North Wales recruitment boss says confusing job titles a barrier to attracting candidates

CONFUSING and unfamiliar job titles can be a barrier between success and failure when attracting the best candidates. 

Overly detailed advertisements, corporate jargon and lengthy descriptions mean would-be employees are often unsure what a job entails, let alone whether they fit the criteria.

The issue also applies to the HR sector, with more and more roles labelled ‘talent acquisition’ rather than recruitment, and a call for ‘storytellers’ instead of marketing or PR executives.

And then there’s the scrum master, the sales evangelist, a customer delight officer or ‘director of doing’.

Simple is best, yet many companies are trying to stand out from the crowd to appeal to a more varied, select audience – an audience which perhaps suits their brand and thinks outside the box.

Sarah Ellwood, Managing Director of North Wales-based Supertemps – and its executive, IT and engineering arm S2 Recruitment – says there are pros and cons to this approach, but keeping things as clean and condensed as possible usually appeals to more people.

“We have definitely seen a shift in the language used to advertise certain vacancies, which to the general public can be quite confusing,” said Sarah.

“If it’s a highly technical or niche role then it is often a positive, but when you are trying to fill a more general or everyday job it’s better to be clear and concise, especially with the description.

“Pages and pages of literature that would be useful if you are successful, but not for the recruitment process, are not needed. Brevity is key.”

Research by employment directory Agency Central revealed there is usually an increase in the average number of applications when the job description is between 90 and 130 words in length.

This suggests that keeping to a brief, direct snapshot of the role will hold a candidate’s attention, making them more likely to show an interest.

A spokesperson for Agency Central said: “When you consider that an active jobseeker will probably spend a lot of time reading (or rather, scanning) job descriptions, you can see why a shorter, snappier ad is a good idea in many cases. “However, generally more technical fields such as engineering or software development will have longer job ads, given their very nature.”

The study also warned of avoiding clichés, including ‘time-management’, ‘competitive salary’ and ‘the ability to work alone or as part of a team’.

“Think about exactly what you are offering and what skills you are looking for,” added Sarah.

“If shorter descriptions are more popular, as research suggests, then make use of the space in the best way possible and speak to their requirements. Attention, interest, desire and action (AIDA) are what will hook them in and will attract the most interested and suitable candidates to the role.”

For more on Supertemps and S2 Recruitment, call 01492 517602. Alternatively, visit www.supertemps.co.uk or www.s2recruitment.co.uk