As a recruiter, we come across different types of candidates – some of them focus on the quality of work/ scope of the job while some consider compensation/ job titles as the key deciding factor. In my experience, many candidates in India give higher weight to compensation and job titles mainly because of societal reasons.
Increasingly and it is heartening to see that candidates during the recruiter's first outreach are also looking for information related to a product group, company culture, career advancement opportunities, peer quality, etc. When a recruiter reaches out to a potential candidate, one of the first questions, however, is still on Job title, followed by questions around compensation, however subtly.
Let’s talk about "Job Title”:
In India, candidates pay a large amount of importance/attention to the “Job Title” due to reasons like social status, comparison with peers or even for better matrimonial prospects! When a recruiter pipelines for a requirement, she needs to keep in mind the communication strategy that should be used while discussing this aspect with the candidate.
Be upfront and put things in perspective:
A recruiter should be very clear in not only communicating that the job is an Individual contributor/ Lead/ Managerial but should also be able to draw upon the career ladder, and pinpoint which rung on the ladder this job title will be at. Using reference points to put this in perspective is necessary. E.g., “This job title is three levels above the entry-level title” or “This is equal/peer to a Manager grade but on the Individual contributor ladder.”
Recruiters should act as talent advisors and explain that each organization is different and hence may have different titles. It is useful to cite real examples of past hires from the same organization as the candidates drive home the point. E.g., “We hired one person from your company last year. She was an “Associate Manager” there, and she is playing a much larger role of a “Software Engineer 4” here. People feel reassured if there is a precedence. No one wants to be the first one to venture into an alien land. Even Columbus had to recruit convicted criminals, pirates, and other social invalids on his venture to find the New World.
Go beyond “Job Title” proactively:
If your organization, like most, do not limit people from spanning boundaries based on job title, the recruiter should convey this emphatically. E.g., “Though the job title is Software Engineer 2, you are never stopped from talking to a Product Manager to understand the product better or a VP of Engineering to pitch your idea”. Putting more thrust on such important factors and less on cosmetic factors like “Job Title” can go a long way in not just closing the candidate but also in ensuring the candidate, once onboard, is well engaged and motivated. The Happy candidate is a happy new colleague.
There is room for confusion and mistrust if the candidate is from a different industry or a company following a different business model. E.g., When a candidate is from a Consulting/Services company and is interviewing at a Product organization, she might feel being dished out an unfair Job Title vis-à-vis her title at current company. She might be a “Project Lead” or an “Associate Manager, ” but in a product company, the hierarchy is flatter. There are no such titles in Product companies. It might appear that she is being offered a grade 2 levels down the current one, which is not the case. The recruiter needs to communicate effectively that the rationale behind the decision. The rationale usually is based on:
• the relevant experience
• required job skills she brings to the table demonstrated via interviews and
• expectations from the person at each job grade level
You can go ahead and say that in some sense candidates auto-select or sit at a particular grade based on the parameters mentioned previously. “We do not force fit!”
Bring out fairness:
The Recruiter needs to build that trust with the candidate and should assure them that once she comes onboard, she would find people with similar experience and capabilities would be on same grade level. This can be communicated if you have already assessed the candidate and a decision on grade has been made.
A word of caution here: While setting an expectation that everyone is comparable with the candidate’s experience is also at the same job grade level is fraught with risks. If we were to draw a bell curve, we might come across a few outlying cases. For, E.g., A New College Graduate (NCG) from a premium institute who has joined years ago could have seen a fast-tracked career growth. It is important to emphasize that barring few outliers, most of the colleagues would fall in same Job Title bracket.
Stay tuned for the Part -2 in the series where we would talk about “Compensation” as a factor in detail.
(This post was first published on LinkedIn)