4 in 10 companies have posted fake job offers this year. Here’s why

Are you still waiting for a response from that job you applied for years ago? Chances are you won’t get one, and in some cases, your resume isn’t to blame.

A new report from ResumeBuilder.com has found that more and more companies are posting fake job openings, meaning you had no chance of getting a call back in the first place.

After surveying 649 hiring managers in May, the site found that 4 in 10 companies said they had posted at least one fake job posting this year. Of those, 26% posted up to three fake job postings, 19% posted five, another 19% posted 10, 11% posted 50, 10% posted 25, and 13% posted 75 or more fake job postings.

And of those companies that posted a “ghost” listing in the past year, 79% currently have a fake listing active across all positions, from entry-level (63%) and mid-level (68%) to senior-level (53%) and executive-level (45%) positions.

According to these hiring managers, the idea to post fake job ads came primarily from HR (37%), senior management (29%), executives (25%), investors (5%) or consultants (4%). In addition, less than 1% said the idea came from other sources, and about 1% of hiring managers were unsure where the idea originated.

So who is doing this?

Well, every action starts with an idea, and hiring managers involved in Resume Builder’s survey said that HR employees were the ones who came up with the fake job listing in 37% of cases, followed by senior management at 29% and executives at 25%.

Furthermore, 7 in 10 hiring managers believe posting fake job openings is morally acceptable, even though 66% of them say people who shouldn’t have known about the practice have found out about it.

“It’s a concerning situation, especially when these misleading posts come from HR departments, the very entities charged with shaping accurate perceptions of their organizations,” said Stacie Haller, senior career coach at Resume Builder.

Related: Want a high-paying remote job? This research tells you you’ll be lucky to find one

But what is the goal?

The top two reasons hiring managers gave Resume Builder for why their companies posted fake job listings were so they could appear open to outside talent or to act like the company was growing.

But other top reasons were more directed at their employees, such as making them believe that new hires would reduce their workload or making them feel replaceable. Additionally, respondents said that some companies keep their resume on file for when they really need it in the future.

“Employees deserve transparency about the companies they spend their time with rather than being misled by false statements,” Haller said. “Any tactics intended to undermine employees’ sense of value and security are deplorable. Ultimately, fostering an environment of trust and honesty not only benefits individual employees, but also contributes to the long-term success and reputation of organizations.”

Good for something?

While applicants may argue that ghost listings accomplish something negative, 68% of hiring managers told Resume Builder that their fake job postings positively impacted their income, while only 7% reported a negative impact.

They reported similar results on employee morale and productivity: 65% reported a positive impact on the former (although 12% reported a negative impact) and 77% reported a positive impact on the latter.

But a fake job offer doesn’t always mean everything is in order. Resume Builder said that about 84% of hiring managers said that candidates who applied for these jobs were always or sometimes contacted, so I guess the silver lining would be… interview practice?

Still, critics say the practice is misleading and exacerbates an already tumultuous task.

“The frustration candidates feel due to fake job postings exacerbates the already stressful job search process,” Haller said. “Companies that engage in this practice not only tarnish their reputation, but also sabotage their long-term prospects. Deceptive practices erode trust and discourage potential applicants from considering them as viable employers in the future.”

How can we distinguish between what is real and what is fake?

Some fake job postings can look exactly like a company’s real ones, so it can be difficult to decipher them. However, Forbes offers some tips:

  1. Check how long it’s been posted: Forbes says if the position has been open for two months or more, you may want to do a little more research, as most positions are filled within 44 days, according to research.
  2. Make sure there is a detailed job description: Companies want the right person for the job, which means the listing will likely include a lot of qualifications. If not, that’s a red flag.
  3. Research the company’s position: no new positions will be posted during a hiring freeze.
  4. Contact the company: The only way to truly make your interest known is through direct contact. Forbes recommends this as another method to discuss your qualifications with someone involved in the hiring process.

Leave a Comment