How to write a job ad that ticks all the legal boxes

Job ads don’t typically spring to mind when the words ‘illegal activity’ are whispered. However, the job ad is not above the law and there are certain rules that must be adhered to when writing your next advertisement.

The consequences can in fact be quite serious, with penalties of up to $1.1 million under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 that may be imposed on employers that mislead or deceive job-seekers.

Here’s some things to consider to ensure your job ad is on the right side of the law:


Is your ad misleading?

There are numerous factors that can be considered misleading when applied to job ads, such as:



  • Limited or inaccurate information – ads that leave out key information and don’t truthfully address the requirements of a job by over or underselling certain aspects.

  • Not advertising an actual job – for all job ads placed there must be an actual position available. Advertising a role that does not exist in an attempt to increase a database of job-seekers is illegal, as is promoting training courses that guarantee a trainee a job on completion.

  • Clarity around remuneration – where possible, provide detail around remuneration. Candidates are often misled due to failure to disclose salary type or accurately reflect the true amount.




Get rich quick or ‘Biz ops’

Mostly found in the self-employment and work-from-home classifications, it is common for candidates to be asked to send a small amount of money for an application form or information kit. Often nothing is received in return, or candidates are asked to participate in a scheme involving registering others to join up – commonly known as a pyramid scheme. Advertisers cannot ask or require payment from any candidate for any job advertised on SEEK, as outlined in our Terms and Conditions.




All job ads should appeal to all sections of the community to ensure that it’s non-discriminatory in nature. This covers age, sex, marital status and sexual orientation – for more information see the relevant Federal legislation (Age Discrimination Act 2004, Sex Discrimination Act 1984, Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and Disability Discrimination Act 1992).

Employers or recruiters that mislead or deceive job-seekers can cause significant hardship and difficulty for candidates. The responsibility sits with the advertiser to ensure they meet industry standards and respect and abide by the rules in place to avoid penalties and prosecution.


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SEEK Insights & Resources

SEEK is the destination of choice for job-seekers and hirers in Australia, acting as the conduit between hirers looking to fill vacant roles and candidates looking for work across many and varied industries. SEEK's mission is to help people...

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