Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Monday, 14 September 2009

Thoughts on job vacancies pages

For a couple of years I've moderated a group on Facebook called Science Communication jobs (mostly London).

It contains a list of vacancies pages for a variety of SciComm types of places (heavily weighted towards medical research charities that are members of the AMRC but all sorts of other things too). I'm keeping a parallel list of vacancies on this blog now as well, here.

There are a couple of things I've noticed about vacancies pages.

1. They're often difficult to find and not where you'd expect them. You can search for jobs, vacancies, even recruitment or careers - I tend to try and search within the site map (perhaps I'll find a "work for us" section) as those terms will often appear in other pages that aren't relevant to vacancies.

2. Jobs / vacancies are listed only when they are available to be advertised.

That might seem obvious, but - why?

I once heard a very good description of the blood glucose testing that people with diabetes do several times a day as "driving down a motorway with your eyes closed and opening them every few hours to see how you're doing" - this was being compared with continuous glucose monitoring which gives a pretty much constant readout of ups and downs ('glycaemic excursions').

I think veiling all information about jobs until one becomes vacant is similar.

People might actually find it useful to know that your fantastic Job X is currently filled (and therefore unavailable) but that such a role exists and become available again at some point in the future (perhaps they'll even monitor your page more often* to see when the job 'opens' and be first in the queue to apply).

Perhaps people could see what sort of jobs they might want to consider for the future, and ensure their skills and experiences would match in a year or two.

Probably it's a bit of extra work to maintain a website database of all current roles, job descriptions and person specifications. I appreciate that jobs can change considerably in 18 months but I don't think it's insurmountable that a bit of extra information could be provided to people searching for jobs now and people gathering intelligence for future jobs.

At the time of writing the Facebook group has recently doubled its membership to over 70 members - it's been running for just over two years and I update it sporadically (if anyone's reading I think the best source for science communication jobs is still psci-com / STEMPRA and mailing lists like that).

*More RSS feeds (ability to receive updates) would be helpful here too.


  1. As someone searching for a job currently I couldn't agree more! And thanks so much for the list on that group, I've found a number of jobs which I wouldn't have applied for otherwise through it :)

  2. I'm glad you've found it useful Katie!

  3. I happen to manage a job board (telecoms related) and while I can sort of see your point about part 2, it would actually be incredibly difficult for any sizable firm to manage.

    Most agencies are going to be firing out hundreds of adverts per day across various industries and skillsets, and for them to stop that and start hunting around for existing job adverts that are "paused" would be incredibly time consuming.

    It could also cause problems if an existing post is re-advertised following redundancies/dismissals.

    Sadly, the recruitment industry is less about developing careers for people, but is more a high-pressure sales job. I doubt the agencies are that interested in making things easier or more sensible. They just want the sale.

  4. We might be at cross-purposes here. I'm assuming most organisations have on file their 'last used' job descriptions (JD) and person specifications (PS) for any of the roles they currently have filled - of course these may be out of date.

    The only time these tend to see the day is when the job itself is being advertised (and naturally the JD and PS may be updated). I think there's a potential use for organisations to upload their JDs / PSs for casual browsers to see what sorts of skills and attributes were required. This won't perfectly map on to what might be required were that job to become available tomorrow but it could be useful intelligence for people wanting to see what they might need to work on to move to that job, or that organisation.

    I do accept that probably no-one's going to do this as it's a bit of a palaver though. But I wish they did :D


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