What’s in a job title…a lot!

Top ten 2011 jobs, top jobs, jobs 2011, job titles, top job titles, top positions

This week in my blog roll I came across a blog titled “Job Titles Matter” written by Laurie Ruettimann of Cynical Girl, a blog that I read everyday. It was right on point that job title’s do matter to candidates and are critical to the recruiting process.

Besides asking me the name of the company I am calling a candidate about, some of the very first questions I am asked from prospective candidates are about compensation, and “What is the job title?

Many assumptions are made in life based on the title a person has…. and outside of work I will fight you on the point that labels do not matter…. but when it comes to one’s job, it really does matter.

Even though companies are becoming less hierarchical, by human nature one’s job title does reflect a certain status.

When you are recruiting for a person to add to your organization, it is very important to carefully think about the title of the position and does the title reflect the position’s actual responsibilities.

In her blog, Laurie mentions that though fun titles sound great, they are impractical, and, in my opinion, such titles can slow down the recruiting process because they are confusing. You want a job title people can relate to and that can easily match the position’s roles and responsibilities.

A couple of years ago, I was recruiting for a “QA Engineer.” It was an awesome job where the person would be working on cutting edge technology and developing great code… but the client was really looking for a Software Developer for this role.

From a sociological perspective, it was very difficult to find candidates who were existing software developers and change their mindsets enough to look at this wonderful opportunity simply because of the position’s erroneous title. It took more time to recruit candidates and educate them that this would not be a step back in their career, but actually a step forward.

So when you putting together your next hiring plan, think about:

  • The words used in the position’s title… literally.
  • What the person will be doing for your organization and is that reflected in the title?
  • Is the title name a title that the outside world will understand enough to know what this person does?

In addition, when positions don’t a clear job titles, the potential exists to cause conflict for the person in their job down the line as they further try to grow or further define their job responsibilities. This can result in morale issues for the employee and for those working around them. It is human nature to make assumptions and perceptions. Try to be direct and clear and cut off any misunderstandings before they have the chance to happen.

I would love to hear your thoughts about job titles. Are you of the mindset that they do matter, or do you like more of the creative side?


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