Many of us are aware that there are Job Interview questions we shouldn’t ask, but many of us are not aware of what NOT to write in a job advertisement.
If a job advertisement is worded incorrectly, it could be disastrous for you and your company if a potential job applicant made a complaint about the potentially discriminative advert, even if posted quite innocently with no discrimination intended you could find yourself in a legal pickle.
If you look at the general guidance coming out of the Equalities Act this will give you some legal grounding. The focus is to be purely on the advert referring to essential skills and knowledge, and don’t forget a posting on facebook is still a legal job advert and we are increasingly seeing companies leaving themselves vulnerable to discrimination claims.
Discrimination in job adverts
You must not state or imply in a job advert that you’ll discriminate against anyone. Only use phrases like ‘recent graduate’ or ‘highly experienced’ when these are actual defendable requirements of the job. Otherwise you may be implying you are discriminating against younger or older people who might not have had the opportunity to get qualifications or experience.
You must not mention ‘protected characteristics’ or specify whether you want or DON’T want: for example
- Married or single people or solely in a civil partnership
- People who have children or plan to have children
Unless they are a defendable requirement.
You can only mention about health or disability if:
- They are necessary requirements of the job that can’t be met with reasonable adjustments
- you’re finding out if someone needs help to take part in a selection test or interview
- you’re using ‘positive action’ to recruit a disabled person
You can only ask for someone’s age in a job advert if they must be a certain age to do the job, eg selling alcohol, or require insurance to drive a company vehicle.
You can’t just say whatever you like in a job advert because you could find yourself breaking discrimination laws. Job adverts will potentially be unlawful if they discourage a certain group of people from applying. For example:
‘Salesman wanted…’ This is gender bias because the word ‘man’ excludes women. In this case it would be much better to say ‘salesperson’ or make it very clear in the advert that both men and women can apply.
‘Single professional sought…’ This is potentially unlawful because it discriminates against married people or those in a civil partnership.
‘Sexy female driver…’ Yes, this does still happen!
What not to write in a job advertisement:
- Never refer to ‘young graduates’ or ‘bright young thing’ or ‘mature applicant’ as they are all potentially ageist.
- It is good practice put adverts in publications that will reach the widest spectrum of people and don’t exclude men or women or a particular racial group.
- Don’t stereotype men and women in a job advert.
- Be careful about recruiting by word of mouth as this could restrict the pool of candidates.
- Never make the length of residence in, or experience of, the UK a requirement of the job.
- If a qualification is essential to the job, then don’t restrict it to a UK qualification.
- You must not state or imply that a job is unsuitable for a disabled person unless there is a very clear job-related reason.
- You must not state or imply that reasonable adjustments will not be made for a disabled person unless there is a very clear job-related reason.
Now you know what you should avoid putting in an advert. But what sort of things can you put in?
It’s important to have a written job description. You can use this to specify the most important duties and requirements of the post and use it to form the basis of your advert. The advert should include:
What to include in a job advert:
- The qualifications and type of experience required
- Any specific skills required
- Experience with specific equipment
- The salary and benefits offered
- The person to contact
- Any clearances required, eg DBS checks
Including a statement that you welcome applicants from all sections of the community is a positive statement to include and will encourage applications from diverse candidates.
If you are still unsure and would like some advice on how and where to advertise your latest position in the workplace, please call or email us.
Metis HR is a professional HR Consultancy based in the North West of England supporting clients across the country. We specialise in providing outsourced HR services to small and medium-sized businesses. Call us now on 01706 565332 to discuss how we may help you.