Just like any other advertisement, job ads must abide by the rules of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code. Their website has a section dedicated to marketing communications for employment, business opportunities and homeworking schemes .
The Advertising Standards Authority ASA has recently published some helpful guidance on getting your job advertisements right.
Whilst there aren’t many complaints to the ASA, the ones they do receive tend to be around the job advert being vague or omitting key information.
Apart from falling foul of the ASA, a vague or misleading job advertisement is going to discourage applications or lead to a dispute with the employee later on.
Make sure all material information is included in the advert, so that a potential candidate can make a truly informed decision about whether or not to apply for the role. For example:
- Information on salary, location or working hours should be included if the advert would be misleading without it; and
- Details on the type of role being advertised and whether the role is permanent or temporary should also be included, as should information on whether the role is voluntary/unpaid.
Have evidence ready
The ASA uses the phrase “employer puffery” to describe an employer’s aspirational claims to describe the workplace in job advertisements to make the position they are advertising sound appealing. However when doing so, employers must be careful not to go too far. Just like in other forms of advertising, there is a requirement for the advertiser to have the necessary evidence to back up any objective claims they make. For example:
- If the advertisement quotes an expected salary, this needs to be an actual representation of what the candidate could achieve. In 2018, the ASA ruled against an ad by Vanguard Marketing Ltd, which did not provide sufficient evidence to substantiate the salary claims they made. This is particularly important when advertising roles with ‘option to earn’ or OTE salaries quoted.
- The role advertised needs to be a genuine employment opportunity. For example, advertising training opportunities as employment is likely to be misleading, as demonstrated by the ASA’s previous rulings against Developing Your Potential Recruitment Ltd and Netcom Training Ltd.
- The ’employment’ must also not be merely an opportunity for potential candidates to register their interest or obtain further information. The ASA previously ruled against Cerco IT Training and Recruitment when Cerco’s advert implied that roles were available to successful candidates, when in fact they were added to Cerco’s pool of potential candidates and would not go on to gain immediate employment in the role advertised.
Key to remember, alongside the specific guidance, is that advertising for employment is still advertising, and just as with all ads, above all else job advertisements must be legal, decent, honest and truthful – and the job advertised exist.