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How to Write Talent-Attracting Job Descriptions for Nursing Roles

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

A job description for a nursing role needs to do two things. It should accurately represent the duties of the position with the company, and it should also act as a magnet to draw the best talent towards your healthcare organisation.

In an increasingly competitive candidate landscape, employers have to try harder than ever to attract the very best nursing candidates to apply for their roles.

No longer will a plain list of duties suffice. Your job description must alert the candidate to how beneficial it will be for their career to work for your organisation; it should excite and interest.

So with this in mind, here are some strategies that are easy to follow and implement to enhance your nursing job descriptions and increase the number of talented candidates applying for your vacancies.

1. Get the Basics Right

72% of hiring managers state that they provide clear job descriptions, but only 36% of candidates agree – so there is some disparity here.

With such a low number of candidates finding job descriptions sufficiently clear, this is where the scope for error comes in. An unclear job description leads to a more significant amount of unsuitable candidates applying for the role – as a hiring manager or employer; this is the situation you want to avoid.

Getting the basics of the job across in your description is the first step to reducing the number of unsuitable candidates applying for the job. This means being as explicit as you can with the working hours, the qualifications needed and the salary.

2. Put the Candidate First

It is a standard error in nursing job descriptions that the job spec reads more like a promotional piece for the organisation, rather than focusing on what the job can provide for the candidate.

To attract the best nursing candidates, that is – nurses who are serious about developing themselves to be the best they can be – offer them a robust career plan.

While scientific research suggests that job descriptions should be no more than 500-600 words long, be sure to spend some time talking about the training and development opportunities you provide.

Talented nurses are far more likely to apply to roles in which they know they can develop professionally and work their way up the nursing pay-scale.

3. Be Realistic

I hardly need to tell you that nurses face challenges in their job every day. They are the glue that keeps hospitals and care homes together, and they are under increased pressure from the nursing shortage in the UK, which currently stands at around 40,000.

Nurses are looking for potential employers who realise this. When job searching, most of the time, they are looking for a job that is less stressful than their current role.

With this in mind, employers need to be realistic in their job descriptions. Sadly, sometimes employers are tempted to embellish or withhold information about the reality of the role that they are advertising, not just in the specification but in the interview, too.

Nurses understand that their services are badly needed, and they might expect some challenges, especially as many organisations are short-staffed. The job description should be an accurate description of the nurse's daily tasks, not an overwhelming list of everything the organisation would like the nurse to be able to fit into each 12-hour shift.

4. Company Culture

Poor culture fit is one of the main reasons behind employees leaving. Find a candidate who is the right ‘fit’ for your organisation means adding value right away, strengthening your healthcare team and reduces the cost of re-recruiting.

Every potential candidate who reads your job description will be thinking ‘how will I fit in here?’

Include some information about your company’s vision or mission statement, and try to give the reader an idea of what working for your company is like daily. Can you offer employee perks such as health and wellbeing schemes, a focus on diversity and inclusion, travelling assistance, free parking, even flexible working opportunities?

5. What to Include

Now that I’ve explained the premise behind successful nursing job descriptions, let me share some strategies that will increase the calibre of candidates who apply.

  • Regularly review your job descriptions, do not assume that the specification you wrote last year will still be valid. Update the spec inline with company changes, the job role and your company culture.
  • Speaking of company culture – make sure you include at least a few lines about the ethos of your organisation, and the attitudes and beliefs that your employees must uphold.
  • Keep the application process itself succinct. When a job application takes more than 15 minutes for the applicant to complete, this results in a 365% decrease in submissions, so keep the application process as simple as possible.
  • Putting the salary information near the top of the job description will double the number of applicants. Being specific about the salary narrows down the applicants to those who want the role, and dissuades speculative applicants.


Hopefully, this guide will be able to narrow down the type of nursing candidates that you need to apply to your roles and reduce the number of unsuitable candidates.

If you need assistance in locating the most suitable nursing candidates for your healthcare organisation, we can help. Get in contact with our team today to find out how we can enhance your candidate search, and find the talent that will add real value to your current team of nursing staff.





Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability. 

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, Nursing, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here

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