Colleges and universities have been a popular source of employment information for employers and job seekers for a long time, and this has also become a source of confusion for the average job seeker.
There’s no question that job search websites can help people find employers, but how reliable are they?
A new report by HR consulting firm HR Monitor shows that, while job sites and social media are widely considered reliable sources of job information, the accuracy of job postings and job postings alone are rarely as clearcut as you might expect.
The survey of more than 1,000 job seekers from across the United States found that job seekers were much more likely to report that job postings were “false,” “misleading,” or “inaccurate” when compared to real-world information.
Some job seekers said they were more likely than others to say they found their resume to be “incomplete” or “faulty.”
While the survey found that many job seekers report that they find job listings and job descriptions on job sites “mostly accurate,” some employers are more skeptical of the accuracy and reliability of the job sites.
“It’s very hard to trust a job site,” says Scott Tilden, a partner at HR Monitor and co-author of the study.
“When a job post comes through, it’s often a fake, but it’s not impossible to get that job.”
Job site verification can be tricky for many employers because many employers don’t actually verify the job postings on the job site.
“Some companies will use third party verification services, but they’re usually not reliable,” says Tildens.
“Most employers are still reluctant to do anything that would be seen as a little bit of a violation of their privacy.”
One problem employers may encounter when verifying job postings is that they’re often tied to the companies that are posting them.
“People are going to want to make sure they’re in compliance with all the laws they’re applying for, but there are some people that might be in violation of a lot of the laws,” says Susan Buehler, senior director of human resources at the consulting firm CareerBuilder.
“In some cases, you may have to put in a disclaimer that says, ‘This is not a job posting and is not endorsed by my company.'”
The job posting is often created by an organization that has the job posting in question and has a contract with the company that owns the job listing.
But while employers may not be aware of this, the job posts themselves are often created with little to no oversight, according to Tilders.
“You’re basically using the job to create an online presence for the employer,” he says.
“I think most people would be a little surprised that I think that I actually have more accurate job postings than real-people jobs,” says Amanda Loyden, a 26-year-old student from Ohio. “
“They may be inaccurate because they’re created by people who have never actually worked in a job, but if they’ve actually done a job and have some real experience, they would tell you that.” “
I think most people would be a little surprised that I think that I actually have more accurate job postings than real-people jobs,” says Amanda Loyden, a 26-year-old student from Ohio.
“They may be inaccurate because they’re created by people who have never actually worked in a job, but if they’ve actually done a job and have some real experience, they would tell you that.”
Employers who find this misinformation can often remove the job listings from the job search website.
“There’s an inherent risk when you create an employment profile that is tied to someone else’s work history,” says Buehl.
“So when you make an online job listing, you’re giving that person the opportunity to make up some of the information that you have.”
And while it may be tempting to dismiss the inaccuracies in job listings as a result of job seekers having poor social skills, the reality is that job hunting is a highly skilled skill that many of us can teach.
“One of the things that we’ve learned from this experience is that most people are very good at reading resumes and actually reading those resumes,” says Michael Smith, an employment adviser at HR Consulting.
“If you want to get a job in the workplace, you have to be very, very good.”
Job search sites can be a useful source of job search information for job seekers, but the reliability of job posting accuracy can often vary widely.
“For the average person, there is no way to tell if the information on the site is accurate,” says Loyens.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it means that employers can still find qualified candidates in the job market.
“A lot of employers are very cautious about using the site,” Tildes says.
If you have questions about job posting reliability, you can check out the HR Monitor job search survey.