A year ago I saw a very interesting job post. The same post exists even now. Is it possible they didn't find the right candidate this long? I see the same happens for other companies to, they post the same positions over and over, while applicants are more than 500, the job finder site provide those kind of informations.

A friend of mine told me this might happens for advertising reasons, they announce that they hiring to show that they are robust companies, where they don't actually need any new manpower.

  • 2
    Another reason is job sites not taking down the ad fast enough, when it is already fulfilled. I've seen lags of months on less reputable sites.
    – user8036
    Jan 2 '14 at 7:34
  1. I guess mostly they forgot to remove this ad (may be auto re-posting by the job site according to the job posting package company bought).
  2. To show the company status. usually most of the banks do this for show they are in good health. specially public listed companies (we can call this fake ads)
  3. They may use this to attract the new job seekers. based on get a lot. hire a one (no multiple ads, but one long term ad).
  4. Company has multiple vacancies. (Think bank start the business in a new country. So they need more and more peoples)
  5. They use this as backup.(usually only few Sys Admins are in a company. but they are critical. they need quick recruitment if existing one leaving)
  6. If this is a superb level job such as country manager for Google. Then, they may cannot find the right candidate yet.
  7. There is no someone in the world that matching to there requirement (Something like, We are looking for a Red Indian Lady Doctor experience with C++, Nuclear Tec, Dancing and Construction Management, Salary is $1000,0000 per month).
  • 8) They have unrealistic expectations. There's a local one I see periodically, I've e-mailed with the guy. Am I interested in mostly equity on a project that I consider very unlikely to be successful? Mar 10 '15 at 22:54
  • I know a guy in deep water seismic analysis. He (at one time) helped source people for a project (long finished). They were willing to pay, but after the details were laid bare, after eight months a professional in the industry (and a rock-star level pro at that) commented, there's like four guys in the world that have worked on that area with those credentials, and I know that two of them aren't looking. Sometimes the right combo of "requirements" can leave you no (or nearly no) interested candidates.
    – Edwin Buck
    Nov 11 '15 at 4:54

Companies will post "false" long term job advertisements for a number of reasons. The most common reason is that they are fully staffed and have no need, but are making a strategic decision to leave the job posting up to ensure they don't let a once in a lifetime opportunity pass them up.

Job in IT are becoming more and more specialized lately, meaning that some positions are incredibly hard and/or expensive to fill. By always having a job posting up for a highly specialized job, they ensure that if that perfect person comes around they will jump on hiring them, even if they have adequate staff already. They are not looking for a person with 90% of the required skills, they are looking for a person with 110% of the required skills and nearly all of the recommended skills and experiences.

Another common reason for this is for competitive reasons. A company may want to look active and ambitious to potential investors, clients and the competition. Having a large number of job advertisements public give the impression that you have some ambitious projects in the works or that you are ramping up for something big.

A common reason in the United States for this practice of posting a large number of jobs advertisements that are highly specialized is to satisfy H1B requirements under the law. Many US corporations seek to import cheap foreign labor with H1B visas, however the law requires these companies to make an effort to fill the job with local talent first. By posting a large number of highly specialized jobs, they ensure that it is impossible for the local job market to meet their hiring needs for what they consider a fair market wage. This allows them under the law to import cheap foreign labor at the expense of local talent that desperately wants that job and may have 90% of the required skills and experience.

  • 4
    +1 for the H1B requirements, see this appalling video for a real lawyer detailing how to skirt the spirit of the law...youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU
    – daaxix
    Jan 2 '14 at 16:29
  • 2
    similarly in the Netherlands government agencies by law must publish all openings, even if they are known to have already been filled by internal promotions. As there's usually an entire chain of promotions at the same time, dozens of positions can get listed where there's only a single opening, that of the most junior position in the chain.
    – jwenting
    Jan 3 '14 at 17:22

There are four scenarios to consider:

First is that the company is a awful place to work, and people give up and bail out quickly. One hint of this is "fast moving environment which rapidly changing priorities". If you see something like this for work that normally requires thought and takes time to do, it's dysfunctional. You won't do any better there than the string of ex-s they already have.

