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  • 05 January 2018
  • 8 min read

25 tips to get the best candidates for your jobs

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If you want to get the best candidates applying to your jobs then you’ll love this checklist!

Your Online Job Advertising Checklist!

I’ve distilled my experience of running specialist job boards since 2002 to put this checklist together. My hope is you’ll use it to get even more value from your online job advertising.

1. Put effort in

Before you login to start posting jobs, pause for a moment.

Make sure you have a good job ad ready.

A good plan for you is to simply backtrack to your training. Remember the basics:

• person specification

• job specification

It should take time and care to do this properly, but it will pay dividends.

And be empathic too. Think - if you were jobseeking and browsing through jobs what would YOU want to know? (e.g. where the job is and how much it will pay...)

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2. Create clear & concise job titles

A few Don’ts:

• Don’t put locations in job titles

• Don’t put salary in job titles

There are dedicated fields for these things when posting to a jobs board. All the job title needs to be is... a job title!

One more Don’t: don’t write two jobs into one job ad.

If you need to post two different roles, do so.

3. Complete the job posting form properly and accurately

People search for jobs by location

I'll let you in on a little secret....we employ someone who checks the jobs posted to our sites.

Why? Well, to make poorly posted jobs do better.

For instance, we've seen 100s of care assistant jobs posted to our Ward Nurse sector.

This means the job ends up on the wrong site ( and not

As a result the job is marketed to the wrong candidates.

Not good for you, us or candidates...

Location, location, location

And then there's the location of the job.

The job says is posted to Birmingham.

But the job description talks about it being 300 miles away in Brighton.

What the!?!

Yes, our editor tries to correct as much as possible.

But it won't be corrected immediately.

And it's already been sent to Ward Nurses in our Job Alert Emails.

What Do You Think?

Ask questions, comment and like this article below! Share your thoughts, add your opinion in the comments below.


4. Salary

Jobseekers want to know what they will be paid

Don't hide this!

Sure, it's optional.

But you should consider this as a way to filter the wrong candidates out, and the right ones in.

Salary is one of the top two elements candidates look at before deciding whether or not to apply. (Location is the number 1.)

If it's not there, the best ones won't apply.

Everyone loves money, after all...

5. Think about the user experience, not the competition

If you're a recruitment agency you may be trying to protect the identity of your client base.

We understand the argument: you might reveal your client list.

Our argument is this: your client will not walk away from a service provider that delivers.

So if your job ads provide jobseekers with the information they need then they are MUCH MORE LIKELY to apply.

Fail to do this and they bounce off and look for other jobs.... jobs posted by your competitors!

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6. Check your spelling

You're presenting a job, your client or your company. Do it as well as you can.

It's easy to correct your spelling.

Grammar and language speak volumes about you and the job.

7. Post unique jobs

Cloning jobs - to be avoided

We don't allow cloning of jobs. We used to.

Yes, it can seem to make life easier. But easy isn't always good.

When you're cloning, you're not planning each ad. You're not slowing down to fact-check either.

And you're not adding that special quality about this role that makes it unique.

These are the elements that will help it appeal to just the right candidate.

It's too easy to create a bad user-experience.

And that's bad for your brand, your application response, Google search.

If you are on a jobs board that still permits cloning, we challenge you NOT to use it!

(Shhhh, by not cloning you'll get one over your competitor who is!)

    Read more

    • How to set up CV Watchdogs correctly

    • How to use Boolean Operators

    • How to write an effective digital job advert 

8. Try to select only one job sector

Job posting forms often give you the option to choose more than one sector.

It's tempting to take the "more is better" approach.

Some recruiters think that if they choose multiple industry sectors their job will be more visible.

But there's no point being visible in industry sectors that the job is not relevant to.

You'll get irrelevant applications, and it's a poor user experience too.

9. Write a great job description

Almost half of our audience will be reading your ads on mobile devices.

Don't make them scroll too much.

If you've spent time planning your job spec, brief and ad, you'll have a nice, concise job description.

10. Avoid Gimmicks

Don't try too hard.

Gimmicks like "Want a job in the sun!?" or "WOW, you WON'T BELIEVE this job!" won't help your search response.

It won't be matching searches made by candidates.

Keep it simple and professional.

And be sure to answer the questions candidates will have of your ad.

11. No Contact Details

This is the web, not a newspaper ad.

You need to include your contact details.

