When Are Creative Job Titles Not Welcome?

Downside of job titles
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Job titles can have a major impact on job seekers and your workforce. They can help candidates impress recruiters by showcasing skills and responsibilities from previous jobs using meaningful keywords in their titles (such as director, manager or expert) Not to mention job titles are also an efficient way to empower your workforce and boost their morale. It’s clear there are many benefits to creative job titles… but every path has its puddle!

The “Dark Side” of Job Titles

When it comes to client-facing jobs, some companies would rather let their creativity run wild and give them quirky names in order to “sell” their brand and share what they represent in the market. For example, Apple customers may feel more comfortable leaving their broken IPhones in the hands of a ‘genius’ who probably knows more than the average technician, under the belief that they will offer them an exclusive service. However, the mechanics of job titles in recruiting and HR may tilt the scales on the negative side.

Don’t get it wrong, they can be great tools to identify the role workers play in a company, but breaking the standard of using more traditional keywords to define a position may have repercussions on everyone.

Whether you are part of the HR team, a recruiting network, or a link in an established workforce, job titles can make a dent on your productivity. How? Let’s break it down for you.

Confusion Among Your Workforce

Although showing flexibility when assigning a job title can improve workers’ hierarchical status and level of comfort in the company, it can expose them to a social backlash. Disparities between titles and pay can create confusion and equity issues among those with similar responsibilities; both should be proportional to the duties being fulfilled.

On the other hand, a lack of flexibility can also have a negative effect on your workforce. They may not identify with the title they hold or find it restrictive because it doesn’t seem to provide them a clear career path.

Potential for an Organizational Engagement Crisis

Employees keep the organization going, but trying to satisfy everyone’s whim is not the best way to achieve success. Sure, employee engagement is key, but it must commensurate to the company’s culture, policies and structure. So if everybody is allowed to be a “Manager” or “Head of” anything, there is no clear chain of command, and titles may become toxic and develop into an organizational engagement crisis.

Choosing a personalized job title to satisfy each and every employee could not only result in a battle of egos, but also on making functionality between departments extremely difficult due to the constant changes. Thinking outside the box and being diverse can be positive, as long as it doesn’t represent a risk to the organization’s performance.

Putting-Off Potential Talent

When it comes to the recruiting process, job titles are a tricky subject. Creative titles have been gaining a bigger following among the millennial workforce, start-ups and young IT firms; but this trend is far from expanding beyond internal usage yet. Although reaching out to a ‘Ninja’ Developer to fill in a position for a senior programmer may sound appealing and like great conversation-starter, this type of job titles should not be the reference when sourcing your candidates for a post.

Broad titles with little definition and too much ambiguity are not usually the ones at the top of job seekers’ minds when trying to find job offers. These “catchy” words prove to be meaningless and unsuccessful most of the time, which is why and bring more visibility to your ads. It’s simple, they are the keywords jobseekers actually search for.

In the end, it is all about balance. Job titles can influence your organization’s engagement quite positively when used properly, so you shouldn’t fear getting your feet wet in the waters of creativity; just don’t drown in it. Moreover, if you want results and to attract the talent that you want and actually need, sticking to the classics might be your best move.

Grace Cattini
Online Copy & Content Writer