In this blog post, I'm going to tackle 3 documents you need when doing recruitment, namely job ads, job offers and job contracts. There seems to be some confusion between the three.
I'm going thru a hiring process right now. I'm looking for another office staff to strenghten my roster. As I'm going thru this hiring, I thought I'd share some things that I'm going thru so that at the same time, I get to orient you on the legal (and possibly HR) side of recruitment.
To explain this, let's all imagine a person planning a trip out of the country via plane. He'll help us make sense of the three items used in recruitment.
John wants to Travel
Let's imagine a guy named John who always dreamed of going on vacation outside the country. The farthest he's ever been was Baguio, and he wants to experience something a little farther.
He saw an ad on his phone advertising low fares for a certain airline. "Oh cool! Now I get to visit Hong Kong!" So he clicks the poster and this takes him to the airline's website. There, he encodes which destination he wants to go to. "Isn't this my lucky day!" he says as he sees that the plane fare for Hong Kong was a mere Php 1.00! He quickly books the flight, inputs his credit card details, and in a few minutes, gets a plane e-ticket emailed to himself.
Now, let's break down what happened here:
- He saw an ad which told him about an opportunity to travel.
- He clicked the ad which gave him the flight details and rates. He accepted these terms.
- He pays for and gets issued the plane ticket.
At this point, John is on his way to travel abroad. He has everything he needs to start the journey. Now, let's take this into a recruitment setup.
The 3 Recruitment Documents you need
First, when John got alerted to the possibility of travel, he saw an ad. That's no different from how most people become aware of job opportunities. They see job ads.
These are posts on your social media feed, job databases and classified ads on newspapers advertising that a position has opened up and the business is welcoming applicants.
Is there a particular format for a job ad? Well, legally speaking there's no required format or structure but there are basic restrictions that apply such as:
- You can't put discriminatory restrictions such as age or gender. As much as possible, limit the qualifications based on abilities, knowledge and skills;
- You can't put deceptive descriptions or claims on the ad (Php 1,000,000.00 salary apply now!).
For the most part, however, it's a matter of structuring the ad to maximize the number of applicants that submit their applications. It's about making your advertisement stand out basically. Again, the end goal of this is to lure possible applicants to raise their hands and introduce themselves to you. Much like John clicking the ad and looking into the offer of the airline.
If you're lucky, then you get a couple of applicants with the job ad. If you see that they are qualified, you can then invite them into your team. You do this thru a document called a Job Offer.
In our travel analogy, this is the equivalent of going to the airline's website and seeing the terms of travel. You get to examine the price, the departure times, the airport you will be going to and arriving at, the travel documents required, and so on and so forth. In short, this is where the airline tells you what they are willing to offer (travel) in exchange for what you are willing to provide (payment, travel docs, etc).
In legal terms, this is a formal invitation where you extend your hand to the employee. It is now their decision whether they want to shake your hand and jump on board the team. If you need more help on this (legalities of job offers, contents, etc.), I can write an article on job offers and the rules around them in a later on, just let me know in the comments.
Ah, so now you've finally sealed the deal. You now have a possible employee ready to sign the coveted Employee Contract. If this is a good fit, then this is good news for both parties and brings an end to the recruitment process. Employee gets a new job while the Employer gets a new team member to help out. Congratulations. In our travel analogy, this is when the passenger gets issued the plane ticket. Now you're ready to jump on board at the appointed time.
In most cases, this will take the form of a Probationary Contract where the employer gets to try out the services of the employee for 6 months and see if it is indeed a good fit between the two of them.
Let's tackle some questions that you may have regarding these 3 documents:
"Attorney, in my last job, we didn't have any of these. Someone just referred me and I got hired on the spot. Are you saying that there's something wrong because I didn't have a job ad, job offer or even a job contract? What do I do?"
Well, congratulations for getting the job. From a legal standpoint, don't worry. These documents are not strictly required, but they do help a lot when a company is hiring on a continual basis. You need these documents to be able to set expectations with new hires properly. Please see my other article on the legal effects if you don't have an employment contract (or other documents mentioned here for that matter).
No Contract at All
"Attorney, they didn't issue a contract. All they did was ask me to sign the Job Offer at the bottom. What's the legal effect of that?"
Again, congratulations. You're validly employed. The law allows for some leeway in these documents on the basis of management prerogative. Based on how they want to handle their documents, they can implement, dispense with or combine these recruitment forms. If they choose to have you sign the job offer as the employment contract itself, then that's ok. The important thing from a legal standpoint is that your rights as an employee are protected and preserved. The manner in which the terms of your employment are given is secondary.
Attorney, if I'm given the task of creating these documents, where's a good place to get some templates or samples? Is there a form prescribed by the law?
Again, going back to our discussion, the form in which this is offered would rely on how the company wants to lay out their offer to the employee. There is no form prescribed, so you are free to do this in whatever manner you wish. I may come up with a course which contains templates to this down the line, but if you need them urgently, a good place to ask for forms would be friends doing recruitment or going to google for job offer forms (I checked, there are a lot of samples there to get you started).
So that's it for this article. Again, as a recap:
- There are 3 documents used when doing recruitment activities: job ad, job offer and job contract.
- These are not strictly required, but they sure are recommended because they help you set expectations during the recruitment process properly.
Need help with recruitment? Me too!
By the way, I'm in the process of creating a program to help you with recruitment issues. The topics I'm thinking of covering now include:
- Creating effective job ads
- Vetting employees
- What documents are needed
- What are the different employee statuses available
- How to protect myself from bad employees
But I need your help in sorting out what questions matter. There may be other stuff that you're grappling with but I missed. I want to help. I'm offering the chance to answer your questions in future materials and courses.
If you're interested in submitting your question, please fill in the form below. As a reward, you get early access to recruitment materials once I publish and for the paid courses, I'll give you a special coupon for participating.