Trends, tactics, and strategies change over time in executive search in Toronto. Employers are always looking for new ways to get an edge over competitors and hire the best people. Posting job ads is nothing new. However, a new trend has emerged online. 

We all remember that ghosting became a company issue a few years ago. Candidates would ghost employers during the recruitment process. Check out 5 Reasons Why You Are Getting Ghosted by Candidates

But now, the shoe is on the other foot. Companies are doing it to candidates. Another type of ghost at play in recruitment is ghost job ads. Did you know that 50% of hiring managers keep job postings active because they’re “always open to new people”

Below, I’ll talk about ghost jobs and why companies post them.

What Is A Ghost Job Ad?

A ghost job ad is a job listing that a company posts online without the intention of actually filling the position. They post jobs or leave them up online as a way to gauge the talent market and stay in the recruitment game during uncertain economic times. 

Ghost ads are certainly unwelcome by job seekers. They think they’ve found a great opportunity and invest time into applying for roles that are not available. 

“Employers post jobs based on the difficulty of finding talent. Too many companies with hiring freezes still have job postings listed. Employers are unsure of the future and have a lot of economic uncertainty. They may be using ghost job postings to gauge the potential talent pool, so they can determine how difficult it would be to replace an employee,” explains Robin Ryan from

Why Do Companies Post Ghost Job Ads?

There are several reasons why employers post ghost job ads. 

  1. To Build Their Talent Pipeline Building: Companies might post ghost job ads to collect resumes and build a pool of potential candidates for future openings.
  2. Perform Candidate Market Research: They want to gauge the availability of certain skills in the job market or see candidate salary expectations.
  3. Perception of the Employer Brand: Posting job ads can give the impression that the company is growing and expanding, which might be beneficial for maintaining a positive public image or attracting investors.
  4. Meet Internal Quotas: Some organizations have internal requirements for the number of job postings or interviews they must conduct, even if there is no immediate need to hire.
  5. Testing Job Ad Effectiveness: Companies might experiment with different job descriptions, titles, and formats to see which ones attract the best candidates when they have actual vacancies.

A Word Of Caution – How Can Posting Ghost Ads Potentially Hurt A Company?

Posting ghost job ads can help companies gather important information about the talent pool in their industry. However, there is a potentially significant negative impact on your employer brand. 

You risk alienating potential candidates. People can develop a negative feeling about your company if they apply for a job and never hear back. They may be less willing to apply for a job again with your company. If this happens to enough talent in your industry, you could develop challenges attracting talent when you are ready to hire and post legitimate job ads. 

Are Ghost Job Ads Illegal In Canada?

The ethical nature of ghost job ads is not the only thing candidates call into question. What about the legality of posting ghost job ads? 

Posting Ghost job ads is not illegal in Canada (currently). However, it may soon be outlawed in Ontario. The Provincial Government is proposing legislation under the Employment Standards Act (ESA) to dissuade employers from ghosting candidates. Volitions of the ESA could result in fines from $50,000 to $100,000. 

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Rhys Metler Sales Recruiter

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a VP, Client Services of IQ PARTNERS‘ Sales practice and leads the SalesForce Search recruitment team. He specializes in prospecting new business relationships, client retention and renewals, and building top performing Sales teams in even the most challenging environments.

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