Q: Recently all the job titles in my small unit were changed by management and no one was informed of this change. We found out only by looking on Who's Who, our company's internal directory. When we asked about this we were told this was for 'consistency' and given an answer that did not seem logical or make sense.
These job titles do not encompass our current duties. It is frustrating as we have had to take on many more job duties and work, and while I understand that we can't be paid more, it would be acceptable if we had job titles that reflected what we do. Instead, management changed our job titles to ones that are narrowly focused, and this was done without informing anyone.
I had sent out my resume using my former title and now wonder how to handle this. What, if anything, should I say/do?
A: I am sorry that you are unhappy with the new titles that were assigned to the roles within your unit. It is unfortunate that these changes were made without informing employees in advance.
Company titles sometimes do need to be changes for a variety of reasons. Job responsibilities can change and sometimes that may necessitate a title change. A merger or an acquisition can sometimes be another legitimate reason for changes in titles of roles.
Assuming you are not part of a bargaining unit, an employer can typically change the "terms and conditions" of your employment. What this means is that your employer can change one or more of the following: title, working hours, job duties or location to name a few. These changes can be made with or without your consent.
Implementing these changes without informing the employees is not a good practice in most cases. When possible, it is often best to inform employees in advance of changes. Ideally, it is best to solicit employees' input but that is not always practical or possible. Based on the information you provided, I am not aware if your employer had a good reason (that you may not be aware of) to make these changes.
If your supervisor had told you in advance of the changes, this sharing of information may have made this change a bit more acceptable to you. You still may not have agreed but you may have appreciated the fact that you were informed in advance. Finding out new company information through an internal directory is probably not the best employee communications strategy. However, having been on the side of management for many years, I can tell you that not every internal change can be communicated in a timely manner. Companies often have few resources fully devoted to internal employee communications.
In response to your specific question about the title on your resume, I think you should provide a short explanation if questioned. Most hiring managers understand that titles can change over a period of time. Your explanation may sound like this:
In January of 2010, my title was changed from Software Developer to JAVA Engineer. I had submitted my resume to ABC Inc. in November of 2009 with the title of Software Developer.
I would not elaborate or complain about the change in title. You don't want to be perceived as a disgruntled candidate. In many cases, that is a turn off to a prospective employer.
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
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