Why You Need to Take Care Over Employment Advertising

If you are recruiting in 2016 you will need to heed the recently released advice of the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) when putting together the wording for your advertisements.

CAP is in charge of writing and maintaining the UK Advertising Codes. These are administered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). CAP has in the past few weeks issued guidelines for recruiters to help attract the right people staying in compliance with the CAP Code.

Here are the key aspects of the advice:

Post, or 'Opportunity'?

Is the role an employed position, or is it a business opportunity? You may call an invitation to collaborate on a project a 'post', but candidates could confuse this with salaried permanent role rather than something offered on a shared profits basis.

Financial Investment Required?

Will the job call for financial investment by the candidate? If they are expected to buy stock for example then the amount they will be expected to invest should be clearly advertised.

Does the Position Actually Exist?

You may think taking the opportunity to test the market to see if there is any interest in a position or project is a good idea, but this is not permissible under the CAP Code. If no position actually exists then this must be made clear in the advertisement.

Is the Advert Misleading in any way?

No advert of any kind is allowed to mislead, including recruitment adverts. Candidates must not be deluded by promises of fixed salaries that in fact will vary due to seasonal peak and troughs, or that are commission based or performance dependent. If the advertisement is for a training course then it must be quite clear as to whether there will be a job at the end of it.

Are Contact Details Clearly Displayed?

CAP says that the employer's contact details should be displayed clearly in the advertisement so as to reassure the candidate.

What Happens When a Complaint is Made?

If a potential candidate makes a complaint to the ASA about an advert and it is upheld, then the ad will have to be amended or withdrawn with immediate effect. The ASA is more focused on educating advertisers rather than penalising them, however if there is a complaint and an advertiser fails to take action, then there are various sanctions the ASA will impose, such as making it impossible to purchase advertising space.

The CAP Advertising Codes for all types of marketing communications can be read in full here.

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