WHY “CREATIVE” JOB TITLES ARE ULTIMATELY A BAD IDEA

This article is a short version of the story previously published on Hacker Noon. Read the full article here.

“[Rockstar developer is] a dated expression overused by recruiters.”

— Jim Haughwout on Quora

And still, it is quite frequent in job postings.

Apart from rock stars, there are also ninjas, hackers, gurus, geniuses, and many other loud synonyms. They either replace regular job titles or are squeezed into job descriptions. 

Not so long ago, Indeed analysed eccentric job postings. They found that the most popular titles in the US were “rockstar” and “guru,” followed by “ninja,” “genius,” and “wizard.” Quite surprisingly, in 2017, the attribute “rockstar” was used 19% more frequently than is 2015.

You can rest assured that in Europe, companies look for “rock stars” as well.

While it all started as an innocent marketing trick, the search for mythical ninjas, rock stars, gurus, or wizards has negatively affected all participants in the recruitment process: hiring companies, developers, and recruiters.

In fact, these titles are even called resume fraud.

EXAGGERATED JOB TITLES CAN CAUSE HARM TO

HIRING COMPANIES

1. Programmers tend to ignore job ads with unclear titles.

2. “Rockstar” ads won’t help companies filter out less experienced candidates.

3. Your company wouldn’t want to pay “rockstar” developers a “rockstar” salary.

4. Strong job titles shun minority candidates.

5. Most likely, you don’t want to hire a rock star.

DEVELOPERS

1. Non-specific job titles only confuse developers.

2. “Weird” job titles can foster high expectations from developers and lead to anxiety.

3. Eccentric ads might lead to the distortion of the career and learning goals.

AGENCY RECRUITERS

1. “Creative” job titles often hurt the client company’s brand.

2. Weird ads do not help companies define their recruitment goals.

3. “Rockstar” titles diminish the importance of soft skills.

WHAT IS A ROCKSTAR DEVELOPER?

The simple answer is, a “rockstar developer” is a myth. So let’s not nurture myths.

If you are the hiring company:

Be specific and reasonable in your demands towards candidates. Don’t try to look for rockstars, ninjas, gurus, or wizards. Search for people who solve problems. Search for those who bring value to your development team.

If you are a developer:

Be humble in your CV. Don’t use cool-sounding yet meaningless titles, as they don’t describe what you do.

If you are a recruiter:

Be a counsellor and advocate to your client. Help them understand their organisational needs better and focus on finding them the right talent.

Here is a quick review:

  • Terms like rockstar developer are nothing but a myth
  • Creative and exaggerated job titles don't help a candidate, a hiring company, or a recruiter
  • Instead of looking for ninjas or rockstars, it is better to hire people who can add value to your team
Explaining Why Rockstar Developers Are A Myth