Golf scores, gas bills, Dr Evil's sidekicks...bigger isn't always better. Unless you work in recruitment, that is.
Take a closer look at any rec-to-rec's books or website, and among the straightforward consultancy and managerial roles, you will more than likely find a number of stealthily exaggerated opportunities. 'Worldwide Operations Director' may seem like a prestigious position, but why does it only require six months' branch managing experience? If you Google the employer you'll quickly find that it's easy to manage the 'worldwide operations' of a single-office recruitment agency
So why has the recruitment sector taken to inflating its job titles more than Simon Cowell's ego? Probably because as a sector we are very aware of the instant effect of job roles. Beyond the impressed murmurs they elicit at parties, swish titles suggest experience, aptitude and seniority, at a glance, to busy potential employers.
Equally, many up-to-the-minute recruitment agencies make their jobs easier using CV-parsing technology. While the more upmarket software is cleverly designed to look beyond certain 'keywords' when shortlisting applications, recruitment above all other industries is aware of the power of ticking the maximum number of boxes to get your resume seen.
So your potential employer finds your CV on their desk, flicks through and sets up an interview. Your elaborate job role has put you a step ahead – so far so good. But what happens when you're sat face-to-face?
“Give an example of how you have successfully handled a difficulty in communication between your international offices.” When 'international' goes no further than the travel agent's, how do you field a question like that? Was your impressive job title worth that sinking feeling as your interviewer finally demands “Mr Jones, exactly what 'worldwide operations' did you 'direct'?!”
Sloping home after a grilling worthy of George Foreman, your flashy title has merely exposed your lack of skills. The interview was a waste of your time and the employer's, and has left an impression for the future that you'll need a ladder to climb out of.
Had you applied for a more junior role, been honest about your skill set and shown enthusiasm for training, your ambition and willingness to work hard might have earnt you respect, not to mention a new job.
Beneath every job title lies a job description – the details of a candidate's experience that truly show whether they fit a role. So like a big green Scottish ogre taught us in 2001 (and Shrek 2, and Shrek The Third...), when it comes to the perfect match, it's what's underneath that counts.