Companies posting fake ghost jobs to collect resumes

Job hunting has always been… well, a bit of a nightmare. It’s tedious, nerve-wracking and, at best, an opaque process. But a recent survey of hiring managers reveals it’s far more opaque than most of us realize. You’re not imagining things – the job search process really is getting harder and harder.

An investigation shows that companies are posting fake “ghost jobs” on job boards.

It is not your imagination, and you are not necessarily doing anything wrong in your job search. There’s a reason why there have been so many stories lately, like people applying to hundreds of jobs and getting nowhere.

As veteran recruiter and job search consultant Bryan Creely explains in the video below, several factors are converging to make the job hunting process more of a nightmare than ever before, but one of them is perhaps far more shocking than the others.

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In a recent survey of more than 1,000 hiring managers by investment and wealth management firm Clarity Capital, tons of companies openly admitted to a practice that will confirm the suspicions of many job seekers—many of those jobs you’re applying for are complete fakes.

Companies post fake ghost jobs to collect resumes for the future, give the illusion of growth and manipulate employee morale.

Fifty percent of companies said they post fake ghost jobs, including leaving ads for expired or already filled jobs, simply because they are “always open to new people,” while 37% said they do it to collect resumes -is in the case of future turnover.

In a TikTok, Creely compared these practices to window shopping for employees.

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But the other reasons are troubling. 43 percent said they post fake ghost jobs to “keep employees motivated.” It is hard to imagine how posting fake jobs will result in motivation unless there is explicitly negative motivation – such as manipulating people into believing that their jobs are becoming redundant and they will soon face a layoff.

Creely also theorized that it’s a means of keeping overworked employees from quitting — fake ghost ads give the impression that the company is growing and relief is on the horizon as more employees will soon be on board to take on the extra workload.

And speaking of growth, another 43% said their companies post fake ghost jobs to give the overall impression that the company is growing—which seems like it must be ethically and legally questionable at best. Companies run afoul of the law and executives end up in jail for misrepresenting a company’s value, after all.

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Technology, the rise of artificial intelligence and a lack of recruitment staff are also creating a mess.

As a recent report in Time revealed, many pandemic-related changes, such as “one-way interviews” where candidates make videos of themselves answering questions, have stuck around now that the pandemic has subsided.

But instead of streamlining the process, they’re producing an excessive amount of content that recruiting and hiring staff must then sift through — staffs that faced major layoffs during the height of the pandemic and that, in some cases, have only deepened as new software development and integration of artificial intelligence has made the recruitment of employees less necessary.

Except they don’t really—as Time reports, the staffing shortage means not only are there fewer people to sift through all the extra content these innovations create, but that hiring and interviewing now often falls to managers with no experience in the process.

Roll it all up, and it creates a perfect storm of a wildly impersonal and demoralizing job-seeking experience — your resume really goes into an often AI-generated black hole — and a hiring process that’s now hit a record high of 44 days for those applicants actually do it in front of a decision maker.

So how do we deal with this hellish scenario? The old-fashioned answer that no one wants to hear – Creely recommends leveraging networking and social media platforms, especially LinkedIn, as much as possible as a way to cut through all this clutter. That’s probably cold comfort to anyone currently walking around the drain of the job hunting process, but hey, at least you know you’re not the only one!

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer covering pop culture, social justice and human interests.

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