at some of the major job boards


Ninja - 76 jobs

Guru - 289 jobs

Advantage: Guru


Ninja - 6 jobs

Guru - 28 jobs

Advantage: Guru


Ninja - 46

Guru - 238

Advantage: Guru


Ninja - 597

Guru - 1,821

Advantage: Guru

Verdict: Sorry Ninjas, Gurus have the numbers - but you'll always be a winner in the movie department.