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Make Them Pay

Posted by Colin Kingsbury

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Feb 15, 2007 1:16:00 PM

There's been a bubble of interest out there in the relatively dismal world of recruiting with both TechCrunch and Venture Beat weighing in on the recent proliferation of players in advertising and sourcing.

I can't find it anymore but there was a great comment on the TechCrunch article which basically said, "this space will stink so long as candidates don't pay."

There is perhaps no more cherished assumption in this business than the idea that candidates shouldn't pay for anything. How cherished? Check outthis post at recruiting.com, which states,
If any employer asks you to pay for any part of the employment process call the police immediately.
While true, this is often read to mean "anyone involved in finding you a job" and not just the employer proper, with the end result being that anyone aside from a "career coach" or resume writer gets labeled a crook. See this post at Joel Cheesman's site on The Ladders, which has the temerity to charge jobseekers $30/mo for access solely to $100k+ jobs, and makes very clear that if you've never pulled down a six-figure package, you should go somewhere else.

The notion that jobseekers should get everything for free is quaint, infantilizing, and damaging. There is a rule, by no means universal, but nonetheless generally useful, that business processes are set up primarily for the benefit of the people paying for them. While employers complain endlessly about job boards (and not entirely without reason), think about what a dismal abbatoir they are for candidates, who can look forward to spend hours clicking through poorly-targeted job ads and forced to complete brain-dead screening surveys for jobs they know full well they have maybe a 1-in-50 chance of even getting an emailed rejection letter.

When the only thing that every single person who's ever come within range of the recruiting process is that it stinks like week-old fish, it's time to reconsider cherished assumptions. Let's dispense with the ethical questions, because if it's bad to charge people a modest sum of money to help them find a well-paying job, how much more reprehensible is it to charge them to find true, scientifically-engineered love?