How to Spot and Avoid Ghost Jobs

Spot and Avoid Ghost Jobs

Spot and Avoid Ghost Jobs

With the global economic uncertainty over the past few years, finding a job has become more challenging. While opportunities do exist for those who are deserving, there has been a rise in what’s known as ghost jobs in recent times.

What are Ghost Jobs?

Ghost jobs, also known as fake jobs or phantom jobs, are job postings that mislead or manipulate job seekers. They are basically ads for job openings for a position that is non-existent or has already been filled.

According to ExpressVPN, there are various reasons why employers post ghost jobs. For example, an employer may post ghost job openings to inflate their growth statistics or to identify promising talents if a role opens up. This practice of deceiving candidates is not limited to one motive. Companies clearly benefit from these ghost job openings. It is the candidate who suffers!

How to Spot Ghost Jobs

Applying for a job opening takes time and effort, including filling out a long form and tailoring their resume according to the role. And while it is unfair for companies to do this, the reality is job seekers also collect job offers to get hikes and promotions at their current jobs.

So, instead of cribbing about ghost jobs, the best approach would be to learn how to spot and avoid ghost jobs. Here’s how you can identify whether or not you came across a ghost job.

1. Check the Posting Date

Before applying for a job, always look for the date it was posted. If the job posting has been open for a long time, there is a high chance that it is a ghost Job. On average, it takes around 1.5 months for companies to fill an open position. So, if a job posting has been open for 2 or more months, then it is most probably a ghost job.

However, that does not mean you should not apply for jobs that have been open for a long time. It is also possible that they have yet to find the most suitable candidate for the opening. It is just that you should not get your hopes too high.

2. Cross Check the Company’s Website and Social Media

If an organization is actively hiring, it will not rely on one medium for sourcing candidates. Before you apply for a job opening, make sure to check the company’s website.

Most companies have a dedicated job openings page on their website that lists all the open positions at the moment. If you find discrepancies between the online job posting and the jobs available on their website, there is a high chance it is a ghost job.

Apart from the website, you should also check out the company’s social media account. Scroll through their social media page to look for any indication that the position is still open. Employers often post job openings on their social media, and many of them also welcome new employees through social media posts.

If any of your connections work at the company, you can also connect with them to inquire about the job opening.

3. Look for Specific Details

One of the main differences between a ghost and a genuine job posting is the details. A ghost job posting will lack specific details about the roles, responsibilities, and qualifications. If you come across a job description that looks too generic, that’s your cue.

4. Lack of Response

If you are unsure whether or not a job posting is real, you can contact the HR department of the company. Write an email, drop a message on LinkedIn, or make a simple phone call, asking for details about the opening. You can also try dropping off your resume at the company’s office if you live nearby.

If you have applied for the job and haven't received a response for weeks or even months, then you have found yourself a ghost job.


Although an unnecessary struggle, ghost jobs are nothing to fret about. All you need is careful attention to detail and smart strategies. Job seekers should check posting dates, compare information across different platforms like company websites and social media, and pay attention to details. With a few simple tactics, one can easily avoid wasting time on misleading job postings.

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