When a candidate doesn’t hear back from a company, they’re not necessarily being ghosted. Sometimes that job doesn’t actually exist, according to new research from StandOut CV, a CV resource company.
More than one-third of job postings for the 20 most in-demand positions in the United Kingdom are what StandOut CV called “ghost jobs.” This is a recruitment strategy in which companies — or the agencies finding talent for them — post fake job ads for their own benefit, often to create a pipeline of potential hires for future roles, explained Andrew Fennell, director of StandOut CV and a former recruiter.
While the practice is “fairly common,” it’s nothing new, Fennell told HR Dive.
“It’s coming to light a bit more these days. Job seekers are starting to get a bit more clued up on how companies operate this kind of stuff and are asking more questions,” Fennell said.
Standout CV categorized positions that had been posted for 30 or more days as ghost jobs. It’s “not an exact science,” Fennell said, but companies generally don’t want to admit to the practice.
Of the top 20 in-demand jobs analyzed, just shy of 60% of ads for veterinary nurses and about 46% of posts for software engineers weren’t for actual positions, Standout CV found. Those roles were followed by cybersecurity analysts (45.7%), insurance brokers (43.5%) and graphic designers (42.4%).
The company recommended workers take a few steps to pull the sheet off ghost jobs: avoid listings older than 30 days without verifying it’s still live; look for the position on the company’s website to see if applications are still being accepted; contact the hiring manager or recruiter directly; look for an application closing date on the ad; and do social media searches to see if someone celebrated accepting the job listed.
“When you’re applying to big companies or agencies, it’s probably often the case that it’s just an advert that they kind of have recycling over a few months just to draw in the kind of candidates they’re looking for,” Fennell said.
The positives outweigh the potential negatives for companies, Fennell said. While some candidates might lose interest, “they know that for every one person they annoy, they’ve got 10 other people to add to their database.”