January 26, 2010

TheLadders: Job-board salary fraud?

Filed under: Job Search, Stuff I worry about

Honest, I don’t wake up every morning wondering, How can I slam TheLadders today? But TheLadders just seems to keep tripping over its own questionable practices.


UPDATE March 19, 2014
Angry, frustrated customers of TheLadders who say they were scammed finally get their day in court. Federal Court OK’s Suit Against TheLadders: Breach of contract & deceptive practices

UPDATE March 12, 2013
A consumer protection class action suit has been filed against TheLadders. If you believe you’ve been scammed by TheLadders, you can join the suit by contacting the law firm that filed the complaint. More here: TheLadders sued for multiple scams in U.S. District Court class action


I received a query from a reporter who’s working on a story about the perils of job hunting:

I am looking for job seekers, recruiters or hiring managers who can talk about job scams. If you have been a victim of a job scam or hired at one salary or job description, only to find out once taking the job that the company has structured compensation differently than promised, I would like to hear your story.

Job scams! Right up my alley. I’m always interested in stories about companies that advertise a job at a nice, high salary to get good applicants — then disclose a much lower salary for the job. Some people call that fraud, especially when the perpetrator does it again and again.

Hmmm, I wondered, What publication is this story for?

Turns out the story is commissioned by TheLadders.

Yah, TheLadders is doing an “article” about people who respond to job postings that turn out to pay less than promised. I suppose they want to warn Ladders members about consumer fraud.

Why doesn’t TheLadders just interview its own customers, who complain TheLadders itself is making scam salary promises? TheLadders home page, front and center, says:

“Only $100k+ jobs.” Not “…except a few” or “…except the ones our customers bust us for.”

People pay fees to access “Only $100k+ jobs.” Then they go on an interview for one of those Ladders-listed jobs, only to find the job pays nowhere near $100k.

The reporter who contacted me could explore job-ad salary fraud by interviewing someone who paid TheLadders $180 for “Only $100k+ jobs.” Customer Robin Lynn applied for a job she found on TheLadders with “Compensation: $100k.” The recruiter who posted the job responded:

This position is paying @75K-80K. Please let me know if you are still interested.

Robin complained to TheLadders that, “There are jobs under $100K on your site”. Customer service representative Joseph Giarratano responded:

We have very specific criteria we evaluate all our positions on to ensure they pay more than $100K. However, with the state of the current economy, albeit rare, sometimes a position will meet that criteria and still pay slightly less than $100K. I sincerely apologize that you came across one of those positions. I have removed it from our site to avoid further confusion… Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.

A salary range 20-25% less than promised by TheLadders is “slightly less?” We’re talking $20k-$25k less!

But forget about the numbers for a minute and focus on the system TheLadders claims ensures compliance with its salary requirements. I don’t get it. If TheLadders uses “very specific criteria” to evaluate positions “to ensure they pay more than $100k,” how is it that “a position will meet that criteria and still pay slightly less than $100k?” In logic, that’s called a tautology. In business, it’s doubletalk.

After paying her money and wasting her time, Robin Lynn was more careful with other Ladders listings, researching them more carefully than TheLadders did itself before she submitted other applications:

I’ve come across a few others in the intervening months and only knew they were sub-$100k because they had been cross-posted on HotJobs, Monster or another jobs board.

But what prompted this Ladders customer to search for other complaints about TheLadders and to write to me? She was annoyed by a January 18, 2010 e-mail she received from Ladders CEO Marc Cenedella. It was one of his frequent rah-rah advertorials, titled “Why is the job hunt so tedious?” in which he wrote:

…job-seekers like you know that the jobs here are hand-screened by two human beings to make sure they’re $100K+ before we let them onto the site.

(I’m really mystified by those two human beings. Ladders claims to have the most $100k+ jobs online. How do two human beings do all that checking?)

Annoyed because her experience contradicted Cenedella’s claims, Robin sent another complaint to TheLadders, only to receive another boilerplate response, this time from “Madelyn:”

Apologies for any inconvenience here, and I assure you that we make every effort to ensure that all jobs on our site qualify… Our team screens thousands of job postings each week. On the rare occasion that a job paying under $100k is posted on our site, we rely on feedback from members, like you, to let us know.

(“Our team screens thousands of job postings?” Is that the “two human beings” Cenedella is talking about?)

Robin Lynn paid $180 to TheLadders for a service. So perhaps her conclusion is not merely sarcastic: “Maybe they should be paying us to do their job instead of us paying them for the same listings that are on HotJobs and Monster?”

The reporter who contacted me about job scams could also interview Alishia, who shared the log of her customer service call with TheLadders:

Alishia: Hi Andy
Alishia: I have a problem
Andy: Sorry to hear that Alisha, how can I help?
Alishia: I found this job on your website: [redacted]
Alishia: and after spending time researching the company, writing a letter and resume
Alishia: when I got a call from the hiring manager
Alishia: he tells me this position pays $50K

Perhaps the reporter should “go inside” and talk with “Andy,” a Ladders representative who admitted to Alishia that TheLadders does not have “only $100k+ jobs” and that, in fact, TheLadders has no idea what many of its jobs pay:

Andy: First of all, we make no claims that all of our jobs are submitted directly to us. Many of the positions on our site are linked directly to from external job boards. Since we don’t have a direct way of knowing the pay range of each of these positions, we make an estimate based on a rigid set of criteria.

According to this customer support transcript, TheLadders knowingly publishes jobs whose salaries TheLadders does not know, yet claims the jobs are “always $100k+.”

But lets get back to “the rare occasions” when Ladders customers don’t get what they pay for. The reporter should interview Phil, who says those occasions aren’t so rare:

I was bombarded with 60K jobs that were posing as 100K positions, and the endless flow of juvenile chatter from their “experts” became a real annoyance.

Or she could interview Tracy, who reports investing time going on three interviews after finding a “$100k+ job” on TheLadders:

I subscribed to the highest level of service offered at the time and applied to many positions but was only contacted by one company. After the third interview with this company I discovered that the salary was $48,000 per year with a potential $12,000 bonus.

If Tracy is paying top dollar for “Only $100k+ jobs,” why is TheLadders wasting her valuable time on jobs that potentially pay no more than even $60,000?

Then there’s Jerry Howard, who didn’t trust a Ladders job posting. Here’s the kind of enterprising guy I really admire: He went to the employer’s offices to doublecheck the salary before applying.

I sent this to TheLadders.com:

I checked into one of the positions you posted in Powell, Ohio with Star Dynamics. The job you posted doesn’t exist and certainly doesn’t pay $100k+ if it did. After personally visiting the locations in Powell, Ohio, a bedroom community that has only two RF communications companies (Star Dynamics and Aeroflex), it was found that the job postings do not exist. When I mentioned the $100k salary number, everyone laughed. None of the engineers working for these locations have salaries that come even close to that number.

Jerry Howard’s experience suggests Robin Lynn is on the right track: TheLadders ought to hire Jerry as its third hand screener. Problem solved, customer hired! (Do you think the other two hand screeners go out into the field like Jerry did, to conduct thorough salary checks?)

TheLadders’ misleading job postings don’t just affect its job hunting customers — they cost employers time and money, too. Corp Recruiter says her company didn’t even list its sub-$100k jobs on TheLadders:

We were never a customer of The Ladders and yet they kept posting our jobs on their site… We then had people contacting us directly asking about jobs they saw on the ladders [sic], jobs which had been closed months earlier. These same jobs never paid close to 100k.

“Only $100k+ jobs?” Not only are they not $100k+; apparently they’re not even real. I guess the money this employer saved by not posting jobs on TheLadders got spent anyway — dealing with unexpected and inappropriate applicants sent by TheLadders.

