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NextGen Magazine


Survey: Many Hiring Managers Say it’s 'Morally Acceptable' to Post Fake Jobs

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Jun 27, 2024

Job listings - GettyImages-843533330

Some companies post nonexistent jobs for a number of reasons, but the strategy can backfire, Business Insider reported.

Chief among their reasons is a desire to show that they are growing or to let their employees think that the company is staffing up to relieve the work burden on them. Three in 10 companies have fake job listings, a Resume Builder survey of 650 hiring managers revealed. Seven in 10 hiring managers said it was "morally acceptable" to post fake jobs.

Stacie Haller, Resume Builder's chief career adviser, told Business Insider that the practice could undermine confidence among existing and would-be employees. "The last people you want to be sharing fake information to your staff is the HR people," she said.

Four in 10 companies posted a fake job listing this year, the survey found, and the reasons are varied. They include: to make it appear that the company is open to external talent (67 percent); to act as if the company is growing (66 percent); to make employees believe their workload would be alleviated by new workers (63 percent); to have employees feel replaceable (62 percent); and to collect résumés and keep them on file for a later date (59 percent).  

“It’s a concerning scenario, particularly when these misleading postings originate from HR departments—the very entities entrusted with shaping accurate perceptions of their organizations,” said Haller, on the survey website. “Whether it’s to create an illusion of company expansion or to foster a sense of replaceability among employees, such practices are not acceptable.”

The hiring managers reported that posting fake jobs had the following effects on their companies: 68 percent reported that the practice had a positive impact on revenue, 65 percent reported a positive impact on employee morale and 77 percent reported a positive impact on productivity.

"Some people are saying, 'Well, it increased productivity.' And I'm thinking, 'Well, does it do it out of fear?'" said Haller, in an interview with Business Insider. She added that it's a stretch to think that ghost listings would do a lot to boost morale among workers by making them believe the organization was growing.

Employers also risk damaging their reputations because they can get found out. Two-thirds of hiring managers said that those they meant to mislead, including workers, investors, and job seekers, determined that they were being deceived.

Four in 10 hiring managers said they always contacted workers who applied for made-up jobs. Forty-five percent said they sometimes contacted those job seekers. Among companies that contacted applicants, 85 percent reported interviewing the person.

"A lot of them are getting contacted and interviewed at some point, so it's not necessarily a black box," said Haller.

To avoid that black box, Haller advised checking  who posted the job. She suggested contacting the hiring manager on LinkedIn or to someone at the company when spotting an interesting job listing.  She also suggested looking into when the job was listed . "If it was five months ago, and it's still up there, it's fake," she said.