Misleading Job Ads


Some job ads are misleading because they don't provide enough information. Other ads are deliberately misleading - written to trick you, to hide the real facts about a job or even to promote jobs that don't exist.

Here are some tips for what to look out for and what you can do.

Checking an Ad's Credibility

You can often tell a job ad is dodgy just by looking at it. Legitimate job ads should provide:

  • The company's name and the full name, street address and phone number of a contact person
  • The job title, e.g. chef
  • The qualifications required
  • How you would be paid (annual salary, commission-only basis, award wages)

Information a Potential Employer Should Provide

If the job ad doesn't provide enough information, the company may not be deliberately trying to mislead you. They may have just forgotten to include some information. Call the contact number provided and ask a few simple questions to determine:

  • The employment status (whether you would be permanent, casual, fixed term, part-time, full-time)
  • What type of work you would have to do
  • Whether you would be an employee or self-employed
  • Whether you would be covered by an award, a Victorian industry sector or a written employment agreement
  • How much, when, and how you would be paid
  • Where the employer is based

If you aren't satisfied with the information provided, chances are it's a dodgy job. You should only apply for jobs if you are certain that the information provided by the job ad is genuine.

Typical Dodgy Job Ads

There are some typical things to look out for in a misleading job ad:

  • Being asked to send your application to a post office box
  • Being asked for a payment upfront - never send money if requested
  • A guarantee of a job if you buy a product
  • Jobs that are advertised every week - chances are that they are advertised every week because none of their employees stay for long after they find out what the job is really like
  • Terms such as 'trainee manager', 'promotions work', 'storeperson' or 'career in marketing' - they often mean door-to-door selling.
  • Get-rich-quick claims - these are usually scams
  • Claims of earning "$200 to $1000 per week for the right person" - these ads usually mean low pay, or no pay, and long hours

Remember - opportunities that seem too good to be true usually are.

Dodgy Working Conditions

Make sure that the work conditions and the benefits being advertised are the ones you're legally entitled to. Watch out for ads that offer:

  • A job if you pay for your training - these are often thinly-disguised ads for training courses that will not guarantee a job after training finishes
  • Contract positions disguised as permanent jobs - make sure that you will be employed, not contracted, if you get the job
  • Commission-only jobs - you might be guaranteed a regular payment, but this is often deducted from your commission

What You Can Do

If you think an ad might be dodgy:

Misleading ads should be reported to the Consumer Affairs Victoria, JobWatch (new window) and/or the newspapers that published the ad (when you call the paper, ask to speak to the Advertising Manager).


Consumer Affairs Victoria - Advertising
Find out more about advertising requirements and reporting misleading ads.

Victorian community legal centre specialising in employment law.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - SCAMwatch
Information about scams and how to report them.