Getting the advert right is probably the most important part of the recruitment process. 

What you say in your advert will determine whether anyone applies for your job and what sort of candidates apply. Get it right and you will be perceived as an appealing employer and attract a good number of applications matching the skills you’re looking for, but get it wrong and you could face a pile of unsuitable applications or even none at all. 

And unlike newspaper adverts, when you advertise online you aren’t restricted by space or word counts so there’s no limit on what you say – so use that to your advantage!

Read on to find out how to maximise your chances of grabbing the best graduate talent (and get the edge on your competitors!).

The job title

The job title is much more important than you might think. It’s critical to grabbing candidates’ interest when they’re skimming a list of jobs and deciding which jobs are worth a closer look.

Job titles can be a deciding factor in whether someone is interested in a position. Graduates are ambitious and career-minded and job titles are often linked to status, making them an important part of the job package. A graduate could be put off a good opportunity by a job title that may be viewed as ‘too junior’. That’s not to say graduates are unrealistic about starting their careers at the bottom, today’s ever-changing job market shows they’re not. 

In the race for the best candidates, unless you have a very fixed structure, it’s worth considering the subtle difference an attractive title can make. Obviously, it’s important to make sure you don’t oversell the job with an important sounding title that the job can’t live up to.

The job title can also be used as the very first selection stage by including a specific element of the job. For example, instead of “Software Developer” consider using “C++/Java Software Developer”. This helps to ensure that applicants self-select and only candidates matching those skills will click on that job. 

The company information

When you create an account you will be asked to submit a profile of your organisation. This is your chance to ‘sell’ yourself as an attractive proposition for potential candidates. Keep it concise but aim to cover some key areas:

  • main activities, products and customers
  • size and structure
  • growth/turnover
  • key achievements/awards
  • working environment and culture

Once you’ve entered this information it will be saved for future jobs so you won’t need to re-enter it again. If you need to update it, simply login and go to the “My Organisation” box under the left hand control panel.

The job description

Sounds obvious, but this is where you tell candidates what the job involves and what you’re looking for. The job description can therefore be viewed as comprising of two main, equally important components:

1) Job specification:

Applying for a job is no small task, involving a significant investment of time if done properly, and therefore not to be entered into lightly. Candidates want to see that you, as an employer, have also invested some careful consideration into the process. If you don’t tell the candidate enough about the job, how can they be expected to make an informed decision about whether they’re right for it?

Ultimately, this is the first major selection stage and if you aren’t specific enough, you run the risk of receiving unsuitable applications. Aim to cover the following points:

  • where the job fits into the organisation and how it contributes to its overall goals
  • what the job actually involves doing (be specific)
  • who the postholder would be working with – colleagues/managers/clients
  • what training and development is offered to support the job
  • potential career progression
  • other benefits

2) Person specification:

This is your chance to say exactly what you’re looking for. Be realistic and consider mentioning which criteria are more important than others – it’s rare to find a 100% match for everything. Aim to include the following criteria:

  • qualifications required
  • level of experience required
  • specific industry knowledge
  • specialist or technical skills needed (be specific, e.g. software programmes or financial systems)
  • personal qualities – e.g. communication skills or teamworking
  • additional requirements - e.g. willingness to travel

When stating requirements, please do remember to avoid using discriminatory criteria. If you have any doubts about what you can and can’t do, please visit here for more information:
Equality and Human Rights Commission - Recruitment Advice for Employers 


If you’re not sure what you should be paying, Yorkshire Graduates staff are just a phone call away to help advise you on a suitable salary for your job. Alternatively, look at some of the other employers on our website to see what they’re paying for similar roles. Statistics quoted for graduate salaries are available but these are often based on large recruiters, mainly in the South, so are less likely to apply to a Yorkshire-based SME. 

It’s important to ensure you’re paying a rate that’s competitive in the market but remember also that graduates often state career prospects and job satisfaction as being more important than salary, so don’t be afraid that salary is the only criteria your job will be assessed by, the job itself is equally, if not more, important.