How the Job Market Is Being Misrepresented to You by@rickchen
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How the Job Market Is Being Misrepresented to You

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Job hunters are not getting an accurate picture of the job market. Companies place phantom jobs to build a pipeline of candidates for the future. Fake jobs are used to show that the company is doing well and growing while everyone else is floundering. Many jobs are posted on the company website and end up on job aggregation sites. To the job seeker, the roles look new, but they are months old, and most have been filled already. The company can gain a sense of the marketplace by posting phantom jobs.

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You are not getting an accurate picture of the job market. With the best intentions, family, friends, colleagues, and overall public discourse offer advice about the economy, interviewing, and the job market. Usually, they parrot back platitudes or repeat what they have heard from someone who knows someone who really knows what’s going on. Here are some ways job seekers are misinformed about the job market.

Fake Jobs

Recruiters have been aware of the proliferation of phantom jobs posted online. One of the biggest things that depress job hunters is when they see job listings that fit their background, excitedly apply to the role and never hear back. This keeps happening. Over time, you start feeling dejected. You question why companies aren’t inviting you to interviews. Self-doubt creeps in, and you start questioning yourself. Thoughts race through your mind, “Did I offend anyone? Could it be that my boss or co-workers said bad things about me, and it’s been getting around?”

Don’t blame yourself; it’s not you. The system is corrupted. For years, companies have placed fake jobs online. The job description is real, and so is the company, and this doesn’t mean it’s a scam. Firms list jobs that they have no intention of filling.

Why Companies Post Phantom Jobs

  • Companies place phantom jobs to build a pipeline of candidates for the future. Right now, they have no interest in interviewing or hiring a person.
  • When people quit, the remaining workers need to pick up the slack. They are forced to work longer hours without any pay increase. Then, they start complaining about why the company isn’t actively looking to fill the vacancies. To appease the remaining workers, the company places ads without any intention of finding a replacement. They are merely pacifying the workers.
  • When there are layoffs or a challenging economic climate, some businesses will post jobs to show that the company is doing well and growing while everyone else is floundering.
  • Many jobs are posted on the company website and end up on job aggregation sites. Time goes by, and the company forgets to take down the role. It stays on the company site and an array of job board aggregation sites. To the job seeker, the roles look new, but they are months old, and most have been filled already.
  • Most companies have a policy to post jobs online to promote diversity hires. They want to show that they are making a good-faith effort to find the best talent, whether from within or through a job listing. Unscrupulous firms use this as cover to hire someone they already know they want to hire. The job posting creates a false impression that it is a fair and open hiring process.
  • The company can gain a sense of the marketplace by posting phantom jobs. By the responses, they can feel out how much money other places are offering or whether the role is considered hot or not. If the company is looking to downsize or wants to cut a few people, the phony jobs can offer insight into how hard it would be to find a replacement and at what compensation level.
  • Interviewers may actually invite people to interview based upon the sham job listing. However, there is no intention of hiring the person. The company has someone picked out already. It may be an internal candidate that a senior executive has handpicked for the role. The unsuspecting applicant doesn’t have a chance to orchestrate it to seem that the interview process is fair, as the decision was already made, and you’re just part of the charade.


The 11 Million Jobs Available Fallacy

It’s been widely reported that more than 11 million jobs are available. With 6 million people unemployed, people assume that there are roughly two roles for every person out of work. However on-target the math may be, the often-touted slogan is very misleading, as it fails to give you the complete picture.

A large percentage of the roles are not attractive. That is one of the big reasons why the jobs continuously remain open. Many are in sectors that people want out of, such as restaurants, bars, warehouse and fulfillment centers, and dead-end gigs or contracts. There is a lot of churn. A person may hop from waiting at one restaurant to jumping to another for a slight pay increase and then pivot to another industry, hoping for a chance to progress and build a future.

Just because there are millions of jobs open, that doesn’t mean that any of the roles fit you. Searching through thousands of frontline jobs isn’t helpful, productive, or compatible if you are an out-of-work attorney, accountant, or marketing professional.

Is It Really A Hot Job Market?

The overused phrase “hot job market” doesn’t consider that every job, profession, and industry is unique in its current needs.

Although things have cooled down a little, Americans have heard that it’s been a hot job market for the past year and a half. This blanket statement is inaccurate, as not every sector or industry is hot at the same time.

Within specific areas, there may be some strong demand or not. For instance, a software engineer candidate may be in high order at Apple, but at the same time, 100 contract recruiters were let go because the tech giant is sanguine about future growth.


Also published on Teamblind’s blog

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by Rick Chen @rickchen.Rick Chen is the senior director, head of public relations at Blind. He writes about tech culture and the workplace.
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