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  • Writer's pictureLisa Dupras

Avoid Ghost Jobs! Find Legit Online Jobs Using Best Job Search Sites

Updated: Jul 5

Do you ever wonder if you are using the right job boards? You're not alone. A recent study surveying more than 1,000 hiring managers, showed that over 68% confirmed of keeping job postings active for more than 30 days. Additionally, 10% responded that they had jobs open for more than 6 months! Many companies have ghost job postings, outdated listings, and shady job descriptions that can waste valuable job search time. What if you could confidently navigate your job search with confidence and find the real opportunities worthy of your time?


This blog shares how employers and job search sites can post inauthentic positions that frustrate job seekers and waste their time. It analyzes, educates, and shares best practices to avoid these time-wasting jobs and how to identify the best job boards to use to source reputable jobs worth your time and effort.


What is a Ghost Job Posting?

Imagine spending hours crafting the perfect resume and cover letter, only to discover you applied for a ghost – a phantom vacancy that never truly existed!  Or, getting your hopes up for an ideal opportunity to later learn that the position was filled months ago.


Searching for jobs in a maze

Employers may sometimes post jobs for purposes other than employment. They may promise remote work, have catchy job titles, and vague descriptions, or appear as reposted positions.


Job boards can become graveyards of forgotten postings, cluttering your search results with irrelevant information. Applying to unavailable positions is frustrating, discouraging, and wastes valuable time and effort.


Why do companies post ghost jobs?


  • Filling Human Resource Requirements: Many HR Departments have internal policies of posting open jobs EXTERNALLY for a set period to ensure fair chances for all candidates. These jobs will show up on job boards as open. The reality is that many posted jobs have pre-identified internal candidates ready to be promoted, making the reality of interviews for outside candidates non-existent.  

  • Filling the Pipeline: Even if a specific position is currently filled or on hold, keeping the job description visible allows companies to gauge ongoing interest in particular skill sets and can ensure a pool of readily available potential candidates or conduct exploratory job interviews to gain competitive salary information. 40% of companies even go so far as to contact and interview applicants, with no expectation of hiring!

  • Cost and Time Savings: Managing job listings on various platforms incurs additional recruitment costs. Companies may opt to keep listings active or automatically reposted to maximize their investment, even if the role has been filled.

  • Maintaining Visibility: Active job postings can positively impact a company's online visibility and search engine ranking. By leaving listings live, companies can attract more traffic to their websites or job board profiles or appear to show employees that the company is hiring help for overworked staff.

  • Unintentional Outdated Listings: While some companies strategically keep listings active, others inadvertently end up with outdated postings due to slow updating of fill status or failure to close old, open job requisitions.


What is an Evergreen Job Posting?

An online job opportunity that remains persistently open due to ongoing headcount needs within a company. These roles can be reflective of excessive turnover or company growth. They often have old posted dates, vague generic catch-all requisitions, and list multiple work locations across different regions. They can offer flexibility and broader opportunities for job seekers willing to relocate or work in various settings. Examples of evergreen jobs include sales associates and IT Support Specialists.


Evergreen Job Challenges


  • Posted Job May Not Have Openings: The Company may screen or interview many applicants even though the work area is fully staffed.  

  • Ghosting Can Occur: Since a position may not be formally open, communication from HR can be irregular or the applicant may be ghosted. This can harm the employer's brand in the eyes of applicants.

  • Job Board Algorithms: Evergreen jobs are not always prioritized in search results on job boards. Job seekers may need to adjust their search strategies or use filters effectively to locate these ongoing opportunities among newer listings.

  • Uncertainty in Application Status: Job seekers may not receive immediate feedback or updates, which can create anxiety and affect their job search momentum.


Key Takeaways:  How to Save Time and Find Legit Jobs Online


  • Research the company: Check Reddit or other sites to determine if the company is growing or has a continuous need to fill a position due to turnover.

  • Use advanced search options: Leverage job boards like LinkedIn that allow filtering by date posted to give clues for continuously posted jobs.

  • Know What You’re Getting Into – Don’t expect quick responses when applying to these jobs. If you hear from HR, you can be pleasantly surprised!

  • Apply Directly or Through Reputable Job Boards: Be wary of postings that require applying through unfamiliar websites or have uncommon application methods.

  • Watch for Red Flags: Be wary of jobs with catchy titles, vague descriptions, promises of remote work with no location details, frequent reposting, no contact person or next steps.

  • Focus on Best Job Boards: Utilize multiple boards with varying strengths. Include job boards like LinkedIn (direct employer submissions) and Google Jobs (company-sanctioned listings) that emphasize verification.

  • Company Career Pages: Companies advertise their legitimate open positions exclusively on their web pages. If a job seems too good to be true, verify its existence on the company website. A quick search can save you time and effort.

  • Ask A Recruiter: It’s a long shot, but recruiters may respond to politely worded requests about a job that advertises their company name but not on their website. Reaching out can also help your networking efforts!


Remember:

  • Time is Valuable: Prioritize job boards and strategies focusing on verified and current opportunities.

  • Quality Over Quantity: Applying to fewer relevant jobs is more efficient than a mass application approach with potentially misleading opportunities.


What are the Best Job Search Sites?

We’ve explored the pitfalls of misleading and ghostly job postings. It helps to find reliable job boards that show legitimate opportunities from reputable employers. Job boards and search sites vary widely in how they aggregate or source posted jobs.  


A Job Search Experiment:

I assessed how effective the ten most popular job boards are at surfacing positions posted on company websites. The target job was "Senior Analyst, Change Enablement & Adoption" at Salesforce in Indianapolis, IN, posted six days prior. I performed a Google search on the job title and work location.


What I discovered:

  • Success:  LinkedIn, Google Jobs, The Muse, and Indeed all successfully displayed the job listing in question through a Google search, indicating strong integration with search engines and effective keyword matching.

  • Partial Success: Zip Recruiter and CareerBuilder required visiting their websites directly to find the job listing, highlighting a less than-effective Google Search integration.

  • Unsuccessful: Glassdoor, Dice, Monster, and The Ladders did not display the targeted job in the Google search results or on their websites.  This could be due to the frequency of posting updates, or a job board’s focus on a specific industry.


Key Takeaways: Choose Your Job Boards Wisely

  • Utilize a Mix of Job Boards: Evaluate how the platform sources job postings, and ensure it can surface posted positions.

  • Prioritize Search Engine Integration: Look for job boards that effectively display listings through search engines like Google, increasing your chances of finding opportunities you might miss otherwise.

  • Complement with Direct Website Searches: While many jobs are advertised on multiple platforms, other companies might prefer posting exclusively on their career page.


Summary


Don't limit yourself to a single job search platform. Utilize a mix of job boards with varying strengths, prioritizing those emphasizing direct connections and verified listings.   

Double-check job postings with the company website to ensure job legitimacy and access to the most up-to-date information.


Try a Google or Gemini search to understand how the job search site gets its posted jobs. Avoid those sites that scrape jobs without authorization or rely on manual postings.

By understanding misleading posting tactics and how job search platforms source their information, you can choose a job board that prioritizes reputable sources, validate posted jobs on employer career sites, and find authentic jobs to save time and confidently navigate your job search.


Good luck!



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