RadioBDC Logo
Afterlife | Arcade Fire Listen Live
< Back to front page Text size +

Postings - are they real jobs?

Posted by Elaine Varelas  December 25, 2008 10:28 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

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.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

16 comments so far...
  1. Could it be that Craigslist postings are similar to

    Posted by Anonymous December 29, 08 10:43 AM
  1. Comment #1...what are you talking about?

    Posted by Anon December 29, 08 12:57 PM
  1. Actually, Job Doc -- a lot of entry-level jobs on Monster, etc. are for "interviews" with "companies." Once you arrive, you're told that you have to pay into a Multi-Level Marketing scheme or buy $300 worth of supplies up front, or it's a group interview that's really a sales pitch for door-to-door magazine sales. I fell for that when I was a senior in high school, but have since learned the red flags for such postings. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    Posted by Notsellingamway December 29, 08 12:59 PM
  1. I always sort by company; then you can easily scrowl though the agencies. The author of this article is right, tho, recruiters are salesmen, if they don't think they can sell you, they move on.

    Posted by Sam December 29, 08 01:34 PM
  1. i think is similar to i get very frustrated when i apply for a job at thinking it's a "real" job and turns out that it isn't the exact job posted on the site. in fact, the job posting is just to get your information and the recruiting company will talk to you about an entirely different position. i know the economy is very bad nowadays, but there are people out there who wants to get a decent job and want to know that the jobs they are applying for will be that, the exact job they applied for. so frustrating!

    Posted by haddie December 29, 08 04:49 PM
  1. I've just completed a three month job search where I found this to be very true. Not only do these sites post positions that don't exist, they also post ones that are scams as another respondent points out.
    In addition, some fee sites such as "The Ladders", also fall into this category. They'll try to justify the cost by offering other career services, but these too add little to know value to a professional job search.
    The only site I've found success with is "Linked In". I found the job posting to be real and the networking extremely effective in assisting me to land interviews.

    Posted by Kevin December 29, 08 06:06 PM
  1. I agree. I applied to a job posting on Craigslist that turned out to be an agency ad . The recruiter told me they were down to the final 3 interviews, but would keep me in mind for other positions (which have yet to materialize). Some agencies will put wording in that says "This is a representative listing of current openings ..." so you can at least avoid them, but not many do. It's getting very frustrating to find actual job postings out there!

    Posted by Martys Mom December 30, 08 12:31 PM
  1. It's been my experience that the vast majority of recruiters wouldn't know a qualified candidate if one walked up and bit them. I myself have been told, upon arriving at a recruiter's boiler ro.. I mean office that the position that they indicated they wanted to consider me for had actually been filled before they called me.

    Recruiting is one area that desperately needs either an industry organization to enforce standards (along the lines of "don't lie to candidates", "don't talk about jobs you don't have", "don't pay your recruiters by the number of warm bodies they get in the door") or government regulation.

    Posted by RecruitersStink December 30, 08 04:43 PM
  1. "Reputable recruiters do not post fake jobs. The practice of harvesting resumes to develop a database is frowned upon by the industry. "

    Then how do you account for the SAME 'position' being available WEEK in and WEEK out through 'reputable' recruiters - i.e. the national ones that can afford to spend money on ads?

    Of course these firms harvest resumes - that is one of the ways they measure recruiter effectiveness - how many potential candidates they bring in.

    Posted by NHMike December 31, 08 07:58 AM
  1. "Reputable recruiters do not post fake jobs... 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."

    Why not to post only real company opening? Maybe because they are not exists at all and recruiters have sick imagination?

    It could be nice to sue recruiters for posting fake job. It is sort of false advertisement. Imaginary job creates misleading hopes to be able to land in some areas where there is no progress whatsoever only distraction of everything all around. Liars must be exposed and punished.

    Posted by Leo January 2, 09 11:58 AM
  1. Remember folks, the Globe has a partnership with Monster. It's in the Globe's interest not to bite a hand that feeds it. You aren't going to get any objective information about recruiters and their shady ways from this site.

    Posted by Roger Wilco January 5, 09 07:17 PM
  1. Hey Kevin, it's "little to no" not "little to know." If your grammar on your resume is similar, that may be part of why you can't find a job!

    Posted by i don't hire people who can't write January 6, 09 02:42 PM
  1. Yes, recruiters and agencies post fake jobs. It's rampant in Silicon Valley, CA job boards. See
    "Recruiters pretend to be finding you a job, but actually they are just gathering data for their database. They post fake job requirements on the internet just to build a database of resumes. They acquiring resumes for no other purpose but to research the companies listed on them. They ask for your references just to get contacts. They ask for your salary history just to gather statistics on what certain jobs pay. They will tell you that you are not right for a job they posted, then ask you if you know anybody else who might have similar qualifications.

    Posted by Sue R. January 13, 09 10:35 PM
  1. We are already a billion!

    The number of the Internet users overcomed psychologicly important limit - a billion! This information can be found in the report of U.N.O., named "About informational economy". Amasing grow of the Internet continues, its number of users grew to 20%. First place is occupied by USA (200 million users), China (111 million users), Japan (85 million users).

    Posted by Tessrarejeori February 2, 09 05:24 PM
  1. I just stumbled on this post. I am a corporate recruiter - I work directly for the employer and do not receive comissions on my placements. I have found that there are many second tier job sites that use automated bots to scan Monster and other major job boards to make it look like their site has many paid job postings.
    I ofen get inquiries from candidates saying that they saw my posting on a site that I never posted to. These postings are often old and my original position was filled long ago.

    Posted by Anonymous June 3, 09 04:06 PM
  1. I have been tricked by Monster' job posting. They want my phone number and then I get calls from all kinds of companies.I think they are selling all our personal info and that is a fraud.I do not trust them at all.

    Posted by Norma November 24, 09 05:54 AM

about this blog

From looking for a job to dealing with the one you have, our Job Docs are here to answer your employment-related questions.

e-mail your question

Your question/comment:

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 WinterWyman, 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 Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. 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.