According to the Labor Department, there were 10.8 million(Opens in a new tab) job openings in January. So, why haven’t you heard back from that job you applied to yet?
It may be because the job you applied to is a “ghost job(Opens in a new tab).” The term has recently been coined to describe job openings left active online for months and seemingly never filled. In some cases, the job opening might not even exist.
A survey from online loan company Clarify Capital asked over one thousand managers involved in the hiring process questions regarding job openings at their companies. The survey found that 60 percent of job postings online are kept active for more than one month. The bulk of those openings were left online for two to three months. One in ten had the online job posting active for more than six months.
Why are some of these job openings left online for so long? The most common explanation is that some companies truly have standing openings, and that they are always open to hiring the right applicant when they come along. However, a significant number of managers also shared that the openings are kept active because the jobs simply don’t exist.
Of those surveyed, 43 percent of managers said they post job openings online in order to give the impression that the company is growing. Another 43 percent said that they posted job openings to keep current employees motivated. And 34 percent took that one step further and said they kept online job posts active in order to placate overworked employees.
So basically, nearly half of the hiring managers surveyed said that their company posted jobs with the intent to bolster their company’s image, or provide false hope to their understaffed workforce that help was on the way.
As many workers in a swath of various industries deal with layoffs over the past few months, a new pool of job seekers have entered the market looking for potential employers. This is especially true for the tech sector where companies like Meta, Amazon, and Twitter have recently laid off thousands of employees.
Online news outlets first started reporting on this “ghost jobs” phenomenon last year. A recent article from the Wall Street Journal(Opens in a new tab) has thrusted ghost jobs back into the spotlight.
Career websites typically agree that the best time(Opens in a new tab) to look for a job is in January and February, right at the start of the New Year when there is a spike in hiring. However, if you’ve spent the last few months applying and haven’t heard back, it may very well be because you applied to a ghost job.