The following recruitment guidance and ideas are based on discussions at the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries Recruitment Workshop in 2017. For more information about the creative bursaries scheme, please visit the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries website. 

Recruiting widely – suggested ideas and prompts

On application forms, consider starting with ‘Why do you want this job?’ before asking for qualifications and work experience. 

Include an invitation letter with your application pack, perhaps from a leader within your organisation – encouraging target groups to apply and offering any advice.

Apply the same welcoming approach as you would with your audiences – show you value their application.

Give applicants advice about what skills you are looking for – emphasise that non-work skills may be transferable.

Make sure you need to know the answers, instead of asking all the questions you always do - e.g. do you need them to list all their qualifications?

Hold open days as part of your recruitment process – demystify the organisation, the space, and your team.

Break out of your organisation’s normal networks – expand to include artists, volunteers, schools, parents, social housing residents, community group users, local cinema audiences, etc.

Use posters - e.g. outside your building, in community centres/supermarkets in targeted areas. Do not rely on your existing online networks.

Think of the appropriate language to use in non-arts networks – remove needless jargon.

Targeted social media - e.g. through local Facebook adverts or particular advocates on social media who can share the word for you.

Promote your role using visual images of your staff, artists or audiences so that applicants can see the opportunity looks like it is for them – use images that reflect diversity.

Emphasise the training/mentoring/networking offer of the role so they know this will be a well-supported personal development opportunity.

Invite video expressions of interest as well as written – suggest what applicants need to cover in it, a suggested length, and file type. Emphasise that this will not be considered as less valid than a written application.

Present an idea of a day in the life of this role/your organisation. Is it very consistent, or not? How might your day begin and end?

Give pointers to unsuccessful applicants – signpost them to other opportunities.


●      Interview more candidates than you would normally

●      Give interview questions 10 mins/1 day in advance – avoids brain freeze during interview for those unfamiliar the interview process.

●      Try to ensure the candidates speak for 75% of the time.

●      Think about who should be on the panel and tell candidates in advance – if the interviewers’ have staff profiles/photos on your website, provide a link so they appear more familiar.

●       Select your interview panel carefully – including interviewers who are more closely peers of those being interviewed may mitigate unconscious bias.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash