Tweak job ad guidelines

I can fully understand the predicament Mr Paul David Paffett is in ("Confusing guidelines for recruitment ads"; Tuesday).

To ensure that they comply with guidelines stipulated by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep), most employers put up job advertisements which avoid using words and phrases deemed discriminatory.

This play-safe act has usually resulted in attracting a better pool of job applicants from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds, and some may find themselves applying for jobs unsuitable for them because of language, gender, marital status, and so on.

There have been cases where job candidates are disillusioned when they find themselves making wasted trips to be interviewed for jobs without any chance of success.

A case in point: A vacancy for a church worker should be preferably filled by one who is of the Christian faith; likewise, a job that requires the successful candidate to be based in China should be assumed by someone who can speak and write in the Chinese language.

In other words, if recruitment advertisements are more specific in their requirements, although they may appear discriminatory, a lot of time and effort would be spared on the part of job applicants, as well as recruiters who are involved in administrative work.

Moreover, there is no need for an employer to state the reasons in the advertisement itself as to why certain words and phrases are used, as this can be better explained during the interview.

To prevent any confusion, Tafep's guidelines should be tweaked accordingly, for the mutual benefit of both recruiters and job candidates.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2015, with the headline 'Tweak job ad guidelines'. Print Edition | Subscribe