The recruitment cycle

Recruitment cycle: preparing

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1. Preparing

Things you could consider when writing a job description:

  • Which skills are crucial to have when applying for a role? Which ones could be learnt on-the-job? 
  • Do you require any formal qualifications?
  • Does a person need to have a previous UK work experience?
  • Can you offer flexible hours? This is especially important when considering single parents but also candidates who might be attending ESOL classes (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
  • If your company can’t be easily accessed by a public transport, will you be able to help organise a carpool?
  • Will the role require DBS check? Please see our DBS check guidance for more information
  • Are you able to hold an informal session about the role to help candidates understand the requirements and the application process? Alternatively, can someone from your organisation be listed as a point of contact for any questions about the role?
  • What level of English is required for the job? Is the job description reflecting that level (e.g., if it’s an entry job level, is it written in ‘plain English’?).

What do we mean by plain English?

  • 'layman's terms' – language suitable for a general audience, helps people understand a topic
  • Not to confuse with 'Basic English' 

Why is it good to use plain English?

It is not only for those who struggle with English – it helps everyone, including experts, understand your message. 

Quick plain English checklist:

Sentence length 
  • Break longer sentences in shorter ones, usually no more than 20 words.
  • Try to have one message per sentence.  
  • Delete words and phrases that add nothing to the meaning, for example, 'indeed', 'last but not least', 'basically', 'a total of.'
Confusing words / phrases 
  • Many words and phrases have synonyms that are easier to use.  
  • Remember your audience might not know English very well.  
  • Write in such a way that a reader not familiar with the topic would be able to understand you.
Sentence construction 
  • Use active instead of passive voice. 
  • Try to have no more than one idea per sentence. 
  • Prefer verbs over nouns. 
  • Use 'you' and 'we' instead of 'the applicant' and 'the organisation'.
  • This is the hardest thing to get right. Make sure the text follows a clear, logical structure, for example start with an introduction and make sure that crucial ideas are introduced at the start. 
  • Separate ideas in separate paragraphs. 
  • Signpost where possible.
  • It can help to read the piece out loud. 
  • It might be helpful to leave your text to rest for a few days after you've written it. Try to forget about it. Come back to it a few days later and you'll be able to easily see if your writing is clear. 
  • Always get someone else other than yourself to proofread it – consider consulting employees whose first language is not English. 
  • Test the text with readers who know little about the subject.

Source: Migration Yorkshire (2022) ‘Plain English’. Internal training course

Last updated: 5th January 2023

Contact us about employer engagement

For more information or to discuss getting involved, contact:

Ewa Lelontko - Employer Engagement Manager