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Agency breaches own guidelines
by Susie Hughes at 12:15 26/02/03 (News on Agents)
One of Europe's largest recruitment companies had its wrist slapped by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for breaching its own in-house guidelines on advertising genuine jobs rather than attracting a pool of potential candidates for other vacancies.
Progressive Computer Recruitment was reported to the ASA for three of its Internet recruitment advertisements. One complaint was not upheld, whereas the other two were accepted and the ASA asked Progressive Computer Recruitment to ensure that its future vacancies were genuine.

Not upheld
The advertisement relating to the complaint which was not upheld stated: "CCNP or CCIE required by money management fund to be based in Philadelphia, USA. To apply you need a Bachelors Degree in Engineering, Computer Science or equivalent, and experience, and be CCNP or CCIE accredited. Type: Permanent Start: ASAP. Salary/Rate: Up To 100k + Benefits. Posted 10/05/2002"

The complainant to the ASA claimed that this advertisement was similar to another one, for a job vacancy in another overseas country, that had appeared previously on the website. The complainant, who believed it was placed to encourage people to apply for lower paid jobs in the United Kingdom, questioned whether the advertisement described a genuine job vacancy.

However, Progressive Computer Recruitment showed a letter from their USA client, on whose behalf they had placed the advertisement. The letter stated that the post had been vacant for a long time partly because the client wanted to recruit someone with outstanding personal and technical characteristics. The letter added that the post would be initially based in Bermuda but the appointee might eventually be asked to work in Philadelphia, for one of the client's service providers; the client therefore also wanted someone who was willing to work in both places.

The ASA was concerned that the advertisement stated that the post was in Philadelphia and did not mention Bermuda. It nevertheless acknowledged that the advertised vacancy was for an employment opportunity notified by a client and was satisfied that the advertisement described a genuine job vacancy. The ASA did not object on this point.

Complaints upheld
A second advertisement stated "Oracle Developer - Gain Java In Ware/Herts. Leading software supplier to the communications industry are currently seeking 2 Oracle Developers with 2-5 years experience ..."

The third advertisement which was subject to a complaint said "Oracle Developer - Move to DBA In Harlow/Essex. Our client is looking for 3 Oracle Developers with 2 years+ experience ..."

The complainant challenged whether these two vacancies were genuine.

Progressive Computer Recruitment said that each advertisement referred to a specific vacancy or vacancies notified by the company to which it referred. They admitted, however that, because they were also used to attract a pool of candidates who might be interested in several other vacancies in the Ware and Harlow areas, these two advertisements breached their internal policy guidelines. They explained that they could, if they considered it appropriate, discipline the consultants who had placed the advertisements.

The ASA acknowledged the advertisers' admission and asked them to ensure that their future advertisements inviting applications for specific job vacancies were genuine.

As part of the ASA's adjudication process, Progressive Computer Recruitment, explained that they advertised vacancies for many different clients in what was currently a client-driven market with a high candidate to vacancy ratio. They said that they accepted only advertisements that reflected current live vacancies and that included accurate job descriptions, approximate location and core skills. They added that, to protect clients, they did not always include a company description.

They claimed that, in May 2002, their 'permanent' team had placed 3,739 advertisements and recruited 25 people in the South East. They explained, however, that they had to assess many CVs to find suitable candidates who met clients' specific requirements; the advertisers therefore appreciated 'that some unsuccessful applicants might become frustrated and complain'.

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Susie Hughes, Shout99.com 2003

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Agency breaches own guidelines Susie Hughes - 26/02
    Bogus requirements seekers mikew - 26/02
       Skills Shortage hacit - 26/02
          Bogus skills shortage mikew - 27/02
    This agency abuse is not an is... trouble-shooters - 1/03
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