Hiring On Hold

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I learned about this a while ago, and thought it was evil then. Now it is common business practice. This is where a company advertises for a position that does not exist. The problem for a job applicant is that you cannot tell fake ads from real ones.

As a company, the idea is to make the company look good to investors. If it appears like the company is hiring, then it follows that must be doing well. Investors equate hiring with expansion, and growth. Growth leads to profits for investors. So maybe the company is worth invesing in. If the company talks about a hiring freeze, that sends out a negative message to the market, the stock price tumbles.

It is essentially being dishonest to both investors and portential job applicants, in the hope that the company will get needed investment capital.

Of course, the system collects all of the resumes for later use. If challenged by a job applicant, the company responds that "only those considered will be contacted." If challenged by an investor, the company responds that "we are currently reviewing and interviewing candidates." The theory is that when things turn around, they can go through the pool of resumes for talent. But by the time a lone HR person gets to wade into the pool of resumes, it is likely to be stagnant.

There are even companies that will you can outsource this hiring on hold practice to. Since most companies have slimmed down their HR functions, they may not have the manpower to implement anything such as this. Usually it is done on a fancy website, so no human hands touch the resumes of the hopeful applicants.

Meanwhile, how can you tell if this practice is in place at a company? Well look for the same jobs being advertised every few weeks or so. With the current market, there are ample applicants, and recurring ads indicate they are being ignored. If you know people in your network who work in the company it does not hurt to ask them what is going on. You might even be able to do an end run around all the hiring and get your resume to a real person.