Ladders customer Chris feels he got scammed twice — once because he paid for jobs that turned out to be less than $100k+, and again when Ladders continued billing him and refused to issue a refund:

The Ladders posted a job in February for an IT Management job at Finish Line in Indianapolis. I applied, and got a phone interview. The interviewer asked me what salary range I was looking for. When I told him 100 to 110 he appologies [sic]. He told me the position was only paying $76k at max. I paid for my “TheLadders” membership. Now they automatically renewed my membership for the next 3 months for $75 and make it a point that they DO NOT PROVIDE REFUNDS. We’ll see about this. How do you spell SCAM?

Another Ladders customer, Greg, not only thinks he was scammed, he says he has evidence. Like Alishia, he saved his customer service chat log with Ladders’ representative “Andrew” and posted it on this blog(Think Andrew is the Andy who helped Alishia?)

Greg McGiffney: I interviewed for this position (great) – but I was told the comp is $7K per month – not exactly the reason why I joined the service as I am looking for over $100K (obviously). [11:19:09 AM]
Andrew: Thank you for letting me know. [11:19:23 AM]
Greg McGiffney: How did it get on there in the first place? [11:20:01 AM]
Greg McGiffney: The other thing is that now I am kind of stuck – in that I have to follow through based on bad info. [11:20:50 AM]
Andrew: You can always refuse the position, citing that salary. [11:21:32 AM]
Greg McGiffney: Sure, but I kind of relied upon you to do your homework in the first place (that is what I pay you for). [11:22:11 AM]
Andrew: I’m sincerely sorry that one of our jobs was not $100K.
Greg McGiffney: OK – so you are basically guessing about the comp for each of your listings? No verification? [11:24:25 AM]
Andrew: Over half of our jobs are submitted directly to us with compensation listed. For the other half, we have strict guidelines to aid us in determining whether a job is $100K or not. Each positions is reviewed by 2 rounds of approvers before it is put onto the site. [11:26:54 AM]
Andrew: However, with over 9,000 job postings each week, it happens that we miss one, albeit rarely. [11:27:16 AM]
Greg McGiffney: What do the approvers do exactly? Seems like they should be able to verify something if there is a monetary transaction involved. [11:28:13 AM]
Andrew: We cannot force companies to give us their compensation. [11:28:59 AM]

Andrew says they “miss one, albeit rarely.” (Hmm. There’s that expression again: albeit rare. Ladders rep Joseph Giarratano used it, too. These guys must attend the same vocabulary classes, with Andy and Andrew.) But maybe those “two human beings” doing the hand screening can’t keep up. Is it possible there are just two screeners “for the other half” of jobs — the ones for which TheLadders does not have compensation figures?

I’m not a lawyer, but now my antennae go up. I add up Cenedella’s “two human beings” hand screening jobs with the admission that “We cannot force companies to give us their compensation… for the other half [of jobs],” and what I come up with is that maybe TheLadders is aware that an awful lot of jobs in its database are probably not $100k+.

Suddenly customer Robin Lynn’s suggestion makes a lot of sense. It seems there’s no way TheLadders can eliminate all the sub-$100k jobs from its database — without its customers calling employers and going on interviews to find out which of those jobs pay less than $100k. Robin is paying TheLadders for the privilege of vetting TheLadders’ database, when perhaps TheLadders should be paying her for… “feedback from members, like you, to let us know.”

(Of course, there’s the possibility — Am I being cynical? — that TheLadders isn’t about to forego the revenue that comes from listing “the other half” of jobs whose salaries are unknown.)

As a headhunter, I understand exactly what Andrew (the customer service representative) means. I can’t force my client companies to make $100k offers when a job is only worth $75k. But I don’t mislead my candidates and tell them they’re interviewing for $100k jobs. (Of course, I don’t charge them for access to those jobs, either.)

Are companies intentionally posting jobs that don’t really pay $100k? Who knows? Certainly not TheLadders, which admits it does not know the compensation. Since TheLadders admits it is aware that it doesn’t know the real salaries… yet represents that it publishes “Only $100k+ jobs”… does that meet the legal definition of fraud?

fraud, noun, any act, expression, omission, or concealment calculated to deceive another to his or her disadvantage; specifically : a misrepresentation or concealment with reference to some fact material to a transaction that is made with knowledge of its falsity or in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity and with the intent to deceive another and that is reasonably relied on by the other who is injured thereby.

I can’t wait to see the “article” about job and salary scams once it’s published by TheLadders. Investigative reporting always needs a powerful punchline to rouse the public to action about job scams. Maybe the reporter should close with this quote from TheLadders’ customer Terry:

…can’t all of us get together and file a class action suit against them since we all paid money for something we are obviously not getting? If we file a class action suit we should at least get back the money we spent on a site that is misrepresenting itself. This is an obvioius attempt to take advantage of people who have lost their jobs and are in need of getting new ones.

It’s simple, folks. This doesn’t require complex legal analysis. There is no difficult or ambiguous interpretation to consider. TheLadders’ home page says, “Only $100k+ jobs.” Only.


Dear Marc Cenedella (CEO of TheLadders),

Are you listening, Bub?

Nobody makes you say Only $100k+ jobs. You choose to say only. Monster.com doesn’t say only. I’m no fan of CareerBuilder, but it doesn’t say only. What company CEO is stupid or arrogant enough to publish a bald misrepresentation in big print on his company’s home page?

Your jobs are not always $100k+. Your customers tell the story and claim that your customer service representatives admit it on the record.

Your competitors aren’t stupid; they know that no database of thousands of job listings can be always $100k+. So they don’t claim that. Only you do.

Your two hand-screening human beings must have missed recruiter Darren. A customer who paid you for only $100k+ jobs says Darren told her, “This position is paying @75K-80K.”

You have put a burden on yourself; no one put it on you. Only $100k+ jobs means there are no jobs under $100k on the job-listing service you charge people money to use. That’s what you’re selling.

“And job-seekers like you know that the jobs here are hand-screened by two human beings to make sure they’re $100K+ before we let them onto the site.”
– Marc Cenedella

“Since we don’t have a direct way of knowing the pay range of each of these positions, we make an estimate…”
– Andy, TheLadders Customer Service

It sure seems to me that TheLadders knows its claims cannot be true. Andy’s statement begs the question, Are you knowingly perpetrating fraud on consumers who pay you in good faith to get only $100k+ job listings?

Your company is taking money from people who spend it in good faith to buy what you promise to deliver. If you can’t “always” deliver “Only $100k+ jobs,” then remove what appears to be a fraudulent claim on your home page, refund the fees you collected for jobs that were not $100k+ and clean up your act.

   Nick Corcodilos               


If I were writing an article for TheLadders about job scams; if I were a freelance writer with any integrity; I’d kiss the fee goodbye, close the article like this, and then publish it on my blog instead of selling it to TheLadders:

Is there a U.S. Attorney out there reading this, who knows the difference between marketing and consumer fraud?

.

109 Comments on “TheLadders: Job-board salary fraud?”
By Ask a Manager
January 26, 2010 at 12:52 am

This is infuriating. Taking advantage of job seekers in a time of vulnerability?

Someone really should sue.

By Laura
January 26, 2010 at 3:36 am

How unbelievable. As a job search coach and resume writer, I’m frequently asked for recommendations on executive-level job search tools. As you can imagine, it’s quite an interesting discussion when TheLadders comes up.

Did I mention that nearly everyone seems to have heard of them? Sadly, the money invested in marketing this site would be better served somewhere else – like issuing refunds to formerly trusting customers such as the ones profiled here.

