Struggling to Recruit? Top tips for improving your advert performance

According to the Open University’s annual Business Barometer report, 72 per cent of UK organisations now face significant skill shortages, as the battle for talent ramps up.

  • Almost three-quarters (72%) of organisations say the impact of skills shortages is causing increased workload on other staff, while 78% are seeing reduced output, profitability, or growth
  • More than two-thirds (68%) of SMEs are currently facing skills shortages, rising to 86% in large organisations
  • 28% of businesses say they have had to turn down work or are not able to bid for work due to their staff shortage

Workers with relevant skills are in short supply, and within the current economic climate, it’s more important than ever to attract the best and right candidates. No organisation can afford to recruit anything less.

However, hope is not lost as there are still things that organisations can do to increase their chances of attracting the right talent.

Leverage well-written job adverts

Job Search

The cornerstone of any effective recruitment drive is to construct well-written job adverts that applicants can understand and then assess their own suitability. Avoid the temptation to write endless paragraphs of corporate jargon. Keep ads simple and to the point, using language candidates can understand.

Start by auditing your terminology. Ask yourself what kinds of words and phrases candidates searching on job boards or Google are most likely to use. Write down a list of keywords you want to target and include them in the job description.

Next, avoid the temptation to use fancy job titles. Keep them plain and simple so that candidates can easily determine whether they are a match.

Don’t try to sell your organisation by talking about how “prestigious” or “successful” it is. Instead, talk about the “opportunity.” Tell candidates how working in a particular role can help them get to where they want to go in life. Avoid the temptation to post a dry job description without any wider purpose behind it.

You should also highlight the soft skills and personal characteristics required for the role. Avoid the temptation to include “must haves” in your requirements list as these can put high-quality candidates off. Talk about how you’re looking for individuals with great communication skills, a passion for their work and who align with your culture. Avoid the temptation to focus solely on technical needs and requirements.


Targeting the right job boards

There are dozens of job boards out there, but most candidates only register with one or two. They don’t canvas the entire market looking for opportunities.

It’s important therefore to always post your advertisements on as many boards as possible to increase the quantity and diversity of candidates who see your advert. Make sure that you cover all the main ones such as Indeed, TotalJobs,, and CV Library plus any that operate in your niche. If you work with a recruitment company, ensure that they also advertise open positions on their site.

Advertising on multiple boards takes a lot of work, but shortcuts are available. For instance, job board ad specialists, such as Hiring Wizard, can optimise adverts for you and then post them on multiple job sites for a fraction of the cost of advertising directly. Hiring Wizard can also arrange premium listings and place openings on niche job boards at significantly discounted rates.

The results also speak for themselves. At Hiring Wizard, we regularly ask our job board partners how we are performing, and we’re delighted that we regularly get significantly higher than the average number of applications across multiple industries. The chart below demonstrates how our adverts compare on

HW Ad Performance

Furthermore, TotalJobs have confirmed our adverts on their site regularly rank in the top 2% in terms of performance.

Ensuring optimal targeting is particularly important because platforms such as LinkedIn are expensive, so if you are advertising on these sites, it’s vital to do so as effectively as possible.

In a challenging market with severe skills shortages, a greater number of quality applications increases diversity and gives your business a competitive advantage.

Strong employer branding

Having a brand that is viewed positively by prospective employees is also really important.

Most candidates will now undertake significant research on an organisation before considering whether to apply for a role. Having a positive presence on employee review sites such as Glassdoor will be important as well as developing an Employer Value Proposition (EVP) that helps make an organisation stand out from it’s competitors.

There are multiple elements that encompass an EVP, more detail of which can be found from our White Paper here, but as a minimum, it should include a dedicated careers website. This should highlight why your organisation is such a great place to work, the benefits available, and any training or development opportunities.

Use of Executive Search / Headhunting

Ultimately, job advertising is only likely to attract candidates who are actively looking for new opportunities.


For more senior level or business-critical roles, undertaking an Executive Search assignment will ensure a more proactive approach to encompass passive candidates as well. Passive candidates are those candidates who aren’t actively looking for a new role but would be prepared to move for the right opportunity.

Our sister business, Executive Headhunters, have vast experience of identifying the best talent across multiple roles and industries and offer a free, no-obligation discussion to find out if headhunting could be the right solution for you.


Acquiring talented employees is challenging in today’s market but talent remains available. Organisations that work with the right candidate attraction partners can still attract the people they need to grow and achieve their strategic objectives.

Ensuring your employer brand is viewed positively and stands out will also be critical to attracting talent in a competitive marketplace so make sure you are selling your organisation and opportunities.

For those business-critical senior level or hard-to find niche roles where attracting the highest performers to the role could make all the difference to the organisation’s bottom line, undertaking a headhunting assignment is more likely to deliver the required talent.

So if you’re struggling to attract the right talent from your job adverts or a recruitment agency, why not give Hiring Wizard a call on 0161 696 8899 or drop us an email at [email protected]? Our dedication to ensuring our clients’ adverts are seen by the best talent means we can deliver much better quality and quantity of candidates.

About Us

At Hiring Wizard, we have over a decade of success delivering optimised, fully branded recruitment campaigns using the very best job boards, achieving significant recruitment cost savings for a variety of businesses across the UK. Put simply, we are brilliant at targeting and attracting the right candidate(s) for all kinds of vacancies, delivering excellent hires for a fraction of what you might pay to a traditional recruitment agency.