The Job Advert

Employers use job adverts for one purpose alone: to get people to apply for the vacancy on offer. Adverts vary widely, and there are few norms to expect.

What Goes Into A Job Advert

Sometimes, an employer will simply use the job description as the job advert, but this doesn’t happen all of the time.

  • He might create an eye-catching advert instead, because job descriptions are very dull.
  • Adverts are sometimes charged by the word, or by the space they take up; the job description might be too long to fit or be affordable.
  • If the advert has been placed by a recruitment agency, they may have written their own advert for the role.

The amount of detail in a job advert can vary widely as a result. Each advert, however, will always contain these key pieces of information:

  • how to apply for the role (or how to find out more details), and
  • any closing date for applications.

Where To Find Job Adverts

In the old days, employers advertised their roles in local and national newspapers. Some employers (local and national government and their agencies, and firms of all sizes) still do this, but the majority of employers advertise exclusively on the Internet these days.

Many technology firms (but not all!) will have a ‘jobs’ or ‘careers’ section on their own website. This is a great place to look if you know which firms you want to apply for. Even if you can’t find any vacancies on the website, you’ll probably find a general ‘careers@’ type email address where you can email to make enquiries.

Technology vacancies are normally advertised on internet job boards too - and you can search these through Google. For example, a search for ‘big data job Reading’ will turn up jobs in Big Data in Reading, Berkshire both on company websites and across the internet job boards.

From an employer’s point of view, the most difficult part of recruitment is getting a job advert in front of the kind of people that the employer wishes to recruit. Publishing an advert takes up precious time, costs money (often hundreds of pounds per advert), and has no guarantee of success. These are the main reasons why many firms use recruitment agencies, and most of the adverts you’ll come across on internet job boards have been written by agencies rather than by employers.

Advice About Salaries Stated In Job Adverts

An advert might say ‘competitive salary’, or it might say ‘up to XX’, where XX is the annual salary amount. You can’t take these at face value.

Salaries are always one of the trickiest subjects in recruitment, and that includes any mention of them in job adverts, because employee salaries are normally one of the major costs in a firm. As a general rule, employers need to pay their staff as little as they can get away with, in order to keep operating costs under control. Recruitment agencies, on the other hand, normally charge the employer a fee that is based on a percentage of an employee’s starting salary; it is in their interest to drive starting salaries up as high as possible.

As a result, sometimes ‘competitive salary’ actually means ‘disappointing salary’, and ‘up to XX’ turns out to be an inflated figure that you can’t actually get if you get the job. Don’t wait until you reach the job offer stage to find out if this is the case; always contact the employer to double-check the salary on offer before applying. Keep a record of their answer in case you reach the job offer stage.

You’ll find advice on what size of salary to aim for later in this book.

Pro-Rata Salaries

Adverts for part-time roles will normally say ‘up to XX pro-rata’. If they do, XX is the annual salary that a full-time employee would earn, and the salary for the part-time role will be the equivalent hourly rate.

For example, if the full-time role (assuming 40 hours a week) has a £20,000 salary, but the part-time role is only 20 hours a week, then the pro-rata salary would be £10,000.

How To Meet Employers

As well as advertising roles online, some employers will go out and attend tech conferences and meet-ups, both to spread the word that they’re hiring, and on the chance that they will meet people that they would like to hire. If you’re looking for a job, it’s a good idea to start going along to these events. They are great opportunities to find out more about a job before you apply, and if you impress an employer, he’ll remember you when he receives your application and possibly bump you up towards the front of the interview list.

If you get the chance to speak at one of these events, you should take it. There might be an employer in the audience who is looking for someone who knows about the topic that you talk about; and even if there isn’t, most employers will value this experience if they find it on your CV.

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