Monday, March 27, 2023

Job Listings Abound, but Many Are Fake

In an uncertain economy, companies post ads for jobs they might not really be trying to fill

By Te-Ping Chen of The WSJ. Excerpts:

"A mystery permeates the job market: You apply for a job and hear nothing, but the ad stays online for months. If you inquire, the company tells you it isn’t really hiring.

Not all job ads are attached to actual jobs, it turns out. The labor market remains robust, with 10.8 million job openings in January, according to the Labor Department. At the same time, companies are feeling budgetary strains and some are pulling back on hiring. Though businesses are keeping job postings up, many roles aren’t being filled, recruiters say.

Hiring managers acknowledge as much. In a survey of more than 1,000 hiring managers last summer, 27% reported having job postings up for more than four months. Among those who said they advertised job postings that they weren’t actively trying to fill, close to half said they kept the ads up to give the impression the company was growing, according to Clarify Capital, a small-business-loan provider behind the study. One-third of the managers who said they advertised jobs they weren’t trying to fill said they kept the listings up to placate overworked employees.

Other reasons for keeping jobs up, the hiring managers said: Stocking a pool of ready applicants if an employee quits, or just in case an “irresistible” candidate applied."

"For employers, constantly looking for talent can make sense, says Kelsey Libert, co-founder of Fractl, a digital marketing agency. She says her company keeps ads up for associate positions even when they aren’t hiring, because turnover for those jobs is often higher than other roles.

“Otherwise, you’re suddenly in a position where you need to spend a lot of money on LinkedIn ads to quickly drum up interest,” she says."

"Some job ads have little correlation to actual job availability because companies require that all jobs be posted, even if a candidate has been predetermined. In other instances, especially at larger companies, poor coordination is to blame, says Elliott Garlock, founder of Stella Talent Partners, a Boston-based recruiting firm."

"removing job postings takes time."

"To avoid ghost ads, Scott Dobroski, vice president of communications at jobs site Indeed, recommends looking for detailed job descriptions. More specifics, such as schedules or a clear list of responsibilities, might indicate that an employer is serious, he says. He also advises checking the timestamp on ads to ensure they were posted recently."

Related posts:

You can hire someone to do the job interview for you (2022)

How to Spot Fake Reviews and Shady Ratings on Amazon (2022)

Making Money Off of Fake ATM Receipts (2021)

People are hiring out their faces to become deepfake-style marketing clones (2021)

Why would men bring fake cell phones to bars? (2021)

Are sellers paying Amazon customers to delete negative reviews? (2021)

Fake Reviews and Inflated Ratings Are Still a Problem for Amazon  (2021)

Photos show China's most surreal tourist spot— a fake Instagram-worthy town full of pretend farmers and phony fishermen (2021)

The Myth of Authenticity Or The Story Behind Products (2010)

Fake Authenticity (2011)

Students: Make a mistake on purpose, its good for you! (2007)

A fake job reference can be just a few clicks away (2015)

Fake Economist Fools Portugal (2013)

Slave Redemption in Sudan (2007) (Fake slaves are sold to those who buy slaves and then give them their freedom)

Can A Product Work Just Because It's Expensive? (2008) (fake medicine)

If It Pays To Have Friends, Can You Pay To Have Friends? (2013) (you can hire fake boyfriends)

Study: Half of American Doctors Give Patients Placebos Without Telling Them (2008)

Saudis grapple with fake street sweepers (2017)

Rent a White Guy: Confessions of a fake businessman from Beijing (2010) (by Mitch Moxley in The Atlantic Monthly, excerpts below)

Can adding a phantom third story to their homes help families find a wife for their son? (2018)

Why do employers pay extra money to people who study a bunch of subjects in college that they don’t actually need you to know? Signaling (2018)

Mexicans buy fake cellphones to hand over in muggings (2019)
Conspicuous Consumption, Conspicuous Virtue, Thorstein Veblen (and Adam Smith, too!) (2007)

How does a company selling used luxury goods spot fakes? (signalling and conspicuous consumption) (2019).

Why do stores sometimes pay people to be fake shoppers?  (2019)

What if companies can't afford real models for their ads? Use AI generated fake pictures  (2020)

Excerpts from "Rent a White Guy"

"Not long ago I was offered work as a quality-control expert with an American company in China I’d never heard of. No experience necessary—which was good, because I had none. I’d be paid $1,000 for a week, put up in a fancy hotel, and wined and dined in Dongying, an industrial city in Shandong province I’d also never heard of. The only requirements were a fair complexion and a suit.

“I call these things ‘White Guy in a Tie’ events,” a Canadian friend of a friend named Jake told me during the recruitment pitch he gave me in Beijing, where I live. “Basically, you put on a suit, shake some hands, and make some money. We’ll be in ‘quality control,’ but nobody’s gonna be doing any quality control. You in?”

I was.

And so I became a fake businessman in China, an often lucrative gig for underworked expatriates here. One friend, an American who works in film, was paid to represent a Canadian company and give a speech espousing a low-carbon future. Another was flown to Shanghai to act as a seasonal-gifts buyer. Recruiting fake businessmen is one way to create the image—particularly, the image of connection—that Chinese companies crave. My Chinese-language tutor, at first aghast about how much we were getting paid, put it this way: “Having foreigners in nice suits gives the company face.”

Six of us met at the Beijing airport, where Jake briefed us on the details. We were supposedly representing a California-based company that was building a facility in Dongying. Our responsibilities would include making daily trips to the construction site, attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and hobnobbing. During the ceremony, one of us would have to give a speech as the company’s director. That duty fell to my friend Ernie, who, in his late 30s, was the oldest of our group. His business cards had already been made."

"For the next few days, we sat in the office swatting flies and reading magazines, purportedly high-level employees of a U.S. company that, I later discovered, didn’t really exist."