Things to Consider When Choosing a Job Title

by Sarah Reyes

Writing job titles can be tricky because they should be specific but also descriptive at the same time; they should not be too long, but they should not be too short either. So, what is the golden mean, and where is the happy middle? 

A job title is compelling to the applicants if it is enticing but also search engine friendly. It also needs to be clarified so potential hires will know on the get-go if and if they are not eligible for the job. 

What makes a convincing job name, and how does the recruiting team decide on one for their respective companies and businesses’ recruiting process? 

What is a Job Title?

A job title describes in a short sentence or a few words the position being held by a company or business’ employee. Depending on what the employee’s job is holding, each title will also pertain to the level or degree of the position and the responsibilities the position entails. 

Job titles are also what a job applicant uses and searches for when applying for a job. There is a search bar on most job-search engines where you type in the position, and matching jobs related to the title will appear. 

For the company and business, they use job titles to describe the position and level of an employee, especially if it is an enormous business conglomerate in an industry like finance and law where job hierarchies or seniority and tenure are upheld. 

There are different job titles that a company, business, or startup should note, especially if they are composing a job position specific to the position they are looking to hire. 

What are Different Types of Job Titles?

It can state the level of responsibilities of the position 

A job position title stating the responsibilities or level of a position of a job is most commonly seen and used for most management jobs to indicate seniority. Job descriptions like manager, supervisor, director, or executive are a part of this type of job position. 

It can state the specific thing a person will do on the job

There are job titles that will reflect what a person will do on the job. Specific job functions relating to the work like chef, social media specialist, bank teller, computer programmer, mechanic, guest services coordinator, and what have you. 

It can contain both level of responsibility and the job requirements

Although some job functions will simply indicate the level of responsibilities or the specific role of a job, sometimes, it can point to both. Job titles like head chef, or chief engineer, or lead accountant, and marketing manager are a part of this subgenre. 

Most corporate jobs will have this type of job position, and as an employee moves up the corporate ladder, so will their roles in the organization hierarchy. A basic organizational hierarchy will usually look like this from the bottom to the top: the entry-level, individual contributor, managerial, directorial, vice president, then the chief executive officer. 

Of course, this is just indicating the level, and each job requirement, whether you are working in supply chain or marketing, will usually be on the job description after each level. 

How Do Employers Use Job Titles? 

The primary use of a job position title for the company or business is so that they can categorize these jobs into their organizational chart. Aside from the job titles listed on the organizational chart, it will also indicate where certain employees will be reporting and the management of the company themselves. 

To show progression

For larger companies and organizations, a formal set of job titles are typically expected for each position they will carry to indicate an employee’s progression on the organizational ladder—titles such as assistant, leader, coach, associate, junior, and senior. 

Smaller startups and businesses can have more flexibility regarding their job titles initially, especially if less than two people hold each role. 

To manage compensation

Another way companies and organizations use job titles is to manage each employee’s compensation system. Many jobs can be tied to a particular pay grade. The pay grade or salary range will refer to the compensation for new employees and what already existing employees can expect to earn if they reach a specific position. 

To show career path and progression

Aside from the organization system and salary grade, employers will use job titles to determine a career path. They use this to select an employee who will be eligible for promotions and many others. This progression in the career path is usually evident on the corporate ladder and in other bigger organizations with a huge employee count. 

Companies and organizations give each of their employees a specific job position title to track them and keep hiring and onboarding new employees rolling. 

How do Employees and Applicants Use Job Titles? 

For job searching

Aspiring job applicants will use the job name to search for jobs on the internet, from different job sites to social media to the company sites themselves. Recruiters use valuable keywords when they input jobs to refine the search quickly for their target applicants. 

By using the job title when you look for jobs, vacant positions are narrowed down, and you can quickly sift through the job that matches your experience and the industry you want to be working with. 

For job researching

Suppose you are an already existing employee for a particular company or organization. In that case, job titles are there for you to discover other job types and more responsibilities in the industry and office that you are working in. 

All of us aspire to move up to our dream career, and job titles are there to help you know the positions you can aspire to on your step to walking up the career ladder as you accumulate more experience and seek career changes. 

For resumes

The most critical factor for an employee to gain from knowing and having a job position title is to use it for their resumes. Knowing their previous work positions when a job applicant is applying for a job will ensure a quick overview of prior employment for their recruiter’s perusal. 

Many employees also use their job titles to leverage their online job profile on various job sites and LinkedIn. If you have chosen to add a job position title to your previous work where job position titles are not etched in stone, it’s essential to notify your list of character references so that everything will be valid when checking for references comes. 

Important Factors on Choosing a Job Title 

Job Title Relevant to the Industry

The norm in deciding on a job title is that recruiting needs to take a job position title that already and actually exists. However, many would be astonished by just how many of them are renaming and putting a twist on recognizable job position titles to improve the talent pool looking to apply for the position. 

Recruiters need to understand to avoid flowery or gimmicky language when naming job position titles. If the language recruiters are using to call the position they are filling does not match that of the candidate, there is more chance that the target job applicant won’t even see the job post in the first place. 

Although it is tempting to revamp a job position title, using industry-known and relevant terms for your job name will get you closer to the perfect job applicant. 

Seniority Level Required

Another trick to attract the perfect talent pool for the vacant position is indicating the level of seniority a company or an organization is looking for to fill the job. Words like an intern, senior, associate, and assistant on a specific job title will be beneficial to target the people who are qualified for the job. 

