Creating a Job Ad that Attracts the Right Candidates

How can you be sure you’re actually attracting the best people to apply? You want applications that tick all the right boxes and candidates that are chock-full of potential. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider people from outside the sector or anyone making a career change late in the game. But we get it—the totally irrelevant applications can be a bit of a pain!

It all comes down to the job advert. The clearer you are about what you want, the easier it is to find the right candidate for the role. Here are a few things to consider before you post a job.

maximise changes of being found by best candidates

First—what were you doing wrong before?

Posting a job ad and praying it gets to the right people is sort of like sending a message in a bottle. You have to remember that candidates are reading through hundreds of job ads a day.

You want to stand out for all the right reasons. Posting something vague and impersonal puts your charity at risk of getting lost in the crowd. And it also opens the floodgates to all those desperate candidates that are blasting out 50+ applications a day, even if they don’t have the experience you’re after.

So ask yourself:

  • Are you simply using a template rather than personalising the advert? We get it, not every charity has time to write a bespoke job spec. But using a template may mean you’re including skills and experience that aren’t actually a ‘must-have’ for the role.
  • Are you asking for more years of experience than the job really needs? Plenty of good candidates get scared off when they don’t tick every single box. If you’re flexible about considering someone with potential but a bit less experience, then say so!
  • Does the role really require ‘degree-level qualification’? This is a common deterrent. If the role doesn’t actually require a degree, then remove it from the job spec!

How to write a job ad that attracts the best candidates

If your ad looks and reads like every other job out there, don’t be surprised when the results are quite average. As a hiring manager, you don’t want to read through the same CV again and again—it’s the same for candidates! They get easily fatigued by the job hunt when they encounter the same stiff language and long lists of required skills. That’s why it’s so important to be both flexible and empathetic to the candidate experience.

So how can you create a captivating job ad that attracts the best people for the job? Here are our top tips:

best candidates and your job ad

1. Be aware of bias

We all have inherent biases, even if we don’t like to admit it. Tools like Textio are great for catching that bias early on. You may not even realise that you’re using a tone of voice or expression that discourages certain demographics. Textio will run through your ad and provide recommendations on how to make the language more inclusive.

2. Be clear about ‘required’ vs ‘good-to-have’ skills

You want to hire someone who can deliver results, not just someone who looks good on paper. Yet so many organisations ask candidates to have an unreasonable level (and diversity) of skills. And that can be off-putting.

That’s why potential is so important here. Make it clear you’re willing to consider people who don’t have all the skills if they can show a clear ability to grow. Consider separating the skills into two groups—required and desirable. That way people are more likely to apply, even if they don’t have everything you’re asking for.

being clear about skills in job ad

3. Always be transparent about salary

Your job may look perfect, but if there’s no salary listed or if you have an extreme salary range, there’s a strong chance that brilliant candidates will simply scroll right past it. And why apply if a role is asking you to put work in at the risk of later finding out the pay is far below what you can actually accept? But jobs that do display salaries get twice as many applications and are more likely to get the cream of the crop. So be as specific as you can and build trust early on.

4. Share values, benefits and perks

While it’s important to list things like role requirements and skills needed, you also want to show what your organisation does for its employees. Employment is a two-way street. They work hard for you, and in return, you thank them with things like perks and benefits.

Do you have a cycle-to-work scheme? Or do you offer mindfulness training? Don’t wait until the interview stage to touch on these things—shout about them right from the get-go!

eco-friendly charity office - combat climate change

5. Don’t sell yourself short

You can’t assume every candidate has heard of your charity. Show them why you’d be an amazing organisation to work for and inspire them to learn more about you. The right candidate will then do their homework and research your organisation to make sure they’ll be the right fit.

6. Be careful about job titles

Ever been tempted to apply for a job as a ‘Fundraising Ninja’? If the answer is no, that’s probably because the title raises more questions than it should. The charity sector is notorious for creating job titles that make sense in the context of an organisation but seem totally confusing to anyone outside it.

Not only does that make candidates less inclined to apply, but it means it’s harder for people to even find the job to begin with. That’s why it’s so important to use keyword-rich job titles where possible when recruiting.

consider job titles to attract the best candidates

Remember, it’s an art as much as a science

Of course, no job ad is perfect. But taking the time to consider how it would come across to a candidate is such an important step. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were applying for the job, what sorts of things would entice you? It’s simple as that.

Have any other questions about writing the best possible job advert for your role? Get in touch with one of our Account Managers today.

Tags: charity recruitment, hiring process, hiring the right people, job ads, recruitment

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About the author

Stephanie Dotto

Content & SEO Lead at CharityJob. Lover of fiction, films and food. In a previous life, she was a music and tourism journalist. When she’s not writing and editing blog content, she is working on her novel.