There is nothing more frustrating when applying for a job then hearing nothing but the deafening sound of silence afterwards. There are a few reasons why you may not hear back from a potential job, and one reason may be due to applying to a ghost job listing. So, today, let’s chat about what this means, and how to recognize these types of postings.  

What makes a ghost listing?  

A ghost listing can be frustrating to encounter for job seekers. This term refers to a trend discussed by HuffPost where employers advertise a job role that they are not actively hiring for, has already been filled, or the job search has stalled:

“Perhaps a company decided not to fill the role or has already filled the role and hasn’t taken it down yet on all platforms, or the posting may still be up, but the company is far into the interview process with top candidates, so they aren’t actively considering new applicants at this time,” Carnahan said. “Postings may also be shared publicly, but there are internal employees who are considered top candidates for the role.”  

In some cases, employers only share or promote a position within a specific network or group, where they seek out individuals they already know or have been referred internally.  

How to spot a ghost listing  

Check the date  

The first place to look is the date the job was posted. The longer it has been posted, the more likely it is a ghost listing. For example, if the job was listed six months ago, and is still online, chances are high the position has already been filled. A 2022 survey conducted by Clarify Capital reports that 43% of managers keep job postings open to motivate employees or to give off the impression that the company is growing. While this is not good practice, it is something to be aware of when applying for jobs.

Review the website  

Another tip is to check the website of the business or organization where the job posting is from if you have found the listing through another website. Companies are more likely to keep their website up to date. Therefore, if you can’t locate the job listing through the company website, interviews are taking place, or a candidate has already been selected.   

It is also good practice to apply for a job directly through the website of the organization, or use a reputable website such as the Government of Canada Job Bank.

Ask directly  

If you have found an older job listing that you are interested in, you can reach out to the contact person (if listed) or find one through LinkedIn and reach out directly. You can express your interest in the position, introduce yourself, and take the initiative to find the information you’re looking for. If the job hasn’t been filled, you have connected personally with someone from the organization. If it has been filled, you can use it as an opportunity to ask after other potential jobs, or request to keep your resume on file. 

When searching for a job, you want to ensure you aren’t wasting valuable time. We suggest you focus on the most recent job listings or find out directly about an older posting if it is one that stands out to you.  

Of course, you will need to ensure your resume is ready, so be sure to reach out to our team to get started!