Mr. Fantastic or Mr. Misleading?

Bob Framarin —  January 6, 2016 — Leave a comment

Just like every superhero needs a title, so does every job or position that you are recruiting for.  As the main searchable component for your job ad, having the wrong title could be your kryptonite.

With the huge surge in superhero movies lately, I figured I would take a stab at addressing the whole name and title issue.  One of the first Marvel comic book series ever created was the story of the Fantastic Four.  Four scientists were sent to outer space to conduct a mission and during the mission, came into contact with cosmic rays.   These cosmic rays forever changed the four scientists by giving each of them a unique power.  There was Sue Storm, who gained the ability to make herself transparent leading her to call herself the “Invisible Woman”.  Her brother, Johnny Storm, found himself with the ability to surround himself with flames and called himself the “Human Torch”.  Not bad so far but here is where it gets a little misleading.  Reed Richards gained the ability to stretch his entire body into different shapes and sizes.  Now, instead of going with the obvious choice of “Elastic Man”, he decided to go with “Mr. Fantastic”.  The fourth and final scientist obtained the unique ability that gave him super human strength hidden underneath a rocky shell.  While “Super-Human Strong Rock Man” has a great ring to it, he decided on the name “The Thing”.

Recruiting Superhero

So, how do poorly named superheroes fit into the world of recruiting?  If your job title does not match your job duties, you are going to have a hard time getting the right person to apply.   Having the wrong job title or job name can confuse likely applicants.  If you are looking for an Account Manager but your job description reads more like a Sales Representative, the right people won’t apply and your recruiting efforts will be unsuccessful.

Let’s stick with the examples from the top of the page.  If I were to lay out the abilities that Mr. Fantastic has, it would look something like this:

  • Can stretch to impossible lengths
  • Can take the shape of most objects
  • Elastic properties
  • Super strength

Now, if we didn’t know the name of this superhero was Mr. Fantastic, based on what is highlighted here, what would we call him?  My guess is Mr. Fantastic wouldn’t even be one of the top 100 choices.

If we do the same thing with the Human Torch:

  • Can surround himself with fire
  • Has the characteristics of a torch
  • Looks Human
  • Can Fly

Do you think someone would have stumbled upon the name “Human Torch” rather quickly?  I think so.

Think about the two examples when creating a job ad.  If the title of the job doesn’t match up with the skills and experience the job requires, you will get a lot of applicants that are unqualified for the job.   If you are looking for a woman with transparent qualities, the job title should be “Invisible Woman”…not the “Thing”

Bob Framarin


Bob was an Account Manager here at NewHire and a pro at understanding clients’ hiring needs. He has lived in the Chicagoland area since 2007 and currently resides on the north side of the city. To Bob, there’s nothing worse than an Oatmeal Raisin cookie disguised as Chocolate Chip. Nothing.

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