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Spotting Ghost Jobs - How to Avoid Wasting Time on Nonexistent Positions


Job hunting has become a complex process. The rise of online job boards and company websites has made it easier than ever to apply for jobs. However, this convenience comes with a downside: the proliferation of "ghost jobs" or fake job postings. These are job listings that appear legitimate but are not actually tied to any open positions. This phenomenon is not only frustrating for job seekers but can also distort the reality of the job market.

What are Ghost Jobs?

Ghost jobs are job listings that exist on a company's website or job board, but for which the company is not actively hiring. These phantom postings can lead to a frustrating experience for job seekers who apply and then hear nothing back. They can also skew data in reports like the government's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. If a report indicates 10 million job openings, but a significant number of them are ghost jobs, the job market may not be as robust as it appears.

Why Do Companies Post Ghost Jobs?

A 2022 survey by Clarify Capital found that out of 1,000 managers surveyed, 500 admitted to leaving jobs posted indefinitely, even if no actual hiring was taking place. Companies have various reasons for posting these ghost jobs:

  • Reputation: Open roles can signal that a company is growing, making it appear more successful than it might be.
  • More Options: By continuously accepting applications, a company maintains a pool of potential candidates for when a real opening arises.
  • Motivation: Some managers believe that ghost jobs motivate current employees by suggesting that their positions could be filled by others, thereby reducing the likelihood of employees quitting. Messed up, right?

Distracted Boyfriend Meme

How to Spot Ghost Jobs

While the presence of ghost jobs can be frustrating, there are steps you can take to avoid wasting time on these non-existent positions.

1. Scrutinize the Job Application: Pay attention to how long the job has been posted. If a role has been open for over a month, it could be a red flag. Also, look at the job description. Ghost jobs often have vague descriptions. The more detailed the description, the more likely it is to be a real job.

2. Research the Company: If the company recently had mass layoffs, hiring new employees may not be a priority. Use resources like layoffs.fyi to check the company's status. While mass layoffs don't necessarily mean you should avoid applying, it's a good idea to keep your options open.

3. Check the Contact Information: Ghost job postings often lack specific contact information. If the listing only provides a generic email address and no specific contact person, it could be a ghost job. If you go to sites like LinkedIn or Twitter, you should be able to find the Head of the department. If you do, It's ok to reach out to validate whether or not the job is legitimate!

4. Look for Personalization: Real job postings often include the name of the hiring manager or the person who will be conducting interviews. Ghost job postings are usually more generic.

5. Too Good to Be True: If the job seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of jobs that offer high pay for little work or require no experience for a high-level position. Jobs that are often too good to be true lean heavier on sites like Craigslist and Twitter where less moderation is given.

6. Check for Company Updates: Companies active in the web3 space often have active blogs, Twitter accounts or news sections on their websites. Check these for recent updates or announcements. A company that regularly updates its news section is more likely to have real job postings. (Don't forget to look to see If the ENTIRE account is active. Just because a company has 50K followers on Twitter doesn't mean the followers are real. Scroll through their profile and check out the engagement).

7. Look for Specific web3 Language: Real web3 job postings will likely use specific language related to blockchain, cryptocurrencies, or specific platforms.

8. Check for Active Social Media Presence: Companies in the web3 space often have active social media accounts where they share updates and interact with their community. If a company's social media accounts are inactive or non-existent, it might be a red flag.

9. Look for Clear Job Responsibilities: Real job postings in the web3 space will have clear responsibilities related to specific tasks in blockchain development, cryptocurrency management, or other web3 technologies.

10. Check for Realistic Job Requirements: Real web3 jobs will have realistic requirements. If a job posting requires only basic computer skills but promises a high salary, it's likely a ghost job.

11. Check the Company's Smart Contract: If the company is in the web3 space, it might have a smart contract on the blockchain. You can check this contract for activity. A company with an active smart contract is more likely to have real job postings.

12. Look for Community Engagement: Real web3 companies often have active communities on platforms like Discord or Telegram. If a company has an active community, it's more likely to have real job postings.

13. Check for Company Partnerships: Real web3 companies often have partnerships with other companies in the space. If a company lists partnerships with well-known web3 companies, it's more likely to have real job postings.

14. Look for Company Reviews: Websites like Glassdoor offer reviews of companies by current and former employees. If a company has many negative reviews or no reviews at all, it might be a red flag.

15. Check for Company Presence at Events: Real web3 companies often participate in industry events, meetups, or conferences. If a company has a presence at these events, it's more likely to have real job postings.

Navigating the job market can be challenging, especially with the rise of ghost jobs. However, by being vigilant and doing your due diligence, you can avoid wasting time on nonexistent positions and focus on real opportunities.

In the web3 and AI space, finding real job opportunities can be even more challenging due to the rapidly evolving nature of the industry. That's where metaintro's newsletter and Discord come in. These platforms provide a curated list of real job opportunities in the web3 and AI space, helping you navigate the job market with confidence.

Remember, while the job market can be daunting, there are plenty of real opportunities out there. Stay vigilant, keep learning, and don't let ghost jobs deter you from your career goals.

Happy job hunting!


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