Writing recruitment adverts

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    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.

    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.

    Example adverts

    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 one:

    Are you passionate about swimming and making a positive impact in a young person’s life? Look no further and dive into an exciting opportunity,

    I am seeking an enthusiastic personal assistant(s) for my delightful 13-year-old son who loves swimming and routine. He requires 2:1 support when out of the house this will either be working with another PA or me (his mother).

    From laps at the Sovereign Centre to indulging in treats at KFC, you’ll be part of his exciting journey.

    If you’re someone who finds joy in empowering young individuals to thrive and experience the best life has to offer, don’t miss out on this rewarding opportunity.

    Apply today and embark on an unforgettable adventure alongside our happy, lovely 13-year-old swim fan!

    Example two:

    I’m a keen football fan and support Chelsea FC, but please don’t hold that against me! I have a wife, two stepsons and young granddaughter, who I adore. I’m looking for a personal assistant to take me out for some social and leisure time and to give my wife
    some well needed respite.

    We plan for this to be a couple of days in the week, probably Thursday and Friday for the most part, but sometimes it will be a weekend day instead so I can go to football matches and visit friends/family with support.

    I am wheelchair based. I have weakness on my left side affecting my left leg, left arm and both eyes due to a stroke. I’m recovering well and can still talk to communicate and mobilise but will always need support on my left side to avoid falls which can happen quickly if
    unsupported, hands on is essential.

    I have a leg and shoulder support which my wife puts on for me. I can’t get out on my own, so to access the community (and give my wife a break) I need a PA that is happy to accompany me to football matches, visiting friends/family, visits to museums or just for a
    coffee somewhere would be great.

    My other interests include astronomy and fishing; a PA that has similar interests and hobbies and a willingness to do these with me, would be amazing. Having a sense of humour would also be a bonus.

    A PA that can drive and has their own car is essential to the role, mileage expenses will be provided. There is free parking at my address.

    Example three:

    re you a kind and patient person who understands the power of encouragement? Do you have a calm demeanour and a gentle spirit? If so, I’m looking for someone just like you.

    About Me: Hello, I’m a sensitive and resilient lady who has overcome significant challenges in life. I’ve battled chronic pain and embraced life as an amputee, learning to walk again with a prosthetic leg. My love for the sea, the sky, and beautiful clothes keeps my spirit
    afloat, and I enjoy all kinds of music, especially pop. I find solace in laughter and appreciate a good joke. Although I struggle with motivation and find it hard to concentrate, I am determined to live my best life.

    What I Need: I require assistance with tasks that might seem simple to some but are crucial to my well-being. Changing bed linen, light cleaning, and help with personal affairs such as correspondence and phone calls are some of the areas where I could use your support. Additionally, I need encouragement to eat and stay motivated to function, as I often lack the drive to do so on my own.

    What I’m Looking for in You: I’m seeking a quiet and empathetic individual who understands the power of a soft-spoken word. Loud noises are painful for me, so a calm presence is essential. If you can offer encouragement and understanding, you’ll be my ideal
    companion. I get easily overwhelmed, so someone who doesn’t rush me is the perfect fit.

    Advertising methods

    • access to our broad expertise in recruitment to help you recruit successfully;
    • access to PA pages, a database of PAs looking for work;
    • advertisement of 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, such as Gumtree;
    • flyers you can put up in local shops, libraries, post office or groups you attend;
    • a link for your advert to pass on to family, friends and others who can spread the word.

    You can advertise in many ways:

    • websites e.g. Friday-Ad and Indeed
    • social media e.g. local Facebook groups
    • local newspapers or advertising spaces
    • flyers and posters in your local area.

    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.

    Some methods are free, whilst others, such as newspaper advertising, can be very expensive. The cost of additional recruitment methods should be discussed with your funder.

    Last updated:  24th April, 2024


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