The Sneaky Hiring Practice That's Keeping You From Getting That 'Open' Job, According to Experts

The Sneaky Hiring Practice That's Keeping You From Getting That 'Open' Job, According to Experts


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July 14, 2024 at 7:17AM UTC

You’re averaging about 50 job applications a day — or at least, that’s what it feels like — and out of this pool, a handful have turned into interviews. Of this percentage, an even smaller number feel like actually promising opportunities. But that’s OK! All it takes is one job, after all, to get you back into a satisfying place in your career. 

Unfortunately, an aggravating pattern emerges among these seemingly promising job leads. After a few rounds of interviews, the hiring manager (if they aren’t ghosting or breadcrumbing you altogether) ultimately writes to let you know that they’ve gone with an internal candidate.

In a way, you feel like this info should soften the blow. If it came down to being between you and someone who already works for the company, you tell yourself, of course they went with the internal candidate. This isn’t something you can justifiably be upset over, right? 

Of course, it begs the question: if the company already had an internal hire lined up, was your candidacy ever actually truly considered to begin with? 

And if jobs are simply being posted as formalities, what does this mean for job seekers?

According to women on FGB, interviewing for a role only to be told it’s going to an internal candidate is, unfortunately, a widespread pattern.

“I've come to the upsetting revelation that some job postings are not for open positions,” one FGB’er shared anonymously. “Reasons I've heard are that the job needs to be publicly posted to show that there was a search, and the position is filled by an internal employee or someone else already in mind; or the company is collecting resumes for later. I think the first reason already existed before COVID. And don't get me wrong — I would be happy to hear that a company was able to retain or call back an employee into a different position — I just wish it wasn't posted for me to see! The ‘later’ reason doesn't make sense to me either. Why refer to a batch of stale resumes later? Er, that is, if ‘later’ ever comes?”

The woman, who says she’s “lost so much sleep” applying to jobs in today’s uncertain climate, added that this trend of jobs having been posted simply as a formality is making her search that much more frustrating. 

“I feel so defeated and unmotivated knowing that some percentage of these were not even actual openings.”

“Doesn't HR know how time-consuming and mentally draining applying for jobs is?” she asked. “How can they treat job seekers like this? As if we aren't busy enough!”

In the end, this job seeker has decided to start asking hiring managers directly about the true status of so-called “open” roles. But even this hasn’t helped much.

“I've had the luck ONCE of getting my time saved, not applying to a post for a job that actually wasn't open; my rate of responses from people inside companies is low,” she said, signing-off her post with the words “desperate and pissed.”

If you’re a job seeker who doesn’t want your time wasted or your hopes gotten up with falsely "open" roles, what can you do?

Jackie Ghedine, an FGB VIP and a life and career coach with the Resting Mind, responded with some suggestions. 

“All is not lost — instead, adjust how you search for a job,” Ghedine advised. “Use every networking connection you have to let people know of the position you are looking to obtain. Be very succinct and specific on what you want to make it easy for someone to recommend you.  Reach out to people within organizations you're interested in to see if you can have a virtual coffee with them; so many people are kind and will take the time to chat.”

Additionally, if you’ve exhausted your LinkedIn network, Ghedine recommends “finding ways to expand your network naturally” (including by building your connections on FGB!).

“Think about getting involved with associations or connect with your alumni group,” she said. 

For more advice, head to the original post.

This article was written by a FGB Contributor.

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