How to Combat Fake Job Postings, Ghosting, and Drawn-Out Interview Processes

Great Resumes Fast » Job Search » How to Combat Fake Job Postings, Ghosting, and Drawn-Out Interview Processes

The job market is tougher than it looks right now. The Wall Street Journal reports that the games employers play with job seekers are wreaking havoc on their self-worth. Companies are posting fake jobs to create a pipeline of candidates, drawing out interview processes, and ghosting candidates. These actions leave great candidates in the lurch, exhausted and defeated, trying to beat a system that there’s no way to win. In fact, the only way to fight the games is to stop playing them. I will show you how to combat the fake job postings, ghosting, and drawn-out interview processes that are overwhelming you. 

In this article, I’ll share a step-by-step method for job searching that helps you avoid fake job postings, ghosting, and long waits by making the right connections.

Let’s jump in.

How to Combat Fake Job Postings, Ghosting, and Drawn-Out Interview Processes

The First Step is to Create a Target List

In his book, The 2-Hour Job Search, Steve Dalton outlines his method for creating a L.A.M.P. list. It stands for List, Advocacy, Motivation, and Posting. You’re creating a list of 40 target companies and then prioritizing them based on whether you have a contact or alumni within the company, how motivated you are to work for them, and whether they have open postings. 

Creating a list of 40 seems like an easy task, but I assure you that it’s not. When I sat down to create my own list following his method, I could list about 10 companies before I started drawing a blank. That’s when I had to get creative. 

On your target list, include:

  1. Dream Employers
  2. Companies where alumni work
  3. Companies in your industry with openings on Indeed or LinkedIn
  4. Trending companies who are in the news

I teach my Job Seeker Central group members how to organize their list so they have a list of companies to target and know how to find contacts for each company who will respond. We also have templates and scripts inside Job Seeker Central that simplify networking and initial outreach.

The Second Step is to Initiate Outreach

Before initiating your outreach efforts, you must identify two starter contacts for each company and understand that not everyone will respond. This is really important because it’s easy to think that it’s not working when you send a message or two and don’t get a response. In reality, most job seekers will apply to hundreds of positions online, get no responses, and keep going, thinking eventually, it will work. This strategy is different and has much better results.

For every message you send, 20-40% of people will reply, or 2-4 out of 10.

Online applications only have a 1% response rate. You’d have to submit 100 applications to get one reply.

So hang in there, adjust your expectations, and while it may seem counterproductive, remind yourself that your outreach efforts will have a much higher response rate than all those applications.

Who are you reaching out to?

While I encourage job seekers to message hiring managers and recruiters before and after applying for a job (especially when the person is listed in the job posting), I’m not including them in our outreach efforts. Instead, we’re going to identify starter contacts based on the following criteria:

They work at your target company and…

  1. They’re in a functionally relevant role
  2. Fellow alumni or affinity group member
  3. 1-2 levels above where you want to start
  4. Internally promoted
  5. Unique name

LinkedIn is your greatest resource for research. I teach my Job Seeker Central members exactly how to use LinkedIn to identify contacts, hiring managers, alumni, and others who would be ideal for your outreach efforts. If you’re looking for more instructions on finding and connecting or messaging, I  recommend checking out the membership for those templates and how-to videos.

The Third Step is Making the Request

What exactly are you requesting? You’re asking for an informational interview. Not for a job.

Why are you trying to schedule informational interviews? So you can gather information about trends, insights, advice, resources, and assignments. 

Here are the guidelines for your e-mail:

  1. Keep it less than 75 words.
  2. Make sure over half of those words are about the contact, not you.
  3. State your connection to them first. Any common connection points (alumni, past employer, volunteer group, location, etc.)
  4. Ask for insight and advice. Not job leads.
  5. Make your request in the form of a question. End with a question mark.
  6. Share your interest narrowly and broadly.

Once you’ve made the request and received a reply, start preparing for the informational interview. 

Conduct external research. 

  • Google the company and interviewer
  • Check out the news headlines on the company website
  • Review investor relations pages
  • Check out the Company and person’s LinkedIn page.

Prep for the popular four questions everyone asks:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work for our organization?
  • Why do you want to work in this role?
  • Why do you want to work in this industry?

Inside Job Seeker Central we offer scripts, templates, and group coaching support to help you through informational interviews. I get it can be hard to take broad advice and apply it practically to your unique situation. I try to be as actionable as possible in my advice, but if you need additional support, I encourage you to check out Job Seeker Central. It’s designed to offer personalized help with your search at an affordable monthly rate vs. expensive coaching commitments.

Finally, Remember to Follow Up

Once the informational interview is complete, follow up with your contact. Don’t let the relationship shrivel up. If a referral is offered during the meeting, commit and schedule yourself to follow up in two weeks. 

If a referral is not offered during the meeting, close the meeting and commit to following up with job search updates at regular intervals. 

You should add to your calendar any contacts you’ve made at each of your target companies and follow up with them on a monthly basis for as long as your job search progresses. It’s even a great idea to email them an update when you land and thank them for their assistance. Everyone likes to get an update with good news, especially when they take the time to contribute to your search efforts.

One last tip: If you see a role at one of your target companies and you’ve had an informational interview with a contact there before you submit your application, reach out and let them know you will apply. Ask for any advice or insights on anything you may want to include in your cover letter, etc. This keeps the lines of communication open, and they may offer to refer you in or speak to the hiring manager on your behalf. 

This whole method is designed to move you away from submitting endless applications online and shift you toward activities that will produce more results in your search and with companies you actually want to work for. You won’t have to worry about fake job postings and ghosting when you have an advocate in the company providing a referral, or you hear about a role before it gets posted because you have an inside contact. 

  1. Go where the jobs are: Research hiring and growth trends to see who is hiring and where. What industries are taking off, which are slowing down. For instance, tech is taking a big hit right now others like healthcare and education are growing.
  1. If you do use job boards, invest your time on ones where companies have to pay big $ to post. They’re less likely to waste money on “fake’ jobs. Spend less time on job post aggregate sites as they pull jobs from many different websites and will contain more fake and outdated postings.
  1. Focus on where hiring is happening right now. It’s not always the largest companies that are doing all the hiring. Small-to-medium-sized companies make up 99% of all businesses and employ 40-66% of most of a state’s employees. If you’ve been targeting large corporations only, consider diversifying the size of the companies you are applying to or reaching out to. 

Feel like it’s time to get some additional support in your job search? Consider joining Job Seeker Central, where you can access recruiter contact lists, templates, and scripts for contacting hiring managers and recruiters, and group coaching to answer all your job search questions.

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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!

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