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What You Need To Know About “Weird Job Titles”

weird job titleNumbers Ninja.

Sales Guru.

Forecasting Wizard.

Customer Service Czar.

Between my years in HR and Career Coaching, I’ve seen a lot of professional trends come and go. But the “weird job titles” has to be one of the most… well… weird!

If you work in a more traditional work culture, this concept may be foreign to you. But in many contemporary work environments,  job titles have received a creative makeover.

Why would a company do this?

A lot of it has to do with corporate culture, integrating an inherent sense of fun and individuality in each position.

The problem?

It’s hurting job hiring decision makers’ ability to identify candidates, and likewise can negatively impact qualified job candidates’ chance of being found.

A recent Fast Company article backs this thinking up:

Paul Wolfe, senior vice president of HR at Indeed, thinks they just serve to confuse people. “When you do your [job] search,” he contends, “you’re not going to put ninja” in the search box.

The article includes some hard facts to further make the point:

The problem is that even though the tactic is to broaden the talent pool, it may actually be responsible for excluding some qualified people. Kieran Snyder, cofounder and CEO of AI startup Textio, says that women, underrepresented minorities, and people over 40 (of all genders) are less likely to apply for a job that uses genius in the title, according to Textio’s data. Any insider baseball corporate jargon tends to drive certain candidates away, Snyder says. “These examples are coded to select for white men,” she asserts. But when you remove that language from a job title, Snyder says, companies such as Nvidia (a customer of Textio) had two and a half times more women apply.

So what should HR and job seekers do? I don’t want to be a fun killer, but maybe it’s time to let the weird names go. As the Fast Company article concludes:

The language you use changes who wants to work for your company. If you want the best people it behooves you to describe a job in a more objective way.