The importance of job titles when recruiting

jason-briscoe-149781Whether you’re looking for a new member of your marketing,  IT or finance team, attracting the best talent will be your number one priority. People often spend a lot of time thinking about the job description, while the importance of the job title is overlooked.

Here are five job title tips to ensure that you maximize your chances of finding your perfect employee:

1. Use well known titles

Have you ever seen a job advert that uses an exciting phrase to describe a fairly standard role? At first glance titles such as “Finance Ninja” or “Marketing Guru” can seem a great way to attract the dynamic and fun individuals that such companies are looking for? But in reality, this is unlikely to be the case. A Finance Ninja in a growing SME is likely to be called a Management Accountant/Finance manager or even Financial Controller in their current role and they’re unlikely to be using these more radical titles in their  job search, so they’re unlikely to even see your ad.

2. Avoid Jargon/ Abbreviations

Similarly, to maximize the chances of your future employee finding you through their online search, it is best to avoid industry jargon. Research has shown that people are less likely to apply for a role if they don’t understand the job title. This means that using terms which are highly specific to your industry may deter suitable candidates. Abbreviations such as Sr. Mgr. (instead of Senior Manager) are also likely to limit your success.

3. Do some Research

Before deciding upon the job title, look at job listings on jobs boards (such as Reed and Indeed) and identify those being used for similar roles. The ones that feature the most are the job titles that are likely to be getting the most web-traffic and therefore should yield the best results. You could also check out the Google AdWords Keyword Tool , which will show you the popularity of specific searches.

4. Make it appropriate

Sometimes there is a tendency in smaller businesses to use more senior terms (for example Finance Director) when in actual fact the role is a more hands-on position (such as Financial Controller or even Management Accountant). Getting this wrong will potentially mean that you have few, or no, candidates apply (if you advertise the salary band). Or you may have over-qualified candidates applying who will be  looking for a higher salary than you can offer. These candidates will not expect to be applying for a role where most of their time is spent dealing with administration and paperwork; instead there will be an expectation of responsibility, strategic decisions and working as part of a senior management team. If this isn’t the role that you are actually advertising then honesty is a much better policy to avoid wasting anyone’s time.

5. Mix it up

Consider doing two job adverts to attract candidates at different levels, if your requirements are flexible, as this might be more effective than having a wide salary band. If training can be provided, it may be suitable to search for a more junior member of staff concurrently with your ideal candidate search.  This will widen the pool of candidates that you can then select from.  For example, changing the job title to include the word “junior” and adjusting the salary band downwards could actually result in you attracting candidates that may have felt they were under-qualified for the original job advert.

Using well known and understood job titles is important when attracting candidates, and also important to the successful applicants. Therefore whilst there are plenty of aspects of recruiting where innovation and creativity is to be encouraged, job titles isn’t one of them!

Photo credit: Jason Briscoe, Unsplash