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I'm signed up to a job alert through job search website, and regularly over the past year or so an advertisement for the same position with the same company has been appearing. Sometimes when the job is re-listed it states that this is a new position. Sometimes there have been as many as three adverts running at the same time, each through a different recruitment agency, all for the same position.

If this was for a job like "store assistant", or "telemarketer" I'd take repeated listing as a sign the job has a huge turnover rate, and might not be a great place to work. But this job asks for degree qualifications (STEM), programming skills, knowledge of advance mathematics, and experience in "special purpose machine design".

For a position like this, what can I infer about the job or the company from the fact that the same position is re-listed with a monotonous regularity?

Note that each time it is listed, the ad is precisely the same (dependent on the job agency).

I feel like I'm about 60% - 70% qualified for the job. Is it worth the effort of applying?

  • How much do you want the job? If you want it, it is probably worth the effort to apply. If you don't really want it, it may not be worth the effort. – Brandin Aug 22 '16 at 5:48
  • As everyone else has said, you can't know much. If you're looking for anecdotes, I had a situation years ago where I noticed the same thing but nevertheless applied for the job. I ended up getting it and not even a week later I was let go. I continued to see adverts like this from the company on the regular until it shut down about 5 years later. – fib112358 Aug 23 '16 at 8:10
  • Requirements in job adverts are often not set in stone. As the applicant, you should decide whether or not you feel you could do the job or even if you could learn to do the job quickly with the set of skills you have. You should use that during the job interview too: explain which of their requirements you don't meet and at the same time counter them with something relevant. An example would be "must have 7 years of experience working as a developer". If you have 2 years experience but the 7 years before that you were a tester that can be very relevant. – Cronax Mar 8 '17 at 15:13
  • I believe some companies are obligated to post an ad even if they usually hire internally anyway. Something about employment law. It varies by state. – no patience Apr 6 '17 at 13:57
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From the standpoint of an applicant - almost nothing. The job is certainly using the job board differently than other job-posters, if they stand out this way, but I doubt you are spending worthwhile time trying to infer anything.

Options:

  • High Turnover - they filled and lost staffing in the same role in the same group. Takeaway for applicant: This could be a horrible job if so many people try it and leave.
  • Massive growth - they keep needing yet another person, because the number of people doing the role is growing. Takeway: This is a great opportunity in a growing business -or- this is a business growing and it may or may not be pleasant to be in the midst of such chaos.
  • Big company/Modest turnaround - the company is huge, the turnover rate is normal, but since it's usually a certain percentage, when multiplied across a big company, there's still a certain amount of turnover each month/quarter/year. Takeaway: if you like big companies, this is a good entry point to the company.
  • Hard to fill role - the role never got filled, they've been reposting it to re-invigorate interest, because old, stale jobs rarely get applicants. Could be that no one wants to do this job so they get very few applicants. It could be that they are picky and looking for just the right applicant. Takeway: No harm done, if you like the job and think you'd be good at it -- apply.
  • The job makes the company look good - they may have no intention of filling the role, they just may need to have it there for the sake of appearances. "Appearances" could mean:
    • they need to fill out citizenship applications and prove that no applicant can adequately fill the role so they must get citizenship for an already employed foreign national
    • they have a policy that if they do an internal hire/transfer, they must also post publicly to assure they get the best candidate
    • they want to show that there are no acceptable diverse candidates, so they can hire/promote a candidate who is NOT diverse, since diverse candidate applications are less frequent, they keep posting to keep the option alive
    • they want to look like a growing company, and job recs make the company look like it's hiring
      • TAKEAWAY - nothing really, the options for looking good are too diverse - you just might wow them, and get in the door or hit the open rec right at the right time to get an amazing opportunity. Or you might be wasting your time.

Looking at all those options - it could be the worst job ever, or a great opportunity. It could be hard to get the job, or the perfect job for you. It boils down to - if it fits your needs, apply. And when you apply, feel free to say "hey, I see this job gets posted often - what's the deal?"

  • The company has had good success with finding applicants using that ad so they continue to use that ad as it generates a good pool of candidates for them – IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 23 '16 at 12:23
  • Thank you, this is the exact kind of answer I was looking for. – Phill Aug 24 '16 at 1:17
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I would think they haven't filled the position and it's probably worth your while applying. This isn't all that unusual for specialist positions.

You don't have much to lose anyway.

  • 1
    I would second this answer, at my last job it took them over two years to fill a very specific technical position. They interviewed and advertised multiple times before finding a suitable candidate. Certainly I wouldn't use this as evidence to write the company off at this stage. – Dustybin80 Aug 22 '16 at 10:05
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    +1 with a caveat (as always). When you go in, ask why the position is open. I wish I had. in a previous position, the job was open because they literally drove the person crazy. History repeated itself and I wound up with a stroke as well. – Richard U Aug 22 '16 at 12:28
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    @Kilisi I'm autistic. Move my mouse six inches from where I left it and I can have a meltdown. Some of us are easily riled. And yes, I take drugs and counseling to help it, otherwise I'd be unemployable. – Richard U Aug 22 '16 at 12:50
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    @Puzzled They'll tell you either way. They'll either tell you, or they'll be evasive, which Is also telling. – Richard U Aug 22 '16 at 13:01
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    @Kilisi The stroke was my wakeup call indeed. I'm low-stress now. If a job is too crazy, I move on. – Richard U Aug 22 '16 at 13:55
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Possibilities for recurring job postings by a company:

  • High turnover rate
  • Company is growing rapidly
  • Company has a policy for always having an open position and hiring outstanding candidates when they come along, regardless of whether or not there is a current need
  • Company is not actually looking to hire and recruiters are just using the job posting to build their database of candidates

To answer your question, I would say apply if you are interested and think you are reasonably qualified. During the interview, you can ask about the recurring job postings. I've asked this question myself. The last time I ran into it, the company said it was a combination of attrition and growth.

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And another possibility

The company is cheap and doesn't want to pay a reasonable renumeration for the position, and the potential applicants know this - resulting in an unfilled vacancy for a long time.


I once had an initial phone interview with a company that started off with "What is your salary expectation". I came back with a figure that was mid range for the type of job, my experience and the location. The interviewer replied that that was too much and said they would only pay mid-range minus about $15K and that there was no point continuing with the interview.

That company has had a lot of ads over the years for very similar positions and seems to be chasing unicorns.

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Another possibility: They aren't really in need to fill that position and

  • they are just checking if a 100% candidate is on the market.
  • or they want to signal "The company is expanding and doing innovative stuff."

In both cases you will probably get a negative response as a 70% candidate.

  • Yes, they are "fishing" (not phishing), there is no job, but if a knockout candidate comes along they'll make one. – The Wandering Dev Manager Aug 22 '16 at 19:57
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When looking for new hires, it's very convenient to use the most recent ad as a template of the new ad.

When looking for a replacement it's convenient to reuse the last ad for the same position.

When finding none of the candidates you interview are good enough, you reprint the ad.

It's likely that one of the above are the case. My money is on the first one (rapid growth).

I feel like I'm about 60% - 70% qualified for the job. Is it worth the effort of applying?

If you feel the job might be more interesting than your current situation, apply away. If you satisfied 100% of the listed requirements of any job, you'd likely be too expensive/overqualified.

0

Odds are that they have multiple teams or large teams, which need more people with the same skillset I wouldn't draw any other conclusions.

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