Dress for the job you want, as the old adage goes. It’s advice that companies looking at recruiting and retaining high-quality employees should take to heart – by dressing up their job titles to appeal to top-caliber talent. Here’s how the right job title can inspire more people – and the right ones – to apply for your job and how to keep great workers with you in the long term.
A Job Title Should Be Aspirational
There is a reason sales assistants are now called “associates” or “partners.” These titles suggest a welcoming, aspirational environment that takes even entry-level employees’ roles seriously. And they can be a major selling point for more senior applicants who want to stand apart in the industry. When deciding on a title for your job role, try to land on something that fits your company culture while also encapsulating what the role entails. It should feel like a step up for applicants – or at least a step up from what your competitors offer. One thing to keep in mind: if you do lean heavily on the aspirational side of things, expect that the stellar applicants you’ll attract will also have stellar expectations around compensation and responsibilities.
But Don’t Get Too Weird
If you’re in an innovative category or your brand is on the edgier side, it’s tempting to get weird and wonderful with your job titles. Imagineer or Tech Ninja looks great on a business card. But an overly creative title is less likely to show up in search results and can also be tough for applicants to visualize. What does a tech ninja do, exactly? How will they explain that to future employers? Some creative latitude is fine, but don’t alienate potential applicants with overly obscure titles or ones that don’t seem to gel with their career goals. One simple way to lend clarity to more creative titles is to add a descriptive word that helps characterize the role: Database Ninja is less opaque than Tech Ninja, for example.
Allow For Upward Movement
Brands love to talk about “flat” organizational hierarchies, but this can set off warning bells for employees. Workers want to know that there’s room in the organization for them as they move into more senior roles and that years down the track, they’re not going to be sharing a job title with the newbie who’s been there five minutes. Create an internal job title hierarchy that aligns with your own organizational chart but that also doesn’t stray too far from competitors’. Applicants won’t want to apply for a job that sounds like they’re receiving a demotion, even if the pay and responsibilities are more senior. And you don’t want to get existing employees offside by accidentally giving someone a job title that makes them sound more senior than the person they report to!
Talk to the Job Title Experts
At StellaPop, we’re old hats at corporate recruiting. Our team of strategists can help your business define your organizational hierarchy, develop a winning series of job titles to appeal to existing and prospective staff, and create a recruitment campaign that will have top talent lining up to work with you. For more information, get in touch!