New Company is Offering a Lesser Title… Will that Look Like a Step Down?

I have been an IT director for seven years; now I have an opportunity – good company, good salary, role is perfect for what I am looking for but the title is senior manager. How concerned should I be that it might be perceived as a step down because of the titles?

Ann-Z-newWell, this is an easy one. The short answer is that you should place very little weight on the title when evaluating a job change. Smart candidates make career moves based on four primary areas:

  1. Compensation
  2. Career Path…where a job will position them 1, 3 and 5 years down the road.
  3. Quality of Life… travel requirements, commute times, etc.
  4. Company Culture…. Who they will be working for and with, office environment, etc.

The fact is, we all know that the President of Joe’s Hot Dog Stand would not be more qualified in an operations role than say a manager in a Fortune 500 company.

With that said, it certainly would not hurt to ask if they would consider changing the title AFTER you negotiate compensation, but be leery in giving up money for a title. We see it all the time, when rather than giving someone a monetary increase in compensation, companies just change a title. Personally, I would always choose the money if the choice was one or the other, but you would be surprised how much weight some candidates place on title.

Please note that I said many candidates place a lot of weight on titles, but not experienced recruiters. That is because we understand how this works!

To overcome any concerns, when crafting your next resume, I would do bullet points, showing responsibilities for each role. I also like it when candidate add a little note next to each role, saying why they left. By simply saying that you left to pursue an opportunity with high compensation, and more responsibilities, no one would ever question why you made the move.

So take the new job, and congratulations!


Ask Ann,

Have a question you’d like a recruiter to answer? Write to me at AskAnn@execunet.com



Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

A recruiter since 1996, Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is the president of International Search Consultants, a global executive recruiting firm launched in 1999.

ISC has become one of the country’s most reputable search firms, earning more recommendations on Linked In than any other 3rd party recruiting agency in the entire country. With a team of 15 talented recruiters, utilizing the very best high- tech tools available, ISC can produce highly qualified candidates for companies with hi-volume recruiting needs.

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