Title Inflation – A Time Waster - American Society of Employers - Tom Jackson

Title Inflation – A Time Waster

Director name plateNot long ago, job titles were relatively generic. If you sold something, you were a sales representative or an account representative. If you answered phones, you were a receptionist. Everyone knew what the title implied regarding job duties and the type of experience required to perform the position at a high level. However, in today’s business community things are changing – especially how it applies to title use in the talent acquisition process.

Title inflation is a phenomenon best illustrated in industries and organizations such as high tech and startups where it is required to have an impressive letterhead that projects a portfolio of dynamic, experienced, and forward-thinking people based on the titles used to identify their internal business efforts. This is a typical form of “fluff” which is used to make the organization or position look more substantial and sophisticated than it really is.

How exactly is this impacting companies that do not run and gun like a Google, Apple, Facebook, or any other West Coast Silicon Valley startup? Well, it confuses both the talent that is seeking new opportunities and the talent acquisition teams who are seeking talent to fill new opportunities within their organizations.

An example of the difficulties facing employers and job seekers would be a trendy company who is seeking a new director of 1st impressions. When you read the job title, it presents itself as a position that requires director level experience. If the candidate does not read the full description of the position, the posting will probably attract a group of mid-level professionals in public relations, marketing, sales, and communications. Those candidates will be surprised when they find out they have applied to a position that will answer phones and greet people when they come into the building. It will also be a waste of recruiting time and money.

On the other hand, if this position was posted with the realistic title of receptionist, candidates that have worked as a Director of 1st Impressions will not apply because they feel their work history as a Director of 1st Impressions is far more lofty then that of receptionist.  An equal waste of recruiting time and money.

So, be wary of title inflation and the inverse which is accurate title representation in your talent acquisition job posting.

To get the best results from your job postings you should follow a couple of simple guidelines which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Don’t post a book of job duties, responsibilities, and requirements. Narrow it down to the core. Get to the point and keep it simple.
  • Title should be representative of the position. It is not the selling point.
  • Market the opportunity and why this is a good position with your company. Play up company culture and how the company treats its employees. It all comes down to why would someone want to join your company as well as the team this position is associated with.   
  • Make sure your Talent Acquisition Team can read between the lines of the resume and properly assess job duties and responsibilities to the job titles used in the resume.

If you would like to discuss title inflation and how it plays into your talent acquisition activities in this tight talent market, please contact me at [email protected].


Source: HRDive 6/30/2022

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