Attracting Better People for Your Jobs

Client Advice

Attracting Better People to Apply for Your Jobs


How many of you have struggled to attract the right people for your business?  Found yourself Interviewing candidates because they were the best of a poor and very disappointing selection of applicants?

This article is about APPLICANT ATTRACTION – THE ART OF attracting good people to apply for your vacancies and making sure that you get the best candidates to apply for your jobs. 

Why Me? I have been in recruitment for 35 years recruiting for my clients here in Oxfordshire Buckinghamshire and Berkshire and in London too, as well as  working hard to source great staff for my own business too.

Let’s start with the “WHY”



WHY do we need to work hard to attract those good candidates?

In our geographical area there is very low unemployment which means that employers are competing for good candidates and usually competing for the same skills sets.

The most recent estimate of Oxford’s unemployment rate is 3.1% for the period up to March 19. This is below the national average of 4.3%. So there are many more jobs than there are people. Which means we do have to work hard to get them to apply for our jobs rather than other company’s jobs.


HOW do we attract these great candidates?

If you are looking for people with the right skills AND the right attitude, we have to write really great job adverts.

When you write your advert – You need to be thinking about your recruitment campaign as part of your branding, part of your outward messaging  Are you happy for your job advert to be part of your business’s message to the world ?Is it aligned with your company purpose and values? Does it represent your business in the very best way it could?

When your target candidates look at loads of jobs on- line and search through the job boards, why do they apply for yours? Why would they apply for yours? What is making your job stand out?

That’s what this is all about.


How do we write a good job advert?

Job Adverts are exactly that – advertisements designed to attract people to apply – Applicants…  a Job Advert is a marketing tool, with compelling reasons for them to choose your job rather than another job, with a clear call to action – a great positive instruction about what to do next. APPLY for this job now!  Send us your CV now! We can’t wait to hear from you!

Your advert has to describe the job using simple clear language and it usually best not to use specialist jargon and acronyms as that will deter a lot of people.

Your advert needs to say as many positive things about your business as possible. It needs to send out a positive message about what a great work place you have.  It definitely needs to be truthful and accurately represent what you are looking for of course.


You may feel that you don’t have much to offer in terms of benefits or extras to make your organisation and your job more attractive… perhaps you do though. Perhaps you have Free parking – a huge benefit in this area. You might be able to offer slightly flexible working with staggered start and finish times, work from home options, discounts or bonuses or rewards, offer a cycle to work scheme, perhaps you have won an award, are you Investors in People or do you have  some other similar accreditation? Perhaps you pay for people to do an exam and gain a qualification.  Perhaps you have a CSR policy to be proud of? Offer a volunteer day? Perhaps your staff retention is amazing..… all of this needs can be included in your advert.

Make your website interesting to prospective employees. What do potential candidates see When they look at your website? Do they see photos of people smiling?  Do they see any information about “working for us”? Do they see photos of people enjoying their work? Do they see team members winning awards or being recognised for an outstanding achievement? Does it say anything about what you offer your employees?  Or do they just see pages and pages of widgets, descriptions of your services and price lists and some very boring dry Job Descriptions on your Careers Page…?

It is proven that Millennials consider more than money when they are choosing which companies to apply to.

So back to HOW we do it – We have to put together a short, concise really attractive, compelling advert cta. Use words carefully, demonstrate flexibility, talk about things you are proud of great customer feedback, the opportunities for learning and progression.   Talk about how you are growing  –  mention how the right attitude will be considered above specific skills.   Describe the job, of course but just give a top line “ job purpose outline” then a short list of “ Ideal candidates will be:” You want to attract as many as possible so that you can choose the ones that you want to interview from a really big bunch!

Your advert has to represent the job purpose accurately -whatever the main job function or job purpose should be clearly understood from your advert.

Of course, you need to make sure that your advert is not discriminating in any way – has it been written with a bias towards either men or women? Towards older or younger applicants?  This is illegal of course! As is discrimination towards any of the protected characteristics.

Yes, do include everything I have mentioned, but  keep in mind where most of us do everything these days –  is on our smart phones, on the move and that includes job applications. We are all usually logged into lots of different apps at the same time, keeping track of Whatsapp messages, looking at Facebook, checking out John Lewis sale in my case, Googling directions AND looking for a new job!  So, we do need to think about how that should affect our online content creation and that includes job adverts.

Someone said to me recently that when we write content, because of the way we all access that content today, that content needs to be written to target the reading age of a 9 year old !  

Important note here is to react quickly to applicants – they will be snapped up by other employers if you don’t!



I speak to firms who tell me that they have been advertising for their job for ages with no response. When I ask them how they have been doing this they say – “well we put the job description on our website months ago and have had no response at all.…” It is no surprise that hasn’t worked. It’s a bit like me putting a job description   on my front door… far as I am aware, my postman and my Amazon delivery man are not looking for new jobs!  You see the point – candidates are not going to randomly choose to look on your website for a job unless they have been directed there or specifically want to work for you.

As any marketing people will tell you – you need to go where your target audience are hanging out – You need to advertise on the online job boards – national job boards such as Reed, Totaljobs, CV library and Indeed. – Average cost of about £120 per advert except Indeed and they have a Free option.  So that’s another reason to make your advert work – you want to get your moneys’ worth!

Look on the job boards like Reed, Totaljobs and CV Library and see what other peoples’ adverts look like and which ones you would like to apply for. Which one’s appeal to you?  Which businesses look like great places to work? What do they tell you about the business who is recruiting? Great place to work or just another job?  Which ones sound dry and dull?  Don’t copy those dull ones!
Social media is useful too – get into the groups where those people are hanging out… get your advert in front of them.

Choose where and which platforms to focus on – which social media platform is going to work best? We focus our adverts in certain Facebook groups because we know the demographic of those Facebook groups and who we are going to attract.  We wouldn’t necessarily concentrate on Facebook to attract a £70k Mergers and Acquisitions specialist. That would definitely be a Linkedin focus. Although all our ads go on all 3 – Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter and then we put together specific applicant attraction campaigns according to the job.

The majority of our candidates come to us from job board adverts even though we have our own dedicated recruitment website, we still only get less than 2% of our new applicants from there.


So we have covered the Why and the How and some Where as well. I hope this helps to highlight, why we have to work hard to ATTRACT Applicants to apply for our jobs, what we have to do to make our jobs appealing and stand out and how quickly we need to react to people  once they apply.

It only remains for me to wish you luck with attracting the very best candidates for your business. If there is any part of this process that you would like to talk about or learn more about, then please do contact me. email me or call me on 01491 836632 or 07748402587

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