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Your Weird Job Titles Are Making You Miss The Best Candidates

Source | Fastcompany : BY LYDIA DISHMAN

Rebranding tired old job titles, so they seem fresh and exciting (read: appeal to new talent), has been happening for decades. For example, one 30-year veteran of customer care at various tech companies says that “customer success manager” is a new spin on a role that hasn’t changed in decades. But the proliferation of playful monikers for traditional jobs continues unabated.

According to jobs platform Indeed, the top five are genius, guru, rockstar, wizard, and ninja. The winning titles were identified as the most common “weird job titles” as calculated by the share of postings containing them over the last two years. Rockstar, in particular, has grown in frequency by 19%, followed closely by guru, although the latter has lost some steam as it’s declined by 21%. Ninja itself is experiencing a slow assassination, declining by 35% since its peak in March 2017. But does the quirkiness really result in surfacing qualified candidates?

Paul Wolfe, senior vice president of HR at Indeed, thinks they just serve to confuse people. “When you do your search,” he contends, “you’re not going to put ninja” in the search box. “Companies use these to express what their culture is like,” Wolfe concedes, “but there are other ways to get that point out.” Career pages on a website that contain videos, photos, and other descriptions of what it’s like to work at the company are a better vehicle than a cutesy title.


So why use them at all? Wolfe speculates the trend started in the tech industry. “For example, genius at Apple retail,” he says, which is now a more mainstream title open to interpretation. “Other industries picked it up to get talent attracted to their industry,” he explains.

According to Indeed’s analysis, weird job titles are now more prevalent outside of California. You’ll find the highest demand for rockstars in Idaho, Wolfe notes. And Delaware has 1.32% of all genius job listings nationally, even though it only has 0.29% of the country’s population.

Ninjas, although generally falling out of favor in terms of use, are still in heavy rotation in Maine and other states. However, the title is being pressed into use to define a variety of jobs including marketing ninjas and customer experience ninjas. Indeed’s analysis revealed that one of the most confusing uses is time ninja “which is not an assassin who travels back in time but apparently somebody who works in human resources” judging from the job description. Says Wolfe, “That is another way industries attract talent in a state that may not have a heavy talent population.”

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