If career professionals can’t recommend TheLadders in good faith to job hunters, what good is this site? It’s downright disheartening to have to tell job hunters that all this hype is for naught – and now they have to look elsewhere!

By Dennis
January 26, 2010 at 3:36 am

Regarding The Ladders automatically charging a renewal fee: Customers should dispute the charge with their credit card company. A quick call to the customer service 800 number explaining you are not receiving the service will result in a reversal of the charge. This can be done months after the charge. Don’t let them tell you you have to cancel in advance. It is a clear case of not receiving the service you agreed to pay for. DISPUTE the charge and get your refund!

By Maurreen Skowran
January 26, 2010 at 4:36 am

Yes, it would be good to complain to somebody with enforcement power. Maybe the FTC.

I’m not a lawyer, but maybe a class action suit?

By Jim Jarvis
January 26, 2010 at 6:12 am

I have an annual subscription to The Ladders, which does not self-renew. In the last year, I have caught them posting jobs which don’t exist. I have caught them posting jobs which were filled as much as a YEAR before. I have caught them re-posting these jobs. I have demonstrably caught them in a misrepresentation of salary for a job
WHICH WAS CREATED AROUND ME. They caused both me and an inexperienced HR person to wrong-foot the negotiation, and cost me a job.

It is clear that they scour target company websites. It is clear that they scour Monster and Career Builder, and simply re-post without real verification.

It IS a fraud. It is interstate wire fraud, given internet use. However, there is an FBI unit involved with this, and they’re not particularly interested in pursuing it, from what I can see. The US Atty refers one to the FBI which sends one to a website. Black Hole.

If this is to be stopped, it will have to be by a state attorney general.

By CH
January 26, 2010 at 6:32 am

Nick, I see you put alot of of effort into this subject, thanks for that. We totally get it.. now, can you please move onto the next subject that would be more beneficial?

By Danny
January 26, 2010 at 8:25 am

Nick, excellent article and a real interesting perspective into the job posting scams that unfortunately exist online.

I am not a customer of TheLadders but I have seen their claims and was certainly concerned with their bold statement that all Jobs are 100k+.

You make an excellent point that the CEO Marc Cenedella is completely responsible for this behavior and for not following through on his mandate. Perhaps they should change their slogans to “Some Job 100k+ … Others, well we just don’t know”.

I will never solicit their website, I will never register for their services, and will certainly pass on your article to everybody I know in my professional circle in case they ever need to look for a job.

Thanks for sharing your reader’s experiences and saving us from the same fate. I hope one of them launches a class action suit against them. They certainly seem to have enough evidence.

D

By Robin Lynn
January 26, 2010 at 8:40 am

To “CH”:

“…can you please move onto the next subject that would be more beneficial?”

Beneficial to who, you? It’s that sort of myopic view of the world that creates a welcoming environment for scammers like Marc Cenedalla and his company.

The job hunt in this economy is hard enough. I don’t appreciate wasting my time and energy on jobs that don’t meet my salary needs. Jobs I wouldn’t apply for if I knew what they paid at the outset.

It’s frustrating – even humiliating – to submit a resume then get to an interview only to discover the job doesn’t pay the salary implied by being listed on the ladders.com. It’s a waste of time for me and the hiring employer since at the outset we are unknowingly coming to the table with vastly different expectations.

It’s like having an engineering degree, applying for a job, and then getting to the interview only to discover that the position advertised was for a salesperson at Radio Shack.

The ladders is a scam, plain and simple. A class action law suitsounds like a good idea.

Robin

By MikeC
January 26, 2010 at 9:20 am

“CH” –

I agree with Robin. You obviously aren’t at this level, but for those of us that are, and who’ve paid foor their service, The Ladders has sucked us in, and are playing bait-and-switch.

Another couple of facts. They charge $695 for a “Professional Resume”, and over $200 for a “Cover Letter”. They don’t think we’re smart enough to know that a Cover Letter and Resume are targeted to a specific job, and you can’t just modify the job title in either, and have effective documents when applying for a position other than the one for which the resume they “Professionally” wrote is used.

I for one agree with the class-action lawsuit, contacting the FTC, BBB, Attorney General, and the Consumer Protection Agency, and would be happy to lead the charge for ayone on board.

I’m going to call them and have a discussion and if I don;t get satisfation in the for of a refund, then I will let them know what ‘m going to do. I’ve found in the past that specific mention of the above agencies and the subsequent lawsuit tends to bring attention. It may not with The Ladders, but then it’s going to be MUCH more expensive for them…I can guarantee it.

Mike

By Fran Holm Hogan
January 26, 2010 at 9:37 am

I’m so glad there is someone out there like you Nick that has the guts to call The Ladders, and others like them, out. There are new people entering the executive job market every day that need to know about these scams.

You can’t say it enough, despite what CH thinks. Shout it out again and then again.

By Jeff
January 26, 2010 at 9:51 am

I did not renew my membership with The Ladders after 6 months of seeing the same thing again and again. What really put me over was when I did talk to a recruiter at length, he confided in my that although the position was listed at 130-150, The Ladders requires them to include all benefits and highest range of bonuses listed at that employer to up the range!

What I found after I discontinued was if I continued with my “free” service, they would continue to send me daily updates and using the same verbiage via cut and paste, I could find 99% of the positions listed elsewhere free.

Glad I only paid for a short while, lesson learned and boy do I love reading Nick all worked up about this, gives me a good laugh, sorry it is at everyone’s expense who has put their faith in this fraud.

Good luck, count me in on any class action, I kept the details of all my experiences.

By Robin Lynn
January 26, 2010 at 10:24 am

Mike,

Count me in on the class action!

Robin

By Jim Trainor
January 26, 2010 at 11:31 am

Hi Nick

I have been in the technical recruiting business since 1971 so I have some idea of what I’m talking about. The Ladder is a profit based company that must sell it’s services to unsuspecting job hunters looking for a short cut. Many of the advertised jobs don’t exist. They advertise the exact same position in different markets around the country for the purpose of scamming job seekers of the joining fee.

With that said, some blame must fall on the job seekers. “I won’t apply for a job if it doesn’t pay over 100K” Who do they thing they are. Are their skills worth 100K? Are they so busy that can’t take an interview because the salary is 75K. Candidates have to get real, there are no short cuts, whether the economy is busting or busted. If you can prove, actual prove,you’re worth, 100K someone will pay you 100K. Encourage class action law suits, get the fees refunded and sit back and wait until someone else develops a new “short cut” for the job hunt. Come on job seekers, stop being the victim, use your head, sell your skills and stop direction the blame to others.
The Ladder, although part of the problem, wouldn’t exist if job seekers stopped grabbing at straws and started grabbing the phone.

Remember the number of positions filled by job posting? Think it’s less the 10%.

Jim

By Ian Beame
January 26, 2010 at 11:43 am

There is another side to the Ladders. It is job listings with impossible, walk-on-water requirements for which there is no job. I’m not sure why companies post them, or why recruiters present them to candidates, but I am sure that no one can do these jobs.

For example, one I found required 10 years experience, an engineering degree and MBA, which is OK so far, but then also required hands on programming skills with a specific project management software package.

Here’s what’s wrong. No one with the management expdetise of an MBA and an engineering degree and 10 years experience is going to program Privavera 6. You hire keyboard artists for that.

I also found high end executive job postings that most certainly belonged in a much more rarefied environment in term of recruitment and not on a mass market job board. These kinds of jobs are filled through one-on-one industry contacts. No one ever posts them. How did they wind up on Ladders? I haven’t a clue.

