- Jobs with "ninja" in the title are up 90% in 2018, according to Indeed's Weird Job Titles 2018 report — replacing "rockstar" as the most frequently used among the weird terms that Indeed tracks in its job listings. Since 2015, Indeed's annual report has monitored "ninja," "rockstar," "genius," "hero," "superhero," "guru" and "wizard" job titles.
- "Genius" (+21%) and "rockstar" (+17%) became more popular in 2018. Though "superhero" job titles increased by 19% this year, "hero" job titles declined by 44% and "wizard" job titles also fell in the rankings (-17%).
- The majority of job listings for rockstars, ninjas, geniuses, gurus and wizards were posted by California employers. Ohio posted more superhero jobs than any other state, while New York posted the most hero jobs. Indeed listings in New York were also rife with with ninjas, geniuses and gurus this year.
Odd job titles are nothing new. Apple made "Genius" ubiquitous in the early aughts and Bonobos' "Customer Experience Ninjas" have helped the retailer communicate its dedication to customer service — but the staying power of these weird titles could speak to their ability to pique the interests of prospective employees.
Employers might opt for "Design Wizard" over multimedia designer or "Office Guru" over office administrator to tell potential employees that their company culture is fun and engaging with a focus on workers' uniqueness. A Harvard Business Review study from 2016 found that unconventional job titles could even increase employee happiness.
However, in a tight job market, where an ill-fitting company culture can be a deterrent, can employers risk turning off potential hires? Employers also risk being lost in the shuffle if they choose to list a job with an odd title. "Telemarketing Superhero" certainly jumps off the page, but it's far less searchable on online job boards than more conventional job titles.
"Keep job titles clear and descriptive for best results," Indeed said in its report. "Using them in your job postings may not always come across how you intend to to job seekers and can affect how well your job posting performs. After all, most people don't search for weird job titles like ‘ninja' or ‘superhero' but rather for job titles that match their skills and experiences."