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Watch that space! Recruitment ads can be misleading

Young graduates and professionals are often bamboozled by misleading recruitment advertising.

Jennilee Peremore-Oliver reveals what to look for in prospective employers – and their ads – to ensure you’re not taken for a costly ride.

Having viewed hundreds of job advertisements published by recruiters and human resources practitioners, I often question how much thought was given to it before clicking ‘publish’. Based on how much these job ads reveal about many of the recruiting companies’ (rather questionable) corporate culture, I am sure they would have rather left it concealed.

This might be bad news for the recruiting company, but it is great news for seasoned professionals with a keen eye for bad employers. They can dodge these bullets at the very first stage of seeking employment – the job advertisement. Sadly, young graduates or professionals with minimal work experience fall prey to these companies, because they are eager for the experience.

With South Africa’s unemployment rate at 27.5 percent, many job seekers are competing for a handful of roles, and self-seeking employers use this national crisis to their advantage to exploit job seekers.

This article is aimed at young graduates and professionals to help them identify a company with a poor corporate culture at the initial stages of the recruitment process.

1. The impossible list of duties and expectations

This can include advertising multiple different roles as one. For example, they advertise that the company is “looking for a digital/marketing/PR/content manager”. Digital is not the same as marketing, and marketing is not the same as public relations, and PR is not the same as digital. Other practices include an impossible list of duties, which is more than five pages long, or listing only what the company requires from the employee but excluding what the company offers employees.

This creates the impression that the recruiting company aims to exhaust its employees without any consideration or concern for their employees’ quality of life, and that the company does not view employment as a reciprocal relationship.

2. Requesting salary history and expectation

Many job seekers don’t know that employers don’t have the right to ask for their salary history, and those that do know and who exercise their right to keep their salary history private are passed over for the job regardless of whether they are the best candidate.

There are companies that hire young graduates with great potential to excel and give them a very low entry salary, either as an intern or junior employee, and then only provide them with a nominal annual increase when they become permanently employed at the company.

Asking for a salary history or expectation reveals to candidates that the company is not transparent, and that they are potentially aiming to deceive good candidates into accepting an offer lower than they are worth or that is on offer.

3. Advertising a salary bracket with the position and later lowering the offer

Some recruiters advertise a salary bracket and later lower it once they receive the candidate’s salary history and salary expectation, yet the job seeker only applied because they viewed the salary bracket as being commensurate with their skills and experience.

If the candidate is bold and advises that the salary bracket is much lower than originally advertised, then they are immediately removed from the recruitment pipeline without any explanation. This conduct is unethical and reveals that the recruiting company is not interested in a mutually beneficial relationship.

4. Asking candidates to share their intellectual property

No employer should ask a candidate to write a project for them that is longer than one page and will take them more than one hour to complete. The project should always be fictitious – it should not be for one of the company’s existing projects or client projects.

Candidates try to appease potential employers and comply with all requests and develop detailed strategic plans and presentations. The employer is then the recipient of creative and innovative ideas that can be implemented by the company without making any offer of employment or remuneration to the candidate.

These are just a few of the cunning tactics companies use during the recruitment process. Their overarching goal is to get more than what they paid for, which results in the exploitation of South African job seekers.


The IMM Graduate School has launched a new platform to help graduates with future positions in organisations looking for qualified individuals. Here’s what you need to know.

What is the IMM Job Market?

The IMM Job Market is an initiative that aims to match current and past students (alumni) with employers who have vacancies in their organisations. Because the IMM Graduate School mainly offers qualifications in marketing, supply chain and business, this initiative is directed towards vacant positions, internships and graduate programmes offered by organisations in these three fields.

How does it work?

There will be a tab on our website ascribed to the IMM Job Market

function with pages for a) current and past students’ profiles and CVs; and b) any vacancies, with details of how alumni and current students can apply.

External recruiters, corporates and IMM alumni and students will be able to post relevant vacancies in their respective organisations on our website, and alumni and current students can then view and apply for these positions. Once our students select a vacancy, they will be redirected to the company website.

What does it cost?

As an IMM Graduate School alumnus, current student or a dedicated marketer, it will cost you absolutely nothing to either load your CV or post a vacancy for your organisation. Recruiters wishing to make use of this platform to advertise vacancies can also do so at no cost.

