Your Job Titles Are All Wrong

In All, The Human Resource by Fiona Anson1 Comment

Are your job titles giving you the wrong candidates?

Last week I took a look at some of the jobs on Workible.  There are hundreds on there of all types.  Everything from Poultry workers to Retail Managers, Baristas to School Crossing Supervisors.  It was that last one that got me really thinking.

When people advertised in newspapers, you could look by category and visually scroll down the list of jobs, but taking those classifieds online has meant that you now do a Google-type search for the jobs you want.  But what if you don’t know what you want?  Or what jobs you’d be great for?

It’s unlikely that people go searching for a School Crossing Supervisor job.  They  might be looking for a part time role, they might be retired or a stay-at-home Mum or Dad happy to fill a couple of hours a day, they could also be an ex-corporate high flyer who has recently retired and just wants something that can fill in some time between golf games.  Perhaps it’s a retiree who needs some extra pocket money and loves chatting to kids and parents.  How do you advertise for all of those people?

This brings up the whole argument around advertising for the type of person you want, rather than the actual skill, especially when the role is one that many people could do.

Certainly, if you’re looking for a Commercial Lawyer with experience in Building Law, then advertising for exactly that works, but there are a million jobs that could be done by virtually anyone with the time and the personal attributes you need.

In the case of the School Crossing Supervisor, you need someone who is outgoing, feels strongly about protecting children, is chatty, happy and personable.  That comes in many shapes and sizes.

From a user’s perspective, it’s very rare that someone looks specifically for a School Crossing Supervisor’s job.  The retiree might be looking for anything that’s part time or casual, the mum or dad is looking for something that’s around school hours – how do you target these people with current job adverts?

That’s the challenge with current job boards all of which require a job title to advertise – and the title you put in could well be working against you.

In the case of the Lawyer where skills and experience are absolutely not negotiable, then certainly use the job title but if personal attributes or skills matter more then use those in the job title.  Instead of “School Crossing Supervisor” use something like “Outgoing, friendly helpers required”.  Of course, the other constraint on many job boards is the industry.  Advertising a School Crossing Supervisor’s job in the education industry category is probably not going to reach the ex-corporate retiree who has a background in law, or the mum who spent her working life in real estate.

The new style of job board is even worse.  The big aggregators now require you to enter Google-like free text and a location.  Does anyone enter “School Crossing Supervisor” in “Glebe”?  Probably not – so the chances of your job getting found on them is even worse.

As a not too subtle plug for Workible, that’s why we’ve reinvented the way that people look for jobs – by availability, by skill, by location – even by personal attribute.  We believe that it should be that simple to find work that works.

It’s interesting that when we ask employers who makes an ideal candidate, its very rarely that they reply with skill.  They nearly always reply with personal attributes.  So why can’t you search for jobs by them?   Hmmm…..

Co-founder and Director at Workible | HR Disruptor | What if explorer

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James Davis
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2 years 8 months ago

Thanks Fiona Anson for sharing such a advice. I’ll keep this in mind for my job post site http://www.diversityworking.com. I find that the companies who post jobs write full description about the vacancy or the job title correctly. I agree with you that if the companies write wrong title of the job than it puts the bad impact on the candidates or the employees.

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