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 $600,000, under the Fair Trading Act 1986, 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, at the expense of the job-seeker.

  • 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 in order 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 outline 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 – which are part of the Human Rights Act 1993 (section 21).

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.



Learn to write an attention-grabbing job ad that ticks all the right boxes and attracts relevant candidates by signing up for SEEK’s ‘The Science Behind Great Ad Content’ webinar. Register online.


  • About the author
  • Social networks
  • Other posts

About the author

SEEK Insights & Resources New Zealand

SEEK is the destination of choice for job-seekers and hirers in New Zealand, 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 live...

Social networks

Connect with SEEK Insights & Resources New Zealand

Other posts

Leave a reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Fields marked * are required.