You want candidates to apply through the site.


a. it shows determination and effort to apply through a site

b. you can track your paid referring sources (if you aren't tracking, you'll never know what job board works for you)

12. Arrrgggghhh! Where IS this job!

When you post a job enter the exact location for the job

Enter Specific Locations.

If you only take away ONE of these tips, take this one.

We know the argument about revealing your clients if you advertise the location.

But you must put the candidate first.

They want to know what town a job is in, not just the county.

Fail to do this and accept you will receive fewer applications.

Your jobs will also not appear on searches (on our site or Google) which include towns or cities.

13. PPP. Plan Post and Proof your ads

User error is a massive turn-off. For instance, we see ads that have one location in the title and a different location in the description. Avoid this by planning your post.

Write it out first.

Then proof it.

14. Don't spam repeat keywords

This will please you.

You don't need to spend your time writing out a laundry list of keywords, or repeat the same word to game search.

Here's three good reasons why:

1. some sites (ours) ignore repeated words

2. it looks ridiculous to humans (readers / users)

3. everyone else is playing the same game

And there's one more advantage: NOT spamming may help present you in a better light than those that do!

15. Think about job alert emails

When you choose a sector you're choosing which candidates you want to send the job to.

We (and all job boards) match your job to candidates.

So the more accurate the job description and the choices you make in the job posting form, the more accurate your target audience will be.

16. Use the tools on offer


Our sites allow you to filter out unwanted candidates.

But tools are only as good as the person using them.

Be clear and precise and let the job board's tools do the rest of the job for you.

17. Avoid redirecting applicants to another site

The NHS will always expect candidates to complete an application form.

And many large corporates will want application forms too.

We accept that. Kind of...

But we still argue that redirecting candidates is second choice to receiving applications by email.

Here's why:

1. Redirects suffer drop off due to 'click fatigue'

2. Email app metrics are more accurate and easier to track

3. You'll OWN the application data (THEN you can invite them to complete your application form)

18. Call good candidates - IMMEDIATELY

Call applicants - it's good practice, even if you don't think they're right for the role

It's always disappointing and surprising to us when a candidate calls our office to complain they've applied and not heard back.

It's bad press for all of us working in recruitment.

But it gives the advantage to those agencies who jump on each application as soon as it lands in the inbox.

19. Email unsuccessful candidates - IMMEDIATELY

Even unsuccessful candidates should expect swift communication.

This will reflect well on you and the industry as a whole.

And, who knows, they might turn out to be a placeable candidate in the future. What about completely irrelevant candidats.

OK, agreed. If a jobseeker has not bothered to read your job and applied pointlessly, then they're wasting your time and don't deserve more of it.

20. Remove expired jobs from job boards

Most boards allow you to set a closing or expiry date.

Please use it to prevent candidates applying for a job that's no longer available.

21. If you use a multiposter never post direct

If you post one job via a multi-poster (e.g. Idibu) and then you post one job directly to a jobs board (e.g.!) then your credit allocation will fall out of sync.

This can lead to a very confusing situation down the line involving spreadsheets and coffee and shouting.

22. Avoid cliches

We must have said this a million times...

If you read all the company profiles by recruitment agencies you'd be forgiven for thinking that they are all unique for offering the same personal approach.

Yes, write about your organisation.

But try to really pull out things that make your company what it is.

Without cliches.

23. Track your placements AND your applications know where your success is coming from

In digital marketing there's a rule: there's no point doing anything if you're not measuring it.

So work out what you need to measure and then make sure it's done accurately and regularly.

It's easy to evaluate placements and, sure, you need to be reporting that.

But measuring applications and their quality is equally important.

In fact, QUALITY is probably the more important metric.

If you can see you have QUALITY APPLICATIONS your only next challenge is to place them.

24. It's not all job posting - CV Search

We've specifically avoided the subject of CV Search, CV Watchdogs and Stats.

Of course, these are equally important.

We'll run another tips for these at some point.

But if you're using a board that allows searching - use that too!

25. If you only do what you've always done, you'll only get what you've always had

Be brave, just give it a go!

Try Something New!

Stay within our guidelines above but try different variations.

Run A/B tests and monitor the results.

Which postings deliver the best results?

We urge you to always keep your postings clear, concise and informative.

These touchstones can give way to many different types of job postings.

Some will work better than others for your kind of jobs, and the candidates you're after.

Let me know how you get on!

I want to hear what you think. Send me a comment.

Thanks for reading.

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About the author

I believe people should be able to choose to enjoy work. That is, choose an employer who reflects their values and provides them with a sustainable career.

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