Because our clients span all industries and we source for jobs ranging from entry-level to upper management, we have seen our fair share of confusing, unrepresentative and non-descriptive titles.  As frustrating as this is, as HR professionals, we are tasked with being the great translators and matchmakers for whatever comes across our desks anyway.

What some organizations call an “operations manager” others will call “operations coordinator.”  So which, if either, is more significant?  Which has higher rank, status or pay?

We find ourselves scratching our heads and wondering the same thing all the time.

Employers, here is our best advice when it comes to titles.  They should be:

1.  Representative:


You know the expression, “call it like it is”?  Well, that should absolutely apply to selecting an appropriate job title.  If someone is a bartender, don’t call him/her a “beverage dissemination officer.”  Mail room assistants should be referred to as such, not as a “communications distribution assistants.”

2.  Understandable:

As with #1, the time a recruiter has to spend trying to figure out what it is that a candidate does, the more likely they are to abort the effort and move on to someone else whose qualifications are plain to see.  Keep in mind that ambiguity is NOT a good thing either.  Directness and clarity are keys to being noticed and understood.

3.  Recognizable

All organizations or companies should have, at the very least, an organizational chart that provides the blueprint for rank and ladder within the organization.  Knowing who someone is responsible to and responsible for will tell you a great deal about what their role actually meant.

4.  Meaningful:

In a tight economy, some companies have gotten into the dangerous habit of handing out new titles in place of compensation.  This “title creep” as it’s often called, is an empty gesture that can really hurt both employees and organizational culture in the long run.

Outside of the military, there may never be a standardized system or title significance translator, but, at the very least, there should be real thought, weight, and purpose behind a title before it is given.  If a recruiter can’t figure out what someone has been, we’re not likely to be able to see them for what they could be.



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