Over Titled Job Descriptions


I have a real gripe about job descriptions that come with lofty titles that fail to represent the actual role.  Like one I reviewed recently that was for a Learning Development Manager, and yet had no staff reporting to this position.  The reply was that they “managed” projects so they called it a manager.

When I read the entire job description, the real title should have been “Instructional Designer” as it covered 100% of what that role does, including project management work.  Yet the title was being marketed to attract very experienced learning professionals.

As this was not a role I was interested in pursuing, I sent it to 4 of my contacts that where local, and perfectly matched skill wise.  Two were managers and two wanted to be managers.  The two that are currently managers saw the role as a step back because it was an individual contributor job description, and the two aspiring managers laughed when I said there was no staff to manage.

I went back to the recruiter with these comments and suggested a different title.  She was on board, but her client wanted the title to remain.  This is only going to make her job more difficult.

Titles are normally not that important to a person if the opportunity, salary and benefits are aligned well.  Titles can often be changed down the road to better reflect the contribution, or an evolving role.  But when you are recruiting, they really should match the opportunity.  Attracting talent with a title is needed as we skim and scan open positions and yet what is the purpose if the talent walks away when they read the description?

Some companies under title their openings which can be just as dangerous.  If you are trying to hiring an experienced Learning Development Manager, that has both a training and organizational development background, listing the job as a “Training Specialist” doesn’t catch the eye of the people you need applying.

So rather than make this anymore than it is, my advice is to make sure the title and the job descriptions are in alignment.  Make sure the title is current to the industry and that it will attract the appropriate applicants.

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