Posted on 11 August 2023 by Katherine Amin
Phantom job advertisements, also known as ghost job ads, are becoming increasingly prevalent, causing significant frustration for job seekers. It's worth delving into the reasons behind recruiters resorting to unethical job advertising, and as a candidate, knowing how to steer clear of them. A brief exploration of recruiters in your industry will reveal tell-tale signs of these phantom postings.
Spot the Generic Job Advert
Identifying a Generic Job Advert can help minimize the risk of falling for a phantom job. Genuine roles tend to have specific requirements outlined in the description. In contrast, generic ads lack details about the role, often providing just a Job Title and Location with a minimal job overview. Applying for such roles might merely result in adding your details to the recruiter's database, yielding little to no immediate response.
Job Posting Date
Examine the job advert's posting date carefully. Jobs posted recently are more likely to be genuine opportunities. Phantom jobs might have been active initially but are now closed. If these closed positions persist in being advertised, it's probable that they have become ghost postings. Jobs that have been on the platform for an extended period, such as three months, are highly likely to be phantom ads and are advisable to be disregarded.
Reasons for Phantom Job Posts
Various reasons contribute to the prevalence of phantom job postings. One primary cause is recruiters failing to remove closed positions. This oversight might stem from sheer negligence, as the recruiter knows the role is no longer needed but leaves the job posting up. Alternatively, inadequate business processes could lack a protocol to promptly remove filled vacancies from job boards. Recruiters realize that keeping a job posted can attract candidates suitable for other open positions they do have, building their database.
In some cases, the recruiter might retain certain job postings as exceptions. Executive-level roles or challenging-to-fill positions, due to specific skill requirements or location, might remain open longer. Additionally, jobs temporarily put on hold by clients with plans to reopen can also contribute to extended postings.
Recruitment firms and their clients should be cautious about the negative impact of unethical phantom job ads on their brand. Recruiters feigning active recruitment while neglecting candidate applications tarnish the candidate experience. As a candidate, exercising prudence and conducting due diligence before pursuing an advertised job opportunity is crucial. Taking steps to verify the legitimacy of a job posting can save you time and shield you from potential disappointment during your job search. A cursory glance at recruiters' job boards you engage with can reveal those engaging in this questionable practice.
Finally, it is worth noting that advertising a role that does not exist is in breach of both the Recruitment and Employment Confederation's Code of Practice and the Conduct Regulations 2003 for employment agencies and employment businesses.