Recently, The Wall Street Journal published a piece called Who Wants to Be a Ninja? Job Titles Get a Rebranding. If you haven’t read it yet, the basic assertion of the article is that people (in particular Millennials and younger generations) prefer to apply for jobs with fun words like ninja, hacker or wrangler. We intend to argue the opposite…here’s why…
Rebranding a Title is Different from a Culture Change
People are not easily fooled. Just because you slap a term at the end of a title does not mean your company is actually fun to work for, or that it will provide you with a career ladder. Choosing to call a Marketing Manager a Marketing Rockstar will not make that happen for you. If you are receiving feedback that Millennials and other younger generations don’t want to work at your company, you may want to look at why. Attraction means nothing if you can’t keep them interested or you can’t retain them once you hire them.
Some reasons why you may be missing the mark with your recruitment marketing include:
- Benefits that need a refresh – are your vacation policies awful? How’s your maternity leave looking? Are you offering a 401k? People want those things. Make sure what you are offering is competitive within the market.
- Pay that isn’t consistent with what the market will bear – this one is self-explanatory. While money isn’t everything, if you are paying minimum wage for the same job a candidate can get across the street for $5 higher per hour…well…you are probably going to lose.
- A toxic culture – Are you encouraging your team? Saying thank you? Providing them with opportunities? If not, you may not be giving them what they need to succeed. Micromanagement and constant criticism is a recipe for limited creativity, resentment and few applications. People talk; make sure they are saying something positive.
- Visible turnover – in the digital age there is nowhere to hide! If you are posting the same job every other month, people are smart enough to realize you are experiencing a lot of turnover and they are also intelligent enough to realize there must be a reason.
Applying Takes Time
It has been said time and time again that finding a job is a job in and of itself. It takes candidates hours to become informed about a job and adding Ninja to a title and filling the job description with nebulous duties will just increase the research time needed.
Making the choice to brand your job titles in a cool way will result in all of the following:
- Uninformed candidates applying for roles they are not qualified for.
- Candidates who really value learning about your company and want to apply in an informed manner taking too long to apply (while you hire a person who is not ideal that just hits the button).
- Candidates refusing to apply as they can see that you are pandering to them.
Another Way to Fail
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention another, very common way to fail at job titles. While we are against adding Guru to your next job title, we are equally passionate about you not naming your jobs things like SPD Tech II V 7. This is especially common in industries like healthcare and manufacturing.
Here’s why it’s a problem…
- No one is searching for that! If your keywords are not included in the title, no one will be able to find the job.
- No one understands the significance of the II, the V or the 7.
- It is the least interesting way to promote a job.
In conclusion, if you want people to find your job and be interested in applying for it, apply all the best practices listed here:
- KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid! Okay, you’re not stupid, so don’t act it! Say what the job is and be very clear. Spice up the copy with reasons why they should apply…leave the title alone.
- Use Keywords in the Job Title – Make sure you are using the industry standard keywords. Let the amazing work your company does support the job, not a catchy add-on.
- Improve your offerings – Give the people what they want (including the ones who already work for you) and you will benefit.
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