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How North East tech companies can optimise job descriptions to improve recruitment

David Dunn, Chief Executive at Sunderland Software City

With job vacancies at a record high in the UK, hiring technical talent continues to be the biggest barrier to growth for North East technology companies.

While a range of factors affect both the supply and demand side of technical roles, research indicates that the way job descriptions are written in the industry can have a damning effect on recruitment.

“Companies looking to bring exciting tech talent into their organisations, will have to veer away from substandard job ads to be able to compete in the market” comments David Dunn, Chief Executive at Sunderland Software City.

“We know this from conducting initial research into the barriers to employment growth faced by regional SMEs and by piloting support with a local tech company to improve their recruitment for a back-end developer.

“Through this, we’ve seen that changes in how vacancies are written can have a real impact on the quality of candidates who apply for a role.

“The North East, especially, is home to a wide pool of smaller organisations who candidates may not yet be familiar with. There is opportunity to use job descriptions to reflect the organisation’s purposes and even key success stories or portfolio highlights.

“On top of that, vacancies need to be clearly written, jargon-free, and representative of core job duties. They should also reflect organisational culture, purpose, and progression opportunities.”

One organisation which recently received recruitment support from Sunderland Software City is Dontyne, which provides gear design and manufacturing solutions to industry. The company published a vacancy for a back-end programmer in August and was able to recruit successfully on the back of the support.

“We made our job description more concise”, elaborates Chief Executive Mike Fish. Dontyne received a list of recommendations from Sunderland Software City following a thorough evaluation of its vacancy and adjusted the document accordingly.

“Previously we had a very long list of requirements, but they were ‘all things to all people’. So we just concentrated on the ones we actually really wanted.” By adding a narrower focus to the role description, the organisation was better equipped to target quality applicants.

Mike also added that Dontyne ensured to mention its portfolio of global clients within the job description to appeal to a wider pool of candidates.

Following its research and trial support, Sunderland Software City is now working with the European Regional Development Fund to provide fully-funded support to North East based SMEs planning employment growth. The support will help SMEs improve their job vacancies, which can then be brought to market or recruitment agencies.