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Can We Ditch the Made Up Job Titles Yet?

April 10, 2018
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Remember when titles like, “Sanitation Engineer” and “Domestic Engineer” were just another way to say, “garbage man” and “housewife”? I remember hearing those terms in my 20’s and chuckling to myself because of how ridiculous they were.

Fast forward 20-years later and it seems like the genius who came up with these titles was actually onto something…

Sarcasm noted.

I’ve seen my fair share of interesting, often made up titles over the course of my career. These last 2-years, in particular, have brought a new onslaught of absurd titles, mostly due to professionals trying to inflate their image and create a personal brand. There’s nothing wrong with building a personal brand—just don’t BS us.

With the rise of social media as a recruiting and branding tool, it’s no wonder that folks are trying so hard to stand out from the crowd. It’s a truly saturated market. Titles like “Web Designer” or “Digital Consultant” have been traded for “Web Kahuna” and “Digital Dynamo.” I’m just going to come right out and say it: what the hell are these?

I get that people want to adjust their titles to better reflect the actual job they do, but haven't these gotten a little out of hand?:

- “Accomplished Sales Professional” → “Sales Ninja”
- “Copywriter” → “Word Herder”
- “Social Media Marketer” → “Master Connector”
- “Senior Vice President” → “Head Cheese”
- “Marketing Executive” → “Marketing Rockstar”

We can thank those bogus titles to websites like www.bullshitjob.com. While this site is a gag, the fact that it exists—and that companies likely use it not as a gag, but for actual job postings—is just too much. And it’s one of hundreds on the web. Plus, searching on LinkedIn and through a Boolean search for titles these days is close to impossible thanks to those types of websites.

Being unique has its limits. When does it all end? In the recruiting industry, we’ve all seen this same phenomenon. It’s no longer uncommon to see titles like:

- Talent Scout
- Talent Consultant
- Sourcing Ninja

Or more recently I have stumbled across these on cards and social media profiles:

- People Placer
- Recruiting Rockstar
- Professional Networker
- Chief Talent Aggregator
- Master Contact Converter
- People Investigator
- Chief Selection Officer

I asked a few of these self-proclaimed “Recruiting Masters” why they chose their titles. Most often, the response was that they wanted to shake the negative connotation of terms like “Head Hunter.” Okay, I get that we want to be viewed as professionals who perform a needed service that has been around for decades, but does a title really change your image?

Maybe instead of focusing on titles, we start to focus on how we treat our candidates and hiring leaders; how we lead our hiring managers; and how we provide more value to that we serve!

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