A creative job title can tell a lot about a position or organization, but it might not be quite what’s intended.
Take the late “Supreme Leader” of North Korea, Kim Jong Il. He’s had at least 55 recognized titles for his role, from the fairly standard “General” to the bold and boastful “Great Sun of Life” and “World Leader of the 21st Century.” Such a persistent claim to authority suggests something about the priorities of his leadership, but it doesn’t command admiration on the global political stage.
Some “‘innovative” job titles are really just thinly-disguised attempts to make regular jobs sound powerful and exciting. As the Plain English Foundation points out, this is not such a strange phenomenon. There have been ads for destination counselors (travel agents), knowledge navigators (teachers), vision clearance engineers (window cleaners), and directors of first impressions (receptionists). We’ve also seen ninjas, gurus, geeks, trailblazers, kahunas, rockstars, and heroes.
The most extravagant title, according to the Foundation? “His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, CBE, Lord of all the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.” Also known as the President of Uganda.
The larger point is that language is powerful, and the job titles and descriptions you use in your recruitment campaigns can have a big impact on how people perceive your company and can influence who might — and might not be — attracted to the job.
Recently, Resume.io gathered data on the most commonly used weird keywords used in job titles and descriptions, and surveyed 1,000 Americans to find out how recruitment buzzwords affected their perception of — and willingness to apply for — such jobs.
What’s behind the trend of hyper-inflated job titles such as “product evangelist’ and “sales jedi’? Do they really make a job stand out, or do they undermine the image of the position, and the company advertising it?
Creative ≠ Effective
With “knights” and “ninjas,” some recruiters seemingly require people to live out a historical fantasy to get the job done. Such job titles are painfully ridiculous, but there is some rationale behind this sort of creative license. It appeals to the very natural and understandable desire for work to feel meaningful and valued. It frames mundane-sounding jobs as more appealing. Nevermind that job-title inflation is a much cheaper alternative to a pay rise…