In an article on DailyDot, TikTok user Sam (@ininafere) complained about an apparent fake job listing on Indeed.com. She noticed an opening for a server at her local Chili’s and had hoped to apply for the position. However, and much to her dismay, it didn’t exist.
“Just got off the phone with Chili’s [and] they said they weren’t looking for new servers,” Sam stated on TikTok. She then flipped her camera to show the job listing on Indeed at a New Jersey location.
“It’s not even just them I applied to like 30 places and NOTHING it’s so crazy is it me or inflation,” she wrote.
Other TikTok users chimed in and also complained about not being about to get interviews.
“I was applying and applying to jobs who said they needed people badly and they just won’t get back to me,” one user wrote.
Why does this happen?
1. Company tax breaks
An employer might not reply to a strong applicant because they’re seeking to hire someone in a certain niche for tax purposes. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) rewards employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. In fact, the National Restaurant Association explains how it works in great detail.
Hiring veterans, ex-cons, applicants between the ages of 16 and 18 (summer youth employees), folks with physical or mental disabilities, and applicants living in an “empowerment zone” or “rural renewal county” can sometimes boost companies’ tax deductions.
2. Information collection
Sometimes, curious employers will post a fake job for the sheer purpose of gauging the current talent pool in relation to a position in their company.
What types of applicants will apply for “x” position at “y” company? Would recent college grads be interested if “x” position was open? Would a 70-year-old retiree be interested in a part-time job at “x” company?
So, maybe there’s no job open but a family-owned business wants to test the waters to see what kinds of people are out there. Perhaps some want to know what types of people would be willing to do their jobs and at what rates.
But, isn’t it a waste of money to advertise fake jobs? No. In some cases, the process is totally free because the cost of advertising and promotion can be 100 percent deductible.
3. Database building / Leverage
Piggybacking off the above, a fully-staffed employer might post fake jobs in order to build a strong database of quality people, expecting that a few of her/his current employees will eventually quit or get fired. If you’re a hiring authority, there’s nothing like having good backup.
So, maybe a current employee is performing at a sub-par level yet still getting the job done. A hiring authority might post that person’s job, review the resumes, and decide to keep that employee after not being impressed with the applicant pool or realizing they can’t do any better given the salary and hours for that employee’s position.
Along the same lines, that database can also be used for employer leverage. For instance, Jane doesn’t like the new dress code and quits without giving so much as an hour’s notice. Instead of trying to negotiate with Jane or bending the rules for her, the employer can simply say, “Good riddance! I have a stack of resumes from qualified applicants who have already expressed an interest in your position. You’ll be replaced in three days tops.”
And let’s not forget, in cases where the cost of advertising is 100 percent deductible employers can post fake jobs for little or nothing in cost, so many aren’t taking a big hit by advertising openings year-round.
It’s frustrating for applicants
All of this can be frustrating for unemployed applicants who need jobs NOW yet can’t get an interview even when lowering their standards a bit. Moreover, they lose valuable time when applying for fake positions created for the sheer purpose of satisfying a hiring authority’s curiosity or database building for scenarios that may never play out.
Have you experienced difficulty in getting responses for low-wage job openings?