When Job Titles Make Today’s HR Look Like a ’70s Personnel Dept.

Article main image
Apr 23, 2015

You know what position I would love to apply for!? Junior Human Resource Manager, said no one ever!

I hate spending three seconds on job titles because job titles scream, “Personnel Department,” but I have to just take a few minutes to help out some of my HR brothers and sisters.

Recently, I came across a classic job title mistake when someone had posted an opening and then broadcasted it out to the world for a — wait for it — “Jr. Industrial Engineer.” When I saw it, I almost cried.

Who wants to a “Jr. Industrial Engineer?”

Really! No, Really! “Junior!” You actually took time, typed out the actual title, and then thought to yourself, “Oh yeah! There’s an Industrial Engineer out there just waiting to become a ‘Jr. Industrial Engineer’! ” Don’t tell me you didn’t, because that’s exactly what it says.

But Tim, you don’t understand! We’ve always called our less experienced Industrial Engineers, Junior, so we can differentiate them from our ‘Industrial Engineers’ and our ‘Sr. Industrial Engineers’. What do you want us to do, call them: Industrial Engineer I, Industrial Engineer II and Industrial Engineer III?

No, I don’t want you to do that either.

Here’s what I want you to do: I want you to title this position as “Lesser Paid Industrial Engineer.” You’ll get the same quality of responses!

You know how to solve this (but you won’t): Just have one pay band for “Industrial Engineer,” from $38K to $100K. Pay the individuals within that band appropriately for their years of experience and education.

This is why you won’t do it: Your ‘Senior’ Compensation Manager knows you aren’t capable of handling this level of responsibility, and within 24 months, your entire Industrial Engineering staff would all be making $100K – Juniors, Middles and Seniors!

A throwback to a ’70s Personnel Department

Please don’t make me explain how idiotic it looks when you list out your little number system on your post as well (Accountant I, Accountant II, etc.), because you know there just might be an Accountant out there going, “Some day, I just might be an Accountant II!”

If SHRM actually did anything, I wish they would just go around to HR Pros who do this crap and visit their workplace and personally cut up their PHR or SPHR certificates in half, in front of them, like a maxed out credit card that gets flagged in the checkout line. That would be awesome!

All this does is make it look like you took a time machine in from a 1970’s Personnel Department.

But seriously, if you know of any Senior Associate HR Manager III positions, please let me know.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!