5 things candidates are looking for in your job adverts

One of the hottest topics in recruitment at the moment is the Great Resignation. In August this year, the number of open jobs in the UK passed 1 million for the first time ever, and a survey by HR software company Personio has found that 38% of workers in the UK and Ireland are planning to quit their jobs within the next year. Many of those planning to resign report a range of reasons for seeking a fresh start, such as a desire for a higher salary, better work-life balance and career progression. This means that if you have a vacancy to fill, you need to think of ways to make your company stand out from the competition.

An important way to help your business attract new talent is by creating job adverts that directly appeal to jobseekers. It can be hard to work out what to include, but there are several things that candidates in any industry will be keeping an eye out for. With this in mind, here are five of the most important things you should be including in your job adverts. 

Salary and benefits

There has been a lot of debate in recent years about whether employers should include salary information in their job adverts. On one hand, not including a salary can make a position seem more intriguing and attract challenge-oriented candidates who are prepared to negotiate. On the other hand, some job seekers view job adverts that don’t include salary information with suspicion. 

According to Reed, two out of three job applicants are more likely to apply for a role if a salary is displayed on the advert. Including salary information can help build confidence and trust from day one of the application process, so it’s important to include this in your job ad. 

In the same vein, you should consider including benefits in your job advert. Candidates want to work for companies that care for employee wellbeing, so think about what makes your business stand out. Do you offer company shares, private health insurance, or a cycle to work scheme? Including this information also communicates elements of your company culture, which is also an important item to include in your job adverts…

Company values

Making your company values visible in your job advert is essential, especially if you are a smaller business. According to economic research from the City of London, 98% of employees wouldn’t work somewhere that doesn’t match with their own values. Value-based recruitment, where employees are hired with a focus on specific values, beliefs and aspirations, can have a number of benefits for your company. These include improving the work environment, better staff morale, and reduced employee turnover. By placing emphasis on your company values, candidates will be able to better judge whether they’ll be a cultural fit.

However, different candidates will have different expectations for company values. For example, Monster reports that around 80% of Gen Z jobseekers believe a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important when choosing who to work for. Other company values you may want to advertise in your job ad might include creativity, honesty, or reliability. The language you use in the advert will help make candidates aware of these values, and help them tailor their applications to show you that they demonstrate these traits.

You might also want to include your company values in a more detailed job description document. For more guidance on how to create an attractive job description, read our article about the subject here.


Flexible working has taken off as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, as the majority of British workers began working from home during the national lockdowns of the last year. Many workers prefer a mix of home and office-based work; Capability Jane reports that 81% of UK employees believe flexible working makes a job more attractive to them, and that 79% believe it makes them more productive. In fact, this same research says that an incredible 92% of Millennial job seekers consider flexibility to be a top priority in their search for a new role. Therefore, if the job you are advertising for doesn’t require the employee to be on-site full-time, you should consider a flexible working arrangement.

There are several benefits to flexible work in addition to those already mentioned. For example, flexible work can offer parents and those with caregiving responsibilities more freedom in their schedules to balance their professional and personal lives. It can also encourage more applications from candidates with disabilities, who may be unable to physically attend the workplace on a daily basis. 

Flexible working encourages a better work-life balance, and can even help improve the diversity of your workforce. Flexibility might include offering unlimited paid time off, allowing employees to set their own working hours, or providing support to help employees work remotely. Therefore, if your company can offer any of these, they are absolutely worth including in your job advert.

Flexible working is one of the most important things that job seekers are looking for, especially if they have care responsibilities to manage alongside their careers.

Required and desirable skills

You should make sure to outline the key requirements of the role you are advertising, for example whether candidates need to have specific qualifications or character traits. Alongside these essential points, you should clarify any additional preferred or desirable skills, such as a certain number of years of industry experience. These are skills that aren’t critical to the job, but might be important for candidates to have in order to reach their full potential. 

CV Library reports that one in five job applicants are put off from applying for positions with an unclear job description, so it’s vital that you make sure these required and desirable skills are stated clearly.

Try to avoid generic or cliched language when listing these skills, as this can make candidates quickly lose interest. There are certain terms and phrases that many jobseekers regard as red flags, and you should avoid using these as well. According to PR Daily, describing your company as ‘like a family’ or asking candidates to have ‘a sense of humour’ are some examples of language that could dissuade otherwise qualified candidates from applying. By using neutral language, you will keep your advert clear and informative, which will ultimately encourage more candidates to apply for your vacancy.

Career progression

A survey from LinkedIn has found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. This statistic shows that today’s workforce wants to pursue opportunities that will help them develop their skills and make their way up the career ladder, so this is something you need to be aware of when crafting your job advert. 

If you can provide career development support, what does this look like? Do you have a mentoring programme in place, or are there promotion opportunities? By showing that your company meets your candidates’ professional aspirations, you will capture their interest and be a top choice for them.

As Travis O’Rourke of Hays Recruitment says, you should ‘think about what you are offering as an employer, and how you should convey this’. Additionally, you should ‘talk about how you invest in your employees and the learning and development opportunities you provide in order to create a culture of lifelong learning’.

Final thoughts

Job adverts don’t have to be an all inclusive document. While you should mention the most important details, such as salary, company values and potential for career progression, you should also provide contact details so interested candidates can discuss the role with you on an informal basis. Hopefully, by following the advice in this article, you will have a pool of keen and qualified candidates wanting to work for your company! 

At TalentSpa, we can help you with every step of the recruitment process, from optimising your job description to shortlisting the ideal candidates for your vacancy. Find out how we’ve helped over 5000 UK employers find top talent for less over on our website, or call us today on 0203 982 7600 for a free consultation with our team!