Don’t judge a role by its job title

Harry Simpson

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​Ah, job titles.

In today’s world of LinkedIn profiles, connection invites and online networking, your job title says a lot about you…

Or does it?

It’s no secret that with the advent of social media, us professional folk have sometimes been known to… Well, inflate certain aspects of our positions, especially when it comes to that all-important job title. As recruiters we spend a lot of time on LinkedIn, which means we sometimes share a giggle at job titles from the weird to the wonderful; from the Director of A Very Vague Department to the Manager of Insignificant Office Materials and everything in between, it’s safe to say one thing:
You can’t judge a job by its title.

On a serious note, it’s something we really have to reiterate as recruiters – basing your feelings about a potential new role on its job title alone can be a dangerous game, one which may leave you in the lurch long-term.
Let’s put this in real terms. I’m the Sales Director here at Certus Recruitment Group – what that means is, I hold managerial responsibilities from hiring, conducting one-to-ones and performance reviews, disciplinaries; I carry a personal revenue target along with overall responsibility for the P&L of the business here in London; my day is spent training, managing and of course staying ‘hands on’ – selling. I’m involved in devising our business strategy, goal setting, client relations, account management… Essentially, I touch upon all aspects of managing this business, inside and out, and report directly to our CEO.

That’s why my job title is Sales Director.

Conversely, I once recruited for an events software business who were looking to hire a ‘Sales Director’… Whose sole job it was to cold call, visit clients and sell a SaaS platform. The role carried a solid mid-level salary with great benefits and commission, but it certainly couldn’t be called what most of us would a classic ‘Sales Director’ position.

With different roles carrying the same job title but a huge difference in level and responsibility, it’s so important as a job seeker not to write any positions off based on that title alone. With the classic org chart for many industries diversifying, it’s not as simple as it used to be to identify a ‘step up’ in role by its name alone; put simply, different job titles mean entirely different things, for different companies.

Job adverts online are notorious for often being badly written, brief or simply unhelpful; it’s never been more important to really delve into the details. If the salary is thereabouts, the duties match your current role or, better yet, look to be somewhat of a step up and ultimately you like the sound of the role – but the job title sounds too junior?

Reserve judgement and get the proper details. Whether applying through a recruiter like us or to the employer directly, ask as many questions as you can when it comes to the nitty-gritty of each job. A ton of factors are in play when it comes to officially choosing a job title – from the size and scope of the company itself to internal politics and everything that happens up to a position becoming live, there’s lots going on behind the scenes. I’ve met Business Development Managers who carry the weight of the company on their shoulders; I’ve met Sales Managers who conduct their business solely over the phone, from self-generated leads. I’ve met Marketing Execs with more widespread experience than some Marketing Directors who earn three times their salary, and I’ve met company Directors who hold absolutely zero authority over company goings-on, financials or otherwise.

As a job seeker you should be judging each job based on what it is you’re looking for – more responsibility, or different ones? A larger financial target? More budget to play with, a bigger team to manage, more territory to look after? Or does the move come down to reasons which don’t denote a step forward in your career – remember, a sideways step isn’t a bad thing to take, if the company itself offer opportunity to progress in the future.

Part of our job as a specialist recruitment company is to understand the ins and outs of every role we try to fill, not to mention the clients we represent; it’s why I’m confident that when one of my consultants talk to you about a role, they won’t do so unless they know it’s a good fit – regardless of what it might be called.

Whatever it is you’re looking for, it could go by many names. Like I said – don’t judge a job by its title.