An email discussion with Elaine prompted my blog item this week. Last’s week’s thread ended up having some fun discussion.
Elaine: Do you think search firms are posting ads for jobs that don’t exist so that when the economy turns around, they have a pool of resumes to search among?Â
Dave: If anyone is doing that they are doing nothing more than learning an expensive lesson. That would be just plain stupid. That said, I am sure someone IS doing that somewhere. My guess is that bigger companies in search or staffing or any field are more likely to do that than smaller ones and some probably do it all the time and not just in times like this.Â I firmly believe that experienced recruiters from companies in the industry average 1 to 5 person sized companies are not doing this because they are too busy trying to make a placement happen.
Elaine: Is this really the case or are job hunters just assuming ads are bogus because they aren’t getting called for interviews? If these do exist, how can job hunters tell them apart from ads for positions available right now? Does it pay for job hunters to apply anyway?
Dave: I had not heard that job hunters were assuming job postings are bogus. That’s probably the knee-jerk reaction anyone would have if they didn’t get called. Back when I had some experience with postings and responses around 1999 to 2001 I found the vast majority of respondents to be stunningly unqualified for the positions they applied for. I don’t even use boards anymore but I talk with people who do and it seems like nothing has changed.
I’d guess most jobs are real when they are posted but consider this.Â
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If, say, IBM needs a Java software engineer and they post the need on their website and they give it also to the, oh, maybe 100 people on their ‘approved vendor list’ who also then turn around and rewrite it a bit and post it on their own site and aggregators like indeed.com and boards like Top Echelon it now looks like there are a couple hundred software jobs. So even if an actual Java software engineer replies to only 20 of them and hears nothing because of all the noise and dilution he thinks it is fakeâ€¦Then consider that it is probably being mostly responded to by some COBOL veteran who wants to work for IBM so he can LEARN Java.
To tell you the truth Elaine, I hope this never changes. It is just job security for those of us who do what we are paid to do.
As for the part about whether it pays to apply anywayâ€¦I just can’t think of any response to that that I would want to see and claim 5 years from now. I’ll put it this wayâ€¦as useless as I think it is, I’d probably do it myself if I were in their shoes. I’d just treat it the same as I do when I pray for that 7 to make my inside straight. (i.e. ain’t gonna happen and I have no right to ask).