Planning how to advertise your vacancy

If you have a vacancy or other resourcing need then you should contact your Faculty or Divisional HR Team in the first instance to discuss how best to take this forward and the support that HR will provide

Advertising policy


For all vacancies a redeployment stage on-line matching process will be carried out by HR to establish whether there are suitable candidates in the University Redeployment Pool (URP) before the vacancy is advertised more widely.

Internal only advertising

In line with existing Trades Union agreements the following vacancies are advertised internally only first before any external advertising:

An 'internal' candidate is defined as a member of University staff or worker who has employment with the University as an open-ended, fixed-term or Teaching Support staff member, via an Internship or Apprenticeship or as TSS Admin/Clerical worker. PGR students can also access internal vacancies.

If there are no applications or no suitable candidate is selected, the Faculty/ Division HR Team will liaise with the line manager to advertise the vacancy externally as below.

External advertising

For all vacancies except those restricted to internal only advertising as above it is generally University policy to advertise widely to ensure the strongest possible field of candidates, that there is fair and open competition and to enable the University to benefit from a diverse workforce. As a minimum this means placing the vacancy on the University of Bristol job vacancies web site; HR also automatically promote vacancies through the web site and the Jobcentre network; and can post vacancies through the University's LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

The University also promotes vacancies through a range of web sites as part of an on-going centrally funded online campaign. The value of using any further additional media to increase your pool of candidates and target the right sort of people for your job should be carefully thought through. This would include thinking about who the potential candidates are, where they are located and how best to reach them?

You may well be aware of the best media for targeting candidates in your field; where necessary we can also seek advice from our recruitment advertising agency or analyse our own data or external research data, such as the 2013 survey of University recruitment effectiveness (PDF, 1,448kB) or the guide to on line advertising. Generally web sites and on line job boards will be the most effective way to advertise your job, print media is now less commonly used for recruitment advertising and job seeking. In some cases, for a high profile role or where a number of related vacancies need to be advertised together, a campaign approach with a dedicated micro-site may be appropriate. If you wish to discuss advertising and media choices and strategy, your Faculty/ Division HR Team will be happy to advise during the planning stage.

The central recruitment budget held by HR may, where appropriate and agreed with the Resourcing Manager, fund all or part of the cost of any additional media used.

Best practice is that vacancies should be open for at least 2-3 weeks to give potential applicants time to apply and to help ensure a good field of candidates; one week is the absolute minimum period to advertise. There is a legal duty for any vacancy to which the University wishes to appoint a migrant worker to have been advertised for at least 28 days in order to meet the Resident Labour Market Test of the points based immigration system. In some cases, for hard to fill or regularly recruited roles, it may be worth discussing the potential for a more flexible approach through keeping a vacancy 'open' until filled or a rolling vacancy.

The Government has set up a number of welfare to work initiatives aimed at matching motivated and skilled people who are currently not in employment to employers and jobs. Tapping into this resource can potentially be an effective (and no-cost) way of finding suitable candidates.

Networking, social media and informal contacts

Remember to also promote your vacancy through any professional, subject-related or work-based networks that you or colleagues are members of - whether through social media such as Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook; subject or profession related blogs, web sites, newsletters and e-mail alerts; or the more traditional face-to-face contact at meetings, conferences and seminars etc. Informal and word of mouth promotion to targeted groups is an effective and no-cost way of widening your pool of suitable candidates.

Informal networking can also be used to promote your vacancy amongst groups who are currently under-represented in the discipline (for instance women in Science, Engineering and Technology) or related fields or sectors.

Using recruitment agencies and consultants

The University's general policy is to advertise vacancies rather than use agencies or consultants, except for temporary staffing needs. This is because the University has its own established, professional and efficient infrastructure for recruitment and to ensure the strongest possible field of candidates, fair and open competition and that costs are minimised.

In exceptional circumstances it may sometimes be appropriate to use an agency or consultant, for instance where the vacancy is highly specialised and it is reasonably anticipated that it will be hard to find a suitable candidate through advertising. One option to consider if this route is followed is the senior, professional and specialist service offered by the University's recruitment advertising agency, TMP.

For senior management roles, engaging an executive search may be an appropriate option and the University has access to a number of preferred suppliers.

These options should only be followed after consultation with the University's Resourcing Manager and will generally be in tandem with the vacancy being advertised on the University's web site. How the agency or consultant fee will be paid for will need to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Exceptions to the requirement to advertise

It is only generally in the following circumstances that a vacancy would not need to be submitted to Human Resources for advertising:

Advertising studentships

The Postgraduate Recruitment and Admissions Team have responsibility for advertising studentships.