Here’s how to spot a ‘ghost’ job posting

Since the pandemic turned the job market upside down, people have become more aware of “ghost” job postings.

More Americans are looking for new jobs, either because they lost one or because they became part of “the great resignation,” so ghost listings are affecting more and more job-seekers.

So what is a ghost listing? It’s a job posting that advertises for openings that don’t really exist.

Companies may have several reasons for advertising for openings they don’t actually intend to fill, and those reasons aren’t always on the up-and-up.

“Employers might put job postings out there to make it look like they are growing and they are adding to their staff,” said Joanie Bily, workforce analyst at staffing company EmployBridge. “I think that is something that, ethically, is ultimately going to be bad for your brand. If you’re acting like you’re recruiting but you’re not responding to candidates, ultimately, that will hurt the candidate experience.”

Some recruiters post ghost openings to build a stack of resumes in anticipation of certain employees leaving down the road.

A recent survey by Clarify Capital found that 50% of hiring managers who post job openings that they aren’t actually planning to fill do it because they are always open to new people and talent.

One way to potentially spot a ghost job posting is to look at how long it has been up. Clarify Capital said 68% of managers had job postings active for more than 30 days, and one in 10 had a job posting open for more than six months.

In addition to ghost job postings, Bily notes there has been an increase in outright fake job postings, one of the newest scams for fraudsters.

“These are where people are trying to get individuals’ information and steal their identities. That happens as well. Job seekers do need to be very careful and make sure that they are real job postings,” Bily said.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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