In the current economic climate the job market is more competitive. The increased number of people looking for work means that you are likely to get more applicants so you need to ensure that your advert attracts the people you want to consider while discouraging those who are not suitable.

Before you can write your advert you need to work out what you want. Clearly define what the role is for. You can’t work out who you need until you know what you want them to do. Set out the purpose of the role and the main duties within a job description. As you want to attract the most capable person you can, try and make the role as interesting as possible. This will appeal to people who are looking for a challenge increasing the likelihood of you getting candidates with imagination and initiative.

Once you have set out the role you need to consider what skills, abilities and experiences an individual will need in order to carry it out. Use this to draw up your person specification. Make sure it reflects what you actually need so that you don’t discourage suitable people because they don’t meet an unnecessary requirement. Consider whether or not qualifications are necessary. Don’t forget, it could be discriminatory in relation to age if you put in place a requirement that by its nature disadvantages older or younger members of the workforce without justification.

Be careful of tailoring your advert in such a way that it only appeals to certain personality types. Many companies fall into the trap of assuming that extroverts make the best employees but that can be a mistake. Set out the skills and abilities rather than personality traits to ensure that you don’t put off the best candidates. Roles that involve complex problem solving, independent work and deep-concentration creativity are often better suited to introverts and companies thrive better when they have a mix of personalities so don’t discourage candidates of certain personality types.

Make sure your advert focuses on the job, not the person you are looking for. In this way you can avoid the trap of falling into descriptions of the individual that can be held to be discriminatory. Make it eye-catching, focussing on a fun aspect if possible. Set out what the role is intended to do and invite anyone interested to contact the company for further details.

It is normally best to use an application form so that everyone’s application is addressed in the same format. This requires applicants to think about how they meet the person specification and set this out rather than hoping you can interpret this from their CV and will make short listing a lot simpler. This also allows you to set out any absolute requirements, such as an agreement to a CRB check or to disclose any convictions, and include a requirement for a signed statement of truth where candidates acknowledge that their employment can be terminated if they have provided false information.

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