Right Or Wrong: “Recruiters Advertise Fake Jobs”

Recruiters advertise fake jobs | Jorg Stegemann | My Job ThoughtsOften right – though it is illegal to do so in some countries. Yet many agencies put ads on the net that are completely made up and neither the job nor the company exist (at least recruiters who work on success fees and who have to build a “candidate pool”).

I read and hear again and again that candidates complain that when they met their recruiter, the job “was gone”, had “just been filled” or more bluntly “does not exist” and had the aim “to attract candidates”.

None of these explanations and especially not the last one proves superior intelligence or tact of the recruiter. But the fact as such is OK:

In my job, for instance, 80% of my business goes around 5 jobs: senior accountant, controller, manager accounting, manager controlling, CFO. And that’s it. This means that if I meet a top CFO who is currently looking for a new job and I don’t have one today, I will always invite him/ her (with the right explanation of course but – alas – not everyone is like this…). I know that if I don’t have the right job today, the team and I will do everything we can to have this job tomorrow as it is clearly in our core business.


Yes, some recruiters will put sexy job ads on their homepage to get YOUR resume for a job does not exist or has almost been filled in 2004 by a colleague who has left the company in the meantime. But then, if they are ready to spend one hour with you, they do so because they firmly believe they can “place” you. So don’t have too high expectations on the job you applied for, be sharp but go there nevertheless.

PS: My commitment to you is to be honest and to debunk the secrets of my profession: If my dead body will be found, cut in pieces, on the parking lot of a cheap motel on a freeway in South France, it was one of my competitors…

  1. Hossein Reply

    I liked that. That’s what I have felt many time… although I’ve never noticed any further action in my case

    • Dana Reply

      I agree with you. Now I wonder how many of the roles I have applied for in the past 5 weeks are actually genuine. I spend a considerable amount of time filing in applications and ‘tweaking’ my CV and Cover Letter to make them appealing to companies looking to hire. Very rarely I get any sort of feedback from them. Looks like these days, getting a job interview is a stroke of luck.

  2. Alissa Reply

    am experiencing some ‘trickery’ techniques from using job boards. My phone is exploding with calls from mysterious 800 numbers, even though I specifically posted my contact information as “anonymous”. And potential “employers” using similar mystery techniques in job description to lure the candidate to interview; yet, they have no web site, etc. I had a recruiter call me yesterday so excited about my “great credentials” only to send me a follow-up e-mail calling me “Pat” in his salutation. The credibility of these web sites is in great question, and I will likely withdraw soon. So tired of insurance companies and a myriad of others calling, but not legitimate business opportunities suitable to my credentials.

    I have been following your posts for a while now, Jorg, and just want to mention that you are truly a “breath of fresh air” in the recruiter world. I love your values, ethics, and posts you share.

    • Jorg Stegemann Reply

      Thanks, Alissa, for sharing your experience and for the kind words!

  3. Mahmud Reply

    Jorg Stegemann is truly a breath of fresh air as described above by Alissa. Let us hope it works in a stampede of dishonest people around you in the recruitment business. I am not entirely in recruitment business. My firm has done studies in management for banks, corporations and oil companies. We have done some recruitment under contracts with multi-national oil companies, and I cannot ever think of indulging in such practices.

  4. Alissa Reply

    Jorg, it appears that you have a little fan club here! I am sure that many more people feel the same way about you.

    I heard someone refer to the job market as a “war zone”. I am sure it is very hard from the recruiter / hiring manager side, too. I applied for a job on CareerBuilder the other day, and once the position was closed out, they showed that 843 people had applied for it from distances as far as 400 miles (and the job was nothing special). No wonder people have long gaps in unemployment! There simply are not enough jobs to go around. And to think that I am replying to a “fake ad”.

    Jorg, how does a job seeker detect that it is a fake ad? What signs do we look for?

    • Jorg Stegemann Reply

      Alissa, thanks and this is hard to tell. I can be sexy job titles but then, I put ads which are called “Director Controlling Blue Chip” or “High Potential XYZ” and my ads are 100% true.

      A valid indicator can be that the recruiter is not able to answer clearly on questions on the company or is very evasive.

      But then again, as I wrote it: a recruiter who invites you for an interview does so because s/he thinks that s/he can generate a fee with you…

  5. Dino Reply

    True, so true… filling the database…

    There are enough recruiting firms that say they have a vacancy at company X, but they don’t. They will use your resume to contact that company because they have a good candidate…

    If that company does not want to work with that recruiting agency, eventhough your resume is a 100% match for that vacancy, your chance with that company could be gone…

  6. Tony Reply

    Based on my experience, some do and some don’t. My firm in NYC did not. However, it was very easy for us to build an “inventory” quickly in a metro-area will a high population density of skilled workers. However, isn’t finding a job….a numbers game? Is there really such thing as a bad interview? Don’t get me wrong: misrepresenting openings is just as egregious as misrepresenting oneself on a resume.

  7. Brendan Reply

    I am a little outraged by recruiters advertising fake jobs. It’s a good strategy for them, I suppose, but it seems wrong.

    • Jorg Stegemann Reply

      Brendan, thanks. I agree…

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