The Phantom Menace of the Job Market

By: James Flippin · May 23, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Unseen Unemployment

The job market has been historically tight for over a year now. But is it as saturated with opportunity as it seems? Or is it really a shadow of its former self?

The rise of so-called “ghost jobs” suggests the latter. Ghost jobs are positions advertised on various job platforms that draw in hopeful applicants with the promise of employment but do not indicate a genuine intention to hire. These listings are not just a nuisance for job seekers. They also misrepresent the actual state of the job market.

Ghost of a Chance

A 2022 study revealed that over 27% of 1,000 surveyed hiring managers confessed to leaving phantom postings online, unmonitored and unresponsive, for four or more months.

Ghost job postings can erode trust in the job market and dampen morale for those applying to numerous positions without hearing back. They can also distort the true number of available opportunities in the US, impacting decisions of job seekers and policy makers alike.

AI’s Impact on Hiring

The emergence of AI isn’t contributing to the prevalence of ghost jobs, but it is still making an impact on the hiring process. Many companies automate portions of the hiring process. Even job platforms like LinkedIn (MSFT), Indeed (RCRUY), and ZipRecruiter (ZIP) use AI to filter applicants. So standing out in today’s job search may mean impressing an algorithm rather than a hiring manager.

On the flip side, the new hiring landscape can advantage job seekers, too. AI tools can be leveraged to help job seekers with difficult parts of the hunt, such as drafting cover letters, formatting resumés, and preparing for interviews. Additionally, due to the prevalence of layoffs and the difficulty of filling a new position, employment gaps on a resume are no longer the stigma they once were.

The prospect of applying to a fake open job can be scary and disheartening — but anyone who has watched Scooby-Doo knows ghosts are rarely as scary as they seem.

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