Article - How to Deal with Fake Job Posts?




Today rather than dispense some valuable project management wisdom, I want to share a major personal frustration of mine … fake job posts. Let me explain what I mean by that. There is a whole bunch of organizations in my city that - due to (I guess) provincial laws - are required to post an external ad every time they have an opening. Even in the scenarios when they have either (a) an internal candidate, (b) former colleague they want to hire or (c) a current friend who they think would be a great fit for this job. As a result, the employer usually follows one of the two scenarios:

Scenario 1:

Create a job description that is so unique that no other person on this planet fits the description.

Example 1.1

“We need an expert-level senior business analyst who is also an internationally acclaimed project portfolio management authority” (Note: it is just like saying “I need a plumber who is also skilled at neurosurgery”)

Example 1.2

“We need a project manager who had at least two ERP implementation projects at Company A in the last three years” (Note: Just how many ERP implementations did Company A have in the past three years? Seven? Eight?)

Example 1.3

‘We need a project manager who also possesses a clinician experience” (Note: Google Dictionary defines “clinician” as “a doctor having direct contact with and responsibility for patients, rather than one involved with theoretical or laboratory studies”. I will let you come up with a joke of your own on this one)

NOTE: None of the above job descriptions are a figment of my imagination! They are very real!

Scenario 2:

Write a normal job description and invite three to seven unsuspecting candidates and then subject them to an excruciatingly boring panel interview. Avoid talking about the project itself, ask a whole bunch of really dumb questions. Thank them at the end. Still hire your former colleague or friend.

Here is my problem with this situation. I am a really easygoing guy. If you want to give the job to your friend, I am fine with that. Maybe he (or she) is indeed the best fit for the opening you have. But why are you wasting time of your own HR department, several dozen local recruiters and a whole bunch of really great professionals who show up for these fake interviews?

Do you find yourself in a situation like that? How do you deal with them? How do you protect yourself from these “fake” job openings? Thoughts?

About the Author

Jamal Moustafaev, MBA, PMP – president and founder of Thinktank Consulting is an internationally acclaimed expert and speaker in the areas of project/portfolio management, scope definition, process improvement and corporate training. Jamal Moustafaev has done work for private-sector companies and government organizations in Canada, US, Asia, Europe and Middle East.  Read Jamal’s Blog @

Jamal is an author of three very popular books: 

  1. Delivering Exceptional Project Results: A Practical Guide to Project Selection, Scoping, Estimation and Management 
  2. Project Scope Management: A Practical Guide to Requirements for Engineering, Product, Construction, IT and Enterprise Projects
  3. Project Portfolio Management in Theory and Practice: Thirty Case Studies from around the World