Applying for Jobs and Getting Ghosted? The Good News: It’s Not Your Fault.

Applying for Jobs and Getting Ghosted? The Good News: It’s Not Your Fault.

You spot a job posting that looks like a perfect match for your skills, and you can’t help but get excited. So, you submit your CV and play the waiting game:

Days turn into weeks.

And weeks into months.

Until you eventually realise… you’ve been ghosted.

It’s easy to become introspective and to start wondering: What did I do wrong? Am I not good enough?

But have you ever considered that it might not be your fault?

Well, you should do, because ghost jobs exist. Ghost jobs are phantom postings where the majority of candidates won’t receive any response. To give you an idea as to the scale of the problem, back in September 2023, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 9.6 million available jobs, with just 2% of those openings filled in October. That’s a lot of false hope.

Why do ghost jobs exist?

  1. By accident: Sometimes, it’s not malicious. Companies may forget to take down their job ads after finding their ideal hire, leaving a large number of candidates ghosted.
  2. Building talent pools: 50% of hiring managers shared that they create ghost jobs to build a ‘pool’ of qualified candidates. So, when the budget or position becomes available, they can quickly fill the role. 
  3. Optics: 43% of hiring managers admitted to posting jobs just to create the appearance of scaling teams and success. 
  4. Salary benchmarking: Companies may post ghost jobs to collect data on the current earnings and salary expectations of similar talent in the market.
  5. Motivation: Some hiring managers post jobs to appease overworked employees. Because posting a fake job is better than doing nothing, right?

So, what’s a job seeker to do?

Well, it’s true that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, so we don’t want to discourage you from applying. The key is to work smart, so here are some ways to reduce your chances of getting ghosted:

  • Pay close attention to the job description: As you can imagine, it’s challenging to craft a job description for a fake role, so watch out for generalisations or vague statements.
  • Evaluate the offer: Does the opportunity seem too good to be true? For example, consider a higher-than-average salary without the corresponding requirements.
  • Check the posting date: If a job has remained open for 30+ days, it’s time to get suspicious. At 60+ days, it’s most likely like submitting your CV into a black hole. 
  • Cross-reference sources: Compare job boards to the company’s official career page. The latter is more likely to feature the ‘live’ job opportunities.
  • Investigate the company’s LinkedIn profile: Check their LinkedIn activity. Have they hired recently? Is there evidence of company growth? This can provide valuable insights into the legitimacy of the job posting.

And finally, if you take just one thing from this article, let it be this: Be kind to yourself.

As with everything in life, there are always external factors at play.

It’s not always your fault.