Ghost jobs, personality tests and more: job hunting after COVID-19  

By Felicia Roehm 

AFTER working at Dunkin’ for two years, I was sick of the smell of burnt cof fee beans, the taste of overcooked donuts and standing on moldy floors. I decided it was time for a new job, thinking I would get one rather quickly. Not only did it take over a month, but I applied to over 200 jobs and I only heard back from 10. I applied to retail, fast food, cleaning services, dog walking and so many more. I used ZipRecruiter, Indeed and LinkedIn throughout the process, and some of the employers reached out asking if I’m available for an interview, but when I responded with my availability, I never heard back. Ever y company said they were hiring; however, throughout the interviews, employers either forgot they had scheduled interviews or were late. One job offered me ten dollars an hour in cash. I would have gotten paid under the table and wouldn’t have been receiving at least minimum wage in New Jersey. 

An article by TIME, “You’re Not Imagining It–Job Hunting Is Getting Worse,” explained that since COVID-19, the hiring process now has even more steps— including many rounds of interviews, personality tests and the creation of “ghost jobs,” which are positions employers never fill but help them instead gather possible future candidates for upcoming positions. Due to the pandemic, many people were laid off, and once it started to come to an end, employers needed to hire quickly so they made the applications uncomplicated. But now, with the fear of a recession, companies have made the applications strenuous. 

Peter Cappelli, a management professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, explained that it’s not just the economy changing the hiring process. He expressed that more people from higher positions within a company want to get involved in the process. T he extra managers present during an interview doesn’t mean the applicants are more qualified for the position, it in fact only adds extra time because, as he explains, many of them don’t fully understand how it works. 

“Companies who laid off human resources staff are now delegating interviewing and hiring to line managers who aren’t familiar with the process,” Cappelli said. “None of this means employers are getting better candidates, but it has lengthened the time it takes to hire.” 

A report was released in June by the Josh Ber sin company and AMS, a workforce solutions firm stating, “The amount of time it takes to hire a new employee reached an all-time high of 44 days in early 2023.” The report also concluded that it is not likely that the process will get any better in the future. 

After I applied to numerous positions and went on many failed interviews, I was finally offered a job that I wanted, which made me so excited. However, I was ghosted by that company and one more after that. In my disappointment, I kept applying and I got another offer from Pandora. I have been working with Pandora for two months and it has been great. I love working in a healthy, friendly environment and I am so grateful my job search is finally over. 

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