How do I upload my CV or post a vacancy, internship or graduate programme opportunity?

You simply go to https://immjobmarket.imm.ac.za/ and follow the easy instructions to load CVs or vacancies.

Who can use this portal?

Anyone can use this portal, so tell your colleagues, HR department and friends about it!

Who do I contact if I need assistance?

Marketing Department: anjab@immgsm.ac.za

Make sure you head over to the IMM Job Market to see the uploaded vacant positions. Remember to add your new qualifications to your profile. Follow the instructions on how to apply.

These shoes were made for walking the road to success

The IMM Graduate School | These shoes were made for walking the road to success webWatching IMM Graduate School’s Pearls of Wisdom video, one can’t help but feel a stirring sense of the opportunity, excellence and success of the institution’s brand. Michael Bratt takes a look at the campaign.

There’s a reason shoes are a recurring motif in the latest IMM Graduate School’s marketing campaign. And it’s not just because having an IMM qualification gives you a foot in the door…

Shoes were used to creatively convey the key message that walking in the steps of successful IMM Graduate School alumni gives a students a sense of what can be achieved, while also being a symbol of the journey the alumni have already taken.

The promotional video ends with the tagline, ‘Can you fill their shoes?’, a challenge to students to follow in the footsteps of the successful IMM Graduate School alumni, while at the same time encouraging them to chart their own career paths.

Aiming to increase awareness of and around the IMM brand, and tying it in with the school’s intake/registrations drive, the campaign is the brainchild of the educational institution in partnership with creative agency, Bain & Bunkell, and was created by Snippet Video.

The concept is a simple one to follow, with alumni relaying their experiences and stories of studying through the IMM Graduate School.

“Our biggest advantage, or strength, is our reputation, and word of mouth has always been the IMM’s most powerful marketing tool,” explains Charmaine du Plessis, IMM Graduate School’s chief marketing officer. “Our alumni are all ambassadors, so it seemed appropriate to use them as brand ambassadors to spread the word about the IMM Graduate School.”

As Vicky Moodley, business unit director at Bain & Bunkell, says, it was a “no brainer to use them as part of the campaign, since they have succeeded in their careers through studying with the university”. The messaging, she says, underscores the heights someone can reach when backed by an IMM Graduate School qualification.

Hot list of alumni

A shortlist of alumni was drawn up of who could potentially feature in the campaign before the selection process took place. Some of those included were Sandrine Prinsloo, head of marketing at Nedbank Business Banking; DJ Twasa from Lesedi FM; Tracy Porter, marketing and communications specialist at Wings Travel Management; and Cleo Zwane, senior marketing manager at Standard Bank.

The provocative behind-the-scenes video was not in the original campaign plan. “We planned on only producing seven short alumni ambassador videos showcasing people that excelled in the workplace,” Du Plessis explains. “We then decided to ask Bain & Bunkell to also include a pearls of wisdom video which we can keep in our archives but also use to show at student events. Students like it as it is informal while at the same time being informational.”

If the video is anything to go by, the alumni and behind-the-scenes team had a blast during the shoot. The alumni were photographed in a fun way,  showing off their shoes and the props that linked them to their jobs. Some behind-the-scenes shots of agency and IMM Graduate School team members engaging with the ambassadors are also included.

Getting it out there

When it came time to showcase the campaign, it was distributed across multiple media channels with the aim of maximising its reach. These included radio, with DJ Twasa doing a voice-over; print, through newspaper and magazine adverts; television, through a MTV promotion; and posters and pull-up banners, which will be used at schools, exhibitions and support centres.

Out of home advertising platforms also played a big part in the campaign’s distribution via a number of outdoor outlets including a billboard in Sandton,  mobile billboard/trailer in Gauteng, the back of a bus in Cape Town and street poles nationally.

Digital was also factored in, with posts across various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, on IMM’s accounts. The IMM Graduate School website also posted information about the campaign, and there was a PPC campaign across all the social media platforms.

This campaign, and its attention-grabbing Pearls of Wisdom video, demonstrate the value of education and learning. In a country whose standard of education is constantly being questioned, it is inspiring to see the success stories.