Why you Need to A/B Test your Job Titles

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testingWhat if I told you that saying “rep” instead of “representative” in your job posting title might be the difference between receiving 40 candidates and receiving 55 candidates? Or that dropping the “s” in “human resources” might cost you 20 applicants?

Based on our data at ZipRecruiter, this is exactly what happens.

After analyzing some of the most popular job titles posted through ZipRecruiter, we found that even slight variations correlate to very different results. Here are a few examples of job title variations, followed in parentheses by the average number of job applicants per posting:

Receptionist/Administrative Assistant (122)
Receptionist (90)
Admin Assistant (58)
Administrative Assistant (57)

Customer Service Representative (55)
Customer Service Rep (41)
Customer Care Representative (35)
Customer Service (33)
Customer Service Associate (29)
Customer Service Specialist (21)

Human Resources Generalist (46)
HR Generalist (33)
Human Resource Generalist (23)

When selecting a job posting title, start with what you think most job seekers will search for. In the third example, do you think more job seekers are searching with the term “human resources” or “human resource”? My guess would be the former, so that’s where I would start.

Why does it matter?

If you pepper your title and job description with “human resource” but the job seeker searches for “human resources,” then your job posting will show up lower in the search results because it’s not as close of a match. That means fewer eyes on your job and, in turn, a strong likelihood that you’ll receive fewer applicants.

Now, if it were me, I wouldn’t stop there. I’m a firm believer in A/B testing job posting titles (and the entire job description, for that matter) in order to see what attracts the most candidates and what attracts the best candidates. If you have one of those quirky cultures where you want someone to truly embody a “sales ninja” or “sourcing wizard,” then try out that title for a while. If you don’t see the response you want, then go the road more traveled for a while.

If you use job boards that are free or have a subscription plan, then you can A/B test virtually risk-free — just post your job, collect candidates, edit your posting, and repeat as desired. If not, then do your testing on a free or subscription service before paying to post on the paid boards.

If you give this method a shot, please let us know how it goes!

By Rachel Dotson