You don’t get a precise picture of the job market. With the best of intentions, family, friends, co-workers, and the entire public discourse offer advice on business, interviewing, and the job market. They usually repeat platitudes or repeat what they heard from someone who knows someone who actually knows what’s going on.
Here are some ways job seekers are misinformed about the job market.
Recruiters are aware of the proliferation of phantom jobs posted online. One of the biggest things that depresses job seekers is when they see job postings that perfectly match their background, excitedly apply for the job, and then never get a response. That happens all the time. Over time you feel down. You wonder why companies don’t invite you for interviews. Self-doubt creeps in and you start questioning yourself. Thoughts race through your head: “Have I offended anyone? Could it be that my boss or co-workers said bad things about me and word got around?”
Don’t blame yourself; It’s not you. The system is corrupted. Companies have been giving out bogus jobs online for years. The job description is real and so is the company and that doesn’t mean it’s a scam. Companies list vacancies they do not intend to fill.
Why companies post bogus jobs
- Companies are hiring phantom jobs to build a pipeline of candidates for the future. At the moment they have no interest in interviewing or hiring a person.
- When people quit, the remaining workers have to fill the gap. They are forced to work longer hours with no increase in wages. Then they complain about why the company isn’t actively trying to fill the vacancies. To placate the remaining workers, the company is running ads with no intention of finding replacements. They just reassure the workers.
- When there are layoffs or a tough economic climate, some companies will post jobs to make it appear that the company is doing well and growing while everyone else falters.
- Job offers are often published on the company website and end up on job exchanges. Time flies and the company forgets to take the roll off. It remains on the company website and a number of job board aggregation sites. The positions may look new to the job seeker, but they are months old and most have already been filled.
- Most companies have a policy of posting jobs online to encourage hiring of diverse employees. They want to show they make a good faith effort to source the best talent—whether through an internal promotion or through a job posting. Unscrupulous companies use this as a cover to hire someone they already know they want to hire. The job posting gives the false impression that the hiring process is fair and open.
- The company can get an idea of the market by posting phantom jobs. From the answers they can feel how much money other places are offering or whether the role is considered hot or not. If the company is looking to downsize or lay off a few employees, the sham jobs can provide insight into how difficult it would be to find a replacement and at what level of compensation.
- Interviewers can actually invite people for an interview based on the bogus job ad. However, there is no intention of hiring the person. The company has already chosen someone. It may be an internal candidate chosen by an executive for the role. To make the interview appear fair, the unsuspecting applicant has no chance as the decision has already been made and you are just part of the charade.
The 11 million job fallacy
It has been widely reported that there are more than 11 million jobs. With 6 million unemployed, it is assumed that there are about two rolls for every unemployed person. As apt as the math is, the often touted slogan is very misleading as it doesn’t give you the full picture.
A large percentage of roles are not attractive. This is one of the main reasons why the positions remain continuously open. Many are in sectors people want out of, such as restaurants, bars, warehousing and fulfillment centers, and gigs or dead-end contracts. There is a lot of churn. A person can go from waiting at one restaurant to moving to another for a small raise, and then move to another industry hoping for a chance to advance and build a future.
Just because millions of jobs are open doesn’t mean that one of the roles is right for you. If you’re an unemployed lawyer, accountant, or marketing professional, searching through thousands of frontline jobs isn’t helpful, productive, or compatible.
Is it really a hot job market?
The overused expression “hot job market” does not take into account that every job, profession and industry is unique in its current requirements.
Although things have cooled off a little, Americans have been hearing about a hot job market for a year and a half. This blanket statement is incorrect as not every industry or industry is hot at the same time.
Within certain areas there may or may not be strong demand. For example, a software developer candidate at Apple may be in high demand, but at the same time 100 contract recruiters have been fired because the tech giant is confident about future growth.