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Fake job postings and your job board

fake job postingsIt’s never a good idea to upset your customers. So why would a job board allow a so-called ‘fake’ job posting – a job listing that, in fact, does not currently exist?

  1. Maybe the job board didn’t know it was fake. After all, dozens or even hundreds of jobs are posted at many sites each week – by employers, not the job board.
  2. The ‘paying’ customer posted that ‘fake’ listing. Money speaks.
  3. ‘Fake’ postings are almost impossible to screen.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that all of the above reasons have validity. Nevertheless, the fact remains that when a job seeker applies for a ‘fake’ listing, he or she will ultimately be disappointed or even angry when they discover that the ‘job’ was never there. Perhaps they’ll think twice about applying for another job – or simply avoid visiting the job board altogether.

At this point, you’re looking at less site traffic, less job seeker activity, and (probably) some bad word of mouth.

On the other hand, many employers and recruiters will push back if told they cannot post ‘fake’ listings. Why? Because they use these listings to gather resumes for future needs. Let’s say you’re an employer and you’ve bought 50 job postings, but you’ve only used 40 and the rest will expire in 60 days. Why not run some fake listings to stockpile resumes for future hiring – especially if you know you’ll have the future need?

The problem boils down to ‘truth in advertising’. These ‘fake’ listings are presented as  if they are real, actual, ready-to-fill jobs – which they aren’t. When a job seeker spends 15 or 20 minutes applying for one and then finds out it isn’t ‘real’, they are inevitably disappointed (or perhaps something stronger).

Instead of gnashing our teeth about this, why not create a new type of posting? Let’s call it the ‘future hiring’ posting. Create a template that’s optimized for this type of position: broad, keyword-based, aspirational. Promote these listings separately from the standard listings. Tell the job seekers exactly what they’re getting.

The upside? More ‘truth in advertising’, resulting (I hope) in happier job seekers and employers. More reasons for job seekers to visit and employers to use your site. Idealistic? Maybe. But in my experience, doing nothing always seems to end up biting you back.

Tell me your thoughts!

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. I totally agree Jeff. This is something our customers sometimes want to do to get started, without realizing the repercussions. We always try to steer them away from this direction and instead use a backfill feature like from Indeed. That way, although the traffic may leave your site, the end user at least still gets what they want: a real job posting!

  2. This is a great post. If you do research on the internet you will find that a lot of complaints have been made about boards posting fake jobs. I think it’s very bad news for the job boards that post fake jobs – and insult/deception to the job seeker.

  3. Okay, before commenting on this post I took some time to read some of the other articles published on the site; most of which are thoroughly viable resources.

    However, in the context of the rest of the library I think this piece is a little arbitrary because all job board owners know that however much we like to steer their clients away from fake job posting, they will nonetheless continue to do it…

    …although I suspect the number of fake jobs advertised in the past 18 months has reduced considerably. No decent recruiter/recruitment agency is in need of ‘stock-piling’ at the moment. If anything, they are turning applications away. They don’t have time to answer calls from eager jobseekers requesting feedback from the job that never existed.

    What we should be looking at is the number of duplicate jobs being advertised – and there are plenty of these out there. This is where a recruiter multi-posts but with different reference numbers or adds the same post again without first deleting the original. We employ an admin team to ensure this does not occur on our site – an expense we could do without but one of necessity as recruiters struggle sometimes with the fundamental elements of their role!

    I’ve only just discovered this site and I like it. Keep up the good work.

    Cheers, Simon Lewis | editor |

  4. Simon, good comment. I will have to say, though, that much of my time is spent reviewing and analyzing sites, and I’ve found a decent number of ‘fake’ postings. However, I think the issue of duplicate postings warrants its own blog post – thanks! – jeff

  5. I’ve never heard of a job board that would tell an employer with a 50 posting pack that the 10 they have not yet used will be lost if they don’t post them by the end of the contract date. All the client needs to do is contact their sales rep and ask for an extension. The board likely won’t extend the deadline indefinitely, but if the client wants another three, six, or even 12 months the board is very likely to grant the request.

    We find that it is good business to expire unused postings to keep our balance sheet clean of these liabilities but even better business to credit them back or extend the deadline for those clients who want to use them even after the deadline.

  6. What would you say if you take the perspective of the jobseekers?
    Does “future hiring” sound fishy?
    I would work for companies like GE, Microsoft etc – but will it work for the lesser known brands? I doubt it.

    And given that a posting will be perceived to be more “attractive” to the jobseekers, won’t the employers still choose to categorize their posting as current posting?

    My hypothesis is that it doesn’t play out well to user behavior…

  7. This is great post. There needs to be a central repository of information for job-seekers where they can CONTROL the information and it’s access to the employers.
    Moreover, there needs to be an API to expose this information to employers.


  8. Here in Minneapoils, the Arther Group was shut down by the AG of Minnesota for fake job ads to lure prospects for resume writing and interview coaching.

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