How to write a job post for scientists, based on analysis of how scientists have engaged with 2-million job posts

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Motivated hiring managers and recruitment teams want to source great scientific talent and build high-performing research teams. While online recruitment is becoming increasingly popular, recruiting by posting job ads can sometimes feel like a gamble. Once an ad has been posted, recruitment professionals might feel like they have little control over whether candidates click through to apply or not.?

To make this process feel like less of a shot in the dark, we’ve put together some useful tips for anyone who needs to write a scientific job post, based upon our analysis of two years’ worth of research job listings, in order to find out which ones resonated with our audience of talented scientists — and why.?

Here are some useful tips to create winning job ads:

Start with the basics: short job titles get more views

To entice researchers to click on your job ad, keep the title short and sweet. Clear and concise job titles help candidates understand immediately what the role is and whether they are interested enough to find out more. Aim for no more than 71 characters — ads with job titles within this length enjoyed an above-average click-through rate, while those with longer job titles had nearly 10% fewer clicks than average.

Concise and specific job descriptions win more applicants

Our analysis of research job listings on our site shows that job descriptions should not be too brief, but not too wordy either. Those between 1001-1500 characters received almost 15% more applications than average. The best way to keep your job description compact and relevant is knowing what potential applicants actually want to know.?

Our recent survey of 10,000 researchers revealed that the most important “on-the-job factor” for scientists and researchers deciding whether to apply for a position is the chance to carry out work within their area of expertise. So, when writing a job description, focus on what the role entails by describing aspects of the job that your ideal candidate is specifically qualified for. Conversely, our research shows scientists don’t necessarily focus on an institution’s reputation — so don’t waste characters showcasing your university’s prestige, instead highlight the opportunity to conduct impactful science.
Digital recruitment and talent attraction can help you access a diverse, high-quality talent pool. Learn more about how ResearchGate Scientific Recruitment Solutions can help.?

Pay shouldn't be taboo in job ads

In the recruitment process, salary is often not discussed until the final stages — perhaps because some employers feel that a generous wage may attract applicants for the wrong reasons. Our research, however, demonstrates that salary is the most important “employment factor” that scientists consider when job hunting.

While you may think passionate scientists should want to work at your university because of the fascinating research projects they’d be involved in, ambitious and skilled candidates are likely to seek a salary that mirrors their level of experience and competence. Therefore, ensure your job ads include a pay range to entice outstanding researchers to apply.

Scientists from some fields respond to job ads more than others

If you think you’re doing everything right, don’t panic if you don’t see applications rolling in. Yes, some researchers are quick to apply once they’ve viewed a relevant job ad — for example, researchers in political science, agricultural science, and architecture all fall under this category. The same, however, can’t be said for scientists in every field — in fact, those specialized in geography, neuroscience, and space sciences show the opposite behavior with below-average conversion rates. As a result, you might need to utilize more advanced active recruitment solutions when targeting such researchers.

Keep in mind these recommendations are guidelines, not set rules. ResearchGate can provide you with further insights, targeted to your audience and tailored to your recruitment needs, to help you build excellent research teams.
Do you want to build the best performing teams in research and science? ResearchGate’s suite of Scientific Recruitment Solutions will enable your organization to attract, source, and recruit from the world’s leading professional network of 15+ million scientific researchers. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you hire top research talent.