“Usual rubbish about equal opportunities etc…”

Screenshot of job posting

The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust was thrust into the national limelight this week for all the wrong reasons.

A recruitment advertisement for a Fellow in Regional Anaesthesia was accidently published on NHS Jobs, complete with this embarrassing phrase. In no time at all, social media networks such as Twitter were awash with jokes about the mistake, and it was widely picked up by national press and radio.

Cue an awkward statement from a trust spokesperson:

“The wording on this advert in no way reflects the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust’s position in relation to equal opportunities, to which it is fully committed. The trust will be conducting an investigation into the incident to ensure that this cannot happen again.”

The trouble is of course, there is no magic button that can be pressed to ensure that oversights like this do not ever happen. And when anything like this occasionally does slip through, news spreads faster now than ever before and the vultures are quick to circle. As the Liverpool hospital has found to its cost, the neat trick of going viral is easy to perform with a blunder like this.

It should of course be a lesson to us all about the dangers of publishing now and thinking later. And when posting your own content onto a webpage, the chances of making an error is multiplied by the fact that on most content-managed web systems, the author and the publisher is the same person. There is no outside agency to supply you with a proof that you can view afresh with a critical eye. This makes it easy to forget the difference between posting on a webpage and sending an email to a colleague. So why not get someone within your organisation to check over content, before you make it live?

As this episode shows, when a job vacancy is published, it goes live to the whole world, and if the mistake is amusing enough you can be pretty sure it won’t take long for the rest of the world to spot it for you. It reminds me of the old saying: “It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and a single act to destroy it”.