creating a job advertisement

Follow the golden rule of communications: create an advert – whether online or in print – that appeals to the potential candidates you’re trying to reach.

The advert should be clear: stating the job title, a summary of the job purpose, person specification, and an overview of the company and benefits.

channel% respondents
1. online job boards67
2. recruiters43
3. personal connection39
4. company career site33
5. google26
6. LinkedIn25
7. newspaper22
8. Facebook13
9. Twitter4

Source: Randstad employer branding 3.0 (2016)

A strong opening statement or heading will capture attention in print or digitally, ideally highlighting the role’s most attractive features, and the tone of the advert should reflect the organisation’s brand identity. As pay and benefits are the key aspects candidates look for when considering a role, it makes sense to be open about the salary band when advertising unless there are particular reasons not to do so.

watch out for discrimination pitfalls

Job adverts must also be legal: it’s against both federal and state laws to discriminate against a person on several grounds in recruitment advertising. Discrimination can be direct or indirect, so it’s important for anyone involved in recruitment to be aware of anti-discrimination laws.

The term ‘advertising’ is very broad and includes internet, radio and television announcements. But it also includes notice boards, even handwritten notes, so ensure that the wording and images are not discriminatory.

It is illegal to specify that people of one gender or age group, people with a disability, people of a particular sexual orientation,  people who are married or people from a particular ethnic or religious group need not apply. Therefore you must not:

  • use job titles or descriptions which suggest an intention to discriminate, e.g. handyman, salesgirl, mature person, young and dynamic
  • use visual images that suggest an intention to discriminate, e.g. only women or only men, unless an occupational requirement applies; consistently showing one ethnicity only in adverts is also not best practice
  • indirectly discriminate by including requirements that would exclude a proportion of the population – e.g. “all candidates must be over six feet tall” would rule out more women than men

Note that the overall visual impact of an advertisement is considered when assessing whether there is an intention to discriminate. See chapter 7 where discrimination is defined.

For more information and best practice guidelines on recruitment and selection, visit the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission website: 

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