Job Advertising Tips: How to Create Your List of Essential Criteria

In the current competitive job market, candidates are taking to social media sites to air their frustrations about unrealistic requirements being listed within job adverts.

With some vacancies currently attracting thousands of applicants, it’s understandable why you might feel that adding a long list of essential skills to your advert is an easy way of deterring unsuitable applicants. However, this can damage both the quantity and quality of your response, as well as causing harm to your company’s reputation.

Compiling your list of essential requirements for a job can be challenging; after all, it’s a fine balancing act between loosening your criteria to draw in applicants and attracting the right applicants.

As such, we’ve put together some key job advertising tips to help you define the list of essential criteria for your ads:

Limit your essential criteria to ‘must-haves’

When writing your job advert, don’t be tempted to list all the skills, experience, qualifications and qualities that your dream candidate would possess within your ‘Essential Requirements’ section. Instead, separate your ‘must-haves’ from your ‘nice-to-haves’ and whittle down your list to a few key bullet points (we’d recommend 5-7, maximum), covering the skills a candidate would actually need to have.

Just think; if you’re asking for experience of using a particular type of software, could this easily be taught on the job? Alternatively, will it really matter if someone doesn’t have a qualification if they have extensive experience in the field?

With studies showing that women only apply for jobs if they meet 100% of the essential criteria, throwing in additional requirements for the sake of it can be off-putting for candidates and detrimental to your recruitment efforts.

Make sure it reflects the level of the role

Don’t advertise your role as an ‘entry level opportunity’ if you’re asking for professional experience; it’s a contradiction.

The essential criteria in your advert should tie in with the title of the job and the salary on offer. For example, it might be suitable to ask for extensive marketing experience for a Marketing Manager role, however offering a £17,000 salary would not be suitable; this would be more appropriate for a lower level role, such as a Marketing Assistant.

Keep it realistic

It’s important to keep your requirements realistic; just think, is anyone going to actually have the skills and experience you’re asking for?
For example, if you’re advertising a graduate role, don’t ask for professional experience as well as a degree. If a graduate has been in university for the past three or four years, they’re unlikely to have also gained ample professional experience.

Similarly, don’t ask for ‘Five years’ experience of social media marketing, using platforms like TikTok’. TikTok was only released to the public in 2016 so this would be impossible!

Be cautious of accidental discrimination

You should aim to be as inclusive as possible with the language used in your job advert. This includes not using terms such as ‘recent experience’. Words such as ‘recent’ can be problematic as it excludes those who may have taken a career break to start a family or deal with illness, who are just as qualified to do the same job as someone else.

Read more: Want to Write More Inclusive Job Adverts? Here’s How

Avoid stating obvious points

Finally, don’t waste space within your essential criteria by including requirements that go without saying, such as ‘You must be able to adhere to company processes and procedures’.

Limit your essentials to the key requirements that candidates actually need to have and don’t just include words for the sake of it.

Need some help creating a compelling job advert for your recruitment campaign? Request a quote from Webrecruit and find out how we can help you with your recruitment advertising strategy.

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80 thoughts on “Job Advertising Tips: How to Create Your List of Essential Criteria

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