The Rise of “Ghost Jobs”: The New Challenge for Job Seekers

Fake Jobs
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In an increasingly competitive job market, job seekers are facing a new and disheartening hurdle: “ghost jobs.” These fake job ads, proliferating across online job boards and company websites, are creating significant confusion and frustration for those looking for employment.

A recent survey by Resume Builder, involving 650 hiring managers, revealed that 40% of companies admitted to posting fake job listings in the past year. Alarmingly, three out of ten companies currently have such listings active. Unlike traditional job scams aimed at stealing personal information, these ghost jobs are often created by the hiring managers themselves.

The motivations behind these deceptive ads vary. Some companies use them to create an illusion of growth and robust hiring activity, thus boosting morale among current employees and impressing investors. Others employ this tactic to subtly pressure employees by suggesting that their positions are replaceable, aiming to increase productivity and dedication.

“It’s not something new, but it’s being taken to a whole new level from what we’re seeing,” said Stacie Haller, Resume Builder’s chief career advisor. “It’s very concerning, and they’re doing it to create a certain impression to the world and to their internal employees. But the word ‘fake’ shouldn’t apply anywhere in the hiring process.”

The survey highlights that 45% of companies engaging in this practice posted between one to five fake job listings, while others posted significantly more. These roles span all levels of seniority, from entry-level positions to executive roles. The tactic appears to be effective from a business perspective: nearly 70% of hiring managers reported that fake job listings boosted revenue, 65% noted a positive impact on morale, and 77% saw increased productivity.

However, the consequences for job seekers are profound. Many applicants find themselves in a frustrating loop, never hearing back from recruiters after submitting their resumes. Some companies even go as far as interviewing candidates for these non-existent roles, with almost 40% always contacting applicants and 85% of those conducting interviews.

This practice not only misleads job seekers but also risks eroding their trust in the companies involved. Furthermore, the deception can backfire internally. Two-thirds of hiring managers reported that employees, investors, or applicants eventually discovered the fake job listings, which can have detrimental effects on a company’s reputation and future recruiting efforts.

Although we do not have clear statistics about this situation in Romania or even CEE, we know that this practice is sometimes used here as well.

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