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Recruitment Scam 'There is no Job, only Advertisement' - Why? and What You Should Do

Updated on October 14, 2010

I learnt this some years back while helping a friend.

She used to head the marketing division of a leading daily that took out a jobs & career supplement every week.  Although the newspaper was doing well, this particular supplement was lagging (very badly as I recall)

whilst the competition was printing 6-8-12 page supplements, her newspaper was barely able to sell 2 pages worth of advertisements, and yet every week they would print double that number.


dummy ads.


So that future advertisers would look at a healthy, full supplement and be convinced to put their own ads in the newspaper.  It works.
Its the same reason why a barman/ counter staff puts in the first tips in the jar.

so what you ask?

Well, its the same with your recruiter.

In marketing there is a simple enough rule of thumb.
'It has to be seen, to be sold'

the more visible (hence the high decibel advertisements, the placements in stores etc) the higher chances of selling the product.

For a recruiter, business comes from customers (read companies, owners) looking them up.
Most of the recruiters will have a website, will be listed in yellow pages, etc but most one of the most important sources of business is job-sites & newspapers.

candidates are not the only ones who visit these sites.
companies & owners visit these sites to look for recruiters for themselves.

So, if a recruiter needs new business, he/she needs to be featured and needs to look like someone who does a lot of recruitment.  That is why the dummy postings, the advertisements.

So, you as the candidate get really excited, that 'A leading MNC' is looking for someone for a position that is perfect for you. The location is ideal and the package just what you need.  You apply and wait.  Nothing.  You then contact the recruiter and nothing.  You seem to wait for sometime and then come to the conclusion that maybe you were not good enough or that you could have done something differently or better.  you blame yourself.

well, now that you know, dont.

Its not you, its them.

Most job portals sell multiple posting deals and it really is very irritating for a recruiter to have to waste the number of postings that could not be utilized.  hence the flurry of such ads every quarter or year end.

These dummy postings/ ads also serve another purpose.


Recruiters look at these as an opportunity to create a database of profiles that they just might need in the future.  while this is not a bad thing (everyone should plan and act for future opportunities) most of these databases become obsolete very very quickly.

In 3 months, 25% of the database would have either changed their job, company, location or contact details.  Over a year, probably the entire database is useless.  Hence there is no one at the big job sites who are too worried about others copying their database.

Recruiters too dont really go back to their database.  Most of them would also get new team members on an on-going basis and will go back to posting ads, linkedin or head-hunting.  But the love of a database does not seem to abate.

Your resume for that 'perfect' position is really headed for the database.

What can you do about it?

1. Dont apply to every and any position that you see advertised.
I know the electronic medium makes it relatively (monster lets you apply to multiple positions in one click!) easy to do this, but dont.

Choose the ones you want to apply to. Be selective.

2. Look for authenticity.
For obvious reasons ( as a recruiter, if I mention my client's name in the advert, you or another recruiter would contact them directly and I would loose my fee) recruiters will not put up client's names until unless they are exclusively handling the company.
but you can still look for tell-tale signs.
Generic job descriptions, multiple locations, generic email addresses, could point to a dummy ad.

3. Ask for more information
mail a synopsis and ask for more information on the company.
Offer to meet.
A recruiter looking to recruit will deft respond.

A word of caution | Some silly looking adverts may in fact be real jobs, just put up by idiots.
Dont let those opportunities go by, but do not think any less of yourself if you do not get a response.


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    • profile image

      Paul 6 years ago

      So true craigslist,careerbuilder,indeed,snagajob, all post fake jobs.most are phishing for your emial to sell.the fake jobs outnumber the real ones almost 4 to advice? leave the usa. there is nothing left here

    • prabhjotbedi profile image

      Prabhjot Bedi 7 years ago from chandigarh

      @oudini thank you for being honest and frank!

    • profile image

      oudini 7 years ago

      I think that most of the job offers are just for eropeans and there is a lot of discrimination on the shorlisting sorry but I have to say it BEST REGARDS