Remarkably, I also found legitimate job postings on Ladders but never got past talking to a recruiter about them. I got the feeling the these recruiters were simply slamming resumes against the wall of hiring firms to see if any stick.

I wasted my money at Ladders and would not recommend it to anyone.

By Fran Holm Hogan
January 26, 2010 at 11:47 am

I think there is a difference here Jim. The Ladders charges a fee with the promise that there are only $100k jobs posted. That’s fraud.

These days job seekers are grabbing at everything they can to get a job. Long cuts, short cuts, everything. It’s a scary time to be out of work.I think that most of the people who jump on The Ladders job board are prepared to prove they are worth $100K +. That’s not the issue here. We’re talking about false claims.

By Louise Fletcher
January 26, 2010 at 11:47 am

This is a shame.

When The Ladders first started, I thought quite highly of their listings and the service they provided.

It’s disheartening to know that things have changed a lot there in the intervening years – especially now when so many people really are in need of help finding work.

The good news is that there are free resources people can use.

LinkedIn is excellent for networking, researching to find target companies, and meeting recruiters.

Searchfirm.com is a good recruiter database for free.

I hear good things about LinkUp.com, which also scours the web for job postings but doesn’t charge a fee. Not sure how they are on executive jobs.

And in the end, good old-fashioned networking and establishing yourself as an authority in your field will always be the best way to find senior-level jobs.

Best of luck to anyone currently looking!

By Sean Stephens
January 26, 2010 at 11:58 am

After months of disappointing experiences with Monster, Careerbuilder, and other like them, I decided to get a subscription to Ladder — next month because Christmas ate my “this month” money. Instead, I found your site and learned my experience with job boards is consistent with everyone else’s and that Ladder is no better than they are (probably even worse). Now, shaking my fist aggressively, I say, “You better be right about this!” because I’m going to spend the money on your books instead of Ladder. Something in the logic part of my brain kept telling me Ladder wouldn’t be a good deal (too good to be true). While I wasn’t listening, my pocketbook obviously was.

Interestinly enough, there was a time where job hunting was more labor intensive and required actual movement of the body and mind. I vaguely remember those times, going from one place to another to fill out an actual paper application. Jim, thank you for the reality check. Without realizing it, I’ve invested my entire future on the Internet and sacrificed countless opportunties because I thought I was doing more work from my home computer.

Sean

By Robert Camp
January 26, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I’ve used Ladders on three seperate occassions over the past three years as I’ve gone in and out of job searches. I’ve replied to 50-100 postings during that time without ever receiving a single reply. I asked customer service to give me some statistics on the Ladders effectiveness with older workers, I’m sure they know, and received a generic reply, I quit Ladders for good. I suspect Ladders has an extremely low placement rate for older workers and yet common sense tells me $100,000 a year jobs go to those who are older. If we knew the actual placement rate of job seekers in real jobs I suspect Ladders would become Stepstool.

By Nick Corcodilos
January 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm

@Jim Trainor, @Fran: There is indeed no excuse for or defense of job boards that fleece job hunters. But Jim is right: The success of these boards depends on willing buyers. Desperate, frustrated job hunters want to believe they can pay to find a job, so they do it when someone offers to take their money. They need to wise up. But the far greater crutch that these boards rely on is HR departments and recruiters that pay to list their jobs. Take away the drug, and the addicts either lose their addiction (or find another one!).

By Nick Corcodilos
January 26, 2010 at 12:13 pm

@Sean: You said it – “there was a time where job hunting was more labor intensive and required actual movement of the body and mind.”

Now we are taught to sit back, put quarters in the machine, and play the jobs video game from an armchair. Successful job hunters are out there meeting and talking to people. “There was a time.” It’s still the time. That’s what your best competitors are doing ;-) And that’s basically what I teach. It’s not rocket science. I’m flattered your “Ladders” money is being redirected. Hope you enjoy the books!

By Robin Lynn
January 26, 2010 at 12:46 pm

@Jim Trainor:

“…some blame must fall on the job seekers. “I won’t apply for a job if it doesn’t pay over 100K” Who do they thing they are. Are their skills worth 100K? Are they so busy that can’t take an interview because the salary is 75K. Candidates have to get real, there are no short cuts, whether the economy is busting or busted. If you can prove, actual prove,you’re worth, 100K someone will pay you 100K.”

I’m worth $100k (more actually) and have the pay stubs and 25 years of experience to prove it. The issue is not whether someone thinks they are too good to apply for a job paying $75k, the issue is applying for a $75k job when you think you are applying for a $100k job.

Each individual has to determine their own personal criteria for what they will and won’t apply for based on, skills, level of expertise as well as family and financial needs. To “blame the victim” and assume it’s simply arrogance is naive.

Jim, you know what they say about making assumptions…

When I was looking for work, TheLadders was one item in my job search tool kit which included recruiters, networking, researching companies I was interested in and trolling the job boards to see what was out there, among other strategies.

Speaking as a hiring manager, I don’t have a lot of time to sift through the thousands of resumes I get a week and sift out the under/over qualified candidates, much less interview them. It’s why I now use recruiters almost exclusively.

Additionally, the last thing I want is a candidate who would be frustrated by being in a position he/she is overqualified for. From a managerial and (to a lesser extent) an HR point of view, at best it can make for a disruption in group/team dynamics and at worst it can be a disaster.

The issue at hand is whether TheLadders commits fraud through deceptive advertising practices. According to the FTC’s definitions, they do.

Robin

By Ginger
January 26, 2010 at 12:54 pm

TheLadders’ claims have always seemed fishy to me; I’ve never used it personally.

Based on what you’ve found here, it certainly looks like there is evidence to substantiate a fraudulent advertising claim. A few resources for those impacted (file complaint with both):

FTC complaint form https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

The Natl Adv. Division of the BBB (This is the org that got Walmart to change its slogan from the misleading “Always the low price. Always.”)
http://www.nadreview.org/AboutNAD.aspx

By steve dill
January 26, 2010 at 1:08 pm

As the founder/president of a popular niche job board for high-end jobs in medical sales, I would like to offer a few comments relating to the issue of a job board’s “responsibility” in the truthfulness of job listings by its participating employers.

On our job board, http://www.gorillamedicalsales.com , we have no way of verifying that the compensation claims stated in job listings by our posting recruiters are actual figures. Thus, we never attempt to advertise that our jobs are “only $100k jobs”, or, that we “pre-screen jobs” to assure that they are in fact $100k minimum jobs.

The reality is that we are merely a destination for recruiters to post their jobs. We do not verify information or claims made by posting recruiters in their job listings. Our “Terms-of-Service” makes it very clear that we do not guarantee any claims made in any posting, since these postings are not made by GorillaMed, but by recruiters posting on our site.

Recently, we examined the recruiter-posted jobs on our site to determine what percentage of them CLAIMED to offer compensation packages in excess of $100k. This one-time snap shot revealed that about 85% of the jobs posted on GorillaMed that day claimed to offer compensations over $100k. However, we have no way of knowing if some of these compensation claims may have been embellished by the posting recruiter.

I believe that all job-seekers should understand that there will always be embellished information in some jobs posted on job boards. It is not ethical, for sure, but is a pitfall which does not seem to have a solution for the owners of the job boards where the job is posted.

The problem arises when a job board attempts to claim that they guarantee the compensation levels made in job-postings found on their board.

By steve dill
January 26, 2010 at 1:23 pm

One other aspect of GorillaMed which is unique to our site, is that our board is exclusively a job-posting site for medical sales recruiters, and we allow them to post their jobs FREE. Our business model is such that we charge job-seekers a one-time registration fee of $39.99 for a full year of unlimited board access, but do NOT charge recruiters a fee to post jobs. Because recruiters post free, they have embraced our site,and are posting hundreds of great jobs, which benefits the paying job-seekers on our board.

