The company I work for has a job advertisement running on a online listing available to the public. It's recently come to our attention that a competitor has copied essentially the entire advertisement word-for-word for their own hiring process.

I'm talking 100%, exactly the same.

Am I wrong in thinking this is frowned upon? Am I entitled to contact them & request that they reword their advertisement? What is the best way to handle this?

  • 1
    What's your role in the company? Are you the owner? The hiring manager? Flag it with your HR division and they can deal with it if they feel it's necessary.
    – Jane S
    Oct 8, 2015 at 9:54
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    The knowledge that your competitor seems to be looking at your job listings in crafting their own seems to give your company an advantage in my opinion. It should tell you a lot about their hiring situation compared with your own.
    – Brandin
    Oct 8, 2015 at 10:20
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    Go with notifying them of a breach of copyright, that should be enough for them to change it.
    – user34687
    Oct 8, 2015 at 10:34
  • @JaneS - hiring manager. Going to go with sending an email requesting that they reword. Thanks for the advice everybody.
    – anon
    Oct 8, 2015 at 11:20

3 Answers 3


What is the best way to handle this?

Be glad your company isn't so hard up for HR help they copy job ads from competitors. Companies fight over employees all the time, and most job posting are pretty boiler-plate anyway. Is it really worth a (legal?) fight over a blurb about how great your Sr. Account Executive spot is?

If you want, your lawyer could send them a copyright infringement notice, but if they are not able to write their own job post, they likely don't have the staff to read it. Same goes for a legal battle - probably better to spend your time and money elsewhere.

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    It does take time and effort to create a job ad, at least when you have a decent sized company where you don't want typos in your ad etc. Not to mention that people will not know who stole from whom, but for sure notice it. So your company might get bad reputation for what the other company did wrong. Oct 10, 2015 at 22:43
  • Honestly, most of the job postings I see are pretty interchangeable anyway. Unless it was for an Executive position, or was extremely witty, I doubt anyone else will notice. Oct 11, 2015 at 19:12

Many if not most companies use standard templates for job ads, just filling in their company name, the job title, and some skill requirements. Two companies with nearly the same job on offer can thus very easily end up with nearly identical job ads.
And many online job sites actually force companies to model their job ads like that by just giving a number of fields on a webform for them to fill in and creating the full text automatically. They do the same with candidate resumes btw.

So unless you're the person who creates the job ads for your company and you know for a fact that your company doesn't do this, there's no way of knowing the others "copied your job ad".

  • I am the person who created the job ad and can say with certainty that it was copied, as the advertisement is relatively unique.
    – Moose
    Oct 12, 2015 at 7:24

Make a copy of your company's job advertisement, and the competitor's job advertisement, and take them to management. There are basically two possibilities:

One, your company might have used some tool where you enter a few keywords, and the tool spits out a nicely written job advertisement. In that case, your competitor may have used the same tool, and being your competitor they have likely similar job requirements and may end up with a very very similar ad. Or both your HR and their HR might have used the same book "Effictive job adverts for dummies in 24 hours" :-) So if your company used a process where having identical ads by competitors is possible or likely, there may not be much you can do.

Two, they copied your advert. That would be copyright infringement, for commercial purposes, so if your HR person says "I spent 8 hours to craft this advert from scratch" your management might decide to sue them.

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