Job Titles: What’s in a Name?

Job Titles: What’s in a Name?

It’s pretty interesting to look on company career sites to view the different variations of a job titles and duty descriptions that overall represent the same type of position.  I have had these same conversations with HR directors as to what constitutes a ‘catchy – fun’ title and what title is limiting appropriate candidates from responding.

Fact:  Job titles are supposed to be descriptive representations of the actual work.  They are also marketing material for both the company and the position.

If we follow the marketing aspect, we will not address employer SEO metrics here– which is an entirely deep conversation unto itself, there is a reality that the perfect candidate has a demographic. That demographic could be based on education, field of expertise, or even the rung on the career ladder. I ‘noodled’ on these discussions while sitting in Atlanta traffic and realized that the demographic of the type of ideal candidate and actual job title was related. 

Job Titles: Abbreviations or Not?

This is a difficult decision. Terms like “VP”, “Dir.”, “Mgr.,” and “Jr” are somewhat descriptive but could ‘hide’ your position from certain candidates.  If an executive is online searching for a “Vice President” position may not see the “VP” or “V.P.” postings. It would take a Boolean search expert to a create opportunity search strings to locate all of these variations.

This job title decision complicates further when your talent acquisition processes are “Socially Engaged” (my term. Pretty cool – right?). Example, if your new company’s systems are “Socially Engaged” and are distributing their openings to outlets like Twitter, reducing the number of characters in a job title is vital to get the message out. These modified shorter titles also fit nicely in your outgoing email subject lines. My expert opinion? Look at the target audience where you suspect your top candidates will come from. For this example, I am excluding ALL candidates that are in the IT field.  All IT people worth their salaries should, and do, understand Boolean search logic.  If they do not, then you do not want to hire them anyway.

Not Just Job Titles: Discussing Lifestyle

If your target candidate carries and uses a smart phone with efficiency, has an active LinkedIN page, and understands what APP and FB stands for, then using abbreviations to shorten your job title message is perhaps a good thing. It would be a normal thought process for this candidate to look for “VP” as well as “Vice President” when perusing a career page.  They understand how to conduct internet research, or they are smart enough to grab their 12 year old child to help them.

On the other hand, if you determine that your target candidate has a ‘flip phone’, a LinkedIN page with 2 connections, and thinks ‘tablets’ are the paper books you wrote on in elementary school then abbreviated job titles will possibly restrict their ability to locate great opportunities in your firm. To attract this type of candidate your job titles should be in standard complete, non-abbreviated form. If you are unsure of the actual target candidate you are seeking, having the same basic job description with varying job titles could help you to reach all candidates. 

Job Titles: Final Thoughts

Job Titles are, in reality, part of your company brand, culture and talent marketing efforts.  Successful talent acquisition has become a very strategic marketing endeavor.  Companies that realize this fact sooner will have the advantage when attracting and hiring the best people. Even when your target audience is an executive level seeking a possible career move, determining your target audience is vital.  Like any marketing program, you need to make sure your message is front and center with the overall demographics of the talent that you seek.

Zac Lopett

Zac Lopett

Social Network Recruiter at Peak Resource Group, Inc.
Zac is a Horror Movie junkie that works by day as a Social Network Recruiter for Peak Resource Group. He is the proud father of Bundy the wonderdog. He is also the editor of the Peak monthly Newsletter.
Zac Lopett
Zac Lopett
Zac Lopett

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