We understand that our board is not the entire answer when seeking a medical sales position. Rather, it is one piece of the puzzle to explore in a candidates’ search efforts. For the dozens of job-seekers who have secured new jobs from postings they found on GorillaMed, I am sure it has been the best $40 they have ever spent. However, one must understand that all job boards are merely methods to IDENTIFY jobs-of-interest. Whether that individual is able to secure a job is solely up to factors beyond the control of the job board.

By Nicole Crimaldi
January 26, 2010 at 1:50 pm

WOW NICK!

This is so sad. Especially in the desperate job-seeking times we are in right now.

My first job was in sales. The people I worked with would do absolutely ANYTHING to close a deal. It reminds me of this story. Guess what I was selling? Sub-prime mortgages…and look where it got our country. (I had no idea this is what I’d be doing at the time of the interview)

Companies like this make entrepreneurs look bad, and they make honest sales people look bad too. I’ll be following up on this story over at my blog http://www.mscareergirl.com.

Thanks for bringing this to light. They’re goin down!

By MikeC
January 26, 2010 at 1:50 pm

@Robin Lynn, @Jim

Robin, you are 100% correct that this is just one of the tools that people in a Job Search right now have in their bag. I’m using a Professional Talent and Career Managament company that was provided by the employer for those of us that were downsized.

They have Webinars on Search Strategy and Networking, along with many many other. In the Search Strategy Webinar, they mentioned some of what they thought were good websites to use, and The Ladders is one of them.

I am not depending on “the easy way” as Jim put it, and am offended that he feels he can make a general statement like that, given that he has absolutely zero knowledge of the time and effort you, I, and others who have been scammed are putting into our career search.

I don’t need to justify my efforts and what I do to Jim or anyone else, but I will tell you that I am making contacts, networking, etc. and spend about 8 hours a day on my search, so The Ladders is but a small part of what I’m doing to find a position.

However, I am a professional that made over 100K when downsized, and with my level of exerience, expertise, and the skill set I bring to the table, I can comfortably say that I provide that level of value.

Again, based upon the recommendation of the Career Management firm, and being at my level, is what prompted me to joined The Ladders.

Maybe Jim works there, and maybe he doesn’t, but the fact remains that they have fraudulently advertised that EVERY job they list pays 100K or more. I have sent Nick’s information to the Career Mgmt company, so they that can decide whether or not they will continue to recommend The Ladders.

In the meantime, I will continue to use all of the tools in my bag, but will follow-up on this information. Jim, Nick, and whoever else can play and the buyer beware card, but there is no excuse other than greed and a total disrespect for those of us unemployed, to knowingly lie and commit fraud to make a buck.

By Joanna Lord
January 26, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Nick…this is great stuff. I really appreciate you taking the time to not just “rant” but really give it the substance such a serious issue deserves. I have been a Ladders skeptic for quite some time now, and after reading this post I really see the true colors shining through.
Like so many other commenters above me it is upsetting to know that they are really abusing the job seeker’s time & energy for their job search. The search is already such a challenge, and then to add companies that are {so clearly} misleading users…ugh. Makes me all sorts of sassy.
Thanks again for sharing and shedding some light on this ridiculousness (yes I made that word up, but it fits this so well…).

By Carl
January 26, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Not a tautology. An oxymoron. A tautology asserts “a is consistent with a”. An oxymoron asserts “a and not-a are both simultaneously true.”

By Lee Hamilton
January 26, 2010 at 3:25 pm

I always thought that if you have to pay for job hunting information and services, don’t. (However if your company pays for outplacement services, go for it.) There is plenty out there for free. If you need some help, the local state job service, local library or the internet should have the information that you need at no cost to you. If you really have the skills, a friendly talk with a recruiter or two will help you hone your resume in addition to a free review at the local job service. You should not pay for these services. Only you know what you can do, and what accomplishments are appropriate for a given job resume.

The BBB listing for “The Ladders” is:
http://www.bbb.org/new-york-city/business-reviews/job-listing-and-advisory-services/ladders-inc-in-new-york-ny-87438/
As you can see there have been a few (24) complaints that have all been “resolved”.

By Jim Trainor
January 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm

@ Robin @ Mike C
Good points from both of you. Have to head out of the office but will post tomorrow.

PS Mike I don’t work for The Ladder

By GL HOFFMAN
January 26, 2010 at 4:36 pm

I guess I don’t have a real problem with job boards who charge the job seeker for a service. As long as it is crystal clear what they are getting, and the job seeker has the ability to change his or her mind…and not get saddled with an evergreen type deal. THE LADDERS and HOUND are the biggest culprits, although even EMPLOYMENT GUIDE does something similar. They accept ads from a guy who sells POSTAL positions to frustrated job seekers, when all they really need is a simple application available almost anywhere.
These firms are the PORN equivalent in our industry and need to be embarrassed or rooted out.
Nice post, Nick, Keep it up…

By MikeC
January 26, 2010 at 6:10 pm

@Jim

Please don’t take my comments personally, even though I picked on you pretty directly. I only did so because it lent itself very well to the point I was attempting to get across.

I do understand that it is incumbent upon the buyer to be aware, to do research, etc…I do it every time I buy anything substantial (and am doing so now, because I’m in the market for a new couch/loveseat), but in the case we are discussing here, I neglected to do so based upon heresay that I received at the time.

Sure, it’s only something like 50 cents a day, which in the whole scheme of things, is not a lot of money for a single person, but multiplied by the number of people that have subscribed, I’m sure it’s very significant. I get very frustrated that the almighty dollar has become so important to some people that they will lie, cheat, deceive, steal, and even kill to get it…and feel no guilt. Those folks have forgotten all of the things that are truly important in life.

But now I’m starting to veer away from the subject….kind of. :-)

By Toby Dayton
January 26, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Nick,

This is an excellent article and one that everyone in and around the industry should publicize as widely, aggressively, and frequently as possible. The recruiting and recruitment advertising industries should do a far better job than they do of not only establishing guidelines and policies for ethical standards and best practices, but also policing themselves and calling out those who blatantly violate those standards.

Even absent those industry standards, there is absolutely no doubt that the Ladders is one of, if not THE most horrendous, fraudulent company in the industry. Thinly disguised as a job site, they are one gigantic scam. Worse than Madoff or Tom Petters (a $3 billion Minnesota Ponzi scheme), the Ladders scam is enabled by an enormous, national marketing campaign broadcasted daily on major cable channels.

It is the worst of the worst, and The Ladders should be shut down and its CEO Marc Cenedella fined and maybe even thrown in jail. In the meantime, the company should be collectively tarred and feathered, so to speak, by everyone in the industry until the noise is loud enough to be picked up by national media. This company has no business operating in our industry, and they have to be stopped.

Toby Dayton
President & CEO
LinkUp & JobDig

By Sue
January 26, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Thank you for the input. I have been on theLadders website for over 3 years now and I can definitely tell you that it does not deliver the goods. I have not had any responses to any of the postings I have applied for in over TWO YEARS! It’s comforting to know, I am not the only one. I discontinued my membership today and I will never go back.

By CareerDiva
January 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm

I had to take a moment to tell you how well done I thought this post was. Kudos to you Nick and your digging. This is the type of stuff that makes me think this fast-changing information age isn’t that bad after all.

By CareerDiva
January 27, 2010 at 12:50 pm

And, on another note, let’s get on the case of the employers who advertise jobs on this site but have no intention of paying $100,000 for the position.
They lure you in and whammo! A bit of the bait and switch if you ask me.

