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Writing a perfect job advertisement - Benchmark Recruit, Sheffield

Writing a perfect job advertisement

If you have a vacancy lying open and you’re wondering why your preferred candidate hasn’t come along yet we recommend sitting back and assessing your hiring approach.  The reality is it’s a candidate market and expectations in terms of salary, flexibility and benefits are high; without realising it you could be alienating a large amount of talent by creating an unengaging job adverisement.

It’s time to turn the mirror and explore if you are potentially making your job roles unwittingly hard to fill.  If you are, the good news is there are several easy fixes that will help increase the flow of applicants.

What is a bad job ad?

This handy visual clearly shows the biggest job ad hiccups that can turn off candidates, leaving you bereft of CV’s and applicants to even take to interview.

An example of a bad job advertisement by Benchmark Recruit

At first glance you may not think much is wrong here but once you see it from a candidates point of view it puts a whole new perspective on a job ad.  Using the number guide we break it down for you:

The issues

  • The salary is £3,000-£5,000 short for a Sales Executive position
  • Lack of flexibility in working hours
  • Blending roles and requesting too much of one applicant
  • Too rigid in your search and not considering transferrable skills
  • Benefits; offering very little or standard benefits

Let’s delve deeper into pitfalls of an unengaging job ad and how you can attract and appeal to more people.

1. and 5. ‘The Package’ – Salary and Benefits


The problem: Aside from location one of the first things a candidate will look at is ‘the package’,’ and part of this is the salary.  If you’re not paying the going rate people won’t see past the pound signs.  This is particularly relevant in areas where there are skills shortages such as sales, customer service and digital roles.  To attract the talent you need to ensure you’re competitive with your salary offering as you want to engage candidates from the start.

The fix: Do your research and find out what competitors are paying and make sure you match or exceed this.


The problem:  It’s not just the basic salary that people look for but the benefits too.  Holidays are a standard benefit and not a head turner for a candidate.   As we explored in the ‘Perks of the Job’ article, engaging new and existing employees with work and lifestyle benefits is a way of appealing to a new recruit, plus it creates loyalty with your current staff.

The Fix: Consider what perks you can offer to provide a work/life balance to your employees.  This might be wellness days, time for personal development or exercise focus – it doesn’t have to blow the budget.

2. Flexibility

The problem: If you’re looking for a permanent employee and offering no flexibility around working hours or location you are closing the door on talent.  Applicants are seeking roles that work with their lifestyle and expect to find flexibility, whether this is working hours to fit around childcare, working from home, or remotely for allocated days of the week.

The fix: Consider a more flexible approach to your business.  Assess whether the role could be flexible working hours, part-time or a job share to open up the candidate market.

3. Blending roles

The problem: Blending roles is more common than you would think and although initially it seems like a good idea – two salaries for the price of one – you are ultimately asking for two different specialist skills that one person will probably not hold.  The result of blending roles can be a disappointment as the calibre of candidate you are presented with will not be as strong; this is an easy way to make a role unfillable.

The fix: Be realistic about the skills set you need, and whether you would be better creating two roles or adapting your expectations from one applicant.

4. Transferable Skills

The problem: In certain industries the talent pool is small as the skills are in high demand which means a vacancy can be left open for in excess of three months.  This vacancy would then be considered ‘hard to fill’ which can have an immediate impact on business growth, financially and in terms of productivity.

The Fix: Consider casting your net wider and open your options up to applicants with transferable skills, providing training to upskill them.

What the good looks like?

Taking what we have learnt here’s how a few quick fixes can make your job ad stand out:

An explanation of a good job advertisement


Next Steps

Critique your own job ad and think about changes you could make to open up opportunities to more candidates.  If you think you need an expert eye on your role, get in touch with us here at Benchmark – follow the links below and you will be connected with one of our expert consultants.

Sales roles

Financial roles

Office support roles

Digital and IT roles

Creative and Marketing roles

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