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      Cowen Partners in HR Dive

      Title inflation is on the rise, one HR recruiter says. Here’s how to prevent it.

      The current high rate of consumer inflation may be an issue on most people’s minds right now, but another form of inflation — title inflation — is also making itself felt in the workplace, Shawn Cole, president and co-founder of national executive search firm Cowen Partners, told HR Dive. 

      It’s nearly impossible to roll back a title on someone without them quitting.

      Shawn Cole
      President and co-founder, Cowen Partners Executive Search

      Cole started observing the trend around 2018 with bootstrapped startups, he said. “They weren’t necessarily able to compensate competitively, but they were handing out inflated titles. So that could be an exaggerated VP or even a C-suite title.” Cole even saw one startup use “director of first impressions” as the title for an office receptionist role. “[Startups] really kicked it all off for the rest of us,” he said. 

      Finally, HR pros should devote significant energy to finding candidates who believe in and align themselves with the company’s goals and values, Cole said. “If you have a candidate that is only interested in joining your company for title and money, there will be another opportunity that comes to them, you know, a year from now with more money and a cooler title, and you’re just gonna lose that person,” he continued. “So you want them bought in on a shared value system — not the money and title.”

      About HR Dive

      HR Dive provides in-depth journalism and insight into the most impactful news and trends shaping human resources. The newsletters and website cover topics such as talent acquisition, learning and development, diversity and inclusion, compensation, benefits, onboarding, and more.

      HR Dive is a leading publication operated by Industry Dive. Our business journalists spark ideas and shape agendas for 10+ million decision makers in competitive industries.

      Cowen Partners is the nation’s premier executive search firm, specializing in HR recruitment, as well as headhunting for the C-suite across several industries. Known for enabling companies to harness the power of human capital to fuel their success, Cowen Partners gives our clients access to the top 1% of human capital to create opportunities that accelerate their growth and market share. With Cowen Partners, clients can grow at scale, create value, and drive results with world class talent. Our clients are both small and large, publicly traded, pre-IPO, private, and non-profit organizations.

      Clients are typically $50 million to multi-billion dollar revenue Fortune 1000 companies or have assets between $500 million to $15 billion. Successful placements span the entire C-Suite and include VP and director level leadership roles.

      With our proven processes and guaranteed results, we have successfully placed hundreds of candidates in industries including technology, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, financial services, and private equity.

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