By Nancy Lewis
January 27, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I have been an Executive Recruiter for many years. I have had several comments from candidates about this problem on The Ladders. My suggestion is to NEVER post your resume on a site like this and if searching for jobs – remember that it might not be true. I received sales calls from The Ladders and found their prices to be outrageous! So they are charging the candidates fees for jobs that are not really $100k and the real job posters big amounts to list a true job. I guess the rest of the space on their site has to be filled up with junk they mine off the internet. Personally, I think it’s stealing. Some of these people are unemployed and have to carefully watch their money.

By Adam
January 27, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Keep it up Nick! We need to smoke these guys out of their cave and make them accountable.

By Adam
January 27, 2010 at 2:01 pm

If anyone in Minnesota got scammed, call or write Lori Swanson.

http://www.ag.state.mn.us/Office/ContactUs.asp

In any other states it’s pretty easy to find the contact info for your attorney general. Take action, and let’s get this scam stopped.

By Lauren
January 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Nick,
Great post, thank you. I have seen so many scams out there. The Ladders is on the top of my list of job boards to avoid. Another one is Jobfox. They also scam people into thinking they are applying for jobs that don’t exist. They, too, charge seekers. They have hijacked Indeed and Simply HIred with jobs from companies that did not post via Jobfox and change the timeframe that the job was posted. It’s all to get seeker resumes, plain and simple.

I know this isn’t a Jobfox post but they, like the Ladders, is a huge scam and should be stopped. I agree with Adam – call your state attorney general and complain. Also go to the BBB and see how many complaints have been made.

By Bill Johnson
January 27, 2010 at 5:29 pm

CH:
Sounds like YOU are Mark Cenedella or one of his minions. YOU move on.

JIM TRAINOR:
The point is that this company is engaging in massive, continuing, interstate wire fraud. Period.

You must not be much of a recruiter. Your cynical views about whether or not people you know nothing about are actually worth 100K salaries are irrelevant.

By the way, YOU must not be worth 100K, as you are close to being illiterate.

“It’s” is a contraction for “it is.” You clearly meant the possessive “its.”

“Stop direction the blame?”

“Actual prove?”

Mon Dieu. Go take some English classes and stop defending the indefensible.

By Bill Johnson
January 27, 2010 at 6:07 pm

JIM TRAINOR:

Oh, and one more thing.

It’s “The Ladders” not “The Ladder.”

It’s only on this blog post, what, 400 times?

And you are a technical recruiter? Hilarious!

By Marna
January 27, 2010 at 6:15 pm

I subscribed to MarketingLadders when it FIRST came out. I paid for one month and dropped it because I noticed they were just reposting jobs from other sites. Now you can tell they are taking Indeed’s and SimplyHired’s API and just screen scraping jobs to fill their database. It is truly predatory and sad.

By Suzanne
January 27, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I’m excited that people want to hold companies like the Ladders accountable, this kind of thing has been going on for years, even before the internet.

30 years ago I called about a job and was offered an “interview” that turned out to be a pitch to join a pyramid company. I spent what little extra money I had on new clothes and cab fare. It was demoralizing and I felt like an idiot. I hope there is a special place in hell for these folks.

Nick, you are the voice in the wilderness keep fighting the good fight.

By Jim Trainor
January 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm

@ Bill

I’ll work on my spelling, grammar and typing.

Hope your search is as agressive as your post

My attempt to get folks to stop placing blame and to focus on activities they can control was my point. There are no shortcuts

By Bill Johnson
January 28, 2010 at 1:24 pm

@Jim

Sorry if I was too harsh, but you’re still missing the point – and BLAMING THE VICTIMS.

Unemployed people, especially in this dismal economy, use all the arrows in their quiver. Why would they not? So they see a company with a very explicit value proposition, and that (if true) would likely help at least some of them identify job opportunities. They then spend their precious funds each month only to learn that the whole thing is a scam. And it’s somehow THEIR fault according to you. You must be some recruiter.

And yes, you do need to go back and take some basic English classes. Glad you recognize that.

BTW I found a great position on my own. But thanks – or as you might write, thank’s – for your concern.

By Jim Trainor
January 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm

@Bill

I tip my hat to you.

Not blaming the victim but having the victims blame others. On the topic of paying upfront, some might remenber the old scam of applicant paid fees in the employment field. That had a short shelf life as the Ladders will also

Best of success on your new positon

Jim

By Glenn
January 28, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Sounds like the 21st Century version of the Bernard Haldane firm, the one that bears little resemblance to its founder whose writings demonstrated care towards job hunters.

By MikeC
January 28, 2010 at 8:12 pm

I’ve already posted my opinions, but just another bit of information. I asked The Ladders a question about auto-renewing and their costs. Their response was to set my account to NOT Auto-Renew, which is fine, but I never asked them to do that…I wanted the pleasure!

In addition to the above, the answer they did provide was not clear, so I’ve asked for clarification twice, but can’t seem to get them to respond. They’re probably too busy burning and shredding documents, and doctoring books, and don’t have the time to respond to a subscriber’s questions right now.

Thanks Nick..you are the man! I’ve been a loyal and faithful follower for years, and that will definitely continue!

By Nick Corcodilos
January 28, 2010 at 10:23 pm

I guess we’re living in an Alternate Universe, where TheDarkLadders is visible to those with special glasses… Tennis, anyone?

Thanks to all for your posts. Don’t stop now.

By Brendan
January 28, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Nice undercover work. I too have always been a skeptic of The Ladders service (never signed up) and reading this confirmed all my doubts. It seems so simple to stay legit and valuable but unfortunately they chose the low road. I will definitely share the scam with others any chance I get. Thanks Nick.

By MikeC
January 29, 2010 at 9:11 am

What I forgot to mention in my post about The Ladders not responding to my email qustions, is that The Ladders promises (and I quote), “We answer 100% of all emails within 1 business day”.

I sent email questions asking for verification of their initial response to my question on both the 26th and 27th. It’s now the 29th…so much for the 1 business day response quarantee as well!

The plot thickens…

By GL Hoffman
January 29, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Hitchhiking on this post, Nick, but in the spirit of exposing some more bad practices by mega job boards, Toby Dayton explains the MONEY MULES concept in place at some of them. Visit:
http://blogs.jobdig.com/diggings
the rip offs continue….

By Nick Corcodilos
January 29, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Matt Youngquist delivers a pointed analysis of the marketing “logic” behind career scams including TheLadders. And the title of his article is apt: “P.T. Barnum & TheLadders.com”

Nice job adding something to the dialogue that everyone should think about. In today’s career market, everyone needs to ask whether they’re being suckered – no matter what “service” you’re considering using. Because today’s P.T. Barnums are slick, fast and smart.

Kudos to Matt!

http://careerhorizons.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/p-t-barnum-theladders-com/

By Trish
January 29, 2010 at 4:49 pm

All these comments are good… if someone would only choose to prosecute the company…
I guess it is up to the state attorney general of the state it is incorporated in…

People who got scammed should figure out how to do this…

By Maurreen Skowran
January 29, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Not that this absolves The Ladders or blames the victims, but …

Nick pointed out Matt Youngquist’s blog:
http://careerhorizons.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/p-t-barnum-theladders-com/

Youngquist wrote:
“If you were a company with a senior-level job opening, and wanted to recruit the best and brightest talent for the position, would you limit your advertising to a single site (that’s what exclusive means, after all) that’s not even close to being one of the most trafficked job sites on the Internet?”

I’m nowhere near $100K. But my perception is that those jobs would tend not to be advertised at all, on any job board.

