Multi-Tasking Ninja isn’t a Job Title

Have you ever looked at a job advert and wondered what on earth you would be doing if you were the successful candidate? 

We’ve been through the phase of pimping job titles to make them sound a bit sexier than they actually are – I’m thinking “Media Distribution Operative” (Paper Boy/Girl) and “Hygiene Operative” (Cleaner), the latter of which I am guilty of advertising for once upon a time. 

But we seem to be entering a new era of competitive job titles. Sales Assistants are becoming Brand Ambassadors, the fab folk who try to get me to buy the right shade of lipstick are “Beauty Ambassadors” and a “Protection Specialist” renames the good old insurance salesperson. That to me was a bit of a let-down; I was expecting something a bit more gangsta.

Job titles can be a bit of fun, but before you start re-advertising your Deputy Headteacher post as the “Grand Master of Underlings and Curriculum Jedi”, perhaps we need to consider what a job title says about candidates and employers alike. 

I would worry about someone whose CV tells me they are a Problem Wrangler (apparently this was a post as a counsellor) because it sounds just a bit too fighty for my welfare role and actually, I don’t want a counsellor that wrangles. I want someone who, well, does the job of a counsellor and facilitates a person working through their own difficulties. I also want an application that tells me what someone does. 

The Problem Wrangler could equally be someone working in Customer Complaints, Research and Development, or, let’s face it almost any job. I have the tendency to wrangle a few problems myself. Equally, I would have a problem with Chief Chatter (Call Centre Manager) for reasons that are possibly obvious. Most offices probably have one already. 

Admittedly, some more mundane job titles don’t really tell us much more. In the wonderful world of HR, an HR Officer could be a glorified administrator through to an experienced generalist practitioner. I do however know from the title the broad nature of the job and I have the starting point for a few interview questions. 

What about employers? A catchy job title will get you noticed, and in certain fields that’s great. “Marketing Rock Star” would work in such a creative field and sounds better than Marketing Executive which is perhaps a bit more Paul Smith suit and a bit less creative campaign guru, although the best marketing job title I’ve found is “Wizard of Light Bulb Moments”. 

Digital Overlord (apparently a website manager) however, immediately conjures images of an internet criminal heavyweight, who I picture stroking a fluffy white cat surrounded by many, many, computer screens. All of these titles will immediately bring to mind images of what a person may expect of the role, and you don’t want to put off great candidates because they either don’t know what they’d be applying for, or they think the culture of the organisation is just a bit too eccentric. 

By Claire Isaacs, HR Consultant (because Multi-Tasking Ninja is not a job title, but probably should be!)

***This article was originally posted on the SPS website.  Read more SPS news and updates at***

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