Title Inflation: Beware Too Much Hot Air

Published Friday, July 15, 2011 2:23 PM

Staying abreast of business trends is a goal at Esselte. But one trend worth avoiding is rampant title inflation which is alive and well across the globe.

Witness leading business magazine The Economist jokingly referring to Korea's dictator Kim Jon IL as a trendsetter for his over-the-top take on title inflation: the Korean dictator boasts a whopping 1,200 titles. 

While no one is going to confuse the average job-hunter with a megalomaniac dictator, careful scrutiny of titles is necessary for today's job-hunters and hiring managers alike.

What's in a Name?

Title inflation can spring from many wells: job hierarchies have become more complex, therefore more diverse roles and titles are required to parse differences; when money is tight, new, fancier titles are often awarded in lieu of cash; and lastly, cultural shifts have companies assigning titles such as Chief Diversity Officer, CEO of Sustainability and even, yes its true, Minister of Comedy. 

A Rose by Any Other Name

Since title inflation has taken hold, hiring managers need to carefully suss out a candidate's true experience, rather than assuming a set of responsibilities based solely on title. Smart HR pros will match job descriptions against experience, and view titles as just one set of criterion. Hiring managers will benefit from the insight in Title Inflation Emerges With A Vengeance. 

Job hunters should recognize the dangers of puffery and consider functional resumes that highlight accomplishments and expertise rather than soley relying on titles to convey worth. HR pros can sniff out embellishment, so keep it straightforward and simple.

Worried that simplicity, is well, too simple? Make sure your job descriptions showcase, rather than show off, with the advice in Does Your Job Title Get the Job Done? 

What is the wackiest, most embellished title you've come across? Does title inflation make it hard to discern an employee's true experience?  Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.



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