Collective Questions – Do I have to advertise a job vacancy?

“Do I have to advertise a job vacancy?”

This is a question we get asked a lot and we can understand why. Generally when we are asked this question, the employer will have someone in mind that would be well suited to the role. In these circumstances, the employer often wants to dispense with the time consuming process of a recruitment exercise and simply appoint the person who they believe will be suited to the role. The added benefit of this from the employer’s perspective is that the employer knows the applicant and believes they will fit well into the team and so there seems to be less risk that the appointment will not work out.

The short answer to the question is “no” as there is no law that says that a vacancy must be advertised. However, in spite of the apparent attraction of simply appointing someone that you know, there are reasons we believe it is good practice to advertise a vacancy to as wide a pool of candidates as possible. There are a variety of reasons for this, including:-

-          By advertising widely, you increase the chances of appointing the right person. There may be an outstanding candidate for the position who you don’t know about and if you don’t advertise, you will lose out on the opportunity to recruit this top talent

-          Failing to advertise may be indirectly discriminatory. For example a small employer who recruits through word of mouth may find that everyone in the organisation is a member of the same few families or a friend of these families. If all the family members and their friends are of a particular religious belief despite the workplace being in a “mixed” area, then this recruitment practice is likely to perpetuate the under-representation of people of a particular religious belief in the workplace and is likely to be indirectly discriminatory.

As no two organisations are the same, the issue of how the employer should go about the recruitment process will vary depending upon the circumstances. There are a variety of ways that recruitment processes can be carried out. Each organisation should have its own recruitment and selection procedure and review this when a vacancy arises.

One final point we always make when asked this question is that if the employer has someone in mind for the role, they should encourage that person to apply. If they are indeed the right person, this will be shown through the recruitment process, which will serve to confirm the employer’s view and will also give the comfort of knowing that the recruitment process complied with the law and best practice and gave the employer the best chance of recruiting the best person for the role.

Collective Questions is intended as a guide and for general information only and is not a substitute for taking specific advice relating to your situation. For specific advice regarding this or any other issue relating to employing people, please do not hesitate to contact Collective Business Services.


2 thoughts on “Collective Questions – Do I have to advertise a job vacancy?

  1. Dawn Baird

    This is very useful Mark! Never knew that you didn’t have to advertise a vacancy, as everyone says the opposite: “that job wasn’t advertised, isn’t that illegal?”. Crucial info indeed.

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks Dawn. Like the article says – it’s not illegal in and of itself to fail to advertise. However, not doing so could lead to an employer unlawfully discriminating and I would therefore usually be recommended that a vacancy should be advertised.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>