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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.