Making sure your employment ads are a job well done.
Job hunting is stressful at the best of times and it isn’t helped by job ads that aren’t truthful about a role. Think how much harder it is if applicants can’t fully trust the job vacancies they see. Here are a couple of key things by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) to bear in mind to help ensure your ads follow the rules.
Be clear about what you’re offering candidates
Although not bombarded with complaints on this issue, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) does receive concerns about employment ads – usually on the grounds of misleadingness due to omission or ambiguity. The ASA expects all of the material information an applicant needs to know in order to make an informed decision about whether to apply (or not) to be included in the ad.
While the Code doesn’t list specific details like salary, working hours or where the job is based as information that needs to be stated in job ads – if the omission of any of this information is likely to mislead potential applicants, then it needs to be included. For example, in 2017, the ASA upheld a complaint about a domiciliary care service because they did not make clear that they only paid for “working hours” – that is, not including the hours employees spent travelling from client to client.
Other information that often needs to be stated includes whether a role is permanent or temporary and that an opportunity is voluntary/unpaid, as seen in this Model Advice Ltd ruling.
Don’t make any claims you can’t prove
On the whole, the ASA understands that employer “puffery”, can and will happen – after all, employers want their organisations and roles they offer to seem as appealing as possible. However, if the claims go beyond aspirational and subjectivity, just like any other ad, the employer/advertiser will have to ensure that they can back up their objective claims.
If an expected salary is stated in the ad, this has to be representative of what people can actually achieve – Vanguard Marketing Ltd fell afoul of this rule when they couldn’t substantiate the stated expected earnings (they also failed to declare that this was a ‘commission only’ position). Similarly, for business opportunities, marketers must not exaggerate potential earnings, nor misrepresent the support available to investors.
Marketers must also be able to prove that the vacancies they advertise are genuine and as described. As Developing Your Potential Recruitment Ltd found, presenting training opportunities as employment vacancies is likely to mislead.
If you’re marketing employment opportunities and the like, make sure you take a look at the rules in Section 20 of the CAP Code, and advice on recruitment and business opportunities.
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