This one seemed so obvious to me that I omitted to mention it explicitly in my last post (on getting your application in early). However, I forgot that you’re not all as old and jaded as me, and many people are shocked when you mention that recruiters might do this:
The closing date which doesn’t mean anything
This is pretty much the same as the vacancies with no closing date, but it lulls so many people into an expectation that if they just manage to get their application in on the last day, they’ll have an equal chance.
It may not seem like good practice or in any way fair, but there’s nothing to stop an employer selecting a candidate and offering a job long before any stated closing date. This means that a vacancy may no longer exist even though an advert might say there are still a couple of weeks to go before it closes. Even if a final candidate hasn’t been selected, recruiters may receive so many applications well before the official closing date that the later applications never get read.
It isn’t always the recruiters fault though. If the recruiter doesn’t specify a closing date, I’ve spotted that some recruitment websites automatically put a standard time period on an advert. They don’t seem to be able to handle an open-ended advert, so it gives a false impression that applicants will be welcomed until a specific closing date.
We avoid this on our vacancy site (University of Manchester login required) by pointing out when a job was given to us without a closing date, by including the date the job was first posted, and in the absence of a closing date, only advertising for a month (unless an employer contacts us to ask us to extend it) – like this:
Again the message is – as soon as you spot an ad, get working on your application.