Title Fight: 5 Mistakes Companies Make with their Job Titles

Topics: SEO, job titling

Posted by Gavin Provins on Apr 21, 2016 9:30:00 AM

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Job Titling is not necessarily the first thing you think of when developing your recruitment strategy. But, it’s definitely the first thing that candidates are thinking of – most start by typing a job title into a search engine. That’s why it is important to title your jobs correctly, so that there is a match with the people who are actively looking for the job.

 As the Data Mapping Specialist for our ACTIVATE™ Candidate Attraction Platform, I see a lot of job titles from companies in many different industries. Here are some common mistakes that could hinder your ability to reach individuals who could be a perfect fit for your organization.

1. Fanciful Titles

Some companies like to create titles for jobs that use internal buzzwords, highlight certain aspects of the job or attempt to elevate it. For example, consider a job called Client Relationship Agent. (“We have clients, not customers.” “We are all about building long-term relationships.” “Agent sounds more important.”) The problem is that the vast majority of job seekers are searching on the title Customer Service Representative. Call them whatever you like once you hire them, just make sure to use the most searched title when marketing your jobs. You can always use your job description to tell the full story of how your job is different. If they can’t find the job, you won’t get that chance.

2. TMI

Some recruiters like to stuff “too much information” into their job titles. For example, we might see a job like this: RN-ICU-8am-3pm M-F-Sign-on Bonus. You might think you are micro-targeting candidates with all of that detail, or your recruiters could be doing it to differentiate jobs internally. Yes, some people might search on various combinations of those words, but many more will search on the simple title of RN. In reality, job title and location are most often all that job seekers enter. It’s best to use the most commonly searched title and let your job description fill in the details.

3. Level Setting

Another common practice is to label each position with a number or Roman numeral, such as Software Developer I, Software Developer II, Software Developer III, etc. No one thinks of themselves as a level, and no one searches for a job like that, either. Plus, this concept is confusing. Is “I” the most-experienced or least-experienced level? Your best bet is to use the simple title and let your job description provide details on experience and requirements.

4. Internal Codes

Many organizations assign codes to jobs – codes that mean something inside the company, but nothing to candidates. I’ve seen jobs listed as LPN-A7C2. Needless to say, that information should not be included in any job title that is visible to people outside the company. Often, your ATS will allow you to include both an external and internal title. You can save your codes for the internal title.

5. Oops

You would be surprised how many simple spelling errors get into job titles. I’ve seen many strange job names that had transposed letters, symbols accidentally inserted and even full words that somehow got sandwiched into the title. So, just remember to slow down and proofread your title before you send it out into the world.

Some final advice: Google Adwords offers a great free tool within its Keyword Planner that allows you to see how often job titles are searched – and even compare various titles.

The more you do this, the more interesting information you will uncover. For instance, RN is searched more than Registered Nurse. IT is searched more than Information Technology. But Research & Development is searched more than R&D.

Bottom line: The more you can mirror what candidates consider the job title, the better chance your jobs have of appearing in the top line search.

To learn more about job titling and our ACTIVATE™ platform, contact us today.

Gavin Provins

Gavin Provins is the Data Mapping Specialist at NAS Recruitment Innovation. He has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and public speaking from Ohio University, has held various project management roles and has been focused on our ACTIVATE™ platform for the past several years.