Recruitment & Hiring

Five tips for creating more compelling job titles when hiring

Saxon Marsden-Huggins /

When your goal is to hire top talent you need to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward in attracting the best applicants.

A job title is the first thing a candidate sees when looking for a new position so it’s integral you get it right. Candidates need to identify themselves with the job title if they’re going to click on a job ad to read more.

A strong or weak job title is the difference between attracting the right and wrong candidates. Consider your job title thoroughly and review the following tips to help you get it right, first time.

1. Make it searchable

Your job is going to be advertised on a variety of job boards and websites and when candidates are job hunting, they’ll often search specific keywords relevant to the job they want. Take the time to look at which roles often appear at the top of the results pages and the keywords they use. Ask your existing employees what they search when looking for similar jobs. You’ll find they’re never searching buzzwords like “sales ninja” but looking for traditional role titles such as “sales associate”.

2. Brainstorm what candidates want

Begin your process by coming back to the question: “Who am I trying to attract?” If you require someone with over seven years experience it will warrant the term “senior” in the title. Similarly, if you want an entry-level candidate consider using terms such as “graduate” in your job title as they are the terms candidates will search. Always think about the same question – who you want to attract- and determine what words mirror the capabilities of your ideal candidates.

3. Competitor comparison

Businesses compete with both direct and indirect competitors for the same top talent. It’s a good idea to search job boards and social media to find out what your competitors are naming similar positions. If you have been using the title “marketing copywriter” but your competitor has an ad for a “digital content specialist”, you might consider broadening your search terms to attract a larger candidate pool.

4. Test different titles and be open to change

Even if you spend enough time workshopping your job title it’s important not to be married to any single title. Ensure you test the title and remain open to changes. If you’re not getting the hits you need, try an amended title. It’s more than okay to have the same job ad out with different role titles. This allows you to capture a diverse candidate pool and determine which search terms work the best.

5. Ensure your titles are appropriate and honest

Finally, it’s very important to make sure your job title isn’t misleading. Don’t advertise a “senior” role if you only have a junior salary available. If your job titles suggest one thing and the job description says another you’ll get a disconnect with candidates and only hurt your chances of hiring top talent.

Saxon Marsden-Huggins is the managing director of Recruit Shop, which offers recruitment services to small businesses in Australia and New Zealand. 

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Saxon Marsden-Huggins

Saxon Marsden-Huggins is the managing director of Recruit Shop, which offers recruitment services to small businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

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  • Robert Godden

    All very sensible advice. A few years back seek.com were recommending padding titles with info e.g. “$70Kp.a. .8FTE Inner Melbourne Sales Consultant” but they seem to have quietly dropped that idea.