Communication: Proof, if proof were needed (it was)

I took the pretty shonky little snapshot below with my phone while perched on a very narrow step outside my local branch of a well-known national bank (you know, the one with the cringe-making faux radio station tv adverts…). As you can probably work out for yourself, the picture is of a section from a careers poster. This poster has been on display for at least 6 months. I know this because I took a previous photo of it back in November that was even worse than the one I’ve included here and it’s taken me until today to get round to re-doing it & finishing this article.

What I like about it is that it shows that even big companies which are household names aren’t exempt from making the most basic of production errors. Take a look at the words I’ve circled in red. Is the bank inviting you to consider a career as a business adviser? Or a business advisor? Or perhaps both?

Job advertisement Halifax bank

Call the sub-editor!

Actually, it’s not just the bad proofing that had me ranting all the way home – although it’s what leapt out at me as I waited at the ATM. Reading the copy is quite a strange experience, too and I struggled to understand exactly what kind of communication this was meant to be. “What’s your bag?” it begins, as though addressing a hippy convention of the 1960s. Just add a “yeah, baby” and that’s the Austin Powers jobseeker market sewn up. Moving away from the retro lingo, suddenly “..we’re the place for you”. Since when was “we” a place rather than, say, a person? Did I miss that meeting? Oh well, perhaps it was the proofreader’s day off, they had deadlines to meet and so on.

Hang on, though, producing this ad would not have been the sole responsibility of just one person. Was there no-one in that production team responsible for taking 5 minutes to read, sense-check and approve the copy? Even if there was doubt about which spelling – adviser/advisor – was preferable (language purists please note, I’m deliberately staying away from using the term “correct”), it’s really not at all difficult to spot the inconsistency. Then to check against a dictionary. I’ll be ranting on about the perils of over-reliance on inbuilt software spellcheckers another time. See you there.

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