By doing this, the recruiting team’s time in sifting through applications and emailing unqualified candidates will be cut in half. At the same time, overqualified applicants won’t waste their time and effort going through with the recruitment process only to learn near the end that they are overqualified. 

Job Title Appeal to the Candidates

To ensure that your job name is on par with your competition, there is no fault in sticking to the old and useful job titles for each position to adapt to your organizational chart or recruiting methods. Do a quick research on how other companies in the same industry are looking and calling entry-level to executive level positions, especially for rapidly expanding startups. 

All businesses across companies and organizations will be different, but the same HR will more or less look and carve out the same organizational hierarchy to keep track of everything. Making sure that everything is lined up on the get-go will also ensure that they know what job and duties are there to expect for the position. 

Avoid Jargons and Abbreviations

To make the job appeal to all aspiring applicants, using abbreviations and industry-specific terms in the job name will deter them from applying to the job. For the recruiting team, it is best to keep these terms away before the onboarding. Keeping in mind to use known and exact words on the job name is the best way to go about this issue unless the abbreviations or acronym is widely known in your field. 

These general terms will include acronyms such as RN, which is the short term for registered nurses, VP is for vice president, and HR, which stands for human resources. If using known acronyms is widely known by many, then using them for the job title is acceptable. 

Job Title Matches the Compensation

To keep the talent pool qualified and support a positive candidate and employee experience, a company or organization needs to match every employee’s job name to their expected salaries. 

Suppose the recruiting team chooses to title inflate on the get-go. In that case, it will create confusion and problems. They risk losing money and wasting time when a candidate quits before onboarding upon knowing the discrepancy regarding the salary on the final interview. 

Misaligning the role and overinflating it can deter the entry-level applicant you are looking for in the position. It will waste the executive-level talent when there is a massive contrast between the role and the salary. 

For startups, research is essential in knowing the salary expectations of another company hiring the same role for their office. Doing your research will lead to deciding whether your asking price for the position will be too costly for the business or organization or way out off the mark for a livable wage. 

No Unnecessary Information

A job name will serve the human resource team two functions: to ensure that the posting appears on search engines and that their posting will attract the best of job candidates. Nonessential information like estimated salary grade and job location should not be on the job title instead, as it can be conveyed in other parts of the job placement ad. 

Many recruiting teams will use casual and creative wording to bring out brand personality on the job posting. This is sometimes tricky since most of the words used in the job name might not come out in the search engine used by applicants. 

Job titles like marketing guru in exchange for marketing consultant will keep your posting hidden from people who searched for the latter term. This mistake can leave you out of finding the perfect candidate for the vacant spot. 

Ensure the Right Word Length

It is essential for the recruiting team not to keep the job title too short or too long because their job posting might suffer when it comes to candidates searching for the job. Keep information off like job location or any unnecessary adjectives and exaggerations out of the title. 

Keep the title within the range of 50 to 60 characters and avoid as much as possible to go over 80 characters. You can do this by keeping the job name straight to the point and keeping out some extensions that would keep the title too long since you can always elaborate on what the job entails in the job description on the posting itself. 

Keep the job name shorter but descriptive, and you can get more clicks. 

Use Keywords

Recruiting team needs to focus on utilizing keywords on their job title to draw potential candidates to their postings. These keywords are commonly searched words in jobs that can help your job posting to come upon a potential perfect job applicant as they search for the job. 

The key is choosing words that would make the most sense for the role, and this could include words focusing on the job function or words concentrating on the job level or expertise you require for the position, or both. 

Pick keywords relevant to the industry or sector and make sure they are easy to locate. To get more clicks, it might be more beneficial to use recognizable and commonplace words. 

Make Sure to Avoid Inherent Presumptions and Outdated Terms in Job Titles 

Many terms are now frowned upon in the current and changing times and can deter applicants from applying for the job. There are also outdated terms for some jobs currently unused and now updated to keep up with the current employment setting. 

It is crucial to keep all your job names gender-neutral. This is the first thing a candidate will see, and first impressions of your company and organization’s culture are more important now than ever to encourage the younger generation like the Millennials and GenZers to apply to you. 

If your job names are gender-charged, you isolate a big part of the job market. Stick with common and gender-neutral names like project managers, servers, and developers to your job title and avoid terms like hacker or waiter. 

For outdated terms, clerks are now known as office assistants. Terms have changed as the years’ pass, and for good reasons, they should also reflect the current societal attitudes. 

You might also like: The Different Types of Pre-Employment Tests You Should Know

Job Titles Are Important Even for Startups

In smaller businesses and startups where a single employee might assume the many roles of an accountant and the office secretary combined, they might be tempted to veer out of job titles even as they hire, and this should not be the case. 

A job title is essential not just in hiring but for the applicant to be able to have something palpable and clarifying on their resumes for their future employment benefit. 

Final Thoughts

Many factors can affect a wrong job name, and in the worst cases, companies, organizations, and startups can lose money for the discrepancies brought about by inaccurate job titles. It can cause unintended sexism, ambiguity in compensation, and sometimes organizational confusion that would lead to the perfect candidate dropping out of the recruitment process in the middle of it. 

In the end, job titles need to be relevant, specific, clarifying, and without any confusion. If you feel that you might need to say things in the job name, be sure to elaborate on them in the job description instead since the first step to finding the perfect hire is for the applicant to click on your job description first. 

Photo credit @ PEXELS

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