What You Should Title Your Job Posting

The job market is hot right now.  As mentioned in a previous post about targeting passive candidates, there are more job openings now than there are people to fill them.

So how do you get a candidate’s attention for your job when you post it?  Obviously, some things to consider are where you post it (and hopefully you aren’t just posting and praying) and how you are advertising/boosting your post within those sites.

But one thing we often neglect to consider is the actual title we place on the job when we post it.  Most often, we just pull the job title that is on the internal job description, but that title may or may not reflect what people are actually searching for in the market.

So, to make the best decision about your job posting title:

  1. Make a list of the various titles you think would fit the job.  For example, Coder, Programmer, Developer, and Software Engineer could potentially all be a title on the list for a job that requires someone to perform computer programming.  Also, make a list of various qualifiers that may need to go in front of the keyword of the job title.  For instance, in this case, you may also need to use words like “Full Stack,” “Front End”,  “Java”, “Python” based on what specific skills/experience you need for the opening.


  1. Next, search for all these job titles you’ve come up with in the job posting board(s) of your choice by your geographic area. What brings up the highest volume of postings? Volume could indicate more people are searching for those keywords, thus more potential applicants.  Or it could indicate that you wouldn’t get noticed by applicants, and therefore fewer applicants because the list is so saturated.  In general, though, you want to be using a job title that will resonate with what candidates are searching for.


  1. Taking this information, you then need to do some testing. Take what you believe to be the top two job titles based on your search in number two, and post the same job posting with the two different titles on the same job board. Track the number of hits and applicants you get.  Which one performs better?


  1. It is a quality over quantity game. Even though you may get more applicants from posting a job one way does not mean that you are getting more quality applicants by posting it a certain way.  So, do an initial screening to see if the candidates are qualified for your opening to see which title is better.   For example, posting the job title “Developer” may get you a lot of applicants, but may not get you the level of skill you need. However, posting as “Full Stack Developer” or “Python Developer” or even posting as “Software Engineer” may get you the right quality of applicants.  That is why you have to test different titles and see what yields you the best results.


  1. In addition to tracking quality in the initial screening, track your quality over time. After you’ve made a hire, is it really a quality hire?  Obviously, there are a variety of factors that affect the quality of hire, but one could simply be the job title of the opening they were for which they were selected.  This is because your job title should reflect the reality of the position and steer people who have the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are a match for an opening.  For example, we have one client where “code monkeys” as they call them are not a good fit for their organization because the reality of the positions they have is that people need to not just know how to code but be able to more aptly be a “Full Stack Developer.”


Making sure the job title reflects what the position really is as well as what will draw attention in the marketplace for the right applicants are the critical factors in determining what to “call” a job when you post it.

How do you determine if you are posting a position with the right title?




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Mary Ila Ward