My perception is that the higher a job is, the more distant it is from ads and applications. Instead, filling the job would more likely depend on connections and invitations.

At a certain level, many of the people appropriate for “job x” already either know each other or know of each other.

But maybe I’m wrong, because $100K isn’t what it used to be.

By Job Hunting Notes | Hongkie Town
January 30, 2010 at 6:09 am

[...] also has a link to a good post on Ask The Headhunter regarding job sites that charge the job seeker to post his or her resume on their site or to search [...]

By Sue Anne
January 30, 2010 at 7:55 am

Great article. I hope that this will filter to the top of search results when people search for TheLadders. I’ve been skeptical of the site for awhile. Many of the jobs that I’ve seen listed are not $100k jobs. TheLadders spends a ton of money advertising via Google Adwords and on sites like Indeed.com.

By Lance ==)----------
January 31, 2010 at 12:04 am

@Carl

Perhaps he meant “tauntology”, the making of bold promises in public and reneging on them in private and daring the public to do anything about it.

By Lee Hamilton
February 2, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Just got a solicitation via LinkedIn for befound.com. Promise positioning information for Google and LinkedIn. Apparently price is $194.

http://www.befoundjobs.info/

Again, if you have to pay for it it probably is not worth it, since there is plenty of advice on the internet that doesn’t cost anything more that the internet connection that you already have.

Promises 1st page of google search for your skill set. That might work for a short time – enough to make you happy, only to get bumped as soon as other people get there resumes in the top spots.

By Nick Corcodilos
February 2, 2010 at 5:48 pm

@Lee: CareerBuilder used to offer (still offers?) “placement” for a fee. Placement higher in the list of people an HR department downloads… uh, until enuf people pay for placement and your name drops off the first page… What a racket! I wrote this a while ago, have not checked the “new facts:”

http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/teeth20031020.htm

By Tommy
February 3, 2010 at 10:21 am

I tried this website once and it was not helpful at all. As previous people wrote, you can find the same opportunities on free websites. This is one site I ignore now.

By Tom C.
February 4, 2010 at 9:29 am

I always thought it was a bait and switch scam. You get the “basic” subscription, which is nothing more than a teaser. Example – looking for a project management position. They send you notices of project management positions they have – but you can’t find out anything specific at all unless you pay the premium price. $30 a month is a lot less than what you can get clipped for for other career services, just ask any former customer of Bernard Haldane or RL Stevens. But 30 cents is too much for a bogus service.

By Diggings » The Ladders Is One Gigantic Scam That Preys On Unsuspecting Job Seekers
March 10, 2010 at 3:32 pm

[...] to a friend Nick Corcodilos, aka Ask The Headhunter, has written an outstanding article on his blog about what an absolute scam The Ladders is and how fraudulent their claims are about delivering to job seekers ‘only $100K+ job [...]

By Hank
March 10, 2010 at 4:29 pm

I’ve signed up with a website that links me to Ladders, which everyone knows advertises 100K+ jobs. In my profession the going rate is $48-55/hour which brings your salary to around 100K. When I look at my e-mails with a heading of “new job postings for 100K in xyz profession,I am on Ladders, which doesn’t even list my profession! What a bunch of crap this site is. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one duped by Ladders.

By A. Brown
March 11, 2010 at 3:08 pm

It’s no great suprise when a recruiter misrepresents itself. A more fundamental issue is when pricipals post ads for jobs they have no intent to fill.

By Vepatnestyday
March 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Hi, my name is Tim. Just wanted to say hi to the forum, I been creeping around here for a while now, but tend to participate more. Looking forward to make some new friends. Ciao!

Tim

NY, NY

By Charlie
March 29, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Nice job, Nick. What they are doing at The Ladders is nothing new. It even has a name: “bait and switch.”

By Charlie
March 29, 2010 at 8:57 pm

I took the time to ask the FTC to look at what Nick wrote and the comments people made.

By Tom C.
April 2, 2010 at 10:54 am

CH needs to keep in mind that while he(or she) may know about the Ladders and other such scams, there are more people entering the job market each week and many may not. I subcribed to the Ladders on there “Basic” subscription, which I soon realized was nothing more than a teaser to get me to pay for the “real” service, their premium service. Oh yes, I’d get notices of project management jobs around my area from them all the time – but the teaser adds never said anything specific, for that, I’d have to pay. Having been ripped off by a so-called career coaching service, I decided to pass. Glad I did, although $30 – $40 a month is chicken feed to what the career coaching service ripped me off for.

By paddy s
April 30, 2010 at 8:07 pm

a lot of you are missing the point about paying.recruiters do not want to be inundated with hundreds of unqualified resumes which is the case when the service is free.your legit resume with legit quaifications is likely to be lost in all that mess. a recruiter is more likely to read a resume from someone that is serious about finding a job and has undertaken a financial commitment to that effect.also-if you are a 100k plus individual searching for a similar paying job – $30/month is cheap insurance to separate you from the lesser qualified and lower paid ranks. it is obvious,so why all the bellyaching?

By anonymous
May 4, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I believe the Ladders is a fraud! They offer a free trail to which I subscribed. I sent my resume to them for the many sales executive positions they offered. However, I NEVER, EVER GOT A RESPONSE!!! NEVER A PHONE CALL, EMAIL – NOTHING??? Why treat potential customers with such neglect. If they had real jobs wouldn’t they want to get to know you so that you would be a paid subscriber once the trail is over?

The Ladders is a SCAM!!!

By Dave
May 31, 2010 at 10:13 am

Most of these “job sites” are just schemes to amass vast quantities of resumes and then sell them to telemarketers or direct mail outfits. Resumes of job seekers are famous for having up-to-date contact information – that’s why they are valuable. Look a little deeper into this and you’ll find that many of the “employers” who have paid to post a job to one of these sites are actually in the same game – they are bogus entities trying to amass resumes they can sell. That’s what it’s all about.

By winston lawrence
June 1, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Kind of preaching to the choir about “TheLadders” game but your site, Nick, is one of the top ones that come up when The Ladders is paired with the word scam. I just wrote a blog post about sites that allow the Ladders to keep operating: http://winstonlawrence.com/notebook/2010/smart-2010-workforce-new-york-warning/ because the New York Job Exchange which is the only online site used by Workforce New York (NYS Department of Labor)and their SMART job search system. Unfortunatley The New York Job Exchange site seems to post Ladders job listings all the time even though these listings do NOT go to an employer (they go to the Ladders naturally). NYS just sends out form letters saying the issue will be looked into if you do take the time to complain about the Ladders listings.

By Bill Johnson
June 16, 2010 at 11:22 am

PADDY’S BACK!

Paddy, who is probably Marc Cenedella or one of his minions/lackeys/lemmings/bumboys, is once again peddling the notion that because you’ve paid, you get better consideration from recruiters and companies, and access to only 100k and above jobs.

Problem is:

– TheLadders has admitted it DOES NOT screen at all for salary ranges, and a lot of its customers have found this out the hard way
– Most of TheLadders postings are simply scraped from other, public sites, meaning anyone who pays is being charged for something they can get for FREE
– TheLadders is a channel and a front for additional scams such as “resume critique” which has been throrougly exposed here and elsewhere as a ripoff by any standard
– The Ladders is one of the worst kind of scammers, preying on desparate, frustrated job hunters who want to believe they can pay to find a job, so they do it when someone offers to take their money. No less reprehensible on theLadders’ part, though…

By Helen Allsopp
June 22, 2010 at 7:06 pm

I’m an HR Director who has posted two recent jobs on The Ladders website. When placing my first posting, I asked about the $100k salary requirement. I was told that it doesn’t have to be base salary but could be base plus value of benefits (i.e. a ‘package’ value). Therefore, a $65k job could end up being advertised at $100k – assuming new hire signed up for all benefits and had a large family!

