17.12.2019

Attract top physicists with the perfect job description

Are you struggling to attract the right candidates to your job adverts? We read a tonne of job adverts every week and it seems the industry has unconsciously created a standard template for job ads which, unfortunately, results in incredible similarities between the vast majority.

Attract top physicists with the perfect job description

At the time of writing this article, typing the word “Physics” into Indeed.co.uk, you receive over 3,500 job adverts. On LinkedIn, over 9,500 results. So, how can you get your job description to stand out from the crowd?

Firstly, think about the structure, is it digestible and easy to follow? The main topics you’ll need to include are:

  • Information about your company
  • Responsibilities
  • Skills/Qualifications required
  • Salary/Benefits

Include as much detail as possible in each of these sections, avoiding verbose of course. The sections don’t necessarily have to be in this order.

Info about your company

Tremendously important, this is your chance to sell the company. If you’re not excited about where you work… then why should the applicant? Be sure to avoid hyperbole and superlatives, positively promote your technology and your newest/most interesting projects or products.

What would excite a physicist about your company? Most physicist want to work right at the bleeding edge of technology, push boundaries, make ground-breaking discoveries, refine our understanding of the universe and so on, is this reflected in your explanation of the company?

Responsibilities

If your vacancy is well defined then this is straightforward, it may even be an idea to ask a current employee working in the role to have input in this section. Begin with the main responsibilities and what will they be doing on a day-to-day basis. Again, this section is supposed to create excitement, let’s use an example:

The successful candidate will develop optical components for numerous projects and will lead a small team.

OR

The successful candidate will develop our unique optical components for projects including wearable augmented reality devices, flight simulator helmets, head-up displays for the automotive industry. Leading a multidisciplinary team consisting of physicists, mechanical engineers and electronics engineers, you will be the main drive in taking our customer’s vision through to reality.

Which do you prefer?

At times, the vacancy won’t be as well defined, this is a regular occurrence in smaller companies and start-ups. As the work is project dependant the responsibilities change accordingly. Our advice here is honesty is the policy! If your company information section is well thought out and you put as much details about their purpose within the company, the candidate will have a fair idea of what they will be doing.

Skills/Qualifications required

Detail is important here, not only to attract the right applicants, but we’ve also noticed an esoteric advert is appreciated by many physicists! Clearly define the minimum requirements needed (education, experience etc.) and any desirables that would be handy.

Candidates may be put off by an extensive list of requirements on a job advert and although it’s important to be specific about what you’re looking for, it’s also worth remembering that there’s no such thing as the perfect candidate.

If, for example, you are looking for an Optical Design Engineer and they will mainly be using Zemax, would you still consider the candidate for interview if they had experience in Oslo or CodeV?

Things to avoid…

We tend to stay away from using physics or science clichés as it usually whiffs of someone who knows nothing about the subject. How many times have you read the phrase “light years ahead” being used incorrectly?

Quirky job titles, although I don’t know any physicists who are ninjas, Prof Brian Cox AND Dr Brian May are rockstars so it’s a tricky one. Just remember, on any job board, what would your (cough) perfect candidate be searching for? They aren’t typing in “physics guru”.

The final frontier

There’s no denying that job adverts are difficult to get right, getting the balance between being loyal to the vacancy without alienating potential candidates, and not under or over promoting the company or the position. It’s certainly a trial and error process and you’ll find that some things that you didn’t expect to work…. do! We hope these points help you to attract the best physicists and then comes the hard part…. The dreaded interviews!

If you need help writing a job description to attract top physicists, please get in touch. We're happy to use our industry knowledge to write your job description or provide feedback on your job adverts for free. For us, it is all about providing added value and building lasting relationships.

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