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Most employers undertake a thorough process to select the right candidate for a role, followed by some stringent checks to make sure the candidate is both suitable and compliant for a particular post. It would be fair to say that many candidates accept roles based on what they have learnt and researched as part of the interview process, therefore making it critical that the true working environment, culture, working conditions, and nature and responsibilities of the role have been accurately described and portrayed throughout the hiring process, which often starts with a job advert. Without this, you run the risk of failing the most important part of the 'suitability test', which usually takes the form of working in the role and getting mutual first-hand exposure to one another.
It’s very easy, particularly if there is pressure to recruit a particular post or a known shortage of talent, to embellish or overstate the role to attract as many good applicants as possible. Other contributing factors to taking this approach are when you struggle to offer market rate salaries, have limited benefits, a challenging location, or aren't a recognized brand. While this is hardly ever done with ill will, but usually just from the desire to find the best person to fill the role, it goes without saying that there is a significant chance this approach could backfire. Not only will you risk not being able to retain the new employee, but this may result in long-term damage to your employer brand, making future recruitment at best, more challenging, or at worst, impossible.
This is usually one of the first things candidates want to know before applying for a role. If your organization is based in a remote location or has poor transport links, it is even more important to include information about flexible or hybrid working policies. Be clear about expectations of office attendance, any mandatory days or details on what office working days are designed for, e.g., training, collaboration, team meetings, etc. It can also be helpful to include some information about any positive aspects of the local neighborhood, e.g., 'green and peaceful rural location', point out transport alternatives or parking available.
When describing the organization or team culture, try to offer examples to back up phrases, such as "supportive environment" or "amazing culture" by stating "We pride ourselves on supporting employees by offering ongoing training and development" or "Our amazing culture is evident in how our employees embrace our values".
The use of employee testimonials and quotes can be very powerful, gather some useful soundbites that could be used effectively in job adverts.
At TPP, we believe all roles should always be advertised with a salary or rate, whether that is a starting salary or a range. If a salary range is indicated, explain the criteria that will be used to decide on the salary being offered. The Show the Salary Pledge might be worth considering as this will show your commitment to genuine salary transparency and fairness.
Many organizations claim to have 'competitive benefits', and maybe even believe it, even when other similar organizations offer much more competitive packages. It is best to undertake some benchmarking on your benefits to make sure you can back up this claim. You could refer to our non-profit salary, rewards and retention survey to help with this.
Sharing some key information on the benefits on offer will also help to give candidates a sense of what the organization prioritizes and what can be expected during employment. Ensure that the benefits mentioned are in fact benefits that will be available to that employee from day one rather than those that may be available in the future.
Additionally, if your organization offers a generous holiday allowance, make sure that employees are encouraged to take their annual leave and will have sufficient cover or support in order to take their leave without feeling worried or anxious about taking the time off.
Many job adverts and descriptions include phrases like 'training and development available'. Be specific about what the successful candidate could expect in the first month, first three months, or year within the role.
Will it be a combination of both in-house and external training?
Is there access to online training resources or coaching?
Will the employee be given time during work hours to invest in their professional development (like attending webinars for example)?
Are there mentoring programs available internally or access to working or special interest groups and memberships?
If there’s realistically no budget for formal paid-for further professional development, then promote access to free resources and what support will be available internally to facilitate development.
If you need any help with recruitment, benchmarking salaries or benefits packages, or advice on how best to attract the best candidates to your role, reach out to our specialist team on 020 7198 6000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.