Second is that the organization can't describe what they want and can't evaluate a candidate in any meaningful way. I saw a job posting running for ten years that was obviously for a programmer, but beyond that I couldn't figure out what they wanted. I now have that job, because what they needed in part was someone that could 'read user's minds'. Not that I can, but I have the strategy to learn what they need.

Third, if the job has 20 'Requirements', and each is reasonably specific, they may be eliminating every candidate in the country. They can't find anyone because they're expecting some kind of 'super-employee' that, if they exist at all, are making a lot of money working for a very appreciative employer.

Forth - location, pay, environment. I saw an ad for an instrumentation programmer in Edmonton Canada working in an 'oil upgrading' refinery that belonged to the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Dubai. Normally such people would be found on the US Gulf Coast, working for a US major oil company. A US candidate would first have to situate themselves in Canada, second figure out whether working for a Middle Eastern employer is better or worse than an American one, and third figure out whether they can handle the role. This is a big risk given the distances and uncertainties involved.

  • They might also be "constantly expanding and looking for new talent" in the same category, and simply leaving the existing ad open because it's cheaper than placing a new one every week or so. Or they leave it open as a real ad, a basis for people to use to find them for open applications (which could explain a vaguely described job profile).
    – jwenting
    Jan 2 '14 at 5:19
  • @jwenting - There are a broad collection of 'we're constantly looking' - these tend to hint at collections of major areas - 'Java, Oracle, Web Services, Apps' - for example. Generally these are for multiple positions and a 'band of roles' - I.e. Senior Developer, Developer, Senior DBA, etc. My examples above deal with more specific listings - generally recruiting for a single position. I saw a posting in the LinkedIn PostGreSQL group where someone had been trying to hire a PostGreSQL administrator in San Francisco and hadn't gotten a single reply. Jan 2 '14 at 6:07
  • One thing to be very careful of is, if you apply for a rather generic post at a "we're constantly expanding" company and get interviewed, that what you get offered is what you thought you were applying for... particularly bad is when the ad dangles a job-of-a-lifetime in front of you, but when the contract arrives it's for a more junior post. Jan 6 '14 at 16:03
  • @MeredithPoor, while all the answers given here are correct. I personally want to thank you for mentioning the hint of an awful place as "fast moving environment...". This is key in a job hunt, is looking for these subtle hints. I am job hunting now, but I always put a job ad that says "fast paced", "fast moving" in my rearview right away, because they are signaling its an awful place and also because I know myself. I need to be able to focus and ensure my code is clean before shipping, "fast paced" sounds like somebody is going to be rushing me.
    – Daniel
    Nov 15 '17 at 12:18

Would another possibility be that the company did find someone but they left after being with the company for some months and thus they have an opening again? Some companies may have issues with employee turnover and thus may be looking for people to fill a role on a regular basis periodically. The positions may be filled some of the time as the company may either grow or have staff retention issues.

The on-line systems may take hundreds of applicants though what percent are qualified for the position? Even among the qualified candidates how well does the company interview to find people that are a good fit for how the company works and what compensation the company will offer?

Lastly, some places may just be collecting resumes which can be another reason for some ads to be posted on-line.

In my last handful of job hunts, I've had various recruiting firms take my resume in applying me for a position that I never hear back from them again. They have my resume and I wonder what else they do with it since I don't ever hear any feedback about other opportunities or the one I was allegedly applied.

  • Does anybody really just collect resumes? Most don't even bother pretending they'll "keep your resume on file for six months" any more.
    – Martin F
    Jan 1 '14 at 22:53
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    @martinf yes, large consultancies and recruitment firm harvest resumes and later use them to impress customers with their "large contact base" despite never having contacted any of those people. I've had calls from recruiters 2-3 years after placing my resume on a job hunting site for a week, then removing it because I found a position to my liking.
    – jwenting
    Jan 2 '14 at 5:21

It may be possible that these companies are not getting the right person. Also it can be possible that these companies are posting job ads only to promote their business. Not all companies are same, neither their strategies.

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