Intel : Initial confusion

Using abbreviations for job locations risks being lost in translation.

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The feature

Tech giant Intel’s global jobs listing page uses initials to identify the country and state where the role is located.

For example, a recent listing for ‘Cloud Hardware Design Intern’ has ‘CN’ for the country, and ‘Shanghai’ for the city. In this case, ‘Shanghai’ is also spelled out as the ‘State’. Most others, however, have abbreviations for ‘state’. For example: ‘Verification Engineer’ – ‘IN’, Bangalore, ‘KA’.

A listing for ‘Open Source Linux 3D Graphics Driver Developer’ based in the UK, showed Swindon as the city and then ‘LIV’ as the ‘state’ (the UK does not have ‘states’, just counties). Other listings for UK, Swindon, leave the ‘state’ field blank.

If visitors click through to the full job listings, the abbreviations are not spelled out there either.

The takeaway

At the risk of admitting our geography knowledge is not what it should be, it seems likely that many jobseekers will be left guessing by Intel’s location abbreviations.

The system works best for US jobseekers, where the country is a given, cities are spelled out, and state postal codes are mostly common knowledge. For locations outside the US, the labelling is often confusing, and in some cases indecipherable. The problem is compounded by not spelling out locations in the full listings, where there is space to do so.

Intel funnels international jobseekers to a centralised service, which is good practice, but comes across as US-centric, undermining the company’s desire to be seen as global. It is one example of a wider issue about jargon on corporate sites – it is always worth reading with the eyes of an outsider. If people outside the company (or the home country) may have trouble understanding, consider a rewrite.
First published 28 February, 2018
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