Why companies list fake jobs

Ontario, Canada, is moving to get rid of “ghost jobs” — bogus postings for roles that won’t get filled.

A thing that’s not fun: endlessly applying for job after job, navigating a flurry of application portals and cover letters.

A ghost holding a briefcase against a blue and peach background.

A thing that’s even less fun: doing all that while dealing with “ghost jobs.”


Ghost jobs are postings for jobs that do not exist and plenty of companies are engaging in the practice, per a survey of 1k+ hiring managers from Clarify Capital.

Some are old listings that someone forgot to remove. OK, annoying, but we get it. However, managers also provided a variety of other reasons a company might post a role it doesn’t intend to fill:

  • To maintain a pool of potential candidates
  • To give the appearance of growth
  • To “placate” overworked employees
  • To motivate current employees

And still others are just scams, meant to collect personal data or trick people into sending money under the guise of training or equipment, per ExpressVPN.

What this means for job seekers

Well, Ontario, Canada, is moving to get rid of ghost jobs by requiring companies to:

  • Disclose whether a listing is for an open position or to collect future candidates.
  • Actually respond to applicants they’ve interviewed.

But if you’re not in Ontario:

  • Check companies’ social media and websites to ensure hiring announcements match job postings.
  • Check the posting date. Per Clarify Capital, 40% of managers plan to fill open roles in two to three months. Older postings may be inactive or bogus.
  • Be wary of vague postings that could apply to any candidate or jobs that offer suspiciously high compensation or excessive perks.

BTW: If you’re looking for an actual ghost job, may we suggest a side hustle as a paranormal tour guide?

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