6 Tips for More Successful Recruitments

4 min read · By Academic Positions · Published 4 months ago

The prospect of filling an open academic position is both thrilling and daunting. There is the thrill of thinking about all the potential applicants out there who are eager, dedicated and passionate about their field of study. However, there is also the daunting sense of finding the one-in-a-million candidate. While there is no magical solution when it comes to getting applications, there are several things you can do to increase your chances of filling the position. Here are 6 tips to help improve your applicant pool.

  1. Know your audience

One of the simplest steps to take before writing your job ad is to spend some time thinking about your target audience. Identify what kind of candidate you are looking for and the things that appeal to them. For example, the types of positions Gen Z applicants are interested in will be different from older candidates who are well established in their fields. Research shows that Gen Z job seekers value benefits like mental health resources and flexible work hours. Before posting your position, ask yourself, does this advert highlight aspects of the job and your university my perfect candidate would find appealing? 

  1. Craft a title that will get clicks

The job title is arguably the most important part of the job advert. If you don’t entice potential candidates to read further, then it doesn’t really matter how well the rest of the description is written. Therefore, you need to choose your title carefully. You want to be specific but not too specific. Simply writing “PhD student” will not be as effective as writing “PhD student in organic chemistry.” Applicants may grow suspicious or frustrated by titles that are too general and simply pass them by in their search. 

However, if you are too specific, you run the risk of losing qualified candidates who see the title and believe they are not a good fit. For example, internal or country specific titles can be confusing to international candidates. Job seekers outside of Austria or Europe might not know the Austrian “university assistant” means “PhD student.” Increase the number of people who click your ad by using specific and universal language.

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  1. Write a compelling job ad

Many university job ads tend to be quite similar. To applicants searching multiple listings on a consistent basis, the adverts can all begin to sound the same. The job description is where you can start to distinguish yourself from other universities. Be clear and honest about the specific position you have open but also highlight the unique benefits of your university. This can include things like special facilities or lab equipment, your location, or your community. Think about what makes your university different from any other and be sure to convey that in your ad. 

We understand there are certain paragraphs that legally have to be in the ad, but we encourage you to break free from the standard template where possible. Browse a few listings at other universities to get a sense for what might stand out among the competition. 

  1. Make sure active job seekers can find you

Along with a compelling job ad, you want to be sure candidates looking for a job can easily find your vacancy. By increasing your visibility across multiple channels, you increase your chances of quality candidates finding your job listings. The most obvious starting point is your university career page. Once you’ve posted your job there, look for  other relevant places to post your opening such as job boards (like Academic Positions) or social media channels. 

Remember that today’s job searches are worldwide. The chances of the right candidates finding you will greatly increase with a little extra effort. The more visible you are, the better your chances of finding an excellent candidate. 

  1. Make sure passive job candidates know about your opportunity too 

People who are actively looking for positions will likely check job boards and university pages regularly. But don’t discount the potential of passive job candidates who are interested in new opportunities even if they’re not actively seeking them out. Meet them where they are (since they may not necessarily come to you) on social media. In 2020, the average person spent 145 minutes per day on social media. That is plenty of time to make even a small impression on these passive job seekers. 

If you don’t have the time to regularly manage social media accounts, consider hiring an external supplier (such as Academic Positions.) They can run targeted social media promotion campaigns for you to increase your reach among passive candidates.

  1. Actively monitor activity on your posting

Even the best laid marketing plans can falter. But don’t let weeks and weeks pass before investigating why your search is not yielding better results. Instead, regularly monitor your ad during the application period. Keep an eye not only on the number of applications coming in, but also the quality of those applicants. This allows you to better evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing solutions you have in place and to make adjustments as needed. 

If you are receiving a decent number of applications but not the highest quality or most relevant, evaluate your job title and description. Perhaps candidates are unclear what you’re really looking for. If you’re not getting many applicants, perhaps it’s time to adjust your social media and strategy to create more awareness of the vacancy.  

Academic recruitment is a constantly evolving process. As long as you take a proactive approach to fulfilling open positions and stay up-to-date on best practices, you will continue to bring in top caliber candidates. Be mindful of your marketing strategies and remain flexible for successful recruitment every time. 

Download your free academic job advertising checklist


Download your free academic job advertising checklist!

The recruitment process months before the job advertisement is published. To have the best chance at finding the perfect match, use our comprehensive checklist to make sure you don't miss any vital steps before, during, or after the application period.


Download your free academic job advertising checklist!

The recruitment process months before the job advertisement is published. To have the best chance at finding the perfect match, use our comprehensive checklist to make sure you don't miss any vital steps before, during, or after the application period.


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