Does the Job Title Matter & How to Get it Right

We recently released a poll on LinkedIn about job titles which delivered some surprising results.

We asked this: “If everything else was suitable and attractive, could the job title put you off of applying for a role you found online?” with options for “yes”, “most definitely”, “in some circumstances”, and “no”. A whopping 76% of people chose the two former, which seems to point towards a pretty resounding answer to our question, does the job title really matter that much?

The answer would appear to be yes, it does. But what does this mean for hiring companies out there?

Why the job title matters so much

Before embarking on any hiring campaign, it’s important to understand the motivations of the talent we’re trying to attract (in the same way you would if taking a new product or service to market). We can safely assume that an individual may be looking for a new job to do one or more of the following:

  1. Improve their career prospects
  2. Progress into a role with more seniority and/or responsibility
  3. Increase their earnings/compensation

Of course, there are other reasons – a lack of cultural fit, general dissatisfaction. But let’s focus on the pieces we absolutely can influence from a job advert.

Job titles matter because, like or not, they more often than not correlate directly to all of the above. Many people attribute more than you may think to the title of the job they take, so it’s important to get it right from the off.

How to know what to title your job advert

To ensure your job title isn’t putting off potential applicants, think before you post. Here are three ways to massively increase those clicks on your advert – and, in turn, the stream of talent you get wanting in on your hiring process:

Do your research

This is without a doubt the number one thing you can do. What’s the market saying? When you search this job title online, do the roles which come up seem a good match in terms of level, seniority and responsibility? Try to honestly measure up how you’d feel as a jobseeker reading your (proposed) job ad. Then realise that without the right job title, your potential talent may not even make it that far – so make it count.

Ask your new hires

When you successfully make a hire, conduct something of an “onboarding interview” (think: onboarding’s answer to an exit interview). Find out from them how the job title made/makes them feel, what their thoughts had been upon seeing your advert, and anything else which can give you insight for next time. Job adverts are marketing collateral: you’re selling the opportunity to work for your organisation, selling your culture. Treat it as such!

Make it enticing!

To our point about job adverts acting as marketing collateral, sell this thing! By “do your research” we aren’t just telling you to match what’s out there – but maybe even go one better. Keep the job title relatable, but eye catching. Choose (or create) one which brooks no conversation about level or seniority, while remaining exciting and attractive to the talent marketplace. There’s a fine line between familiar and “out there”, so this decision is an important one.

Job titles are a funny concept; sometimes even a little taboo in today’s world. To keep up with the ever-changing market, it may mean taking a look at your org structure in more depth. It means change, without a doubt.

But the one thing we absolutely do know is that job title matters. Give it some real time and thought. The numbers say you’ll thank us later!

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