Too weird or not too weird? That is the question. Whether ‘tis smarter to slap some really crazy buzzword in your job descriptions to stand out or to keep them clear and down to earth…

Some employers really like to keep it weird, that’s for sure. Wacky job titles have remained a steady trend in job listings on Indeed for a while now. Some employers are adopting the use of creative (or downright odd) language to describe common jobs, attempting to convey an upbeat company culture.

These job titles include everything from “Software Ninjaneer” and “Content Hero” to “Sales Rockstar” and “Brand Warrior.” And while the Chief Heart Officer (HR Manager) and Director of Fundom (Marketing Manager) sound like delightful positions, the Colon Lover (Copywriter) might turn a few heads at a networking event.

While wacky job titles may be fun and eye-catching, job seekers are typically not searching for terms such as “hero” and “warrior.” You stand a better chance of being discovered by potential hires when your job title accurately describes the work to be done.

To determine the weirdest and wackiest job titles of 2019, we looked at the share of job postings per 1 million containing “weird” terms in either the job title or description, focusing on the ones that performed the strongest from October 2018 to October 2019. Let’s take a deep dive into these titles, as well as how to craft a job posting that will attract the candidates you want. 

More rockstars, fewer heroes in 2019

Which wacky job titles were trendiest among U.S. employers in 2019? In analyzing the results, five terms performed particularly well: “ninja,” “rockstar,” “genius,” “hero” and “guru.” All of these titles appeared on last year’s roundup of weird job titles; however, this year, some have traded places in popularity.

“Rockstar” is this year’s winner, with a 31% increase in job postings containing this term from October of last year to October of this year. And ever since we started tracking weird job titles in 2015, “rockstar” jobs have grown by 209%. Rock on!

However, some of these weird jobs didn’t fare as well. “Guru” jobs dropped 15% in the past year, and last year’s weird jobs winner didn’t see the same results this year: “Ninja” jobs decreased by 9%. On the bright side, we do see a rise in “genius” jobs, with a 26% increase in these jobs over last year — and a whopping 416% increase since we first started tracking “genius” jobs in 2015. 

Jobs with “hero” in the title declined just slightly over the past year: -0.1%, to be exact. So while demand for heroes in the workplace is more or less holding steady, we’re not seeing quite the same explosive growth there that we do in costumed heroes fighting villains the multiplex.

Wacky job titles span the country

We’ve covered what the weird job titles are — but where are they located? To find out, we looked at which U.S. states have the largest share of ninja, rockstar, genius, hero and guru job titles. 

While California was home to most of our weird job titles last year, the Golden State only appears a few times on this year’s list. Utah and Washington each have a moderate showing, while plenty of new states make their debuts.

When you think of a rockstar, you might picture Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin or Freddie Mercury. Like them, “rockstar” jobs are the shining star of this year’s weird jobs list, having seen the most growth in the past year. A search for this term on Indeed returns job titles such as “retail rockstar,” “rockstar massage therapist” and even “water damage rockstar,” which requires candidates to have “experience in water damage mitigation, mold remediation and structure drying.”

Arkansas takes the top spot for “rockstar” jobs this year, claiming the crown from California, which ranked first last year. This is followed by Utah, which climbed up two spots from last year’s rankings. Montana, Tennessee (birthplace of “the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Tina Turner) and Idaho round out the list, where employers are searching for “outside sales rockstars” and “rockstar recruiters” to rock their worlds.

“Genius” usually refers to someone who has exceptional intelligence and creativity, and there are plenty of job postings that make use of this job title. “Genius” job titles probably bring to mind the Apple Genius role: Apple store experts who help troubleshoot and repair your technological products. We also see many “BMW Genius” and “Toyota Genius” roles: employees who answer customer inquiries and provide service at these car dealerships. 

“Genius” jobs seem to be most prevalent in the South and Southwest: This year, Oklahoma has the largest share of these roles, but we also see New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada and Georgia on the list.

