Competition for postdoc positions is fierce. For universities and processors looking to hire for these trainee positions, that’s good news. It means you have a wide selection of candidates from which to choose—assuming they are aware of you and your university, can easily find information about your projects, and are motivated enough to look for your open positions.
Unfortunately, finding qualified candidates for your relevant open positions can be a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. Knowing there are talented candidates out there but only receiving mediocre or irrelevant CVs, can be maddening.
However, spending money to advertise your postdoc, when you know talented candidates are desperately searching for the right position can feel equally maddening. Postdocs are short term, trainee positions, why waste the resources?
We understand that spending money to advertise these positions might not feel worth it. However, we also know there are several compelling reasons you should pay to advertise your postdoctoral positions.
Postdocs contribute tremendously to universities. According to the National Academies, “Successful postdocs help plan and carry out the institution’s research programs, build alliances and intellectual bridges to other institutions, raise the reputation of laboratories and departments, mentor graduate students, and increase the inflow of grant support.”
While a postdoc is a short term position, a postdoc’s contributions can be significant and long term. Think about the best postdoc you’ve had and their impact on your group. How does a small advertising cost compare to the sizable benefit of a highly talented postdoc?
You don’t have to worry that the advert fee will come at the expense of research funds. Many major funding agencies recognize there are costs associated with recruiting top talent for a funded project. As a result, these costs—such as airfare for on campus interviews and advert publishing fees—are usually considered eligible grant expenses.
You might think that rather than paying a nominal fee to advertise your postdoc, you’ll just post the vacancy for free on your own website instead. But there’s no guarantee that job seekers will actually see your posting this way. Why? First, this assumes candidates are already familiar with you and your work. Second, it assumes they are also regularly checking your site for job opportunities. With thousands of universities vying for the best talent, potential candidates have a lot of websites they can check.
Unfortunately search engines are of little help here. Job postings are only up for a few months at most, which isn’t long enough to rank highly in search engine results. It takes time for search engine “crawlers” to visit your site, index the information posted and then rank your site in their results. The deadline to submit an application will have long expired before your position ever appears in Google search results.
To save time, it is more effective for job seekers to visit job boards. By paying to use a job board, you’ll have access to interested candidates from all over the world. Don’t miss out on reaching tons of eyes because you can’t (yet) see the value of paying a small advertising fee.
The competition for postdocs is fierce. Instead of hoping job seekers will stumble upon your university, then visit your website, look for open positions, and apply, go to where the applicants are—job boards.
Once job seekers know you’re hiring, then all your other recruitment marketing streams will begin to pay dividends. They’ll see all the benefits of life at your university on social media, they’ll find information on your current research and group members on your updated website, and they’ll be motivated to follow through with a seamless application process.
While paying to advertise may feel like throwing money out the window, it’s not. It can actually mean the difference between finding excellent candidates who will make positive, long-term contributions to your university and spending countless hours filtering through irrelevant and mediocre applications only to have to cast your net once more.