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I'm finishing my PhD, and one of the major questions I have is what is my market value outside the academia.
I realised that one of the methods to evaluate my market value is to apply to positions the best I can and measure the response. The response (even the absent of) allows me to judge whether my qualifications for that particular position are above or below the demand.
What I realised is that this procedure can be independent of my willingness to accept that particular position. I may only be interested in knowing what is my value e.g. on that particular industry. The advantage is that the application's response contains relevant information about my value.
This allows to interpret an application as putting an "ask" on a particular stock (e.g. a position) of the stock market (of open positions), and see if there is a "bid" (positive response) covering it. The difference is that I do not need to accept that bid. Yet, knowing that that bid covered my ask already contains relevant information about the ask itself in relation to the market.
Naturally, "ask"&"bid" can be interchanged by interchanging "open position"&"application": a company can put an open position (now an "ask") without the purpose of filling it. The applications (now "bids") that it receives (and which will refuse) already provide information about its "ask".
From the argument above, I conclude that the purpose of an application is not necessarily to apply for that position, and an open position is not necessarily to be filled. Gathering information about the market can be the objective (e.g. for creating a future opening).
This conclusion was a bit shocking to me because it does not allow to distinguish between a "market survey" (on which bids are refused) from a "market offer" (on which bids are accepted). I suspect the conclusion may be wrong.
Consequently, I ask: is it possible to distinguish the two cases? What is the purpose of an application?