“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.