What to look for in a job advert

Posted in Candidates

Published on 04 June, 2024

Whether you’re looking for a new role to progress your career, or you’re early in your application process, when faced with multiple job adverts, it can be hard to know what you need to look for.

A job advert is first and foremost a list of requirements for a role, which allow you to match together with your skillset.

The job advert should also list a few details that help you know whether this role meets your own requirements, such as salary, benefits, location.

Not only does this help the business be transparent with their operations, but helps you filter through opportunities that might not be the right fit for you.


Applying for the role

It’s important to note, that even if you don’t meet all the requirements, you could still be a strong candidate for the position.

A study showed that women apply for roles when they meet 90% of the criteria, whereas men apply at 60%.

A new role is also a lot about learning on the job, whether that’s in a new sector, learning a new skill or getting to grips with a new piece of software.

One of the most important things in any application process is ensuring the role meets your requirements. A recruiter can let you know the employment package and business expectations ahead of time, so you’re fully informed as you progress to interview stage.


💚 Green flags

By working with a recruiter, we get to know all of the businesses we work with on an intimate level, and any recruiter worth their salt, should be able to advise you on the business, the culture, the office space and the requirements of the role.

But there are often a few early signals that a company is full of green flags.

  1. You know the salary to expect from the role.
  2. You know the location you’ll be working in.
  3. The advert talks about the culture of the team and office.
  4. Benefits are clearly outlined (and not just ‘pension plans’).
  5. The advert outlines the working environment, for example if it’s open plan, noisy, or if there are dedicated quiet zones. This is where working with a recruiter is highly beneficial as we know our clients and their work spaces inside out, so can help alleviate any concerns.
  6. The advert details that there are progression opportunities and room for growth with the company.
  7. The requirements of the role are outlined so you’ll know what you’ll be doing day to day and check if you can meet the skillset.
  8. There is a brief outline of the company and what they do.
  9. Any information on the team you would be working in, for example whether this is a small, medium or big team and who you would be reporting to.
  10. And finally, any information at the end of the application for what happens next. For example, when the advert closes or when interviews might commence.


🚩 Red flags

When looking at a job advert, there might be a few hidden clues that could mean this won’t be a good fit for you.

  1. A fast-paced independent working environment could signal a lack of structure and pressure for employees. This isn’t always the case, but if you are interested in the role, it’s sometimes a good idea to check the support in place during the interview process.
  2. There is a vague description of the role, which could mean that the business doesn’t really know what they are looking for, until they find someone with a skillset to meet their requirements.
  3. If there are a lot of mistakes in the advert and it appears poorly written, this could mean it was a quick snap decision.
  4. If the advert lists endless paragraphs of requirements, this could signal some unrealistic expectations for the new hire.
  5. There’s no information on how you can progress in this role however, this could be open for discussion at interview stage.
  6. The advert is too generic and isn’t specific to the role or company which means it could be a copy / paste template so there is little thought to their actual requirements.
  7. And finally, the advert is too long and wordy, making it hard to find what the role actually is!


If you need help navigating job adverts or are looking for a new role, get in touch and register your CV now.

Recruitment Consultant

Georgia joined the Cathedral Appointments team in July 2022. Prior to this, Georgia was a Sales Executive with Hanlons Brewery for 8 years. Mum to Louis, Georgia also volunteers at Exeter Athletic RFC managing the U15 rugby team and also organises volunteers for the Exeter Chiefs foundation.

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What to look for in a job advert

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