Top Tips To Improve Your Candidate Attraction

March 23, 2018

Over half of the recruiters we recently surveyed all shared the same recruiting challenge and that is that they are struggling to find quality candidates for their vacancies.  A recent survey carried out by Social Talent also revealed that only 41% of recruiters are optimising their job adverts.

So without further ado here are some top tips to help you improve your candidate attraction.


It’s a Candidates World

With the increased number of vacancies available and the multiple ways candidates can search for jobs, recruiters need to change the way they write their adverts.  To improve the quality of candidates who apply for your job you need to ensure that your job can be found when searching and once found, the job is attractive enough to apply for.   Gone are the days when you advertising a job is doing the candidate a favour – now you are the one needing a favour, you need their CV.

But every job board has different technology and understanding how their search functionality works, and how candidates see your job, is the key to attracting quality candidates.


Understanding How Candidates Search

Candidates initially search based on what they want to do (mainly job title, candidates hardly ever use sector to search), where they want to do it (location) and how much they want to earn (salary).

About 55% of candidates search the job boards online entering the keywords relating to the job, salary and location of where they want to work (a bit like running a Google search). They then scan through the list of jobs and click on the adverts they’re interested in to read more and (hopefully) apply.

Most job boards offer candidates the facility to register for “jobs by email” or JBE. By telling the job board what job, salary and location they are interested in the candidate can choose to receive new jobs by email.

33% of Jobsite applications come from a response to a JBE.  So as not to bombard candidates with hundreds of vacancies, the job boards limit the number of jobs they send each day, for example – CV Library limit it to the top 50 most relevant jobs per day.



Whether it be from searching on the job board site itself, or from a jobs by email your vacancy is found because the words the candidate has searched for match certain keywords within the body of your advert.

Keywords are any words the candidate will use to search for a job, this is usually a job title, qualification or software package unique to their industry.  For sites that are date orientated, the keyword only must be in the advert copy once for it to be matched, for relevancy based sites you need your job to be scored relevant.

Each relevancy based job board has different rules though so for example on Totaljobs you need to mention the main job title at least 5 times throughout the advert, whereas on CV-Library you can ONLY use the same job title 5 times – any more than this and your job will receive a lower score.  They also match words, not just phrases so be careful!

When choosing the job title to use this should be a title that is most recognisable by the candidates you are trying to attract.  Only ASDA call them “Stock Replenishment Operatives”, everyone else calls them “Shelf Stackers” so you need to think the way your candidates do.

If a client is looking to fill an Office Manager’s position but is happy to interview administrators, secretaries or receptionists the job description should be written with the job title of Office Manager but within the body of the advert, we would expect to see the other job titles. The wider the range of relevant keywords in the advert the more people will find the vacancy and apply.

Remember if your job has no keywords, the candidates won’t find your job – and can’t apply!

Not sure which job title to use?

If you conduct a job search (as a candidate would) on Totaljobs you’ll be presented with a list of associated job titles listed in popularity.

Another source for looking at alternative job titles is via Source Hub’s Boolean search creator.


Location, Location, Location

Most candidates know where they want to work and will base this on where they live and their desired commuting time. Other considerations may be ease of public transport, the availability of the job role, salary, childcare or the cost of parking.

When searching on a job board, candidates are encouraged to input a postcode or town and the radius in miles they are prepared to travel.  According to CV-Library 58% of candidates search using postcode or town, then on Reed it’s in excess of 90%. Very few people search on county or nationwide.

Job boards are committed to showing the candidate the only jobs matching their exact search criteria – if the job doesn’t match the candidate’s criteria it won’t be shown. So if you have advertised a job as a county the job board can’t pinpoint exactly where your vacancy is, meaning any candidate searching on a town or postcode won’t see your vacancy, even if the location is within the county advertised.

If the candidates can’t see your job – they won’t apply for it!


How long before the reader gets bored?

According to Totaljobs, 54% of applications are received from mobile devices with candidates spending an average of 5-8 mins per visit.  Candidates using a desktop spend slightly more time at 10-20 mins.

Reed report that 300 words produces the most effective adverts.

CV-Library believes the first 50 words are the most important with an overall length not exceeding one side of A4.

Totaljobs think 2/3 of a side of A4 is about right.

All job boards agree that a mixture of paragraphs and bullet points make the advert more appealing but keep bullet points to a list of 5 or 6, no more.

Remember if your job advert does not come up in a candidates search the candidates can’t see your job – they won’t apply for it!


For further hints and tips, you can sign up to our mailing list by completing the form below. If you think you might benefit from having a recruitment expert on your side, give us a call on 01675 462 876We’re honest, friendly people, and we’d love a frank conversation on how we can help you.

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