The importance of a Job Title: Perception

This is a subject I have thought about for some time. I’ve had numerous discussions during my career with both candidates and clients learning from both sides of the process, yet I remain torn about the importance of a job title; does it always matter? Fortunately for those whom believe it does, many organisations will offer flexibility to negotiate your perfect job title although on the flip side, there are many that won’t be able to offer the same level of flexibility so here’s some things to consider before asking the question:

The existing organigram

Before suggesting your preferred job title, consider the existing team within the organisation to prevent causing any upset by asking out of turn. Also consider how your new supervisor may feel about your preferred job title, will you pose a threat to their position? You may find that the team you are joining has a far greater responsibility than you’re used to, therefore you may be required to work towards the role in the shape of a promotion during your first year. Alternatively, you may find that with several other employees doing the same job as you’ll be, having a different job title just isn’t viable; only when you are offering a very select skill-set or are being hired to perform a unique responsibility could you negotiate your very own job title. By asking if the role is a new position and whether it will be working as part of a team will help you decipher if the title is up for negotiation.

Time of hire

Always factor the time of year into any hiring process as it can have a huge influence on the roles themselves. For example, during the new year most organisations will have rigid growth strategies and targets to work towards whereas towards the Christmas period and new financial year, budgets are running low and flexibility reduces. Realise that if you’re told you cannot negotiate your job title during the application process, it doesn't mean that you cannot negotiate forever. If the company is prepared to support professional development, find out what you would need to accomplish and within what timescales to get the position you really want. Ask for some measurable outcomes and have confidence in your own ability to achieve them.

Industry norms

Job titles and their meanings change significantly from one organisation to the next, but you should always consider how the title you’re being offered relates to industry norms. Do some research into similar positions, screen their job descriptions and yours to compare them to the title you’re being offered. If you feel that you do indeed need to negotiate a better title for yourself, providing real-time examples of its use elsewhere and why will put you in a far better position to negotiate whilst also demonstrating credibility.

Your pitch

Once you’ve settled on the title you want, make sure that you can articulate why you deserve it. Prepare a list of achievements that relate directly to the role you are applying for and highlight how it will pay off for the employer you are applying to – whether that be in direct sales or revenue or perhaps influence how you interact and collaborate with others in the workplace more positively. Demonstrate your research into industry norms and how an adjustment in titles may reflect better on the entire organisation or assist their consumers understanding them more easily as they are speaking the same lingo.

Some argue that the ‘right’ job title will attract the best possible candidate and others argue that those only interested in how they will be perceived will not be focussed on the task at hand.

Some argue that if you have the relevant skills and experience to fulfil the job purpose, then the job title is irrelevant; others believe that if you have the skill-set required, you would only be prepared to put them to good use within a role and job title that you feel valued within.

It poses a very interesting argument and I can see both sides to it. I also feel strongly that it will differ between sectors dependant on how process-driven or technically trained the positions are. Within the property industry, we work with all these opinions and try our very best to advise and mediate the best job titles which will encompass both the responsibilities involved and still remain competitive. If you are looking for your next hire or next job role in the property industry and you need assistance assessing the right job title for your organisation, we can help – get in touch with GKR London Property Recruitment today, we are your property recruitment specialist.

Tel: 0207 048 3304