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Why is it Important to Update Job Titles?

January 19, 2023

Is it taking longer for you to fill your key roles than it used to? If you haven’t done so already, it may be time to think about elevating your job titles.

Across a wide variety of industries, the quantity and quality of applicants have declined. Baby boomers are retiring, pulling people out of the workforce without replacements to fill their shoes. Some millennials are more interested in working to live than living to work. The most common efforts to attract candidates and become an employer of choice include company benefits, compensation structure, hybrid workplace, and career growth planning. If you haven’t done so already, it may be time to take additional steps and think about boosting your job titles.

Maybe you’ve already considered this and have more lofty job titles in place. If so, your changes are most likely helping you to retain staff and attract more talent. If not, you may have an opportunity to improve your recruiting success rate and employee stability.

Three examples of capacities with room for title improvement

  1. Human Resources- The person who heads up Human Resources at an organization can be titled Human Resources Manager, Director of Human Resources, Vice President Human Resources, Senior Vice President Human Resources, Chief People Officer or Chief Human Resources Officer.

    Additionally, there are many titles for the Human Resources professional who reports directly to the President/CEO. Sometimes the size of the organization or the industry corresponds to the title variations. Other times companies have had the same title in place for many years and haven’t changed them even though other organizations have increased the status of their titles.

    Consider elevating the title to the highest level you’re comfortable bestowing to your head of HR. Candidates don’t want to step back in title. Making this change gives you a larger interested pool of candidates to consider without spending a dime. Other candidates whose current titles are junior to your new title can be attracted to a chance to show title progression on their resume.
  2. Controllers In situations where an organization doesn’t have a Director of Finance & Accounting, Vice President Finance, and/or a Chief Financial Officer, we are seeing our clients raise their Controller title to one of these other titles. A perfect time to do this is when you need to hire a new Controller.

    Another opportune time to do this is if your Controller has been doing well. Increasing their title to Director or Vice President can help you to retain them.

    As with the Head of Human Resources, making a title change can increase your potential pool of candidates. One reason that an individual will consider making a career change is to improve their perceived status and self-esteem. For a financial executive, the opportunity to move up in title can be personally gratifying in these ways.
  3. Sales- If you have defined business development executives and you title them Assistant Vice President, Vice President, or you don’t title them at all, consider elevating their titles. Salespeople often share the belief that a Senior Vice President title rather than a Vice President title carries weight with potential customers and makes it easier for them to win over new business.

    In addition to the other retention and hiring benefits mentioned above Salespeople are hesitant to step back in title for fear that they will lose their customers’ respect. Some are concerned about how a reduced title will appear on their resumes. They often suspect that a reduced title implies that they weren’t hitting their numbers and needed to step back.

Additional Benefit

Elevating an employee’s title can reduce the chance of them being recruited to another organization. If an organization’s talent acquisition specialist or a third-party recruiter is looking for Controllers, they may not reach out to Directors, Vice Presidents, or Chief Financial Officers as potential candidates for concern that they are over-qualified, or the potential candidate is unlikely to step back in title.

Picture these scenarios

There are fewer roles for your Chief Human Resources Officer to consider if they don’t want to step back in title.

There’s greater satisfaction for your Senior Vice President Business Development if they feel they’ve achieved a respectable title.

If your candidates are considering multiple offers and your offer has the best sounding title, your chance of an acceptance increases significantly.

Are you seeing a consistent theme?

Questions? Wondering how you can improve your recruiting success rate? Contact us, we’d be happy to help.

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