Everyone knows that carelessly-phrased job advertisements can come back to bite you, usually through an unsuccessful candidate who is disappointed because he didn’t get the job, but sometimes also from the successful applicant who is disappointed because he did, and it is not what he thought it was.
Truth in job ads is sometimes seen as a faintly elastic concept, but remember that an ad is an ad and that just the same rules apply to job advertisements as to plugs for banks or washing-up liquid – the Advertising Standards Authority’s mantra that advertisements must be legal, decent, honest and truthful is no different for employment roles.
That does not mean that you cannot include an element of “puffery”, or for Ancient Romans, “commendatio non obligat”. This is a phrase still common in the used-car world to describe the element of hype necessary to convince the less rational part of your brain that some rotting conjunction of two different vehicles actually doesn’t look so bad, especially at night. In the rain. This is also what allows for the mental dismissal of strange mechanical groans and disintegrating interior trim as what one celebrated British car-maker used to describe as “bespoke concerns”.
To some extent, you can do the same with your job advertisement. All those postings which shout Media! Fashion! Top Legal! to imply a career swanning through cocktail parties with Rupert Murdoch, Vivienne Westwood and the Lord Chancellor are still ok, despite the reality often being a life of unremitting drudgery in a grimy office full of utterly ghastly people, where issues of progression and pay are in the cold and uncaring hands of a faceless group of senior management who could not tell any particular junior employee from a hole in the ground.
However, there are limits on how misleading your job ads can be, whether by inclusion or omission. Take a peek at this new post on the Squires Global IP blog for some common pitfalls and updated ASA guidance on getting your job advertisements correct [here].