What candidates want to see in a job advert

austin distel 21GWwco JBQ unsplash scaled 1 | What candidates want to see in a job advert
By Paula Smith | 11th August 2022 | 6 min read

In a highly candidate-driven market, organisations need to focus on what candidates want to see in a job advert. Whilst salary will always be one of the primary drivers, there are other factors that affect an organisations ability to secure top talent. A global pandemic, skills shortages, a cost of living crisis and a saturated jobs market are all influencing the decisions of candidates.

A saturated jobs market.

According to the ONS, the number of vacancies currently being advertised is now at record levels and shows little signs of slowing just yet. The job boards are saturated and competition for talent is understandably exceptionally high.  

If we compare the number of live vacancies with the number of active job seekers then the issue is clear to see. Out of a workforce of 32.7 million employed people in the UK, only 5 – 15% will be currently looking for a role, which means there are just less than 5 million potential candidates for 1.3 million jobs.  

Taking into consideration additional issues such as Brexit, global skill shortages and influencing factors such as growing salary expectations, in-house recruitment teams are under increasing pressure to make sure that their recruitment strategy is optimised to maximise success.  

What really matters and what do candidates want to see in a job advert?  

Regardless of the platforms you choose to utilise to source candidates or whether you are focussed on attracting active or passive job seekers, to secure top talent in-house recruitment teams need to focus on what candidates are really looking for. Adverts need to be carefully crafted to showcase what job seekers want and the key factors that will encourage them to apply for your positions.  


Working from Home  

Whilst rising energy prices are thought to have an impact on the number of people choosing to work from home all the time, the flexibility that remote and hybrid working can offer individuals is something that millions of people continue to crave.  

If any positive could be taken from a pandemic that caused an overnight shift in the working environments of organisations across the globe it is that people can work from home, and they are not only more productive but much happier too!  

Individuals looking for a remote or hybrid working opportunity want the option to be able to choose their own work environment, and how they choose to work and remove the time and stress associated with a daily commute. 

Any support that organisations can offer in terms of helping create the perfect workstation and contribute to the growing costs of working from home will obviously be well received and help to incentivise potential candidates to apply.  

Flexible hours  

With the 4 day working week pilot currently in full swing, the likes of LinkedIn are full of posts from participating organisations who are all keen to showcase the benefits of condensing the working week and adding an extra day to your leisure time, however, the desire to work flexible hours has again been exasperated since the pandemic. People want roles that fit around them. Whilst some people prefer to start their day earlier so they can finish earlier, others seek later starts to support other commitments such as school runs, etc.  

The key is, wherever possible, to try and offer the flexibility that job seekers are looking for. For the majority of people giving them the option to choose when to start and end their working days whilst maintaining a core set of hours such as 10am to 4pm will be a positive move towards flexible hours.  

People just want to be trusted to get the job done, when and from where is best for them.  

This is a powerful statement and potentially something clear about what candidates want to see in a job advert.


Defining and effectively communicating your corporate culture is key to attracting talent, in fact a survey by Glassdoor found that 77% of respondents would consider a company’s culture before applying for a job and Gen Z is already influencing the corporate cultures organisations across the world.  

As recruiters, you need to ensure that the entire recruitment process reflects the beliefs and core values of your organisation and promotes the positive environment that candidates will be joining.  

More specifically a job advert is more than just an opportunity to sell the opportunity but your organisation too!  

Think about the words you use to describe your organisation and how these relate to what your new hires will be looking for.  

What kind of environment can you offer candidates? What is it that your current employees love about working at your organisation? What makes them stay? 

What sets you apart from your competitors?  

Career Progression  

Career progression is not only a consideration at the beginning of your career but at every stage throughout and most people will have an idea of where they would like to be in 3- or 5-years' time.  

Jobseekers are looking for an organisation that can offer them a sustainable, future-proof opportunity and Gen Z are those that are seeking this the most.  

Getting this strategy right and ensuring that every employee has a professional development plan in place, will help you keep top talent as well as attract it too.  

So, what are candidates looking for in this current market?  

A sense of purpose – employees want to feel like they have a key role to play in the growth of an organisation 

Clear corporate goals – understanding the long-term aims of an organisation and how their role will help achieve it  

Continuous development - giving employees the time to upskill in key areas and develop their own role  

Knowledge-sharing – the ability to learn from others and find new interests or specialisms  

Access to new opportunities – clear routes of internal progression and success stories  

Support to achieve – employees want to feel supported in the workplace and know that organisations are willing to invest in their future 


As the essential outcome of any role, salary is still a primary consideration for most job seekers.  

And the current cost-of-living crisis is only set to increase the need for candidates to seek higher-earning and rewarding opportunities.  

According to a recent article by Remus Rewards, TotalJobs found that 37% of workers are considering changing to jobs that pay more than their current role to cover rising costs and maintain their current lifestyle choices.

In a saturated jobs market candidates currently have the upper hand and salaries are rising in line with competition for talent. Organisations are therefore looking to offer the best possible salary coupled with unique and enticing benefits packages to entice new hires.  

Diversity and inclusion are also influencing the salary expectations of candidates. Following the release of many alarming gender pay gap reports, the government has recently launched a pilot to encourage organisations to clearly state the salary on all adverts to try and tackle salary inequality.  

Could this mean an end to the use of the terms such as ‘Competitive Salary’, ‘Negotiable’, and ‘Depending on Experience’?  

People not only want to know what they are going to be earning but need to know.  

Whilst the fundamental reasons why a candidate is seeking a new job have not changed, social and economic factors play a key role in the level of importance that job seekers place on each aspect. Ensuring you clearly highlight what candidates want to see in a job advert in relation to your target audience and the current climate.