Inflated Job Titles costing you Candidates?
Most probably remember in the early 1990’s the job title of “Secretary” quickly became well known as “Administrative Assistant”. New emerging company cultures decided the contemporary titles were demeaning and needed to create new ones with multiple words to make the position sound important. Thus – giving the employee some satisfaction and hopefully looking to show more value in his or her position. Yet – many of the early generation often still refer to these roles as “Secretaries” and it can be taken rather offensively in 2014. Pardon me as I digress… lets get back to the main point of this article.
The transition of some titles is understandable. However, what I am finding more and more as I consult and work with companies is creation of what I call “inflated” job titles. A Sales Representative for a company is normally referred to as an Account Executive. Again – same theory as above as to why this is done. However, most recently a multitude of companies have started to use the inflated titles such as: “Regional Sales Manager” | “National Sales Manager” | “Area Sales Director” to describe their role to fill a Sales Representative / Account Executive. This is not only misleading, but job seekers usually use a keyword search to locate your opening and the term “Manager” and/or “Director” is usually associated with Leadership roles that have direct reports. Just as Recruiters use keywords to find candidates online via resume tracking; job applicants set up search tools within LinkedIn and other sites to match them to careers.
Once the job applicant clicks on your opening and reads the role – they will quickly understand you are merely seeking a Sales Representative and move on. Often taking a mental note of the company that uses the Bait & Switch tactic to draw people in to the opening. Seasoned Job Seekers often find this highly frustrating and it will often times cause companies to have a multitude of mis-guided applicants applying for your opening.
Bottom line – a job title should truly reflect the opening of which you are seeking to fill. Thus – if the job is for a Sales Representative and you use terms such as “Director” | “Manager” | “Area Manager” or any of the like – you are misleading your applicants. You are costing yourself a reputation and clearly not setting a good first impression with your audience.
As you build out your team(s) and organization – clearly think through the titles and ensure it makes sense. Not only will it confuse potential applicants, but clearly confuse the people in which they conduct business with on your behalf.
Evolution of Job Titles
To show you how much has changed over the years – here are 15 job titles that your Great Grandparents may have been more accustomed to. Funny to see how much has changed over the last century. Take a peek at the 15 most interesting job titles from history.
1. Catchpole. A catchpole rounded up delinquent debtors.
2. Knocker-Up. In British towns of yore, particularly those with a mine or mill as the center of commercial activity, knocker-ups were responsible for going from house to house to wake workers in the mornings. The title came from the sound they made rapping on windows.
3. Weirkeeper. A keeper of fish traps.
4. Ironmonger. One who sells things made out of iron. Mongers of all types were found in the Middle Ages: costermonger (fruit seller), fishmonger, woodmonger—and the term still survives here and there as in hatemonger and fear monger.
5. Hobbler. No, not one who breaks legs for the mob, but rather one who tows boats on a river or canal.
6. Arkwright. A maker of arks (wooden chests or coffers).
7. Redsmith. Unlike blacksmiths who worked with iron, redsmiths worked with copper. Goldsmiths and silversmiths were a little less colorful when it came to naming.
8. Knacker. Harness maker.
9. Chandler. One who makes candles, and one of the common surnames to come from professional designations; miller, baker, cooper, and potter being other obvious examples.
10. Eggler. Predictably, an egg-merchant.
11. Collier. One who makes and sells charcoal.
12. Haberdasher. One who deals in men’s furnishings. You’ll still come across this one today.
13. Ackerman. An oxherder.
14. Thimblerigger. One who runs a game of “thimblerig.” The predecessor to three-card-monte, thimblerig consisted of shuttling a pea among three thimbles and betting on which thimble the pea was under.
15. Hayward. An officer in charge of fences and hedges. Good fences make good neighbors, but good haywards make good fences.
More about the author of this article:
Dennis A. Branch specializes in startups, the building / re-building of brands and acquiring the distribution, marketing and team to create an overall game changing presence in the industry. Serving over 14+ years in various Leadership roles within the telecommunications industry – and successfully launching the first 4G Network in the United States in 2009. He helped to take a struggling startup to a half-billion dollar annual producer with the lowest operating costs in the industry.
His clients and partners include many companies – such as Best Buy, Cox, DirecTV, Dish Network, Google, Intel, Lenovo, Miss USA / Universe Pageant Franchise, QVC, Radio Shack, Time Warner, Wal-Mart, Walt Disney World Resorts and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to help secure distribution and marketing.