How to decide on job titles for your startup

How To Decide On Job Titles For Your Startup

Justin Lowe Aug 1, 2017 7:11:00 AM

Ever thought about becoming a Principal Beer Ordering Specialist for your next job? To be honest, that sounds like a pretty good gig – especially if the job includes product testing. A Beer Ordering Specialist is just one of the hilarious job titles suggested by the Startup Job Title Generator. It might be a fun thing to play around with, but when the time comes, you can't be completely ridiculous with job titles for your first employees. Let me rephrase that. Technically, it’s your startup and you can do whatever you want, but you shouldn’t be completely ridiculous. Although you want your company to be a fun place to work, it’s still a business that needs to put the right people in the right place to do the right thing. To do that, when deciding on job titles for your startup roles, ask yourself these three questions:

Hire essential startup roles to position your company for success

Is It Searchable?

You know how important SEO is for finding customers? It works the same for candidates. People are searching for specific keywords when they look for jobs. I’m going to go ahead and guess that they aren’t searching for “Beer Ordering Specialist.” If they are, you should probably hire them just for that reason.

Jokes aside, think about what your target candidate will be searching for and craft your job titles around that. Clarity goes a long way.

Is It Scalable?

Your end game is likely much larger than your current structure, so how can you label job titles to grow with your business? Think about the different levels that’ll exist in each department, and what titles can be used at each level. For example, as your startup grows, you might want to distiguish between a Customer Success Associate, a Customer Success Manager and a Director of Customer Success. If you’re hiring your first employee in this department, make sure there’s a higher title for them to grow into. Room for development is appealing to most candidates.

Pro Tip: Hiring is tough, but it gets easier when you answer this question: why would I work for you instead of Google?

Is It Clear?

When someone goes to a networking event and gets asked what they do, don’t make them work hard to explain it. Nobody wants to say they’re an Integrated Consumer Data Specialist when they’re actually a Marketing Coordinator. Job titles should clearly identify what kind of work the employee is responsible for. It also helps people to organize tasks internally, and it helps to provide clarity on who does what within the company. Although employees in startups tend to wear many hats, it’s necessary to make your startup role definitions nice and clear, so everyone knows who’s ultimately responsible for which decisions.

I know, I know. It’s tempting to come up with job titles that make you laugh when you see it on a business card. But including words like “ninja” and “rock star” may not assist you in finding and growing your business in an organized manner. Hiring strategic roles that push your business forward is mission-critical at this time - sometimes we do have to be serious.

Luckily, it’s just sometimes.

Topics: Hiring Strategies, Startup Development

Justin Lowe

Written by Justin Lowe

Director of Marketing and Sales