Q. I have an issue with sites like Monster, Job Find, and Dice. I've noticed more and more "spam” jobs from "recruiters" that don't actually have real positions. How do you suggest a search that filters them out?
A. I'm not sure if your question is really about creating filters, or dealing with feeling mislead, or not being able to access recruiters. Every economy brings out different behaviors in job seekers, and recruiters. Recognizing the economic situation can be easy; following how people work and why might be a bit more challenging, but "following the buck" is often a good place to start.
Reputable recruiters do not post fake jobs. The practice of harvesting resumes to develop a database is frowned upon by the industry.
In a good economy, most recruiters have way more jobs than good people to fill them. By "good people,” I mean people who have the exact specs: experiences, skills, style, desired compensation, geographic location (the list goes on) that employers are looking for. There are plenty more "good people" that recruiters cannot help - they cannot place them, or "sell" them to a company, and that is how recruiters get paid.
People are often frustrated at this point - either with being told a recruiter cannot help them, or by getting no contact at all. Recruiters cannot work with everyone, and it doesn't mean you are a bad candidate. All it means is that you have to find other avenues to get to the hiring manager!
Career changers are a great example of people who are often overlooked by recruiters. And recruiters try to explain: "Companies are looking for exactly what they want, not necessarily who is developing new skills and wants to work for them." So most often we'll find career changers very frustrated with recruiters, and perhaps thinking the jobs they have are not real, as they won't be considered for any positions.
Recruiters are not career counselors - they are not being paid to help you conduct a job search. They are actually not paid to meet with you. They are only paid - by the company - to find the right person for the right job. There are other resources to use for career counseling or resume writing services.
So in a bad economy, recruiters see very few jobs, and very specialized jobs that are hard for companies to fill. There are plenty of people looking for jobs, and companies are less willing to pay a fee if they can generate resumes of qualified candidates on their own.
In this situation you might find a recruiter posting a job asking for a special skill knowing that they can approach companies who are regularly looking for people with those talents. There may not be actual openings, but a high likelihood that a company will pay a fee to add to their talent base.
Understanding how recruiters work, how job sites get postings and why, and how everybody is paid, might be away to ease frustration in the job search. Using all the technological tools you can will help with as many effective agents and filters as possible.
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Meet the Jobs Docs
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at Winter, Wyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is a partner and the general manager of the Information Technology search division at Winter, Wyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.