Improving your candidate pool

It’s a recruiter’s market at the moment, which means you probably have to sift through more unsuitable job applications than ever before.

So how can you make sure only the best candidates apply? Ben Kershaw, managing director at Manchester-based Benjamin James Consultancy, says the most important thing is to clearly outline in your job ad exactly what the client requires.

And he’s absolutely right. So, to help you attract only the highest calibre candidates we’ve got a few top tips on writing job ads from across the recruitment industry…


Be clear about the job title

Before you even write the job ad, it’s vital that you understand all the role requirements so you can advertise it correctly.

Particular attention should be paid to the job title, which should be easily recognized and understood by potential candidates. For instance, ‘human resources manager’ is less confusing than ‘human relations specialist’ and ‘operations manager’ is definitely clearer than ‘operations ninja,’ which has been advertised before.

Besides being off-putting, the other downside of using a complicated job title is that it won’t show up easily in an internet search.

If you’re looking to fill a specific or niche vacancy, make that clear in your ad too. If you want a mental health solicitor for example, then use that as the job title rather than simply ‘solicitor.’

Top tip: Use unambiguous, universally understood terms, particularly for the job title.


Spell out your minimum requirements

Be equally clear about the qualifications and level of experience you require from your candidate and list the main responsibilities of the role.

It’s all very well adding qualities to the job description that would be useful for your candidate to have, but your main priority should be highlighting what’s compulsory. For instance, if the job absolutely requires a candidate with a degree in biology, or fluency in Mandarin, you should state it in the ad.

Language is the key – you can even pull in candidates with the right attitude by describing the company in a positive way.

Top tip: Avoid company jargon and list the requirements and responsibilities of the job with equal clarity.


Sell the job

You’ve got to get your dream candidate excited enough about the job to want to apply. That means telling them why the role might benefit them.

At one level, that means salary, holidays, flexitime, maybe some travel perks, but more importantly it should be about job satisfaction. You need to attract applicants who want to unlock their potential, benefit from training and be part of a team too.

Whatever vacancy you’re recruiting for, you need to be clear about the requirements of the role and convey why it’s important within the company.

Top tip: Language is important in attracting the right attitude. Use a tone that reflects the culture of the employer, whether ‘young and buzzy’ or more businesslike.

Improve the company website

If a top candidate checks out a prospective employer’s official website and ends up clicking into a slow, not-too-slick site, they may not even bother waiting for the rest of the pages to open to find out more. Which means they probably won’t bother applying for the job either.

Top tip: Stay abreast of technology to pull in top candidates, and make sure online applications don’t get sent into a black hole.

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