Getting the job done: getting your ads for employment opportunities right

With the pandemic still there, people have realised that, whilst life feels different to what we once knew, it still rumbles on. This means that this year, people are increasingly doing things that they couldn’t do easily in 2020, like moving house, having children, or finding a new job. Ads for job opportunities can of course play a key role in attracting the right candidates, but prospective employers need to be able to attract new recruits without falling foul of the CAP Code.

Here are some key things to remember:

Make the nature of the role clear

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.

Furthermore, employers need to make clear whether a role is commission-based, or if the role is simply “representing” a company, rather than offering a salaried employee position. As an example, those who partake in Multi-Level Marketing opportunities are often self-employed “representatives” of a company, rather than employed directly. Our Multi-Level Marketing guidance that we released this year contains a lot more information about how to advertise these types of roles, and a lot of information can be cross-applied to business opportunities and commission-based roles.

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.

Including all material information

Ads must not mislead by omitting material information. Employers should make clear, for instance, whether earnings are fixed or in some way variable, and potential earnings should not be exaggerated. As above, if the role is 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, and this should be made clear from the outset.

Similarly, it is not acceptable for a company to misleadingly entice consumers through a headline claim, before clarifying and contradicting this with further information. An example of this can be seen in this recent ruling, in which a company posted a vacancy for a “Trainee Project Support/Administrator”, only to make clear further in the ad this was for a training course only.

Including contact details

If the marketer is an employment agency or employment business, their contact details must be made clear as per rule 20.3, as a job candidate may well want the assurance that he or she is dealing with a reputable employer or agency. Furthermore, Section 3 contains a more general rule in rule 3.5, which states that marcoms should not materially mislead by omitting the identity of the marketer – so if the ad could be misleading by excluding company details, you should include them.

If you stick to these fundamental rules and also have a browse of our employment guidance, you’ll soon be attracting star candidates to your business. Happy job posting!

For further information on how to make sure your ads comply with the Codes, our Copy Advice Team are on hand to provide free, fast and bespoke advice.

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