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Your job ad is an ad for your business

Advertising a job is a prime opportunity to promote your business’s qualities, culture and goals. Your ideal candidate will want to follow the path you are busy paving. Your job specification and description come into their own now as they form the backbone of the ad. Keep the advertisement simple, short and jargon-free. You want your candidates to know exactly what you need. Tailor the wording to your target audience.

What you’ll need to include:

  • Job title and description
  • Brief outline of the business
  • What the employee’s main tasks and responsibilities will be
  • Who they will report to and/or the number of people they will supervise
  • Any qualifications or experience needed for the role
  • Wage, hours, location and type of job. Is it full-time, part-time, temporary or fixed term?
  • How to apply and the deadline

Application forms or CVs?

You may decide to choose your shortlist from a pile of CVs, or through a more uniform application form.

In a form you can tailor each section to the requirements of the job. This can make it easier to compare applicants and decide who will make a good choice for the role.

If you ask for details on ethnic origin, marital status or age, you must make clear this information is for monitoring purposes only and will not form part of the selection process.

Where to market your job vacancy

Advertising in a wide range of different places means you will get a wide range of applicants - and that makes it more likely you will find the perfect fit. Visit our where to advertise page for ideas about where to place your ad.

Open up to flexible working

State clearly in your advertisement that you are open to flexible working and you will widen the application process to even more people with the skills you’re looking for. Many candidates will want to know upfront if you will consider alternative patterns of work, such as part-time work, job-sharing, compressed hours and flexitime.

The ‘Happy to Talk Flexible Working’ strapline and logo has been designed by Working Families,the TUC and other employer bodies. Use it on your adverts to show you are open to flexible work patterns.

Visit Family Friendly Scotland's Happy to Talk Flexible Working section to download the logo and find guidance on flexible working.

Benefits of fair recruitment

Building a fair and transparent workforce begins with the recruitment process. The way you word a job advertisement or the requirements you include may put off some people from applying and could be unlawful.

Send a positive message by including an equal opportunities statement that applications are welcome from all suitably qualified or experienced people. For example: 'We particularly welcome applicants from those who are significantly underrepresented in our sector, such as women, disabled people and individuals from Black and Minority ethnic communities.'

In this way you'll be better able to reach individuals who are underrepresented in your workforce. You can also take positive action by engaging with local community groups, schools or equality organisations.

Learn about how you can make your recruitment process and workplace accessible and welcoming for people with disabilities in's recruitment and disabled people section. You can sign up here as a Disability Confident employer. This will help demonstrate your commitment to fair employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Five job ad dos...

  • Ensure the language in adverts is clear and accessible.
  • Include a statement about the physical accessibility of your building.
  • Advertise your opportunities widely to maximise the number of high quality applicants.
  • Think laterally about where to display the adverts. You can use local or national press, community radio stations, library notice boards, existing equality networks.
  • Ask candidates to complete an equality monitoring form. The information gathered should not be used to make a decision about a candidate, rather it is a useful tool to understand how inclusive your recruitment practices are.

Five job ad don'ts...

  • Avoid abbreviations, jargon and words such as "young", "mature" or "recent graduate", which suggest a certain age is required. This could amount to unlawful discrimination.
  • Avoid job titles that imply they may be done by men or women only. For example, instead of  "handyman" you could say "maintenance worker".
  • Avoid images that imply jobs are associated with particular groups, such as pictures showing only male mechanics or  female nurses.
  • Physical characteristics such as height should be excluded unless it can be shown that they are a requirement of the job.
  • Driving licence requirements could exclude disabled people and must not be included unless driving is needed for the role.

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