Why do staffing agencies place job ads for positions that don’t exist? People who disagree with this practice may say it’s unethical and misleading. Those who engage in the practice will tell you it’s a necessary part of business, not designed to deceive but to prepare for imminent job orders. Like most issues, gaining perspective can change the way we view a situation.
Ghost posting – that is, advertisements enticing workers to apply for non-specific positions – applies mainly to temporary work. Permanent job openings usually come with so many specifics attached to the qualifications and experience desired, they don’t lend themselves to recruiting in advance. Temporary work, on the other hand, is usually focused on an identified skill set for a short time period – like data entry for 3 months, or warehouse workers assigned to a 6-week reorganization project.
Agencies are expected to be both thorough and speedy: two qualities that don’t always go well together. In order to make things work, we post jobs in advance so that when the call comes in from our client, we are ready to begin phoning a pool of prescreened, interviewed workers. The time to recruit for a temporary work order is before the phone rings, not after.
Honesty is a key component to building and maintaining a good reputation. So how does an agency employ ghost posting with integrity?
In one word: transparency.
Applicants should expect to see wording like this: “Recruiting for upcoming temporary work orders from multiple clients”. This gives potential recruits the opportunity to decide whether or not to invest their time.