Job Title Killers

You know what position I would love to apply for!?  Jr. Human Resource Manager, said no one ever!

I hate spending 3 seconds on job titles, because job titles just scream, “Personnel Department”, but I have to just take a few minutes to help out some of my HR brothers and sisters.  Recently, I came across a classic job title mistake when someone had posted an opening and then broadcasted it out to the world for a, wait for it, “Jr. Industrial Engineer”.  I almost cried.

Really!  No, Really!  “Jr.”  You actually took time, typed out the actual title, and then thought to yourself, “Oh yeah! There’s an Industrial Engineer out there just waiting to become a ‘Jr. Industrial Engineer’!”  Don’t tell me you didn’t, because that’s exactly what it says.  “But Tim, you don’t understand we’ve always called our less experienced Industrial Engineers, Junior, so we can differentiate them from our ‘Industrial Engineers’ and our ‘Sr. Industrial Engineers’.  What do you want us to to do, call them: Industrial Engineer I, Industrial Engineer II and Industrial Engineer III?”

No, I don’t want you to do that either.

Here’s what I want you to do.  I want you to title this position as “Lesser Paid Industrial Engineer”. You’ll get the same quality of responses!

You know how to solve this, (but why you won’t) just have one pay band for “Industrial Engineer”, from $38K to $100K.  Pay the individuals within that band appropriately for their years of experience and education.

This is why you won’t do it. Your ‘Sr.’ Compensation Manager knows you aren’t capable of handling this level of responsibility and within 24 months your entire Industrial Engineering staff would all be making $100K – Jr’s, Middles and Sr’s!

Please don’t make me explain how idiotic it looks when you list out your little number system on your post as well (Accountant I, Accountant II, etc.). Because you know there just might be an Accountant out there going, “Some day I just might be an Accountant II!”

If SHRM actually did anything, I wish they would just go around to HR Pros who do this crap and visit their work place and personally cut up their PHR or SPHR certificates in half, in front of them, like a maxed out credit card that gets flagged in the check out line.  That would be awesome!

All this does is make it look like you took a time machine in from a 1970 Personnel Department.

But, seriously, if you know of any Sr. Associate HR Manager III positions please let me know.

10 thoughts on “Job Title Killers

  1. Enjoyed your post. Spot on! My favorite job description (I’m not kidding): “Must work efficiently in an atmosphere of ambiguity.” I think that explains many jobs I’ve had.

  2. Tim, great post! You did not tell us in the post that the position comes with a “Toolbox”. Once you share this, I’m going to back to apply…. Thanks.

  3. Good reading, because its so true to find these type of titles displayed in posting that is really unnecessary and you lose the interest of applicants. Good job for saying it when others don’t know how.

  4. I really enjoyed this post! Recently I applied for a position that was listed as “Manager” in the online description, only to learn that the actual title that would be on my business cards was “assistant manager.” Maybe a better person’s ego would not have reacted to that, but after 20 years of experience, the thought of becoming an assistant manager was not enticing. Thankfully, I was offered another more fitting position.

  5. Tim,

    Great post! Do you know how many hours of my life I will never get back regarding discussions on job descriptions? It’s amazing how the minutiae can really get in the way – “No, I think that ‘Accountant I’ sounds better than “Associate Accountant’ . . .”

    As you point out, all the wordsmithing in the world doesn’t really matter.

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