Why do organizations post job ads for jobs that don’t exist?

Here’s a problem that I have heard about many times. Basically, there is a job ad up on job boards for a position, but the company is not using that job ad to recruit anyone.

How common are job ads anyways?

Around 32 % of the companies in Sweden use job ads to find employees, but that number is a bit inflated. Why? Because that number is all the companies that have used job ads as a part of their recruitment process. It doesn’t meant that 32 % hired someone from a job ad.

While 32 % are using job ads, 60 % are using informal connections, 45 % are using Arbetsförmedlingen, etc. In other words, companies are using several recruitment channels for one job. This is why you also should use several channels to find a job.

Sometimes the job ad is a policy or law

Some organizations have a policy to always publish a job ad when they are hiring someone. Personally, I think this is a good policy to have. Many organizations I talk to tell me they only use informal networks to hire new people. Using that approach will dramatically limit the applicants that the organization receive. Even if a person is well connected in an industry, there will always be some people that the person doesn’t know or reach. In some government organization, this is not only a policy but also a law. They need to publish the job ad in order to hire someone new.

Candidates that employees refer are generally better candidates

But, in many cases there might be an internal candidate or a person that is referred by a person in the organization. In general, a person that is referred by someone inside of the organization is:

  • cheaper to hire
  • faster to hire
  • faster to onboard
  • will stay in the job longer
  • the person that referred the candidate will also tend to stay longer in the company.

For more information about employee referrals, see this post.

It is important to mention though that these types of job ads are an exception rather than a rule. Most companies will source candidates from the job ads.

What you can do

What you should always strive for is to build informal connections with people inside of companies. As I said, people referred by people inside of the company is a very good way for the company to recruit because it saves money and will more often lead to a good hire. This is why networking is such an important part of job hunting.

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