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By Dianne Rudolph

Topics: Human Resources

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One of the most common questions in HR circles and at hiring managers’ desks is “how can we attract the most talented people to come work for us?” There are many different strategies and ideas out there.

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One of the current trends is giving jobs new titles. In an effort to make jobs sound more appealing and stir up interest in job posts, companies have been leaning toward designations like “rock star” and “guru.”


The Argument for Creative Job Titles

These creative and fun job titles draw inspiration from tech companies like Google and Apple. With a less formal structure, these workplaces have consistently grabbed awards and accolades as great places to work.

The idea is to do away with the staid trappings of business. Along with creative job titles, Google and other companies overhaul the traditional business paradigm. They argue this allows their employees more freedom and flexibility, which in turn makes them more creative and productive.

It seems to work, at least for these tech companies.


Showcasing a Quirky Culture

Today’s job candidates are more discriminating. They’re searching not for a nine-to-five job to pay the bills but for a truly satisfying and rewarding career. They care about company culture, cultural fit, and opportunities for growth. They want work to be, well, fun!

You can understand where they’re going with this idea. If you have to do something for the next 20, 30, or even 40 years, shouldn’t you at least enjoy it a little bit? Job seekers want to work somewhere that appeals to them and their personal identities.

As a result, companies with “quirky” cultures, like Google and Apple, tend to attract the best talent. People feel they’ll be appreciated and treated well if they work for these companies, even if they’re a bit quirky or odd themselves.

It’s made it more difficult for companies lacking a “quirky” corporate brand to gain the attention of job seekers.


The Rise of Creative Job Titles

The trend in creative job titles is a direct outgrowth of candidates’ affinity for quirky corporate cultures. Titles like “rock star,” “ninja,” and “guru” sound much more exciting and satisfying than a job title like “sales rep” or “customer service agent.”

They also speak to corporate culture itself. A company willing to rebrand its job titles with these words is maybe a little less formal and strict than one still using the traditional “sales rep.” These words also showcase an appreciation of individual skill and aptitude. A “rock star” is probably going to be more appreciated than a “representative.”


Will It Hold Up?

The problem, of course, is these jobs are just the same old jobs with new, jazzed-up names. A sales rock star is probably just a really good sales rep! Your customer service “guru” is a knowledgeable customer service representative.

The bigger problem is how the use of these terms appeals to candidates. Candidates may become disenchanted, since they believed certain terminology implied certain things about the job or the company culture. If the job or the company can’t deliver, the candidate may feel misled. Asking for a “rock star” or a “guru” may also imply you’re looking for a level of expertise you don’t necessarily need or want.


The Tried and True

If your company culture isn’t quirky and you’re not trying to change it, then it’s probably best to avoid trendy job titles like this. For those who want to try it out, there are definitely pros and cons. These titles will attract more job seekers, but they may confuse HR professionals. They also may not fly with your clientele, who may prefer more professionalism.

Always consider any job title change carefully. There’s a time and a place for the fun stuff, but the tried and true isn’t going anywhere yet.


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Dianne Rudolph

Dianne is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Paymedia, LLC. She has a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting industry. Skilled in crisis management, business planning, customer acquisition, and coaching, she is a strong sales professional with 25 years of experience in the payroll industry. Through Paymedia, she offers clients results through iSolved, a platform that meets their needs today and that they won’t outgrow tomorrow. With five years' experience as an entrepreneur, Dianne has also taught herself how to launch and manage a successful business from the ground up. She lives has two grown children. As an empty nester, it gives Dianne time to pay it forward in her free time. Her mission is to help and give back. Her true inner peace is found at the beach and through yoga and massage.

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