Job Hunting 101: A Guide for Frustrated Ruby On Rails Job Seekers

Are you a seasoned Ruby on Rails developer struggling to land your dream job? Or worse, any job at all? Applying to cold jobs across many industries is a nightmare right now. Maybe you’ve fired off rounds of applications each day, with only a few resulting in an interview that ultimately leads to nowhere. Or, you’ve spent hours applying to jobs that you’re qualified for, but you never even hear back.

The reality is that your frustrations could be caused by more than a challenging job market. You might actually be applying for a job that doesn’t even exist. Sometimes called ‘ghost jobs’, these fake job listings are part of a growing trend of job listings that are kept active for months, when  the company has no intention of actually filling them.

Here’s everything you need to know about these ghost listings, how to avoid them, and how you can leverage your Ruby on Rails experience to stand out in a competitive job market:  

Understanding ghost jobs

Picture this: You’ve been diligently hunting for jobs over the last few months but haven’t successfully landed work yet. You may even get completely ghosted by those companies. 

These frequent rejections can make it harder to motivate yourself to continue applying for jobs that seem to be a good match for your background. Meanwhile, your savings are dwindling, and your frustrations and concerns are growing. 

A likely culprit? Those sneaky invisible obstacles called ghost jobs. 

These “open jobs” often don’t exist at all. Or, if they do, the company has no intention of filling the role any time soon. 

What’s also frustrating is that they’re quite common. One study found that 68 percent of managers had job openings listed for at least 30 days, and one in five had no intention to fill them any time soon.

Why do companies post ghost jobs?

Ghost ads often don’t reflect legitimate roles, and will end up completely wasting your time. So why do companies post them? 

The reasons behind these ads range from innocent (such as a company simply forgetting to remove it after the role is filled) to malicious. Like this ad for an airport shuttle driver that offered a salary of more than $100,000 a year, but was actually an attempt to steal applicants' identities. Spooky.

Companies might use ghost listings to generate a potential pool of applicants in case someone quits, even if they have no intention of hiring anyone at the moment. Others may have selected the best applicant for the role, yet haven’t gotten around to removing the job listing. This is an especially common tactic among larger companies that want to keep their options open, even if they aren’t currently hiring.

How can you spot them?

Whatever the reason behind these fake ads, it’s best to be able to spot them before you waste any more time applying. Here are a tips that you might be staring at a ghost ad:

  • It’s been up for more than two weeks
  • You can’t find the listing on the company’s website
  • There’s a mismatch between the salary and job expectations

The best response to these ads? If you’re short on time, simply ignore them. But if you initially responded to the ad, especially if you’ve provided any personal information, be sure to monitor your accounts for signs of fraudulent activity. You can also report a suspected ghost ad on the job hunting platform where you saw it.

While the thought of wasting your time on ghost ads might send shivers down your spine, there are plenty of legitimate job listings out there. 

Whether you’re a seasoned Ruby on Rails developer with years of experience or a newly minted bootcamp grad, it's time to play up your strengths to set yourself apart.

Additional Challenges Faced by Ruby on Rails Job Seekers

Beyond ghost jobs, there are two more hurdles that are making the journey even tougher. These additional factors add to the frustrations and uncertainties faced by job seekers in this field.

Slower Sales Pipelines Due to Economic Uncertainty

The global economic landscape is marked by uncertainty, and many businesses have been grappling with the anticipation of a potential recession. As a result, many companies are more cautious about their spending and investment decisions. This cautious approach has a direct impact on the hiring process.

With businesses tightening their belts and adopting a wait-and-see attitude, the sales pipelines are experiencing a slowdown. Sales cycles are extending as potential clients delay their purchasing decisions, leading to a trickle-down effect on hiring needs. Companies are holding off on filling certain positions, including Ruby on Rails development roles until they gain more clarity on economic conditions.

This slower sales pipeline not only affects job openings but also prolongs the overall hiring process. As businesses remain uncertain about their future financial stability, they're less likely to swiftly onboard new employees, even when the need for technical expertise is evident. This can be disheartening for Ruby on Rails job seekers who are eager to secure positions and contribute their skills to innovative projects.

Sales Managers Catching a Break After a Prolonged Job-Seeker's Market

For quite some time, the job market has favored job seekers, including those in the Ruby on Rails ecosystem. With the tech industry's rapid growth and the demand for skilled developers outpacing the supply, many sales managers found themselves in a perpetual search for top talent. This situation led to more competitive job offers, attractive benefits, and higher salaries as companies tried to entice developers to join their teams.

However, every market cycle has its ups and downs. After a prolonged period of job seeker's advantage, sales managers are now experiencing a shift. With economic uncertainties and shifting priorities, there's a slight reversal in the job market dynamics. Sales managers are finding themselves in a slightly stronger position when it comes to negotiating terms and conditions with potential hires, including Ruby on Rails developers.

This change might lead to a perceived slowdown in job offers or a shift in the negotiation power between job seekers and employers. Ruby on Rails developers who are used to certain salary expectations or benefits might find themselves in discussions that are slightly more challenging. Adapting to this new phase of the job market requires a strategic approach, focusing not only on technical skills but also on showcasing adaptability, willingness to learn, and the ability to contribute positively to a team, even in changing circumstances.

In conclusion, the challenges faced by Ruby on Rails job seekers extend beyond the realm of ghost jobs and the competitive job market. The economic climate and the evolving dynamics of hiring are influencing the journey of job seekers in this domain. To navigate these challenges successfully, job seekers need to stay informed, adapt their strategies, and continue honing their skills to stand out in an ever-changing landscape.

Is my Ruby on Rails experience good for my career?

The quick answer? Yes!

At Neomind, you probably already know that we’re big fans of Ruby on Rails because its long-term sustainability will help you reduce costs, improve scalability, and increase quality. 

This is great news for job seekers who are wondering whether their Ruby on Rails experience is still relevant today. It also shows that Ruby on Rails isn’t dead, and has been truly optimized for programmer joy with language that's powerful and easy to use. 

Besides avoiding applying to ghost ads, playing up your Ruby on Rails experience can make you a more attractive candidate.

As you’re looking for your next job, here are some helpful tips to help you find a job you love and avoid programmer burnout:

Expand your search

Are you flexible? Sure, stretching is great, but in particular, we’re talking about being geographically flexible. Many developers prefer remote work. However, if position yourself as willing to relocate for a position or– brace yourself– return to the office, you can stand out among the competition. Also, consider that some areas have more relevant job opportunities for developers than others. Check other cities, states, and even countries.

Here are some Rails-focused places to begin your search:  

Consider alternative roles

Experience helps, but it’s not always enough to land your next job. The good news is that your Ruby on Rails background can help open doors to a wide variety of roles. Some of the best jobs in the software world are still jobs that want Rails experience! 

Keep your resume sharp

The key to having a resume that sits on top of the pile is to ensure you’re using a current approach. This means specifically tailoring your resume for each and every job. It takes more effort, but it can yield immediate returns.

Remember that maintaining your momentum is the most important part of your job search. Now that you know what ghost ads are and how to avoid them, you can focus on applying to legitimate job ads where your Ruby on Rails skills are in high demand and can help you stand out.

Happy job hunting!