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Advertising the role

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Use this series of pages to guide you through the steps to take when recruiting staff. This includes designing, advertising, shortlisting and interviewing for the role, offering the job and inducting new staff.

When someone leaves a job, the standard notice period is usually at least a month. But recruiting someone new can take three months or more.

It’s therefore crucial to advertise the role as soon as you can. Use this page to help you decide how and where to advertise.

Writing an effective job advert

A job advert should engage your ideal candidate and provide them with a concise, accurate overview of the role and your organisation.

Your advert should appeal to as many people as possible. Make sure you check for any spelling mistakes. They could put off a great candidate from applying. Think carefully about the words you use to ensure they’re not biased against specific groups of people.

What to include

  • Organisation name and logo
  • Job title: Use phrases and keywords that accurately describe the role.
  • Salary: It can increase appeal to offer a salary range, indicating the lowest and highest salary your organisation can offer. You could manage expectations by sharing your approach to setting salaries on the jobs vacancies section of your website.
  • Type of contract: Ie fixed-term or permanent.
  • Location: State expected work location and whether there’s the option to work remotely.
  • Hours required: Ie part-time or full-time. State whether flexible working is an option.
  • Overview of the job: Include key responsibilities and line reports. You should attached a job description with more information.
  • Your organisation’s aims, size and values
  • Who you require: Outline the experience, qualification, skills and qualities you’re looking for. You could do this in the advert itself, or attach a person specification.
  • How to apply: Common methods include a cover letter/personal statement and CV or an application form. Application forms mean information on each applicant can be presented in the same format, reducing the risk of bias and increasing the reliability of your selection process. But given the time they take to complete, they can also put some people off applying, so consider what works best for you.
  • When to apply: Give a closing date for applications. Where possible, allow 2–3 weeks from publishing the advert.
  • Equality monitoring form: You’re not required to track how many job applications you receive from different groups of people, but it can help ensure you’re not discriminating under the Equality Act 2010. Be clear that completing the form is voluntary, and any information shared will be kept confidential and used for monitoring purposes only.
  • Information about the selection process: Include how long it will take, what technology will be used, and the type of assessment candidates will undergo.
  • Job applicant privacy notice (or general privacy notice incorporating information about job applicants).

If you don’t have one, download this template equality and diversity form from Acas.

When to take positive action

‘Positive action’ refers to specific measures organisations can take to reduce discrimination against people with protected characteristics.

It’s possible to take positive action to encourage people from certain groups to apply to work for you, where there’s historical under-representation in a job.

For example, you might state in a recruitment advertisement that you encourage disabled people or people from a certain gender, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or religion/belief to apply. But you can’t exclude those who don’t have the under-represented characteristics from applying.

All positive action must stop as soon as a vacancy is advertised. It’s then up to each individual to apply for that job and to be appointed on their own merit.

Choosing where to advertise

It’s good practice to advertise (internally and externally), shortlist and interview for every role. This ensures everyone is given a chance and you make the best decision possible.

You’re not legally required to advertise a role internally and externally – you could appoint someone internal without advertising externally. However, if the post is funded by a grant, you should check whether the funder requires you to advertise externally.

What to consider if you only advertise internally

There are advantages and disadvantages to only advertising and appointing internally.

Advantages include:

  • You can determine their suitability faster.
  • It promotes staff development and progression.

Disadvantages include:

  • It can result in a lack of new ideas and or fresh perspectives.
  • It can create internal conflict.
  • You may miss out on quality external candidates.

If you choose to only advertise internally you should have appropriate documentation to defend the decision, should you face any claim of discrimination. This might be written policies about how to advertise, where to advertise and/or whether to advertise internally or externally.

Advertising externally

When choosing the best place to advertise externally, think about where your potential recruits might look for jobs. This can include:

You could also consider job boards that target groups of people that are under-represented in your workforce. Examples include:

You may also want to use recruitment agencies to source candidates, but be aware that the fees can be 15–25% of the first year’s salary.

Further information

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 01 August 2022

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