Once you have written a job description and person specification for your role you will need to write an advert. This factsheet provides guidance on how to write an effective advert and the different advertising options that are available to you. A well-written advert will attract the best applicants and will enable you to find the best person for your job.
What makes a good advert?
A good advert should be:
Accurate: it describes the job and its requirements accurately using carefully chosen positive language.
Short: it covers just the important points. Two short paragraphs is the optimum length. Short sentences have a greater impact on the reader.
Honest: it does not make claims about the job that will later prove false. Avoid ‘overselling’ the job and creating an unrealistic picture of the reality of the job.
Positive: it gives the potential applicant a positive feel about the role and enables them to visualise themselves in the role.
Relevant: it gives details that applicants need to know before applying e.g. tasks, hours, location, hourly rate and details of any specific experience/skills required.
Drafting your advert
Things to avoid putting in your advert
Long list of tasks: instead, simply list the most important e.g. personal care including help with washing and dressing and domestic assistance including meal preparation. More detail about tasks and routines can be included in the job description.
Long and complicated lists of shift patterns: it is good to be specific about shifts as it enables applicants to see whether the job fits around their existing commitments. However, if you have a large number of shifts at varying times it is better to summarise e.g. ‘two mornings, weekdays, total of ten hours per week’.
Requests for applicants to cover the holiday and sickness of existing PAs: applicants may be concerned that they will be expected to be available all the time. You could instead mention the possibility of cover work at interview.
Lack of clarity: eg ‘driver required’ could indicate either that the PA will be driving your car or driving their own car. Whereas, adding ‘to drive employer’s vehicle’ indicates that it must be your car. Equally you should clearly distinguish between ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ requirements e.g. ‘full driving licence essential’ or ‘full driving licence an advantage’.
If you have previously advertised and had a poor response you could use the above list to look at ways to improve your advert.
Avoiding illegal discrimination
In order to ensure fairness and consistency in all aspects of PA employment and to promote equal opportunities it is vital that you avoid illegal discrimination when recruiting personal assistants. If you do illegally discriminate not only, will you be breaking the law but you may also be ruling out the best candidate for the job.
As soon as a person applies for a job, they have a right not to be illegally discriminated against. If there are genuine reasons that you need a PA to have particular characteristics e.g. to be of a certain sex because they will be assisting you with personal care, you must make it clear in your advert why this is necessary. If you can legitimately and proportionately justify such discrimination is a genuine occupational requirement e.g. if your role involves personal care, it would be legitimate to specify that your PA should be the same sex as you for reasons of privacy and decency.
You should not discriminate against applicants on the basis of age, disability, religion or belief, race, sexual orientation, sex, marital status, gender reassignment or pregnancy and maternity. Discrimination includes direct and indirect discrimination, perception and association discrimination, harassment (including third party harassment) and victimisation. For further information on this topic please see factsheet 2.5: Avoiding discrimination in PA employment.
The following example adverts are intended to give you ideas about the types of things you would like to include in your own advert.
Example poster/website advert
What’s good about this advert?
- it is short and readable and paints a positive picture of the employer and the job.
- it clearly indicates the shifts and the type of contract the PA will be offered.
- requiring applicants to be ‘friendly and sociable’ does not discriminate illegally against applicants with mental health issues because this job involves assisting the employer with social activities and so it is an occupational requirement.
Example newspaper (‘lineage’) advert
If you are thinking about advertising in a newspaper you may need to put together a more concise lineage advert like the one below.
What’s good about this advert?
- it communicates the concept of ‘independent living’ but puts applicants at ease by highlighting that training will be provided.
- it provides a simple and easy way to apply.
You can advertise in many ways:
- websites e.g. Friday ads
- social media e.g. Facebook, Twitter local groups
- local newspapers or advertising spaces
- flyers and posters in your local area.
Some methods are free whilst others, such as newspaper advertising, can be very expensive. The cost of recruitment methods should be discussed with your social worker, social services department (SSD) or Continuing Health Care (CHC).
To protect your privacy, rather than putting your own contact details on the advert you may wish to put Independent Lives’ contact details and have Independent Lives forward applications to you.
Independent Lives can provide free recruitment support depending on who funds your Direct Payment, call us to check, which provides:
- access to our broad expertise in recruitment to help you recruit successfully.
- access to our PA pages which is a database of PA’s looking for work, through which potential staff can usually be selected by you quickly and easily
- advertise your PA positions on our own website, our Facebook page, local Facebook pages to your location and other recruitment websites that we have found to be effective. flyers you can put up in local shops, libraries, post office or groups you attend and;
- send a link for your advert to pass on to family, friends and others who can spread the word.
Independent Lives recruitment boost service will cost a one-off payment of £60.00. Independent Lives will advertise your role for 30 days on:
- Independent Lives website
- Independent Lives recruitment Facebook page
- Other recruitment websites
Your advert on Independent Lives Facebook will also be boosted so more people see it. The Facebook post will link directly to your role on our website making it easy for people to find out more and apply! Independent Lives will select where the boost appears throughout the 30 days. This means your role will appear on Facebook user’s timeline if they live near to where the role is based. Independent Lives will guide you through the process of recruitment, processing all application forms received for your role and forward them onto you so that you can shortlist candidates.