The start of a new year can often prompt people to make changes in their lives, which could include getting a new job. Ads for job opportunities can of course play a key role in attracting the right candidates. Prospective employers need to be able to attract new recruits without falling foul of the CAP Code, though: for instance, by ensuring they make clear whether earnings are fixed or variable. Here are some other key things to remember:

Is the ad for an employment role or a business opportunity?

The difference between a salaried position and a business opportunity may seem fundamental to most people, but it’s easy for advertisers to blur the lines between them, and different job hunters will be looking for different types of work. A regular job could be described as an opportunity, but not if that makes it sound like a business venture; a share in a new project could be described as a post, but not if it can be confused with a permanent role with a guaranteed income. If the ad is for a homeworking scheme, any financial outlay should be made clear.

Whatever kind of opportunity is being advertised, it must actually exist: candidates have been known to apply for jobs, only to find that the employer was only testing the market by inviting applications. If you aren’t offering a definite position, you will need to make this explicitly clear in your ad.

Is there an appropriate level of information?

Ads must not mislead by omitting material information. Employers should make clear for instance, whether earnings are fixed or in some way variable. If they’re commission-based or otherwise performance-dependant this should be stated. If the ad is for a working-from-home opportunity, successful applicants may need to buy products from the advertiser before they can start running their part of the business. The nature of the role should be clear: for example, the ASA upheld a complaint against an ad for a door-to-door sales position which implied the role was a trainee marketing management role.

Do you need to include contact details?

If the marketer is an employment agency or employment business, their contact details must be made clear, as a job candidate may well want the assurance that he or she is dealing with a reputable employer or agency. Will it lead to a job?

Finally, if the ad is for a training course, the likelihood of getting a job at the end of it needs to be made clear. Also, the course must actually exist.

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