The Skinny on Fake Job Postings

I just found a terrific post from Jeff Dickey-Chasins that explains some of the behind-the-scenes logic of fake job postings.



But they are there, and apparently they are there for a reason.

Jeff writes his post from a job board perspective.  He gives a logical reason why companies might do it (to harvest resumes, especially if they have to put up a certain amount of postings before a certain date).

He offers a BRILLIANT alternative (to label the job as “future hiring,” so you know it’s not a current, open job.

The comments offer great insight, also.  Go check out his post and then let us know what you think.

For me, fake job postings are a slap in the face to job seekers.  And job seekers don’t need one more slap in the face.


19 thoughts on “The Skinny on Fake Job Postings”

  1. Fake job postings are a slap in the face to the corporate brand and leadership!

    Personally, I can not see one good reason to post a fake job.
    When a company web site uses copy like;
    • We take pride, trust, honor, integrity and respect in our employees and the way we do business………..
    Then tell me how a company who runs “fake postings” walks the brand when they are a liar.

    For many companies, their brand starts with Human Resource! And if asked, what would your company brand “really” say?

    And the funny thing is, one of the top things companies say they want in a new employee is a “cultural fit.” Well, I don’t think I know one person who ever said they wanted to work for a liar.

  2. Great thoughts Shane… so it would be a better choice to let the prepurchased posts go than to put up something fake…

    Branding, word of mouth, integrity, etc. Slap job seekers in the face and it might just come back and hurt…

  3. I think that HR, Recruiters, and Exec Search is full of folks that are on the “Road to Perdition”. Hopefully, there is a Final Judgment to consign them to an after-life of applying for EVP-HR position that doesn’t exist. If some one could get these clowns into court on fraud, I’d like to get on the jury. (Job) Seekers are desperate and vulnerable. (Head) Hunters are in a position of power. Any time some one abuses their power to the detriment of the vulnerable, they are lower than pond scum! As you can tell, I’ve wasted time, money, and attention on “jobs” that I later found out NEVER existed. Needless to say, I’d love an opportunity to even the score. I have those folks’ names on my “special” list. I never get mad, nor do I try to get even. But it is sometimes funny when the Universe exercises it’s sense of humor. A fellow I helped hired me for a big job when I needed. A lady who screwed me, in the non-Biblical sense, came back to ask me for a reference to my first level LinkedIn contact she wanted a job from. We’ll just fade to black on that conversation with her. Funny world! What goes around, comes around.

  4. Those in transition are the most connected people I know. It doesn’t take more than a few moments in some cases for any company who abuse their customers, employees, prospective employees or anyone else they are attempting to build a relationship with to fall in very bad graces. The instant connectivity of Twitter,blogs, LinkedIn and thousands of other networking tools have changed the transparency of these actions. Google insures that it is easy to find and forever.

    As an example, there is a company in my area that ran ads for an attractive opening for months. They ran phone interviews mostly to harvest ideas from applicants, never actually filling the spot. When the position came up in one network group, several qualified people acknowledged that they had been through the phone interview with the same results. When this company is brought up now, it is met with laughter and jokes.

    Companies that play this game are putting themselves in the same light as those who phish for dishonest purposes such as identity theft and other scams.

  5. The blog is right on the money as far as it goes.

    However, in my experience these recruitment conmen are also using fake jobs to get contact from bona fide job seekers and then subty use the unsuspecting person to tell them where the real jobs are. Ever been asked “Can I just check who else you have applied to recently, just to make sure I’m not stepping on anyones toes?” Yeah right.

    Let’s hope LinkedIn sees to the back of this industry.

  6. There have been several discussions about this topic on the web recently. As a recruiter it seems extremely fraudulent and all of those job boards who post fake postings should be reported to the BBB and have a cease and desist letter sent to them. They know who they are.

    As a job seeker it is a slap in the face. Do you know how many job seekers out there don’t know about the fake job scam? Many unemployed are on the job boards for HOURS daily thinking that they are qualified for a (fake) job opening and apply not knowing where it’s going. What kills me is that it’s the recruiters who say they are pissed off because they are having problems with job seekers calling and emailing constantly. You get what you deserve.

    Job seekers are discouraged. Companies posting fake jobs should be exposed. I would list them here but I won’t.

  7. Hi, Jason,

    One way job seekers can learn about reliable job boards is to look for Peter Weddle’s logo for screened and verified web sites: International Association of Employment Websites (IAEW). Weddle is an astute researcher and believes in helping job seekers by identifying which job board and employment sites are the real deal and which ones practice any form of dishonesty or underhanded tactics.

    The “good guys” will join the IAEW, and as Weddle says (
    “Members of the association commit to adhering to the highest standards of customer service, personal information security, and reporting accuracy. They strive to provide the best experience possible for all of those who use their services. Their goal is to be The Sources of SuccessTM for working men and women everywhere and for the organizations that seek to recruit and hire them.”

    And I agree with everyone who has commented: fake = FRAUD.



  8. I will start!
    Cargill, May 2009, Fake Marketing Job posted

    A high level inside source wrote me after my application, “This position was posted by one of our HR managers who is not looking to fill a particular position but to identify marketing candidates in case positions open up as business improves.”

    Funny thing is the ad did not say something like, “while we don’t have any openings right now, we are always looking for talent.”

    But then again, if the Cargill system worked so well to begin with, wouldn’t Cargill have hundreds (maybe thousands) of marketing resumes on file from past applications? And then, wouldn’t Cargill be able to mine their own data?

    I mean after all, don’t they only hire one person for each position that had hundreds of applications? Oh wait, this would require someone in Human Resource to think!

