Recruiting Isn’t Rocket Science — Except When It Is

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Feb 21, 2020

Every organization has a different goal that it wants to achieve, and a different reason for wanting to achieve it. But one thing we all have in common is that our success is driven by the people we hire. And in the race to find competent staff, all of us must consider what job hunters want, what kind of messaging they’re most receptive to, and what people value most in a new professional opportunity.

While these aspects may vary depending on industry, our research on scientific recruitment can provide you with useful insights on how to attract and recruit great candidates — regardless of sector.

Draft Succinctly, Post Strategically

In academia, where word-of-mouth recruitment still prevails, there’s hope for using digital platforms to recruit candidates, if leveraged correctly.

For instance, we’ve found that ads with short job titles tend to attract more views. Concise and straightforward job titles generate more click-throughs as they allow viewers to quickly decide if opportunities are relevant. 

And so, sure enough, ads with fewer than 71 characters outperformed longer ads by about 3%. That may not seem like a lot, but every percentage point can make a huge difference especially if you are hiring in high volume.

Length is also important when it comes to job descriptions. Not-too-brief but not-too-wordy is the way to go. Role descriptions with 1,001 to 1,500 characters garner nearly 15% more applications per view.

Meanwhile when is as significant as what you post. Our data shows that job listings get more views and applications when posted on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. (Perhaps it’s because people scan the web for new job opportunities while relaxing over the weekend, or they’re prompted by some early-week motivation. (Let’s face it. By Wednesday, people are all about getting ready for the weekend.)

Think Global

Employers often consider local candidates first, but this is not always the best way to source top talent. We surveyed 10,000 scientists and found that 70% of them would relocate abroad for work. Sure, moving to a different country is a big decision for most people, but our data suggests that if the job is right, there are few geographic obstacles that passionate workers wouldn’t face for an exciting opportunity. 

This is incredibly exciting news for hiring managers because it gives them access to a huge pool of talent that they may not have considered. Employers should make sure that they promote job opportunities far and wide — because the perfect additions to your team might be sitting a thousand miles away, waiting for an excuse to pack their bags and start new professional adventures in your region.

Talk Money

In an ideal world, job applicants would work for you because they are inspired by your organization’s work, they share your values and work ethic, and because they are passionate about your industry. While all of these are often true, you simply can’t ignore the material aspects of any position. More than anything else, that means salary. 

Our research reveals that the single most important employment factor that scientists consider when applying for jobs is salary. This makes sense: We all want a job where we get to do what we love, but we also care about earning compensation that enables a certain quality of life. 

Pay has the potential to be a deal breaker, so applicants deserve to know what kind of offer is on the table as early as possible in the process. Employers shouldn’t shy away from discussing salary (or salary ranges). After all, ambitious candidates tend to seek compensation that matches their skills and experience — the very type of candidates you want. 


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