Saturday, March 24, 2012

Job Titles Don't Matter

This post is about something near and dear to me...the importance, well, not really....of job titles.  I’ve had a bunch of titles through my career - Recruiter, Senior Recruiter, Account Manager, Senior Engineering Recruiter, Lead Recruiter and even Lead Headhunter...you know, what...none of the matter.  

I talk to so many people who get hung up on the role or the “level” and at the end of the day, none of these things matter.  Jobs are about experiences, growth and compensation.  Titles are just some bizarro HR accounting function so that we know how to keep track of who’s doing what...that’s it.  Here area  few things I’ve heard from people claiming the importance of title...and my response:

My current title is VP of Engineering, I’m a VP - Ok, in theory makes sense right?  BUT a lot of times, a VP at one company is a Director or even a manager at another.  Before you go claiming you deserve a title...make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.  Being the VP of Engineering at a 50 person startup is much different than being a startup at a Fortune 500.

I need the VP title to have credibility with customers - Um, maybe but I doubt it.  Customers care about products and making sure they are getting a good product.  Pretty sure they don’t care what your title is as long as you can produce what you are selling.

But I have 20 years of experience! - Again, doesn’t matter.  We see all the time in the high tech field CEO’s that are in their 20’s or 30’s.  Years of experience matter (don’t get me wrong!) but they don’t have anything to do w/ title or level at a company.  Companies hire you for what you can do and rarely care how long you’ve been doing it.  Produce and earn a big title.

So there you go, just a few quick thoughts on this whole job title thing.  Seriously, it doesn’t matter...especially if you are looking for a new role.  Find a job that makes you happy, helps you grow professionally and pays the bills.....don't get hung up on the title.

Good luck out there, more soon.  Lots of great stuff coming over the next week or two so keep an eye out for me.

5 comments:

  1. I would be careful with that idea. Titles may not matter you to as a recruiter, but they do matter to the job hunter. I have been hunting for a job for about nine months now, with little success. I am a new college grad, so if I see a job posting titled "Director," or "Manager" I skip over it. Seeking an entry level position, I know that these titles are not ones that are obtainable to me. That said. once you're hired, titles don't matter.

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    1. Hey KT, I think the thing to remember is that you shouldn't be worrying about this stuff when you get an offer. Apply for jobs that match your skills and if you get a job offer for a cool job that feels right...take it, don't get hung up on the title.

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  2. good point KT...for me the problem is to match my skills to a title. I also have been doing some job hunting and I've only received news for a position I didn't know I matched.

    So sometimes job title and skills required are not very well related

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  3. Hi Jeff,
    I agree - especially in Software - roles and titles can be tough. I have been Software Architect, Tech Lead and Principal Software engineer- and found if you are good at coding, a bit of management and design and take ownership then your day-to-day is pretty much the same regardless of title. You just gotta ship and do whatever it takes.

    One thing I will say though - especially in software engineers - is that I have found that years of experience has almost no bearing on ability. That is some kids come out of school with better skills than software engineers with > 15 years experience. Seems I am not alone in that opinion
    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2008/02/the-years-of-experience-myth.html

    That said good people get better with experience but you some people just never "get it".

    Frank

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