Phantom Jobs

Career Journal published an article about “Phantom Jobs”.  This is different from the hidden job market whereas the hidden market are jobs that are never advertised to the public, Phantom Jobs are jobs that are posted, but only after a leading candidate has been identified/interviewed/or hired.  A funny example is a job posted by the University of Wisconsin for its Head Football Coach – the new coach was recruited and found through other channels, not the HR site.  I would venture to say that no candidates who applied through the posting were considered for the coaching vacancy.

To help you know if a job posting is a phantom one, tap your network within the company to learn if there are “preferred” candidates.  While it is very hard to uncover this information, asking a contact may reveal insights into the firm’s hiring process.  One can always apply to Phantom postings in case:

  1. the leading candidate does not work out
  2. a decision is made to hire two (and not one) staff
  3. there is a second position (similar in skill level) where a hiring manager may peruse the applicant pool from the first (phantom) job posting

Phantom postings can cause anxiety as you get your hopes up about a promising opportunity – only never to hear from the employer.  Sometimes you can dig around your contacts and find out that you never were in consideration as there was a preferred candidate.  This knowledge does not take any of the sting out of being rejected, but at least you know there was nothing you could have done differently to change the outcome.  All this to say, networking is so incredibly important as you want to be in the know in the earlier stages of the process.


About Kevin Monahan

I have 10+ years experience in coaching clients in their career management and career change efforts. Personal career consulting services combined with employer outreach to help find opportunities for both constituents.
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