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Can I negotiate job title?

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Can I negotiate job title?

Postby P. Lues » Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:58 am

Hi everyone,

I am a recent PhD graduate trying to making a transition into the business side of biotech. I have an interview on Monday which I have a fairly good shot at getting (it's between me and one other person and I have inside information that they prefer me). The trouble is that the title is Business Administration (the salary is low but it's decent enough). I knew the title is not well suited for a PhD but when I spoke to them, they basically that they want me because I have experience in technology transfer and they want me to also do licensing and IP stuff for them about 40% of the time and HR/admin stuff about 60% of the time. All of this is fine (actually sounds pretty good) but I'm worried about the title still. I feel like it would be a very bad choice to accept any sort of admin title after a PhD. It could raise eyebrows when people see that on my resume. Are my fears legitimate? If I get the job, can I negotiate the title? How should I go about bringing it up? I have no experience with this sort of thing so some solid advice is needed.

Best,
P.
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Re: Can I negotiate job title?

Postby P. Lues » Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:59 am

I apologize in advance if the topic has been brought up before, but I couldn't find it. People usually talk about negotiating salary, not the title.
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Re: Can I negotiate job title?

Postby P.C. » Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:43 am

What job title do you think would be more appropriate? If the job is as you say it is, I cannot think of another.
Technology Transfer and Business Administrator?
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Re: Can I negotiate job title?

Postby Dave Jensen » Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:39 am

P. Lues wrote:Hi everyone,

I am a recent PhD graduate trying to making a transition into the business side of biotech. I have an interview on Monday which I have a fairly good shot at getting (it's between me and one other person and I have inside information that they prefer me). The trouble is that the title is Business Administration (the salary is low but it's decent enough). I knew the title is not well suited for a PhD but when I spoke to them, they basically that they want me because I have experience in technology transfer and they want me to also do licensing and IP stuff for them about 40% of the time and HR/admin stuff about 60% of the time. All of this is fine (actually sounds pretty good) but I'm worried about the title still. I feel like it would be a very bad choice to accept any sort of admin title after a PhD. It could raise eyebrows when people see that on my resume. Are my fears legitimate? If I get the job, can I negotiate the title? How should I go about bringing it up? I have no experience with this sort of thing so some solid advice is needed.

Best,
P.


Yes job titles are often negotiated. This is very common. And you are correct -- that's a goofy job title. It won't look good on your CV in five years when you are looking for a new post.

But I think you have to do this carefully. Someone in HR or at the top of the company has decided that this suits the role. You need to bring a convincing argument to the table that it ISN"T. But you can't come off like a prima donna looking for special treatment. I would suggest a title such as Business Development and Administration, which uses most of their title but puts the title you really want (Business Development) into the picture. You could live with this. An easy change, if you phrase it correctly.

Dave
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Re: Can I negotiate job title?

Postby P. Lues » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:35 pm

Yes job titles are often negotiated. This is very common. And you are correct -- that's a goofy job title. It won't look good on your CV in five years when you are looking for a new post.

But I think you have to do this carefully. Someone in HR or at the top of the company has decided that this suits the role. You need to bring a convincing argument to the table that it ISN"T. But you can't come off like a prima donna looking for special treatment. I would suggest a title such as Business Development and Administration, which uses most of their title but puts the title you really want (Business Development) into the picture. You could live with this. An easy change, if you phrase it correctly.

Dave


Thank you for the responses. I don't have a lot of negotiating power because they already said they would rather have a BSc/MSc with the same experience (so they already frown upon my PhD). But the person I would be replacing was already promoted into a marketing position within the same company and they need to fill this role ASAP. So that gives me the upper hand.

The honest argument is what I already wrote on here. I like the work and I would enjoy it. The way I understand it is that I would be doing HR/admin stuff and IP/Licensing stuff and hopefully after 1 or 2 years, I can transfer into a business development role within the company (like the previous person was doing HR/admin stuff and after 1.5 years was promoted into marketing). But I'm hesitant to take the position because I think the title will reflect badly on me in light of the PhD and it will raise eyebrows. I'm prepared to walk away from this if they don't change the title. I have good reason to believe that if I wait another couple of months (not ideal because I also need income), I can actually land a business development position somewhere else. But this company and the field of cancer genomics (and the possibility of doing IP/Licensing work in this field) are very attractive to me.

Is this an OK argument? Or are they gonna say who is this demanding Diva?
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Re: Can I negotiate job title?

Postby PG » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:41 pm

it also depends on the organization that you are going to work for and if they already have someone else doing similar work. If they already have a person doing whatever you will be doing having to different job titles will make things complicated and a change less likely. On the other hand if this is a new type of position or you will be the only one working with those specific tasks the actual title is often a non-issue.

If I would hire someone for a new type of position and they have a reasonable argument for why they would like another title than the one we have made up for the position I cant see that being more than a 2 minute discussion before a decision to change can be made. This is of course assuming that the new suggestion makes sense and describes what the person will be doing.
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Re: Can I negotiate job title?

Postby Dave Jensen » Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:03 pm

Despite how interesting the work in H/R and Administration, it's not a long term PhD career, and it won't put the right experience into your CV. Its fine, though, if in a few years you can show that you had the BD experience in your job as well. That's why I don't think it's a big deal to call the job Business Development & Administration. That truly reflects the job, it sounds to me.

Dave
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