Not all job posts are created equal! The fact is, a lot of openings posted on job boards get filled by company insiders, or someone who knows somebody on the inside.

It’s incredibly common – and happens with about half of all job listings. There’s even a name for it: “Phantom Job Listings.” Basically, the jobs are posted because it’s company policy to post them publicly – even if they’ve already got someone they want to hire. Or because they’re worried about lawsuits, or losing federal funding if they don’t at least appear to be looking around for someone new.

It may be frustrating for job applicants, but it’s perfectly legal to advertise a job that’s almost guaranteed to go to an insider. And hiring from within is often a good move. Experts point out that internal hires generally perform better because they already know the company and the players, so they need less training.

The good news is, it might not be a waste of time to apply for a phantom job. If the insider turns out to be a bad fit, you’ll already be in the stack of applicants. Also, managers keep track of the best talent, even when hiring is frozen. And when jobs open up, they go right to the top-pick résumés they’ve already set aside – just in case.