A growing number of jobseekers have accused companies of keeping up “ghost jobs,” or job listings that they have no plans to fill anytime soon, as a tactic to get future hires or to create a look of growth in the company—giving many jobseekers headaches about it in the process.

Many job seekers online have noticed that many job ads—some of which appear to be looking to “urgently” fill jobs—don’t really fill up those jobs quickly. Many of them are up for months with no changes and those who contact the companies themselves are told that they aren’t looking to fill the jobs at the moment despite what the ad says otherwise.

A survey by Clarify Content has shown that some companies’ job openings have been open for four months or more, and many of the managers working for the company are not planning to fill the openings anytime soon.

Recruiters and managers, like Tennessee-based recruiter Vincent Babcock, says that many are not filling up their job posts due to the currently-unstable future that the economy appears to have, with companies waiting until closer to the end of the year before pursuing any candidates that they may have.

Digital marketer Kelsey Libert, however, says that some companies have a high turnover rate in specific jobs, and many keep job ads up to make sure that they always have a fresh batch of resumes to pull through, reducing the need for an expensive online campaign if one of the jobs becomes vacant.

“It’s better for you to hedge by leaving some of those job openings up,” she said.

Clarify Content project manager Joe Mercurio said that while half of the companies are doing it for that reason, 43% are not actually actively looking for candidates and are instead using the ads to “keep employees motivated or they want to give off the impression that the company is growing.”

The market for jobs in the United States remains strong, though the 10.8 million job openings and high numbers of layoffs are believed to be a sign that the labor market might be cooling down for a time. And yet, these “ghost jobs” have made job seekers like Will Kelly, who has been looking for writing and marketing roles online, frustrated.

“It’s a waste of time,” he said, before adding, “I first thought of it as an anomaly, and now I see it as a trend.”

Mercurio has given a suggestion for job seekers to avoid falling into the “ghost job” trap that some companies may have laid out: pay close attention to when the job ad was first posted.

“… checking to see when a job was posted could help prevent job seekers from applying for ‘ghost jobs. A job that was posted 48 hours ago is more likely to be actively hiring than a job that was posted 3 months ago,” he said.

Image by Sergey Gricanov from Pixabay

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