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What do health and safety professionals want to see in a job advert?

By Richard Gelder, Director of Hays Construction & Property

Ongoing industry demand is keeping pressure on health and safety employers to fill vacancies with high quality professionals, but lingering uncertainty from candidates around market conditions has resulted in a cautious approach towards mobility, leaving certain areas of the profession with acute skills shortages.

A job advert remains the crucial touchstone for candidates when they are first gauging their interest in an organisation, but the latest insights from the Hays What Workers Want 2018 research show that this seemingly simple part of the recruitment process is easy for employers to get wrong and can have far reaching consequences. This is not only with respect to talent attraction, but retention also.

Our research shows that just over a third of health and safety employees who have left a job within the first 12 months because it did not match the expectations they were given during the recruitment process did so due to misleading job advert content (34%). Opportunities to utilise a job advert to show off your workplace culture should not be missed, with 50% of health and safety candidates actively seeking this information when researching potential employers. Additional information that health and safety candidates look for includes product and service details (sought by 46% of candidates) and organisation financial information (41%). Employers overall are not making this information readily available, with only 35% promoting details about their working culture and 20% supplying their financial information. More effective use of job adverts could help to establish realistic and accurate expectations of the role from the beginning, building trust at an early stage between employer and candidate.

Health and safety employers should keep in mind the following when writing their own job ads:

1. The devil's in the detail

Vague details in job adverts, especially in certain areas – are likely to make candidates wary of pursuing a role further. According to our research, health and safety professionals are looking for specific information on the salary, benefits and requirements of a role. When reviewing a job advert, 76% said a role description was the most important factor in their decision to apply or not, whilst 61% instead cited the specific role requirements and 50% said the compensation and benefits. The increasing value being placed on career development means that progression opportunities such as a NEBOSH diploma would be highly attractive to health and safety professionals. Highlighting these potential benefits from the beginning creates a strong incentive for candidates to apply, helping ensure employers don’t miss out on hard to find talent.

2. Avoid mismatched expectations

Employees don’t want to waste their time on a role they’re not qualified for or with an organisation they’re not suited to. This means providing accurate information on the role itself, its requirements and the culture of the team and organisation and making this information easily accessible at all stages of the applicant journey. If this is not provided, candidates may either be deterred from applying or be disappointed when they start the job due to unfulfilled expectations. Of the 65% of health and safety candidates who have left a job within the first 12 months, 42% stated this was because they didn’t fit in with an organisation’s culture as expected.

3. Maintain consistency

Your job advert may be the first thing a health and safety applicant sees, but the content you provide about your organisation needs to be consistent at every touchpoint of the applicant journey. Ensure your recruiters and interviewers are able to talk about all aspects of the job description and advert. You should also consider what is being said about you on employee review sites, and if necessary take steps where these reviews may contradict the image you are portraying through your own channels.

For more detailed insights into how employers can hone their application process to attract top talent, you can request your copy of the Hays What Workers Want 2018 report here.

About this author

Richard leads specialist recruiting consultants across the sector. He joined Hays in 1991 and quickly worked his way up through the ranks and was appointed Director in 2001.

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