  9. One company in particular listed a position with my company that a)had expired months ago, and b) I did not post with AT ALL. I received phone calls from job seekers asking about the position that the company labeled as “2 days ago” when we posted the job on Monster 3 months ago. I find it very unfortunate for job seekers who see the false listing and try to apply through this particular website, especially when they unwittingly create a profile that is for the use of that job board only. I never saw any of the candidates who “applied”. What’s worse is that I tried to contact the company but got no response.

  10. And here is one of Cargill requirements when you apply for a job.
    “Ability to consistently behave in accordance with Cargill values and ethics.”

    Yet they post ads for positions that are not real? What does this say about their values and ethics?

  11. What legal recourse do we jobseekers have? I would very much like to organize to promote investigation on these shady practices, not just phony job ads but racist hiring practices. I’ve seen hospitals that majority Filipino, recruiting companies that are 90% Indian, etc. There seems to be this competition for ethnic, economic prosperity in this big mixing bowl of a country. Why isn’t the law being enforced? Especially when the economy is in recession and American citizens are struggling to find work!

  12. I would say it’s a fair bet that at the moment the majority of job advertisements are completely fake. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve clicked on a perceived job listing, only for the web browser to kick back saying the job is no longer available. So why is it still being listed? This seesm to be happening all the time right now. Furthermore, when I do actually find a potential job that I might be qualified for (engineering), the job has been advertised for so long that it can’t possibly be open anymore. Over the last couple of months, I’ve also noticed the total number of jobs in my sector (from aggregate posters like dropping off a cliff lately. So either many of those jobs were filled very quickly (unlikely), or a lot of the fake one’s were finally pulled off their listings. But we’re supposedly in a recovery, so why do the jobs listing appear to be decreasing, rather than the opposite? That is not a good sign of things to come for 2011…….

  13. What gets me is when I go through all the trouble to fill out these company’s online apps, I tailor my resume to each poisition and spit back every key word they use in the job list only to get an email a few weeks later that sais they selected another candidate the more closely matches the position. Let’s recap, I used every single keyword from your job listing in one form or another in my resume, how can anyone else more closely match the position. This leads me to believe that either the position was fake, or they didn’t do a good job decribing the position.

    Alothough given all the negatives out there about applying for jobs, I do have to give credit to the companies that atleast give me some kind of reply, right now I think something like 8 out of 100 companies that I apply to actually give some kind of response.I wish there was an easier system rather than spend 45 minutes per application on each of these companies websites.


  14. Boeing Aircraft recruiting staff has been posting fake jobs for over a year now on Boeing’s web site. Me and my colleagues who are aviation professionals have applied to over 100 Boeing jobs and all of the responses we received were” This job has been filled”, nothing more. Most likely they are only hiring internally but posting these fake jobs for legal reasons and to also receive obama’s corporate tax incentive if they show proof that they are hiring. Companies like these should be reported to the government because it is unethical and in my opinion, illegal.

  15. American Express is repeatedly posting the same positions month after month. It then says they choose not to fill the position via email. Sure they’ll call quickly after you apply, but this is a scam to generate numbers – they have no interest in hiring you. This is after people have gone through 3+ rounds of interviews, assessment tests, having to make sure you call back quickly lest they claim you didn’t show enough interest, etc., etc. Apparently if you follow people’s advice and take any job out there (as if they exist) and someone is willing to hire an unemployed professional despite being “overqualified” while you seek a full-time job commensurate w/your background, AMEX still wants you available ASAP so they can make you jump through hoops for nonexistent jobs. Mind you they claim they are shortstaffed, etc. when they talk to you, but still, they keep reposting the same ads or cancel them. I’m guessing visa scam, outsourcing tactic, or something else. No respect for their antics or brand. American Express can claim they are one of the best places to work or they are hiring, but that’s not true.

  16. I would say about 90% of the jobs posted online are fake, including those on company websites:

    1) The job list sites (Career Builder, Monster, etc.) are the worst. They will happily announce “new” job postings that often don’t exist or, at best, are nothing but relists of ancient job postings from company websites. They are also covered with jobs posting by staffing agencies, most of which are fake.

    2) Most headhunter job postings are also fake. I’ve grown so tired of job postings for “a major company in the area.” Right… because they are so “major” that you can’t bother to list their name, or their location, or the salary range, etc. Why would this happen? Because the job is completely fake.

    3) Corporations are no better. Some of them endlessly relist the same jobs while either ignoring or flat-out rejecting candidates. Oceaneering falls into the first category, while GE falls into the second. Either nobody is good enough for them, or the jobs don’t really exist but will be relisted forever to fuel the illusion of the “recovery.” Then there are the flat-out lazy companies that simply leave job postings up for years at a time. Yeah, if a job was posted several years ago, forget it.

    4) Even institutions of higher learner are no better. I recall earlier this year (2011) receiving an excited email about all the “jobs” at a local community college here in Maryland. Yeah, nearly all of the jobs were part-time faculty positions (high requirements for poor pay) with posting dates that extended well back into 2007. If a position hasn’t been filled for 4 years, it doesn’t exist and it is insulting to claim that it is “one of many jobs available!”

    5) Why do they do it? Part of it is for legal reasons. I remember one interview I went on earlier this year where I was up against an internal candidate. Naturally, I didn’t get the job, but at least I let HR check off a box saying they “considered” outside candidates. Fake job postings are also a great way to collect resumes for free, create the illusion of a recovery (so the unemployed can be blamed for “not getting a job!”), and keep HR busy so they don’t end up discarded in the trash like the rest of us. It’s crooked and immoral, but that is typical these days.

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