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Hey Recruiters, Want the Best Candidate for the Job? Ignore Job Titles

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How many times have you wondered where you made a mistake when choosing a final candidate who turned out to be wrong for the position?

When interviewing hundreds of people and looking through thousands of resumes, we tend to pay too much attention to job titles. But does a job title tell you everything about the candidate? Does it actually determine people’s capabilities and work experience?

Job seekers are often told you shouldn’t keep your job title from holding you back, which is true when it comes to an employee’s responsibilities at work. But in terms of getting the job they desire, they can’t avoid the fact that the number one factor every recruiter looks at is their job title.

It’s time to look out of the box.

Here’s why you should ignore job titles:

1. You might lose the opportunity to hire bright people

Postgraduates who’ve been working part-time during their studies probably won’t have managerial positions on their resume. But what have they learned? Time management, teamwork, working under high pressure, good communication skills and maybe even supervising a small team.

Having knowledge and some experience might be more beneficial than a fancy title on a resume. (Click here to Tweet this thought.) These candidates have enthusiasm and initiative to change the world, to make things happen and to prove themselves. But without a job title, they don’t get a chance. And you lose the opportunity to hire people who want to work, not just people who need to work. It’s no wonder nearly one in 10 new graduates is unemployed.

2. Job quality will suffer

When hiring people in managerial or executive positions, it’s very easy to make a mistake. People get comfortable and too confident because of good job titles. They know their value on the market.

Make sure your company can house a job for every task. If not, this one person who comes to work as VP of Sales might also need to work on customer service and business development. Is that person ready for it?

3. People with the best job titles don’t always have the best knowledge

Let’s say you’re filling a position for the head of collections for a debt collection department operating on the foreign market. This kind of position requires very good know-how about markets, industries, laws and regulations. You also need to be part of a team, which means you must do the dirty work yourself, but at the same time be able to motivate people to make calls and achieve targets.

If drinking coffee, reading newspapers and sending out a few emails every day mean managing a debt collection department, it should be no surprise if debts are still outstanding. Test your candidate’s capabilities and make sure he’s the right person for the job, even though he has similar experience on his resume.

4. You’ll end up hiring a team instead

Why can some people do the work of three and some can’t? Because they never have. Make sure the person has the capability to do others’ jobs to fill the holes temporarily. It’s all about efficiency.

For example, when hiring someone to manage a call center team, that person must know numbers. If you’re not familiar with numbers, you can’t establish an efficient team. Your company will end up hiring even more people because the person in charge has no idea how much time it takes per person to do one task.

5. You have more managers than they have subordinates

Be careful when reorganizing your company’s structure. I’ve seen a company organize a team so that there was one manager for every two people. Is this efficient and cost-effective? You don’t always need to hire managers to be managers. You can promote your existing employees and hire more subordinates.

If you can’t find the shining star on your team, hire someone with great knowledge and some experience, but pay more attention to the character and capabilities of this person. When it comes to team leaders, the team must accept and respect the leader.

We once hired a customer service manager who had a pretty good job title and, according to her resume, good experience. But she didn’t earn respect from the team; she couldn’t impose herself. Having a good title previously didn’t matter to the team.

Think like a job seeker when hiring people. Candidates know what they’re capable of, what their experience is, how they can use their experience in their new job and why they’re the best for this job.

Even though they don’t have the job title, give them a chance to prove themselves. Don’t rely only on the resume — do some additional work. Use social media, LinkedIn and Google Hangouts to find the best candidates. Look at what the person has done and what they talk or write about. Forget the job title and see what can happen.

Triin Linamagi is a co-founder and marketer at Bahoui and CVProfs. Previously, Triin helped to start up several businesses, being responsible for business operations, marketing and managing the customer service departments.

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