OPINION: What’s in a job title…..

“I’d never go back to being an ‘Executive’ even if it does pay more……………..”

In the world of digital media, sales candidates are often highly attuned to how the market perceives them, and rightly so. In many minds the factor that most clearly signposts this perception is job title. A job title reflects career progression and status and as such we understand that it is a key factor in a candidate’s decision making process when presented with a new opportunity. Don’t forget though that this is just one of the factors that you need to consider when planning a career move.

It is still a surprise to see the frequency with which a candidate will rule out a new opportunity simply based on job title. Are they placing an undue value on how their friends and business contacts will view them as opposed to really assessing the opportunity? You would be amazed at how often this is the case. What variables then should be more important to consider? This is an incredibly easy question to answer. Priority should be given to working for a company that is more progressive/innovative than your current company, the responsibilities involved and the opportunity to develop your skills, and at the most basic level does this role give you financial uplift?

The neatest example to illustrate the confusion around job titles is ‘Executive’. Back in the pre-digital days when press, TV and outdoor ruled the waves the title ‘Executive’ was most definitely rooted to the bottom of the career ladder. The arrival of digital, and more importantly the arrival of US digital companies, completely transformed the value of this title. In the US ‘Executive’ is a title that can encompass a diverse range of roles, many of them incredibly senior.

Candidates must be mindful of basing their job title valuation on the structure employed by the company that they currently work for. It may well be that in their current business, they have worked hard to rise through the ranks from Sales Executive to Sales Manager to Senior Sales Manager. This multi-layered hierarchy is often found in more traditional media owners. Another company may have a much flatter structure though. In short, one company’s Senior Sales Manager might be another company’s Account Executive. Again we come back to the same point, the value of a role isn’t based on job title, it is much more important to assess a role based on the opportunity to develop yourself and the financial remuneration on offer.

One final word though in defence of the candidate who places a value on job titles. Clients should be aware that if they want a sales person to drive conversations at a senior level within agencies and clients then often it becomes business critical that they have a job title that can open the right doors. Sadly some key decision makers just won’t want to talk to your Executive! This is mitigated if your company is a big US brand like Google or Facebook who have ongoing dialogue with buyers but becomes more challenging for the rest of the market, particularly start-ups.


CAREER TIPS: Interviewing with recruiters? How to impress the gatekeeper…

In the first minute of a recent interview one of our consultants was told by a candidate “I generally don’t like recruitment consultants”. So we thought we would take a look at how some of the things you say and do in your first meeting with a recruiter are interpreted and more importantly how these first impressions directly impact the types of opportunities that are presented to you by your recruiter.

The first thing to say here is that we all seem to accept that an interview with a recruiter is different to a ‘proper’ job interview. But is that really the case? Whilst there are certainly some elements to the interview that are different, and we will explore these next, the core aspect of needing to impress is still a fundamental requirement.

So what elements are different between a recruitment interview and a job interview? Well, firstly you can work with your recruiter in the first meeting to clarify what you want to do next. A good recruiter should absolutely have a firm grasp of their market and be able to give you a clear idea of the options open to you as you begin your job search. It is our job to get you to the point where you know what your target role/company is and what your market value is. We can also give advice about how to articulate your current work situation to prospective employers, you may have been made redundant or recently returned from a period of travelling, the presentation of these potentially less attractive scenarios is important to work on.

Aside from these more consultative elements of the interview your task really is much the same as when you have a job interview – try to impress us!

Don’t forget that the person you are meeting is the potential gatekeeper to a world of opportunities. Those that make a good impression are shown the top tier roles, those that don’t are not. We often find ourselves in interviews with a candidate being told that ‘Recruitment Company X’ was useless because they didn’t have any good jobs. Now clearly that could be true but more often than not the conclusion to draw is that ‘Recruitment Company X’ made a judgement that the candidate in question wasn’t good enough to present good jobs to!

With that in mind we would really encourage candidates to work hard to impress in a recruitment interview. In many respects it is more important than a job interview, not less. Your performance in this interview could lead to several opportunities as opposed to one.

So, what do you need to do? It is pretty basic really. Firstly, make sure you look the part, dress appropriately and have positive body language. A good/intuitive recruiter is trying to form an opinion of where you might fit in culturally and your personal presentation is a huge part of that decision making. Scruffy people with a tired demeanour will be sent briefs for companies that employ those types of people. Smart and sharp people will be sent briefs for the very best companies.

Sell yourself – make sure you have a clear list of achievements in your current and past roles. By doing this you are not only demonstrating the fact that you interview well but you are also arming the recruiter with the ammunition to sell you into their clients.

Finally, let’s go right back to the beginning of this post. Don’t say things like “I generally don’t like recruitment consultants”. Whilst we completely understand that there are some dreadful ones out there, we aren’t all the same, it really isn’t a statement that is likely to win you friends and influence people. In actual fact the normal conclusion we would draw is that candidates making those types of statements don’t have a particularly good radar for what makes for an appropriate comment. We don’t take comments like this personally but interpret them professionally, someone willing to make confrontational and disrespectful remarks to someone they don’t know properly yet doesn’t represent the type of candidate we are looking for.

The basic point being that you should assume the best of your consultant until proved otherwise. Finding a good one could prove to be one of the most important relationships you build in your career and it all starts with those first impressions.

TODAY: A new age casualness..

In the world of media suits and formal wear have most definitely been thrown out the window. There is a new age casualness. As head-hunters we meet and build rapport with our candidates before we put them in front of our clients and every so often we come across that one candidate who takes casual to a new level, still sporting festival bands, their favourite football shirt or even the same outfit they’ve been wearing all holiday. Naturally your attire doesn’t directly reflect your competency but you cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure.


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