When hiring new members of your team, whether it’s a PhD or PI, making sure you attract the right people is key. Following just a few hints and tips can make all the difference to the quantity and quality of applications. Here are some important things to consider when writing a science job advert.
As with all writing, especially for the web, use succinct language to get your point across, and consider using bullet points where possible to keep the advert length to a minimum. Also it’s important to use the language and terminology of your audience to help your advert appear more often in online searches and also so it’s clear what you are looking for.
The job title is what will drive people to view your science job advert. It’s essential that you use terms that those searching for that job will use. If your organisation has job titles that are unique or quirky then you should include the standard equivalent job title in your advert. For example, a quick search on the web returned the job title “Conversation Architect” which is actually a different name for “Digital Marketing Manager”.
You should also make sure your job title isn’t too vague. There are plenty of jobs for “Research Technician”, for instance. To improve your chances of catching the eye of the right applicants, include details of the type of research you do. As scientists are a mobile workforce, it’s a good idea include the location of the role as well. If your research technician job title is listed as “Research Technician – Molecular Biology – Paris, France,” you’re likely to boost the number of relevant people viewing your advert.
Where feasible, try to provide specific details of the job. This should help to lower the number of unsuitable applications. Things to consider including are:
– salary or salary range
– permanent or contract (if contract, what is the length?)
– job location
– job hours (full-time, part-time, unsocial)
– minimum qualifications for the job
Roles and responsibilities
Give an outline of the role and its responsibilities. For example, if budget management and leadership are key components of the position it’s worth adding these to the advert. If the job is project based, provide a quick outline of what these projects could be.
Including a person specification in the advert will also help to filter out unsuitable applicants. Think about the kind of person who can fulfil the position, in terms of qualifications and experience, technical specification (e.g. do they need to have experience working with certain pieces of kit), aptitude (e.g. do they need strong organisational skills) and disposition (e.g. do they need to be able to stay calm under pressure).
Remember to include some information about your organisation, for example, whether it is global or innovative in its approach. An extensive summary or history isn’t required as jobseekers should be able to get this information from your website. What is useful is to include a short overview of the culture of your organization; this will help jobseekers understand what it’s like to work there.
What else do you offer?
Not all organisations can offer amazing salaries but that doesn’t mean that yours should miss out on the best candidates. There may be other attractive benefits to working at your organisation, for example, the ability to travel within the role, state-of-the-art core facilities, access to experts in the field, and the option to purchase additional holiday are all the kinds of add-ons that will encourage job applicants to choose you.
What happens next?
It’s worthwhile providing information on the recruitment process, such as what applicants need to supply with their application, a timeline and (if feasible) position start date. This will reduce the number of follow-up enquiries from applicants.
For more information
Provide links for more information at the end of your advert, this should include your organisation’s website but also, where possible, links to the full job description, your organisation’s recruitment website or your organisation’s employer profile on an external jobsite, and your social media pages.