Fake remote jobs are becoming a major nuisance for today’s jobseekers

Today’s remote jobseekers are having to wade through a haystack of fake advertising to find the few potentially worthwhile needles

Daniel Rosehill
5 min readSep 17, 2021
The portrait of what a true remote working environment could look like is alluring, but many candidates searching for remote positions are encountering a job market that makes finding those positions frustratingly difficult. Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Browsing the LinkedIn feed this morning, I came across the following post from “Yonica S” — which made it onto my feed via a like from a connection.

Yonica — who works as a HR consultant — affirmed the following:

“Please stop posting jobs as “Remote” when they are not “Remote”.

A true remote role is working from home or from a remote location, outside of the office.

Requiring employees to be in the office 3 to 4 times a week or reside within 30 minutes of the main office IS NOT REMOTE.”

As with most LinkedIn threads that brave to go outside the play-it-safe chorus, there were some interesting responses too.

The first comment was, to my surprise, incredulous (“are employers really doing that? That’s quite deceptive!”).

Another offered that “remote” is actually becoming a buzzword for recruitment (including, yes, when there’s nothing remote about the position).

War stories of pandemic-time jobseekers who had been burned by falsely advertised remote gigs began rolling in. As did those from people who had landed remote jobs only to have the rug pulled out from under them and find themselves asked to relocate for an only partially remote position.

One unlucky would-be remote worker had even gone through a series of interviews for the remote gig he thought he was applying for — only for the company to wheel out the fact that a relocation would, in fact, be required.

Finally somebody hit upon the geographic point: a huge amount of remote opportunity is only accessible to those within certain geographical locations.

I’ve seen an enormous amount of remote positions which are only open to US-based candidates. But the LinkedIn posters — disproportionately based in the US — were more aggrieved by the common requirement that the prospective job-doer be based in a specific metropolitan area.

Ryan H (I don’t want to copy and paste full names from a post on a social network) leapt to the jobs’ defense: “There are absolutely jobs that are 100% remote but the employer has preferences on strategic location (close to the home office, territory manager for sales jobs, etc, etc). If you are working from home, that’s still a remote job. It’s pretty common for employers to offer remote positions with preferences (or requirements) on where the employee is located. There are many factors that drive that need. It’s not misleading at all — as long as the job posting illustrates the preference.”

Today’s Remote Jobmarket Encompasses A Few Different Entities

The problems that remote job-hunters are facing today are two-fold.

Firstly, a very substantial amount of remote opportunity is currently limited to certain geographical parameters.

Very commonly — for those remote jobhunting in the English-speaking world — that job market is the United States.

And the problem?

That crucial nugget of information is often buried until the end of the job description.

More problematic again?

Many major platforms — like LinkedIn Jobs — don’t provide any means for excluding this opportunity from the list of “remote” positions that the search engine trawls up.

If you’re looking for a remote job but happen to be based in Ireland or the UK or Israel, then none of these positions are accessible to you.

In light of this fact, remote job-seekers in these countries often turn instead to national job boards where they reckon they have a much better chance of finding companies that will hire them.

This is one solution but it inevitably greatly diminishes the pool of potential applicants. As a remote work advocate, it also pains me to see this become the necessary reality for so many.

The potential of remote work, for companies, is to provide them with access to much broader talent pools. For candidates, the advantages of remote working begin to greatly narrow when their options are limited to companies only in their own geography.

For remote work to reach its full potential — and its potential is massive, essentially re-architecting the working world — both candidates and companies need to be able to think global in terms of their recruiting needs. When we dilute remote working down to working remotely for the company down the road… a lot of the potential is lost.

Remote Jobhunting Today Is No Picnic For Candidates

Today’s crop of remote jobhunters — at the vanguard of this new way of working — are encountering a jobs marketplace that is somewhat at odds from the breathless media portrayals of how the pandemic has created a new workforce that can work from anywhere on the planet that’s serviced by internet.

Today’s remote job market is brimming to overflow with jobs that are not truly remote; with unscrupulous recruiters advertising remote jobs because they think it looks “trendy”; and with remote opportunities that are only really opportunities for those based in a certain city or country.

In order for the remote working world to become a reality, we’re going to need to create far more granular jobs websites that acknowledge the fact that when we speak about “remote working” we’re actually talking about a non-homogeneous group of working arrangements. For these portals to be anything like useful for candidates, they’re going to have to get a lot better at distinguishing between all of the following:

  • The classic gold standard job that can be done from anywhere with no expectation to ever visit an office
  • Gold standard jobs but ones which — for legal reasons — the workers have to be located in a certain tax jurisdiction
  • Hybrid jobs in which the requirement to visit the company site is frequent enough that it’s only a reasonable proposition for somebody already based in that country
  • Hybrid jobs that really require somebody to be based in the city

The problem? Right now we’re brandishing all the above as unqualified “remote” — alongside a whole boatload of opportunity that is actually nothing of the sort.

The result is that finding quality remote positions, for candidates, is becoming a more frustrating and time-consuming process than it needs to be.



Daniel Rosehill

Daytime: writing for other people. Nighttime: writing for me. Or the other way round. Enjoys: Linux, tech, beer, random things. https://www.danielrosehill.com