Get in touch

How to create job ads that will attract the right candidates

A key challenge with jobs in the life sciences industry is that the skill sets that are required are not bespoke to biotech, but more widely applicable. This means that sourcing and securing the most talented candidates is a race not only against those within the industry with whose offerings you are familiar but against other industry sectors that may have deeper pockets or a unique employee value proposition.

The key to attracting the attention of potential applicants is in honing your job adverts, and in this post, we will discuss the main areas that you must target, the common mistakes that early stage European biotech companies make and how to overcome them.

So what is a job advert?

Too many companies launch their job advert without realising that what they have posted is, in fact, a job description and not an advert. A job description details the work that the successful candidate will do and the qualifications and experience that they must have.

An advert is designed to sell a product or experience – in this case, the opportunity to work for you. Your advert should excite potential candidates and entice them to seek further information about the culture and opportunities that they will benefit from if they are successful in securing a job with your company.

Main areas to target in your job ads:

1. Identify your target demographic.

Rather than applying a scattergun approach in which you place your advert everywhere a candidate could conceivably stumble across it, take the time to consider the type of person that you are seeking to attract and place your advert in a place that they will definitely find it.

2. Sell your culture.

It is likely that the strongest candidates are already gainfully employed elsewhere, and poaching them requires that your offering is better than that of their current position. Culture is an immense part of an organisation, so if your business is great to work for, explain why this is.

3. Detail your benefits package.

You may wish to publish the job’s salary, or the salary range. You could include details of your benefits schemes and the way in which they are targeted to the specific desires of life sciences applicants. This may include funded training, professional memberships or access to relevant publications.

4. Length.

Once a job ad gets too wordy, it is no longer a useful advertisement as the likelihood is that only candidates with enough time, for example, unemployed or disengaged, will read it to the end. If you are trying to attract the highest calibre talent, keep it snappy.

Common job advert mistakes

We have hinted at some of these above – overly wordy prose, scattergun advertising techniques and a lack of clarity as to what you can offer are definitely mistakes that a lot of startup and scaleup organisations in the biotech industry make in their job adverts.

Other mistakes include:

A failure to link to the job description and application page.

Make it easy for your candidates to find out more and apply. If there is no direct link from the job advert to the job description and application portal, you are relying on piquing their interest to the point that they will search for a way to apply. Whilst this will certainly narrow the field to only the most interested candidates, it will also deter busy individuals who may be perfect for the role from applying.

Being too particular.

Detailing a specific list of attributes and qualifications can be off-putting to candidates. Instead, explain the qualities that you wish for the successful candidate to bring to the role. Help your candidates to feel that they can succeed and they are more likely to apply rather than screening themselves out needlessly.

Using industry-specific acronyms.

If a candidate from a different industry sector has the skills and attributes that you are seeking, don’t put them off with acronyms that they do not understand. You won’t be testing their innovation skills by sending them off on an unnecessary Google search and can save them time by being clear in your advert.

Unintentional bias or discriminatory language.

Have your advert peer reviewed prior to launch to check that it does not contain any unintentional bias, such as language or words which may dissuade particular societal sectors from applying. Although the advert may read perfectly well to you, a second pair of eyes is always worthwhile as they may pick up on prose that could be improved to broaden the advert’s appeal.

Relying on words alone.

Use visual effects to capture your candidates’ imagination rather than simply blocks of text. Whilst it is necessary to explain who your company is and why someone should want to work for you, it is not necessary to detail the level of venture capital funding that you receive or the size of the office car park. Keep it short and sweet and use colours and charts where appropriate to grab your reader’s attention.

In summary

Hopefully, this article has provided a quick canter through the elements that can make or break your job advert. By selling the benefits that you can offer, you are more likely to see high quality candidates click through to your job description and application portal.

For tailored advice in assistance in crafting a job advert that will appeal to your target demographic or to explore our pool of qualified and pre-screened talent, please contact ScaleX Consulting today.


If you found this insight interesting, we recommend reading Want to be ‘irresistible’ to talent? Rethink your benefits strategy

ScaleX Consulting offer trusted biotech business consulting and life science recruitment services, to help you take the next step in your journey.