A pattern has begun to develop over the past 12 months. Job titles are becoming more and more extravagant. What used to be a “Functional Consultant” is now a “Technology Evangelist”. A Data Analyst is a “Data Wrangler” and a Subject Matter Expert is a “Ninja”.
Who doesn’t want to be a Ninja or an Evangelist? Just imagine you attend a meeting and someone gives you their business card and it says Ninja!
But is this one step too far?
I sit in a privileged position at Tangent. We deal with hundreds of companies recruiting on five continents. We interact with hiring managers, HR and most importantly the talent that is out there.
Being one of the strongest candidate-driven markets I have ever seen (in a recent survey carried out by KPMG, 65% of Fortune 500 CIOs believe the lack of tech talent is damaging their organisation), companies are trying to differentiate themselves in any way possible, and quirky job titles, some believe, provide the answer.
However, in isolation, quirky titles don’t work. If the title isn’t aligned to the culture of the organisation, the job responsibilities and the rewards the title is an embarrassing symbol of lazy thinking, and could even amplify deeper problems!
Mixing job titles up to better reflect responsibilities and culture isn’t new. Disney has been doing it for years. Imagineers instead of Designers, Actors instead of Customer Services – the Disney use of job titles is well known. The reason these work, however, is because they are backed up by Disney’s culture, the responsibilities of the job and finally the rewards – in essence, everything was aligned.
Unfortunately, not all companies understand this. They are looking at a title as a short-term fix to attract candidates but without the proper HR Management (HRM) in the background they fail to retain the talent.
So what can you do attract and retain the best talent in such a candidate driven market?
1. By all means use the quirky title tactic – but if you are going to do this understand your business first. Are you doing it to increase applicants and appeal to a different audience but in truth you can’t back it up – if so that’s fine, but you will have to manage this at interview stage and you will have to have some sort of retention strategy. Or can you back it up with your HRM. You can, great – make sure you communicate it well at interview stage – you are ahead of the curve!
2. Understand what matters. Today’s market is candidate driven. Don’t kid yourself it isn’t. It is the employers’ responsibility to appeal to the best talent. We deal with this talent every day, we speak to thousands of them every week and these factors matter:
- A feeling of contribution
- Being treated like an adult that can manage their own time
- Flexi hours
- Working from home and general work / life balance
- Career progression and job responsibilities that encourage growth
- An understandable and accessible business/dept strategy
- Feeling wanted
- Clear milestones for earning growth
- A manager / leader they can believe in
- A sense of honesty
If you want to attract the best people to your organisation these factors matter. Focus on these and not quirky job titles.
3. Don’t allow your hiring process to damage your chances of competing. If you haven’t heard IT IS A CANDIDATE DRIVEN MARKET. It is great that you have always had a five-stage interview process, I know it has always worked up until now, but if you want to stick with this, if you continue with decision paralysis you will miss out. The companies that we work with that are successful are constantly evolving their selection process to make it efficient – and most importantly – ensuring that throughout their candidates feel loved and wanted. Pride matters.
4. Don’t low-ball on offers. Counter offers are on the rise. Companies understand that it is not just about attracting talent it is about retaining (which we help them achieve through our product Talent Bond). This focus on retention means that companies are pulling out all the stops to keep people in the business. If you have found someone you love for your role, don’t be a scrooge - make the package “counter offer proof” or be prepared to lose them.
Ultimately, if there is one message I would want you to take away from reading this it would be: we speak to thousands of candidates every week, we deal with hundreds of job offers every month, we are in a position to offer you real advice. You operate in a candidate driven market, probably the most candidate driven market ever seen. It is the employers responsibility to appeal to Talent. Don’t go for quick fixes – build something sustainable and that will improve attraction and retention.
At Tangent, we work closely with customers to help improve attraction & retention strategies. This focus means that over 80% of the candidates we place are passive – they were not looking for work until we contacted them. Because we understand what matters and are able to work with customers to create alignment we are able to tap into this unseen talent pool. If you would like more information on how we could help you hire the talent you need to drive your business forward please feel free to message me or take a look at our website at www.tanint.com