January 18, 2024

The Hidden Power Behind Precise Job Titles

Lauren Kemp

The significance of accurate job titles cannot be overstated. Beyond mere labels, these titles are crucial markers defining roles, responsibilities, and the overall employee experience. However, according to a Forbes study of over 700 employees and 300 hiring managers, nearly 33% of employees said they had job titles that overstated their skills. Titles that overstate and understate the actual responsibilities of the position are equally dangerous and can create problems for employers and employees alike.

Why Titles are Important:

Accurate Expectations: One of the primary reasons for emphasizing accurate job titles is to bring clarity to job roles. Ambiguity in titles can lead to confusion regarding responsibilities and expectations. When job titles accurately reflect the role's responsibilities, it helps candidates and existing employees better understand what is expected of them. This clarity is essential for a cohesive and productive work environment.


Attracting Talent: Precise job titles are magnets for the right talent. When positions are accurately titled, they naturally draw qualified candidates, which is beneficial for the organization and the candidates themselves, ensuring they apply for roles that truly match their expertise. As a result, it cultivates a more qualified and suitable applicant pool, streamlining the recruitment process and potentially reducing turnover rates.


Employee Satisfaction: Accurate job titling significantly impacts employee satisfaction. However, mismatches between job titles and responsibilities often result in inaccurate salary expectations. Some companies assign higher-level titles with lower salaries, while others label positions at a lower level despite responsibilities aligning with higher roles and salaries. These discrepancies mislead potential candidates, affecting the pool of applicants. Particularly in fields like accounting and finance, where job titles tend to follow a clear progression, candidates have a keen understanding of the correlation between responsibilities and titles and are not easily fooled by either of the scenarios above.


Resume Clarity: Resumes kickstart the job screening process, and hiring managers prioritize candidates displaying clear career progression through job titles. However, inaccuracies, whether overstating or understating roles, can jeopardize a candidate's prospects. Confusing or misleading job titles might lead to their resume being overlooked, impacting their future opportunities, and may cause an employer to miss out on a prime candidate simply because of the miscommunication that inaccurate job titles produce.

When Titling Goes Wrong:

Titling positions inaccurately is harmful to both the employer and the employee. According to Forbes, more than 50% of Gen Z employees expect to be promoted at least every 18 months, which can create pressure for employers to come up with new position titles that are decreasingly meaningful. Once this process begins, it is difficult to stop it. Employees derive a sense of validation and recognition when their titles accurately represent their roles and contributions. A well-defined job title acknowledges the significance of an employee's position within the organization, affirming their skills and expertise.

How to Create an Accurate Job Title:

Job analysis: Before even considering what to title a job, it is important to accurately identify what your company is in need of. Lack of clarity surrounding what the organization needs could lead to a job search that does not find a good match, not for lack of qualified candidates, but for lack of clarity on what the organization is looking for.

Be specific: Clear titles play a crucial role in effectively communicating the role and experience level needed for a position. For instance, simply labeling a position as "Accountant" lacks specificity. Instead, consider titles like Staff Accountant, Senior Accountant, Payroll Accountant, or Certified Public Accountant, which denote varying seniority levels and responsibilities within the field of accounting. Opting for these more specific titles can attract better-suited candidates and ensure the role is filled with the expertise required internally.

Being specific can be challenging if you are unsure of what responsibilities coordinate with certain titles. This is where working with a recruiting company that specializes in an industry is helpful. The recruiters at J2T are well versed in titling roles according to the unique needs of your company from AP/AR roles all the way through C-suite accounting and finance positions.

Accurate job titles are important when identifying roles, attracting qualified talent, and fostering clarity in expectations. They streamline hiring, reduce turnover, and ensure fair salaries. Inaccurate titles can create dissatisfaction, particularly among younger generations entering the workforce. Accurate titles set expectations, attract the right talent, and enhance employees' significance within the organization. These titles go beyond labels, shaping a cohesive, content workforce through clear expectations and recognition of individual roles.