From Spider-Man to Wonder Woman, there are plenty of fictional heroes we all know and love. But what about workplace heroes? On one hand, there are jobs society considers heroic — such as firefighters, doctors and police officers; however, these are different from jobs that actually include “hero” in the title, such as “Customer Happiness Hero,” a role that serves as the point of contact between a company and its customers.

Vermont has the largest share of “hero” job titles this year, replacing last year’s winner, New York. California moves up a spot from last year to land in second place this year. In Pennsylvania, which takes third, a search for “hero” jobs leads to “Sales Delivery Hero,” where strong driving skills and a fun, charismatic personality are some of the preferred qualifications. Washington State and Washington, D.C. claims the last two spots for “hero” jobs.

The term “ninja” refers to a covert agent trained in ancient martial arts and employed to carry out espionage or assassinations — but nowadays, the term has crept its way into a variety of job listings. It indicates roles requiring a high level of skill, while serving to jazz up job titles. Search for this term on Indeed, and you’ll find everything from a “Sandwich Ninja” in Hawaii (a restaurant crew member or cook) to an “Accounts Receivable Ninja” in Idaho (who works with billing and collections). 

This year, the largest share of ninja jobs can be found in Hawaii, while last year’s winner was California. It seems “ninja” jobs follow sunnier weather, as the second-largest share can be found in Arizona, followed by Texas (the fifth-largest share). Colorado takes the third spot with job titles such as “Contact Center Ninja” and “Event Marketing Ninja.”

“Guru” is a Sanskrit term for a teacher or master of certain knowledge. It’s also a popular term in job listings for a variety of industries, from customer service positions to accounting jobs. Titles range from “Client Services Guru” and “Instagram Guru” to “Numbers Guru” and “Hair Guru.”

For the second year in a row, California takes the crown for “guru” jobs, with postings such as “Podcast Publishing Guru” (a podcast publishing assistant). Michigan follows in second place while Kentucky ranks third, replacing Texas and Florida from last year. One mysterious “guru” job posting in Kentucky titled “EKU Guru” calls for Eastern Kentucky University students who can act as tutors, mentors and peer success coaches for the college.

Best practices for fun and accurate job titles

Weird and wacky job titles are fun to stumble upon, and a creative title can indicate a playful, easygoing company culture. However, if you’re serious about finding top talent, it’s best to stick to clear and descriptive titles in your job postings. 

Most job seekers don’t search for “ninja” or “superhero” positions. They look for job titles that match their skills and experiences. Wacky job titles might actually hurt your chances of being discovered and could even put off some job seekers. 

That’s not to say you need to drop fun titles altogether. Indeed recommends posting common job titles online, using clear language that conveys the specifics and skills needed, while having fun with titles in the workplace behind the scenes. This will help you improve your placement in search results while maintaining a fun and friendly company culture.

Here are some best practices for creating effective job titles for your online listings:

  • Focus on what the job actually does. Just like a job title that is too wacky, a title that is too broad will get lost in a sea of listings with similar wording. For example, you can make a generic title such as “Marketing Manager” more specific by adding details about what the work entails; changing this title to “Events and Sponsorships Manager” can help your posting reach the person with the right skill set.
  • Include the level of seniority. Whether you’re advertising for an entry-level or an executive position, make sure to include these terms in your job title. You don’t want to waste job seekers’ time by attracting candidates who are underqualified or overqualified for the role, so make sure the seniority level is clear in both the description and the title.
  • Keep it concise. Try to keep your job title between five and 80 characters — if your title is too long or too short, it may not rank well in search results. Avoid using all caps or special characters in your titles to make them easier for job seekers to read (and for search engines to find).
  • Avoid internal jargon. Using abbreviations or acronyms can be confusing for job seekers, especially if they’re unfamiliar with your company. A title such as “Senior Digital Marketer” is much more clear to applicants than “Digital Marketer II.”

Have fun with your titles internally, but make sure they’re effective in online listings to attract the candidates you really want. For more tips on writing job descriptions, check out this post, and see examples of job descriptions for specific roles here.