I get lots of job postings from agencies, many of whom I'm not familiar with. I've heard it said (on this forum and elsewhere) that many such postings (and those on sites like Monster) are not for real potential jobs; they're either a way for the agency to build up a database of resumes, or maybe the hiring company is researching the talent pool or something.

Is there a way to tell if a job is fake?

I assume that if I see the same job from multiple agencies, they didn't make it up. Although maybe the hiring company did.

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    I don't know if you can 'afford' it, but why not ignore everything that is sent to you unsolicited from unknown sources (just like spam)? – user8036 Oct 24 '16 at 10:24
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    "many such postings ... are not for real potential jobs; they're ... a way for the agency to build up a database of resumes" - [citation needed] – David K Oct 24 '16 at 12:30
  • You could call or write to each one and ask "is this real?" (using professional language including self-introduction, perhaps asking a clarifying question about the position, etc.). Fake job listings are unlikely to invest real effort into responding to your query in a serious way. On the other hand, the real ones might be slightly annoyed by your question and will have preferred that you just apply directly. In the end, it's probably easier just to apply to all of the listings that look like they might be real and interesting for you, and cross off the ones that turn out to be dead-ends. – Brandin Oct 24 '16 at 13:31
  • @DavidK google.com/… – Old_Lamplighter Oct 24 '16 at 14:27
  • @DavidK "[citation needed]" Ask, and ye shall receive: jobacle.com/blog/… (Yes, I see RichardU beat me to it, but this one is more of an article showing that even legit companies post fake job ads.) – code_dredd Apr 6 '19 at 1:15

No, you can't tell. It's an arms race you can't win.

  • Many of these jobs are from old postings. So they were real, they just aren't open anymore.
  • A recruiter without an exclusive deal will obscure details on real jobs, to increase the likelihood that you'll apply through them.

There are many other tricks, but those two basically box you in.

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There are virtually no way, for every single company, of knowing if your CV was dismissed or if they're building a database.

However there are some points to consider :

  • In my opinion, the company doing that are more likely to be recruiter company, not real companies. This is an easy thing to check by googling the company's name.
  • Job description really vague to match to a lot of CV.
  • I am not familiar with hiring sites, however you can probably search if the company posted others jobs . This might be a good indicator that they're not building up a CV database. Maybe some sites even show some statistics about some relevant number (jobs offered, number of answers,numbers of jobs that had a positive answers,...).

So here is the most high probability of an ad to be fake (still IMHO) :

  • recruiter company
  • Job descriptions fits to pretty much all CV of the domain.
  • If you call them they would ask for CV first and can't give you more information about the job.
  • Very fews offer on the site and they matched to the previous point.
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    It can also be companies who are required to post all openings, even if the position will be filled internally. – Old_Lamplighter Oct 24 '16 at 14:45
  • @RichardU good point, since oyu said it in your answer i won't add it there. – Walfrat Oct 24 '16 at 19:57
  • Job posting is months old
  • Job details are non-specific
  • Jop posting says "multiple openings"
  • Job posting is by an agency you haven't heard of

For a few.

The reason behind these phony job postings can be anything from a recruiter building a database of resumes to companies and government agencies posting jobs that already have a clear and intended candidate to fill the position, but due to either union contracts or regulations must post every job opening, even if they have someone ready to step into the position.

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  • There's a subclass of "clear and intended candidate": they have a clear and intended candidate who is a foreign national for whom they have to justify a non-immigrant visa. These ads used to be a lot more common. They were easily recognizable: they contained VERY long lists of required qualifications, they called out ridiculously low salaries for the qualifications they listed as "required", and they frequently requested responses be sent to a state employment department. – John R. Strohm Oct 24 '16 at 16:50

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