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How To Spot Ghost Jobs And Make Your Job Search More Efficient

How To Spot Ghost Jobs And Make Your Job Search More Efficient

You apply for an open position and anxiously await a reply. Yet, weeks go by, and you hear nothing. As it turns out, you may have encountered a widespread phenomenon—the ghost job. Ghost jobs, also known as fake jobs, permeate the job market. While these positions appear online, they are either already filled or non-existent. In some cases, employers keep a job posting up even though they don’t intend to fill the position anytime soon.

A recent study confirms this growing trend. In a survey of over 1,000 hiring managers, 68% admitted keeping job postings active for more than 30 days. In addition, one in 10 respondents has had a job opening for more than six months. When asked why they aren’t actively trying to fill these roles, the top three reasons included:

  • Wanting to be open to new talent
  • Keeping current employees motivated
  • Giving the impression that the company is growing

Other motivations for posting ghost jobs were to keep an active pool of job applicants or to placate overworked employees.

So, as a job seeker, how do you know which job openings are legitimate? These suggestions will help you differentiate between a ghost job and the real thing.

Check the timing
According to research, it takes approximately 44 days for companies to fill an open position. When applying for jobs, first check the date it was posted. If it has been open for two months or more, there’s a good chance you’ve found a ghost job. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider applying—especially if the role is an ideal fit. First, check the company website to confirm that the job posting is found there. If not, you can assume that the role has been filled.

Look for detailed job descriptions
Authentic job postings usually include details about the qualifications and responsibilities of the role. If a job description is vague, it’s usually a red flag. Many ghost jobs don’t even include a position description. Instead, they highlight a long list of perks to encourage candidates to apply. Ultimately, if the listing reads like a generic template, you can count on it being a fake job posting.

Do your due diligence
Another tactic is to research the company in the press. If the organization just announced a hiring freeze, they will unlikely fill new positions immediately. Checking the company’s social media channels is also an excellent way to confirm whether a job posting is authentic. If they are actively hiring, employers often post about their open positions. You’ll also be able to see if you have any connections that work at the company. At that point, you can network with someone you know to inquire whether they are still hiring.

Ask the company directly
If you’re interested in a role posted a while ago, contact the company directly. Conduct a LinkedIn search and reach out to the hiring manager. If the position is already filled, it’s a win because you saved yourself some time. Another bonus is that the hiring manager may offer to consider you for future opportunities. On the other hand, if the role is open, you can discuss your skills and qualifications with someone directly involved in the hiring process.

As a job seeker, it can be frustrating to waste time applying for jobs that don’t exist. While ghost jobs are a reality in the current environment, there are ways to identify them. In the end, don’t rely on simply applying to online job ads. Instead, build personal relationships and leverage your network. By creating a solid personal brand, employers will seek you out instead of the other way around.



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