How to write a successful job advert

A hair salon recently placed an advert with JobCentre Plus for a new stylist. The advert said that they were “a happy salon looking for happy people”. Within the hour, the salon owner received a call saying they could not place the advert as it was discriminatory. I was once told I couldn’t advertise for someone who had a “smart appearance”. Why?



Be wary of discrimination

You must not discriminate on the basis of:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender reassignment
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Marriage/Civil Partnership
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy and maternity leave

It’s ok to say that someone must be “happy” but you must avoid anything that suggests an intention to discriminate.  For instance, you should avoid:

  • Gender or age specific words such as “waitress” and “junior”.
  • Phrases like “must be physically fit”.  Detail the tasks they are required to do instead.
  • Advertising to a limited audience.  For example, in a men’s magazine.


Preparing to write a job advert

It is fair to say that it is a recruiter’s market at the moment.  Some excellent people have lost their jobs due to COVID.

Before you write a job advert, think carefully.  Your instinct may be to replace like for like.  We have all been through a difficult 6 months.  What you truly need now may be very different to what you had before.

Start with a blank piece of paper. Write a new job description for the role.  What knowledge, skills and attributes do you need?  Which are essential?  Which are “nice to haves”?

Can things be done a little differently?  For instance, if you have found that working from home has been great for you, can your new recruit do this too?  If so, you are no longer limited to those that can commute to you.

Think about where you want to advertise.  There are a wealth of job boards available.  Which are the most appropriate to your vacancy?  Where would you expect them to look?  Can you use social media?


What should be in a job advert?

  • Adverts need to be clear, easy to read and attention grabbing.
  • Many people will read your advert on their phone.  They will quickly decide whether to scroll down further or move to the next advert.  Key features such as job title, salary and location should be in bold at the top of your advert.
  • Get to the point.  One short summary sentence of your business is enough.  If they want to know more they can go to your website.
  • Put yourself in their shoes.  What is in it for them?
  • Be honest about the role.  Don’t waste your time recruiting someone who could leave if they find the job is not what they thought it would be.
  • Is there anything your candidates have to have?  For example, a driving license or a particular qualification.  This will reduce unsuitable applications.
  • Tell people how to apply and if there is any deadline.

If you are in the fortunate position that you need to recruit, there is a lot of great talent currently available.  Please contact me if you need any support.

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