Ghost job listings haunt frustrated applicants

May 17, 2023

Ghost job listings haunt frustrated applicants

Ghost job listings have been spotted across different employment sites leaving job applicants frustrated. Photo: Daniel Dmello.

Frustration with ghost jobs has risen as many employers list or advertise jobs that have already been allocated for internal candidates.

Auckland applicants are increasingly unhappy and have taken to social media sites such as Reddit to vent their dissatisfaction at non-existing listings.

A source that would like to remain anonymous has experienced what it is like to apply for one of these listings and says they are deeply exploitative.

“It is hugely frustrating when you have to put in so much effort to write a cover letter, answer all their questions, submit your cv, and you’re only doing it in the hopes that you are going to gain employment because you need the money to live,” they say.

They also talked about what the experience of going through a job application for these listings is like, and just how hauntingly draining the entire process can be.

“I have had experiences with recruitment agencies and they had four different people in their marketing sector contact me, and it was like none of them had ever talked to each other before.

“They made me go through four different phone interviews, and web interactions like Zoom calls, Teams calls, all that kind of stuff to get me on their books for a job that did not exist, absolutely mental.”

Roger, a manager at a civil construction company in Auckland, says the reason ghost job listings exist is that “they have an internal vacancy where they’re going to give someone a job inside the company, but they have to advertise it before they give it to them.”

Having benefited from a situation like this, Roger says that while these listings may not seem ethical, they can be justifiable.

“In my case, they had to advertise the job, even though the position was created for me. At the time for me to get a pay rise I had to move up the ladder on the pay scale, so they created the role for me so I could get paid more money to compensate me for the amount of work I was doing.”

“In that case yeah it was justifiable, but ethical? Question mark.”

Roger also defended some of these companies, claiming there are occasions where they let people know that this is a ghost job listing so that they know the job is not available at this moment.

“Recruiters sometimes do put expressions of interest, if you’re in this field looking for a role, they will say give us your details and we will put it in our database.”

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