4

I had recently joined a company with the title of "Frontend Engineer" when in the hiring process and correspondence with HR titled the role of "Senior Frontend Engineer."

In the offer letter, the function is stated as just "Frontend Engineer," and I didn't see that as an issue as I thought the senior title is just not usually written in the offer letter (this is my second company after I graduate).

Then on my first day at work, I realized in the HR software I am not in senior-level engineer, and the title is just Staff Engineer when there are people titled as Senior Engineers. I am being treated and compensated as a Senior Level Engineer, though (my coworkers consulted to me about client architecture, performance improvements, etc. even in the first few days at work).

I won't be concerning this if my new role is at FAANG or other more prestigious tech companies, but my current company is actually younger than my last company. My previous position before this was a Senior Frontend Engineer at one of the biggest tech company in South East Asia, I join my current company simply because they pay better and some personal reasons.

I think this situation could be bad for my resume because in the previous job, I was a Senior, and this makes me look liked I am being demoted.

So, Is this a big deal? Should I talk to my manager about this as soon as possible or later in the probation review?

This concerns me enough that I am preparing myself to look for other opportunities, later when I am close to ending my probation period.

3
  • How long have you been an engineer? I would be more concerned about getting the "senior" title after only a couple years into a career.
    – Bardicer
    Jul 14, 2020 at 15:40
  • @Bardicer I got the "senior" title after four years of professional experience. Not sure how common it is in the US, but in Indonesia and Singapore, it's entirely normal.
    – anasoi
    Jul 14, 2020 at 15:52
  • @anasoi Okay, was just curious, because it's been my experience that most people (US) tend to stay with a company for a year or two, and I've not run into anyone that got "senior" in such a short time. But more to your question, thought I wouldn't say it's enough to justify a full "answer" submission, I would say skillset is much more important than title for future opportunities, and all that really matters is "are you happy with your duties and your company now?" Don't get too hung up on titles.
    – Bardicer
    Jul 14, 2020 at 16:12

3 Answers 3

10

It's certainly worth asking about. Ask you manager and/or HR about the situation.

First check what "Staff Engineer" means. It's an unusual title, and it might be something more senior than "senior engineer". Find out what job titles your more junior colleagues have. It it turns out that "Staff engineer" is more senior than senior, great. Just keep calling yourself that and point out to anyone who interviews you in the future that "staff engineer" is a senior position.

If it turns out that there is a "senior engineer" title higher than "staff engineer" then ask to have your title adjusted. Don't make a big thing about it, but you were told you would be a senior engineer.

Don't worry about this too much for the future. Recruiters are very used to the idea that different companies have different job titles. You can even reasonably put "senior engineer" on your resume if that describes the job you are doing, even if it wasn't technically your title. Something like "Staff engineer" (Senior Frontend Engineer) as a job title works too.

3
  • at my previous employer staff was the level below senior: When I started they had 5 levels: Assistant, Associate, Staff, Senior, Principal. After a number of people gamed the promotion system to get the Principal rank ~20 years ahead of schedule they added two new ranks Fellow and ???? to the top so they could bureaucratically justify paying experienced PHDs more than 35 year old office politicians. Jul 14, 2020 at 3:25
  • 4
    The "staff" adjective in a job title very often implies a higher rank (certainly inconsistent with a "junior" or "assistant" grade), suggesting either that a person is responsible for a team, or at least that their experience or specialism makes them a part of the firm's furniture. But with job title inflation, anything is possible.
    – Steve
    Jul 14, 2020 at 13:19
  • 2
    To me, I've only heard the 'staff' prefix as above 'senior'. For example, Google have a role of "Staff Engineer" above Senior (and below "Senior Staff Engineer"!). Definitely worth checking it internally to see how it sits. Jul 14, 2020 at 17:11
1

Yes, its a matter of concern. You can refer to the communication with HR during the hiring process. You can let them know that this title needs to match what was communicated otherwise it will affect your career in a negative way.

I had such a situation myself and I told the employer although you are going to pay me on the lower pay scale but write my title as 'Senior Software Developer', it is not going to cost you anything extra but for me its something important. They did listen and change the title on my visiting cards and profile.

-2

I agree with the previous answer - it is very much a big deal. Your title will be used when you go to your next job to fit you into their salary categories.

Ask HR both why your title is not what was offered, and when it can be changed. If they can't answer you then you are in a bait-and-switch situation, in which case they have not been able to get people onboard with the lower title, and you need to reconsider the viability of the company.

If they say that you are not qualified for the higher job title ask what the requirements are for the title. If you have those requirements, then tell them so, and ask when the next out-of-band promotion is possible. If not, then document whenever you have performed the requirements so that you can work with your manager to get yourself into the proper position. And let your manager know both what happened and that you want to take on the responsibilities now so that you can help them document that you are fulfilling the position.

0

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .