is it a red flag when a job is posted for a long time?

A reader writes:

Is a job being posted for a long time a red flag about the business hiring? There is an organization I would like to work for and they’ve had a position they have been trying to fill for over a year. I do not qualify for the position, but I wonder if this sort of problem in hiring could be indicative of a bad work culture. There are some other things about this organization that give me some bad vibes, despite my interest in their work, but the difficulty filling this position is certainly something I am puzzled about.

I have been in a position to hire others and know that sometimes you have to reopen a search because the right candidate didn’t present themselves, but a year seems like a different category. Am I wrong in taking this as a reason to be cautious about this organization’s culture and hiring process?

Sometimes it’s a red flag but sometimes it’s not. The best thing to do is to ask.

Sometimes a company keeps a job advertised for a long time (or forever) because they’re pretty much always looking for people who can do Role X (and have multiple slots for Role X on their staff) and when they find good candidates, they hire them.

Sometimes, too, a job is legitimately hard to fill. I used to hire for a job that required being an extraordinarily talented senior-level manager and being able to teach that skill to others and being able to advise on a wide range of management challenges in real time with strong answers every time and being great at quickly establishing trust and rapport with sometimes skeptical audiences. Know how difficult that is to find in one person? Very. The role was open all the time, we hired about five people for it a year (separate slots), and were nearly always accepting applications.

Sometimes the organization in the midst of growing. They think they need to hire one Role X, and then they realize they’re going to need another so the ad stays up. Then they hire a second and before they know it their growth means they need a third.

Sometimes it’s just a perfect storm — like the first hire didn’t work out and the second hire left for a family emergency/relocation/health crisis soon after starting, and boom now the organization has been recruiting for a year when you put it all together.

But other times — many times — it does indicate a problem with the organization: They’re terrible at hiring, or their culture is awful and no one will stay, or their standards are unrealistic and they’re too quick to fire, or the job is a bait and switch so they keep losing people.

It’s often hard to know from the outside what the explanation is, but during the interview process you can ask about turnover and how long people typically stay. And if the job you’re applying for is the one that’s been open forever, it’s completely fine to say, “I noticed this role has been advertised for a while — can you tell me anything about that?” You can also ask, “How long did the last person in this role stay, and what caused them to leave?” and “What’s the typical tenure been in this role?” You won’t always get entirely straight answers, but often you will (and even when you don’t, you’ll still often get more information, even if it’s “wow, the interviewer seemed really uncomfortable talking about that”).

In your case, the fact that other things are already giving you pause about the organization makes it more likely that the long posting is probably a red flag. But that’s just a guess. If you’re really interested in them, I wouldn’t assume anything — see if you can get an interview and learn more.

{ 94 comments… read them below }

  1. Antilles*

    This is honestly something I’ve never thought about – both of the companies I worked for early in my career operated under the attitude of “we can always use more talent”, so they would permanently keep a posting open. I always assumed that was a fairly standard thing.

    1. Aquawoman*

      My first thought was champagne taste on a beer budget. But my second thought was a job for which there is a lot of need so it’s pretty much always open.

      1. Artemesia*

        I had a job that we needed several people to do, but also required a combination of experience and education that was ridiculous for what we were willing to pay. I finally targeted retired military or business people taking early retirement who wanted a prestigious second career but had means. This worked fairly well but we still lost lots of good candidates because we were not willing to pay anything what the requirements would suggest. It was a low prestige position in the organization that they weren’t willing to put money on — but critical to one of our missions and the position itself appeared prestigious from the outside. Most of my hires were 50+ and retired from other positions or occasionally women who were not entirely mobile but well qualified i.e. their husbands had positions locally and they had trouble finding job commensurate with their degrees.

        1. TardyTardis*

          A local lumber company often advertises for an accountant (though not last year, probably because of covid). I always wondered what was wrong there, but still don’t know anyone who works there that I could ask. Besides, combining accounts payable/accounts receivable/payroll is probably a bad idea anyway.

      2. Jennifer*

        Yes, I’ve run into that too. Jobs where they want you to speak 10 languages, fly a plane cross country and know raise their kids for them and they want to pay next to nothing.

      3. Environmental Compliance*

        My husband interviewed for a job a handful of months ago, which has at this point been online for about a year.

        His reflection has been that they have no idea who they actually want to fill the role. At all. They can’t decide who it would report to, what would the main functions be, what the main projects will be, what will the focus be, where would the position fit within the organization….etc. They told him (twice, two different interviews) that they wanted to move very fast and that he was a finalist, and then told him he came in second and they had extended the offer to someone else. But then a week later, the position is back advertised. It’s strange.

        For this company, definitely a bullet dodged.

    2. Ann O'Nemity*

      I live in a city with amazingly low unemployment. For some careers, there are severe supply and demand problems. So it’s not uncommon to always be looking for some of those in-demand positions, because they’re hard to fill and good people are continually getting poached.

    3. Momma Bear*

      Yeah, that’s where we are. We are always open to new talent in certain roles so the jobs are always open until we feel that department is fully staffed. I wouldn’t take it as a red flag. Look at other data points, like Glass Door or how long people reported working there on LinkedIn. If a lot of people leave after a year, maybe be concerned. But not if it’s just “ongoing.”

      1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        And even just a lot of people moving on isn’t always a bad sign – if it’s they are moving on because they are being promoted.

        The job I have is a constantly open position, where we are always hiring. I am the “old timer” who has been there for almost two years. Most of my co-workers apply for and get promotions to other places in the company within 9 months on average. I have stayed because it is a part time job with really good benefits and pay, that lets me work while my kids are in school. I will eventually apply for a promotion as well, but for right now this is the best fit for me and my family.

    4. Gumby*

      Yep. I am pretty sure we have one job listing that has been open since 2018. Since then we have hired 5 people for that role. Four are still with the company; the fifth moved out of state and it’s an in-person role. We just have 4 more of that role now than we did when the post went up. (Specialized role requiring advanced degree in a niche of a niche in a STEM field. Candidates are thin on the ground to start with which is why we leave it open all the time.)

    5. Noodles*

      I work for a financial institution doing debt collection, we have jobs up for a pretty long time,(we’ve had our current posting up for 9 months) versus other rolls with similar qualifications, frankly it’s because the job is hard to do and recruit for. Only a certain type of person thinks they can work in debt collection and even some that think they can can’t. Add that to the companies strong belief in allowing upward mobility for high performers and I always am on the hunt for good people. Especially where im allowed to over hire by a couple FTEs to account for the inevitable departures.

    6. Rez123*

      All places I have worked have an open application that is always open. Hiring managers can pick candidates form that pool when needed. The specific roles are open only when they really are actively recruiting, but I’ve never worked anywhere that was always actively recruiting.

      This was an interesting read cause I find a job posting over 30 days old to be a bit if a yellowish flag and makes me wonder what’s happening. Need to keep in mind this the next time I’m searching.

      1. Miss Fidget*

        This is true, I don’t usually look at postings more than 30 days old because I assume it’s too late (and some people are bad about taking ads down). Now I’m wondering if I’m missed some really good opportunities by filtering that way.

  2. Mental Lentil*

    We’ve had postings up for a couple of years. We just can’t find people. Once we hire people, they tend to stay long time.

    A better indicator is the turnover rate, but I have no idea how you would find that out as an applicant. I suppose you could ask about that during the interview, though I don’t know what kind of vibes that would give to the interviewer.

    1. Elizabeth*

      What kind of positions are you looking to fill? I only ask because I’m looking for a new job.

    2. I edit everything*

      I think asking how long people tend to stay is a perfectly good question. I often ask it. It speaks to the company culture, support for employees, etc.

    3. Grapey*

      “A better indicator is the turnover rate, but I have no idea how you would find that out as an applicant”

      It’s not a good thing to just outright ask about turnover, but you can ask:
      – Why is this position open? (e.g. newly vacant, or newly created because of new opportunities and growth)
      – Who on the team has been in their role the longest? And most recent?

    4. Elmer W. Litzinger, spy*

      I’m a night auditor. My position was open for about a year because a) most people indicated in their interview that really they wanted a day shift instead and the front desk manager didn’t want someone who was going to apply for days after 6 months, and b) he was very particular.

    5. allathian*

      The turnover rate for a specific role doesn’t have to be an issue, if most people in that role are being promoted within the company. Someone who’s hiring for such a role will probably say so, though, if that’s the case.

  3. learnedthehardway*

    During COVID, a lot of roles went on hold, but are still accepting applications. When companies are able to hire, then they’ll review and move forward with candidates.

    1. Alanna*

      That was my thought – I wouldn’t put too much stock in anything this year. They may have an open position that they do want to fill, and very much intend to fill, but haven’t been able to for a million different reasons, but still want to make sure they’re getting applications, because they don’t want to lose the chance of finding the right candidate.

      1. Clisby*

        And they probably realize good candidates they already identified have moved on and taken other jobs while their process has been delayed.

    2. Not A Girl Boss*

      Yes, we had a similar situation where we planned to hire a lot of people in May 2020. Then had a hiring freeze, but never took the posting down. Then started the hiring process again in September. And we don’t date down the posting until someone accepts.

    3. Rayray*

      As someone who was unemployed for a few months this year, I know this is true.

      I think companies should always indicate on the job posting if this is the case, just so job seekers are aware. There were a couple postings that did say this, but most did not. It was always hard to tell if a company was actually hiring or just collecting resumes. A job seeker is needing a job now, so it sucks to upload your resume and then type all that info again into application fields just to never hear from them because they aren’t actually hiring.

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        There really are people are are always low-key looking! (I base this on what people have said in comments sections here at AAM.)

    4. MissDisplaced*

      I believe this is a big part of lately. But I wish they would just TAKE THEM DOWN because they are only wasting everyone’s time if they have no intention of hiring within the next 30-60 days. Otherwise, it is just to present a good facade for the shareholders and investors.

  4. Stevie Budd*

    Allison’s questions make sense when you’re applying for the role that’s been posted for a long time, but it seems a little awkward to ask about an unrelated role that has been open. But I don’t know, I’ve never been in that position.

    1. Elenna*

      Yeah, this is what I was wondering – can you ask those same questions about a position that’s not the one you’re applying for, or does that look weird?

      1. Not A Girl Boss*

        It might be weird to be that specific, but I always ask about turnover, “a time you lost someone because they weren’t a good fit” etc.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yeah, I didn’t mean to ask that if it’s about a different role than you’re interviewing for. In that case, you’d ask more generally about turnover. I’ll clarify in the post.

  5. Casey in the sunshine*

    We have a role at my company that has been open a while. We just want the right person, and are being very picky. The position is new due to company growth.

    1. singlemaltgirl*

      agreed. i post for as long as i need to and am willing to wait for the right candidate. it’s a waste of time to hire someone ‘who’ll do’ in the long run.

      to me, it’s a red flag only when they keep hiring that position and then reposting it within 6 months. and continue that cycle. i know 1 org that has gone through 5 leadership roles in less than 2 years (they’re not a big org). there’s lots of other red flags, too but that combined with this one tells me bad jujubes there.

  6. Nesprin*

    Speaking from academia/govt/hidebound institutions, if you want to hire someone there needs to be a public posting and a comparison of desired hire to other applicants, and a demonstration that there was diversity in our hiring pool. So we always have a posting up to collect reference resumes (and an occasional diamond in the rough) then we ask desired hires to submit to same posting.

    It’s a gigantic PTA, but that’s how we cope with our internal policies.

    1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

      Also, if it is a high level government position, depending on what it is for it may require a very specific skill set *and* the pay may be extremely under market with no way to remedy this. So now you’re looking for someone very specific, with a specific skill set, and a budget/statutory salary rules that cannot accommodate this need.

  7. ThatGirl*

    Anecdotally, when I applied for the job I just started, I heard from a few former co-workers that they had also applied for it in the past/that it had been open for awhile.

    Turns out, that’s because they had already hired two other people in the same role in the past 6 months, and I’m the third — and chances are, there will be more people coming on board this year. So the real story was “we need at least three people in this role” but to a casual observer it could look like the company had just re-posted it over and over.

    1. PostalMixup*

      Similar situation at my company. There’s a job that keeps getting re-posted for the last two years. But that’s because they’re trying to hire their sixth person. All five of the first people they hired are still here. Partly, they were backfilling a role after promotion, partly they are growing, and partly the role gives great experience and their people keep getting headhunted.

  8. Beth Jacobs*

    One example is that if you’re a large enough to have more than 15 admins, you’re pretty much always hiring for that role. That doesn’t say anything bad about the company culture at all.

    1. PT*

      This. I worked somewhere where we just left some of our part-time titles up for perma-hiring. It took about 60 days to get someone from resume submission to first day of work, and part-time staff tend to have more flexibility in their schedules due to school, other jobs, etc. So if you want full coverage, you’re basically always hiring.

  9. Jay*

    Covid put a LOT of things on hold, some long term.
    If they have a hiring process that can last to months (not that uncommon), then had a Covid furlough right in the middle of that, they might not even be at the point of contacting people for interviews yet, especially if key people were lost due to the Pandemic.
    If the hiring manager has been hiding in the woods since last March, communicating to their team via smoke signals and notes tied to the tails of various woodland creatures, well, it could be a little while yet.

  10. Jennifer*

    I always wonder if it’s an error. I applied for positions like this a few times and got notifications that the positions have been filled. I normally avoid them now. But I’m sure it depends on your industry and the roles you apply for.

  11. frustrated*

    More rarely is this the case, but if the job listing is posted on an external job board (as opposed to the company’s own website) and the post doesn’t automatically expire, some companies don’t do a good job at tracking those listings and getting them taken down. I’ve applied to a handful of jobs before only to get an email the next day that the position was already filled or they decided to scrap the role entirely. Not a good use of anyone’s time, but especially the applicant’s!

    1. Quagga*

      Was coming here to say this. Our team posted a listing on an external job board before we established a proper HR team and streamlined the hiring process. People left, the login has been lost, the posting periodically renews itself, and no one has time to try to take it down.

  12. Really Just a Cat*

    Is this ever just that a job was left up on a webpage too long? In a search I found a post-doc listed for a big university—but within the ad itself it said applications would be accepted until X date in 2012! So I’m curious if sometimes they advertise the position, pay for a 6 month or whatever long ad, don’t include dates in the ad, and then neglect to take the ad down when it’s filled. Is that common?

    1. Zephy*

      It could also be that they just used the same ad copy over and over again without changing dates. Or, if this is something you found very recently, it’s possible someone just mistyped 2021.

  13. Another person*

    Could be a lot of things! In mid level roles I’ve interviewed for/ been offered (and rarely accepted) after they were open a long time:
    1. Had high skill and mid-level experience demands, but would not budge an inch on their lowball salary offer.
    2. Had a requirement for extensive travel that they did not disclose in the job posting and I would never have applied if I knew (it was a role for which travel would typically not be expected – but it was a requirement for that particular position).
    3. Place turned out to be a disorganized train wreck with high turnover – unfortunately that was the one I ended up in.

    Or it could be something completely different!

  14. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

    I’ve worked at several places that had the same job ads up for a long time. One of them was a revolving door and they were literally always hiring to fill the positions (front desk at a chain veterinary hospital) because the pay and conditions were terrible. In my current field, higher ed, they generally keep the job posting up until the position has been filled and the candidate has either signed their paperwork or actually started, and it’s not uncommon for it to take several (or many) months from initial posting until the person starts. It also could mean hiring has been put on hold due to budgetary or other reasons, so it’s really impossible to tell from the outside whether a long-term position is a red flag or not.

  15. Lorac*

    There’s a role I’ve been eyeing at a rival company that’s been open for the past year. Every few weeks, I see that same role for the same team being relisted on LinkedIn by that company, not a recruiting agency.

    It’s a one person role, so they’re not trying to hire a whole team. But the whole thing is makes me very uncertain about applying for it, even though that company would be a step up compared to my current one.

    1. irene adler*

      Applying doesn’t mean you are required to take the position (when it is offered). But applying can allow you the opportunity to ask questions about the position/business, etc.

    2. MissDisplaced*

      If you’re interested, apply!
      No harm in taking the interview and asking lots of questions. ;-)

    3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      Remember, interviews are two way streets. You are evaluating them while they evaluate you.

  16. Zephy*

    Some companies just like to collect resumes, so they leave postings up indefinitely, I think. I’ve been here for 2.5 years and the job posting I originally responded to is still up on our careers site – I’ve since been promoted, but I don’t think they’re looking to hire another llama coordinator anytime soon. It could also be to facilitate internal transfers, since we don’t really have a separate internal hiring process; when I was promoted, I had to apply for my current role through the careers site just like an external applicant, I just happened to already have an account from when I applied for my original job.

  17. Llama face!*

    I’d personally call it a yellow flag. As Alison said, there can be reasonable situations where a job is posted (or keeps being re-posted) for a long time. The problem is that those surface reasons can also be excuses that hide the dysfunctional reality responsible for the lack of stability in the position. I’d exercise caution when applying for a job with this yellow flag and be on the lookout for other signs that clarify the matter.

    My own experience with a job like this was for an administrative position where there were a couple of other warning signs. The person who I would need to work closely with had a reputation for being difficult. And when I did submit my application, I got a call at my current workplace demanding- and the tone was really an oddly angry and agressive demand, not a suggestion or request- that I interview immediately or at a specific time the next day. That was a mid-day Wednesday and my workplace did not have a lot of flexibility for sudden absences. I offered to be available before or after my work hours or else on Friday (my day off) and explained that I wouldn’t be able to get time off work so quickly. My workplace was very strict about this. They demanded that I just call in sick and come interview with them. At that point I informed them that I didn’t think the job would suit me and that I would withdraw my application. They huffed angrily, said something rude, and hung up on me. It was clearly a bullet dodged!

      1. Llama face!*

        Yeah, well the place I ended up in is also terrible but in different ways. But that one I wrote about was so egregiously bad it was almost caricaturish! And- this won’t shock you- I saw that job ad posted cyclically until I finally stopped looking at job search sites. For all I know it is still up! Lol

    1. A.*

      Job postings stay open and posted forever at my company because it’s just abysmal at hiring despite being perfectly fine at other stuff. The process takes FOREVER because of internal things specific to hiring. It took 10 months from submitting my application (at the request of the hiring manager!) to my start date. It’s not that people start then leave immediately then they have to replace them, and they’re not actually bad at other HR functions, it’s something about hiring in particular that seems to take forever. Once you actually get hired, it’s not a bad place to work.

  18. Jules the First*

    I have been hiring for a llama coordinator or a llama wrangler for the last 3.5 years – in fact, as of today, I’m currently recruiting two permanent llama coordinators and a fixed term llama wrangler! We have a moderate turnover in llama coordinators – many of them get here, discover I do really mean it when I say we are an integrated team, and conclude this isn’t the place for them – but the team has also tripled in size. Basically, I’m always looking for good people, but that’s because we’ve been so successful we keep having our remit expanded!

  19. Barking Mad in the US*

    I was “recruited’ for an executive position that I was told the agency (public) was having difficulty filling the position. I lasted 2.5 years. It was a freakin’ nightmare because of the board and the lack of power the executive was not given. I’ve been gone for 2 years and they still have an “interim” who is a syncophant and a nightmare themself (e.g. he refused to allow a person who is high risk and a note from their doctor saying they need to WFH and is insisting that the person go to the office and 2 board members are not backing the employee). When I left, I got phone calls and comments about how did I last that long and what a hot mess the organization is. They cannot fill the position because of the awful rep of the entire agency.

  20. I'm just here for the cats.*

    Could it also be someone forgot to take it down. Like it’s posted on Indeed and they didn’t put an end date. And the person who was in charge of it forgot?

  21. Kat Em*

    I work at a fabulous company that had a position in my area open for more than a year. It was hard to find people who were willing to relocate to a semi-rural area without easy airport access nearby, and we also needed to find the right recruiter. Once we got the right person on the hunt, the role was filled relatively quickly.

    1. Velawciraptor*

      This was what I came in here to point out. It could have little to do with the company and everything to do with the community. It can be hard to recruit qualified people for positions in rural communities. As a result, those positions can stay open far longer than they would in more urban settings.

  22. Pretzelgirl*

    We have several positions that our company hires almost constantly for. Its hard to fill and hard to keep staffed. So we are nearly always hiring for it.

  23. irene adler*

    Given that many consider long-running job ads as a sign of a problem (bad company to work at, high turnover, etc.) you’d think the company would take pains not to keep running job ads for extended periods of time.

    1. Environmental Compliance*

      Or, if they are always interested in potentially hiring for a role, put a statement to that effect on the careers page. I see a lot of environmental consulting firms do that.

  24. Girasol*

    There’s also the situation that there’s a good opening in a pretty good company. The manager wants to hire and his manager approves, but after the ad goes up, someone a level or two above says, “Have you really thought about whether you could get the job done without this hire? Show me your analysis!” Or there’s a budget freeze and hiring stops but the ad remains up. After awhile they all get on the same page, the budget freeze ends, and the hiring process continues where it left off with an ad that has been up for quite awhile. That says something about management’s ability to plan and communicate, but that’s not a very big red flag.

  25. EmmaPoet*

    I think it also depends on the type of position. At my previous library system, page jobs were pretty much always open because there were a lot of branches, and people who wanted to get into county service could start there and then move on to a better job in another department. (They also had people who stayed on for several years and who never wanted to move up, we weren’t bleeding pages or anything.) They also had a lot of openings for substitute librarians and circ staff because the need for them had grown over the years.

  26. Tech and Roses*

    My last company had a fantastic work culture and an even better reputation, and yet they had a position open for about a year. While most positions were very competitive, this one was just hard for them to get right. First they listed too many requirements for the pay, then they changed the requirements but listed an undesirable schedule, then they changed the schedule but also changed the description and still had trouble finding a solid candidate. The hiring manager was also just not in a particular hurry, since the department was handling the extra work very well. I believe they had one candidate accept an offer, only to never show up, and then they didn’t re-post immediately, so all combined… it took a full year. They ended up with a great employee at the end of it though!

  27. egallison*

    Pretty industry specific, but in gov’t contracting certain roles that require a high level of clearance are often open for a year. The clearance requirement narrows the candidate pool so dramatically that is really effects hiring timeline. Truly there are sometimes only 2-3 people who qualify for the role.

  28. Esmeralda*

    Or the hiring department is required to keep the posting open until someone is for sure hired and has cleared the reference check. Unless there’s a stated closing date, but depts don’t want to do that because it is a gigantic pain in the heinie to get a job reposted and sometimes the position funding gets reallocated by the PTB if the position is closed.

    Welcome to the fabulous world of state universities.

  29. SheLooksFamiliar*

    In talent acquisition, some people call an ongoing posting an ‘Evergreen Requisition.’ Some companies call this ‘profile based sourcing’ or ‘profile based recruiting.’ What it usually means is the company is always looking for that specific talent and experience, whether or not they have approved headcount. If they find great talent, they’ll create a role. Usually, that requisition is their talent pool to source from.

    But it’s true that some companies just don’t manage the recruiting process well. Or they suffer from FOMO. Or they forgot they had a job posted. It happens.

    Regardless, it’s not always a bad thing when a company has a posting up for long periods, and someone probably meant to do it.

  30. Des*

    It could also be a mismatch between the job and salary (e.g. “We’d like to hire a software developer for $20,000/year”).

  31. Minerva*

    I work on a team with ~12 people with the same job description (different seniority levels) and skillset. There’s at least 10 other teams who have very similar openings, enough that we pass around candidates. We have 2-3 openings on my team a year as people move on in the company or outside. It takes a few months to fill a position (looking for strong skills that are less common than people who think they have them, need to get a background check, etc) It’s fair to say it looks like we always have the same postings up. But people tend to stay 3-4 years in the role, which is a not bad at all for tech jobs.

    (I’m the poor sap who does technical evaluations)

    1. another worker bee*

      Yes! Also a tech hiring manager of a team about this size and everything you said describes our team. Especially the “strong skills that are less common than people who think they have them”. Everyone rates themselves an 8/10 at our programming language until the interview…

  32. Left on my own for something better*

    I admit I’ve been getting quite a kick out of seeing my old job at toxic org get reposted over and over again. I have a friend over there who confirms that folks are being driven out. We’re a small industry too so word has gotten around about Org being difficult. Glassdoor is pretty spot-on about them.

  33. Badasslady*

    OP here. Thank you Alison for the great response and everyone else for the replies and thoughts. Just to answer some of the (good and reasonable) speculations people raised: the job is not a job where it makes sense for the company in question to hire multiple people for. The company in question is a small local company and the position is entry level managerial (think something along the lines of program manager for the teapot program). The job is also in a field where there should be a lot of candidate in our area, though I do accept they might have an idea of a magician blend of qualities and that they haven’t found the right candidate to fill. The posting has been reposted several times in the year it’s been up on different job boards (I have a google alert for jobs in this company).
    I’m still not sure what to think about it, but Alison’s post did make me feel I should pursue employment there myself when the time comes and judge the vibes personally, as opposed to letting this keep me away.

  34. Exhausted Trope*

    This is excellent advice, as usual, but getting to the truth of a position can be very difficult. A few years ago, I was interviewing for a great position within a stellar company. I asked about the last person’s tenure in the role and why they left. I was assured that the last person to hold my role was with the company for many years and had left for early retirement. All that was partially true.
    The position turned out to be awful. After I gave notice, I learned later that my predecessor had only been in the role for less than a year and decided to retire because they disliked the department director. If id gotten the whole truth, I never would have taken the job.

  35. Heeryor Lunboks*

    There’s a national nonprofit headquartered near me that has been hiring for a director level position for the last year. It is not a nonstandard position, there’s plenty of local candidates to draw from with extensive experience, and it pays decently. They post it, bring it down, post it again, extend the deadline, bring it down, post it AGAIN … and they still have no one hired for the job.

    I can only assume that the CEO is a raving lunatic who drives everyone away.

  36. Dani*

    I have a role that is almost constantly open for one reason or another. Some poor hiring decisions, some growth in the company, a year long maternity leave…I always seem to be hiring.

  37. MissDisplaced*

    I see this all the time.
    I personally think that many organizations just keep a bunch of job postings up simply to look good for shareholders. The jobs aren’t real.

    I know for a fact my own global organization does this while we’ve had layoffs and are in a hiring freeze. All those job postings stay up to mask the layoffs and create the appearance business is booming and we’re hiring. My struggling previous smaller company did the same thing. All a facade for shareholders and investors.

  38. A commenter!*

    This can also indicate growth. We keep the same role up when we’re hiring multiple people for it… we’re doing rolling hires now for two positions.

    1. A commenter!*

      Sorry! Didn’t see the earlier note on this being a head you wouldn’t hire multiple people into

  39. TextHead*

    We have roles at my company that there are almost always posts up for and it’s due to growth. We keep growing and even if we don’t have an immediate need for another X, we typically do within a few weeks of getting through the hiring process with someone.

  40. One of those*

    …or they have an ATS that does not do a good job of tracking open REQs.
    At my last full-time position I kept getting queries for jobs that were closed of filled for a long time, according to ATS – but stayed up on our Career page.

  41. Deborah*

    I was a little worried about this with the job I took in August of 2020 and it has taken until now to unravel the sequence of events. The actual job posting had been up for about a month when a recruiter contacted me to apply for it, but they told me during the interview process that the previous person had left almost a year before. It’s a two person team where each person has the same title and we work out between us the distribution of shared tasks, and so they were explaining in the interview process that the more senior never of the team has left the previous year and the more junior had really stepped up the previous year and held things together but they wanted someone with experience now rather than someone who would have to be trained from scratch (which I had the relevant experience so that was fine).

    Perhaps I should have asked why it took so long to fill the role, but I didn’t. In any case, I finally figured out that the person who left continued to work for them on a consulting basis, and I think also she tended to be territorial and not fully train the more junior teammate (that person has expressed her desire to not be that way with me on many occasions). It seems that the person who left only recently stopped consulting and the remaining team member advised her/our boss that she really needed a full time teammate ASAP because she was buried trying to do it all alone.

    So…It all worked out. Just a story about how these things can play out.

  42. Metadata minion*

    I was on a hiring committee for one of those “unicorn” type jobs a while back. We needed strong cataloging skills *and* solid reading fluency in a somewhat unusual language. We could find lots of candidate who had either of those skills; very few who had both.

  43. Cookies for Breakfast*

    I default to “hiring takes time” or “employer forgot to take down the post”, unless I can look up the employer on Glassdoor and find big red flags in their reviews. But here are a couple red flag stories for your amusement.

    – An organization that is widely known for being a terrible place to work (think articles on internationally known websites, and pages and pages of dreadful Glassdoor reviews) has been advertising the same jobs for as long as I’ve been searching. That makes it 6 months now. Whenever their ads pop up on my screen, I give the computer the side eye, and I like to think that everyone job hunting in that industry does the same.

    – An old workplace, which was also a very small team, always had the same tech positions open. Multiple recruiters told them no one would bother for the low salary they offered, the remote location, and no employee benefits. The bosses insisted that top performers would realise how good such a prestigious company would look on their resume (colleagues aside, I don’t know a single person who has ever heard of it). The reason the position was always open is, you guessed it, that everyone who got hired left as soon as they found a better paid job.

  44. Astro*

    Maybe they posted for it pre-COVID and just haven’t been able to prioritize hiring, but they are still going through the process, just very slowly.

  45. SusieQ*

    One of the clues to look for is probably the size of the company hiring. If it is a small to medium size business and the role is specialized, there are probably underlying issues that need to be clarified.
    At our small company, we were seeking to hire our fourth controller in less than 4 years. All 4 or them had left because of bullying from a highly placed senior manager who the company deemed essential. (This proved to be a big mistake in the end but that’s another story.) Our recruiter asked if she could explain to our preferred candidate that the high turnover was due to the behavior of this one person and that the company was prepared to protect the successful candidate against similar behavior going forward. This worked and we successfully hired an excellent candidate. In the long run it was a mistake to try to keep both people. The right thing to do would have been to fire the “essential” manager and replace them with someone who would be not only good at their profession but also an excellent team player. Our bad actor was a high-performing malignant narcissist and we were completely wrong to think for a minute that we had any control over their behavior. The earlier a company removes such people from their ranks the better for all. It consumes far too many resources from too many people to tolerate the cost regardless of how well such a one performs in their job.

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