At best, it seems to be bending the rules since job applicants expect at least $100k base salary because it is promised. Due to this, I don’t post jobs paying less than $100k despite reassurance from The Ladders sales staff that it’s OK.

I don’t like the idea that they advertise jobs that haven’t been deliberately posted with them. It makes their service appear trashy and lacking in value. It’s a shame because they have potential to be a highly respected resource for employers/ job seekers.

Although I’m not going to immediately stop posting with Ladders – it won’t be my only recruitment source. As with anything else, if it doesn’t produce results they won’t get repeat business from me.

With regard to my two recent job postings on Ladders – it did not produce the candidates that I was looking for. Instead, I networked with my own employees and used their contacts to find suitable candidates, which proved more fruitful.

Best wishes to everyone who is job searching.

By Nick Corcodilos
June 22, 2010 at 9:44 pm

@Helen: Thanks for the HR perspective. I think you summarize what a lot of HR folks think. Ladders has squandered its edge. The company clearly cannot make a go of it without scraping other job boards for listings.

By jfsinger
July 14, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Interesting article and comments. My experience with The Ladders was very positive. I found my job advertised on Sales Ladder, applied, competed with several others in the interview process, won the job, and am now being paid $150K plus bonus/commission.

I’m a valid $100k+ candidate who found a valid $100K+ job.

I’m now beginning to “test the waters” for a new position and was doing some research on The Ladders when I found Nick’s site. Because of my success I’m prone to renew my $30/mo subscription, which seems to be very reasonable.

What would you do?

By jsfingered
July 15, 2010 at 9:57 am

jsfinger:

Clearly you work at The Ladders.

If not, please direct us to your profile on LinkedIn.

By paddy s
July 15, 2010 at 10:14 am

it’s quite unreal the level of suspicion, vitriol, anger and ill will that many people here feel against anyone who says anything positive about theladders. i’m beginning to form the opinion that jsfingered et al are probably 2nd rate players in the job posting business who are feeling the heat of professional competition. anybody care to reply?

By Nick Corcodilos
July 17, 2010 at 8:34 pm

@paddy s: I think it’s beyond suspicion. Many people have posted their Ladders stories here and elsewhere. There’s a handful of positive comments, and a boatload of negative ones. Many, many people have gotten burned and they’re angery. The nature of TheLadders’ advertising angers people who tried the service, kept getting charged, and came up dry – after they realized the reality didn’t match the promotion. I don’t think the outcome of any experience with TheLadders has anything to do with who is a “1st rate player” or a “2nd rate player.” It has to do with the customer experience – and it’s enormously negative.

By bobroberts
July 19, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Nobody is even mentioning their “resume” service. A friend was hooked into The Ladders and they offered a free analysis of his resume. In the end he ponied up another $800 for their rewrite; I am neither an HR specialist nor an English major, but what they returned was no improvement, was full of factual errors (probably from too much cut&paste), and not at all superior to the original. He did eventually get his $100K+ job, but not thru them or from their doctored resume.

By paddy
July 20, 2010 at 2:50 am

as someone who has used their resume service i am utterly mystified about bobrobert’s “friend” who received a resume full of factual errors.the resume service is a collaborative process between the writer and the client.

bobroberts claims his friend received a “doctored” resume back from theladders – that is nonsense. this gratuitous bashing is contemptible and laughably transparent as the work of a few angry jilted ex employees and jealous competitors.. there is clearly a circle of people at work here who have taken it upon themselves to write derogatory remarks under various guises about theladders.

the fact remains that theladders is enormously successful as a business model. why? because millions of people are using their service to get jobs. and jobs they are getting hence theladders keeps growing. some of these posts like bobrobert’s contribution are laughingly obvious for what they really are. petty jealous rants.

By Nick Corcodilos
July 20, 2010 at 10:11 am

@paddy: TheLadders has finally removed the “only $100k+ jobs” claim from its website.

What does that tell you? In a word, TheLadders has been making fraudulent claims for a long time. People who post their Ladders stories here helped expose the fraud.

TheLadders grows because people are desperate for jobs. That doesn’t prove anything about the quality of TheLadders’ services.

By FlyTheCoop
September 3, 2010 at 3:55 am

As of September 3, TheLadders.co.uk is still promoting itself on the home page as “The best way to find only £50k+ jobs” and “Only £50k+ jobs”, and “Browse ONLY £50,000 plus jobs!” on its sign up page. This is the UK arm of TheLadders – the £50k being the UK equivalent of the $100k claim in the US.

There’s a tiny, tiny disclaimer (not referenced from the claims themselves) that says “£50k+ is a good faith estimate based on extensive research of the market examining the qualifications, responsibilities and other factors typically associated with this salary level. Where no salary is given with a particular job applicants should check this direct with the advertiser/employer to avoid disappointment.”

It should say “When we say £50k+, we mean that we have looked at the job title of a job vacancy we have taken from another site without the employer’s knowledge, and guessed at the likely salary based on a free salary survey book. Hope you consider that to be a premium service worth paying for.”

It seems TheLadders UK still think they can get away with it …

By Bill Johnson
December 1, 2010 at 1:35 pm

@Paddy: You just won’t give up, will you? If you’re not a LADDERS employee or “executive” you must be married to one.

Once again:
– TheLadders has admitted it DOES NOT screen at all for salary ranges, and a lot of its customers have found this out the hard way.

And now, as Nick has pointed out, they’re finally REMOVED their “ONLY 100K JOBS” claim, proving it has been a lie since TheLadders opened for business (thievery).

– Most of TheLadders postings are simply scraped from other, public sites, meaning anyone who pays is being charged for something they can get for FREE

– TheLadders is a channel and a front for additional scams such as “resume critique” which has been throrougly exposed here and elsewhere as a ripoff by any standard

– The Ladders is one of the worst kind of scammers, preying on desparate, frustrated job hunters who want to believe they can pay to find a job, so they do it when someone offers to take their money.

You ought to be ashamed, continuing to defend the indefensible. Take care, Marc…

SEE NICK’S UPDATE HERE:
http://corcodilos.com/blog/2378/theladders-a-long-shot-powerball-lottery-tucked-inside-a-well-oiled-pr-machine

By paddy
December 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm

dear bill,
once again you prattle on with your execrable diatribe. its been a while- glad to see you’ve crawled out from whatever hole you’ve been in.theladdders is about people getting jobs. your job it seems is to vent your jealousy and frustration in puerile statements about a business that continues to grow and provide a vital service to the job seeking community. when will you give up chewing on this bone bill? it’s driving you nuts my friend. my advice is that you seek medical help.

all the best. paddy

By Tom
December 16, 2010 at 4:05 pm

I applied for an in house counsel position listed on “the ladders” only to find that it was entry level and that the starting salary was in the mid $60K.

So, yes I question whether the ladders is being honest with the “service”.

By paddy
December 16, 2010 at 7:03 pm

dear tom,

that is certainly disturbing. i can understand your anger at learning the position was not us$100k plus. i do not (contrary to what some others on this blog think) make excuses for theladders – and that is inexcusable. did you question them about the fact it was $60k and not $100k? if you did who did you speak to and what did they say?

paddy

By Nick Corcodilos
December 16, 2010 at 9:05 pm

@paddy: Disturbing? Inexcusable? Have you seen the NUMBER of people who have been scammed by TheLadders into applying for “$100k+” jobs that paid far less? THAT is the entire Ladders racket!

T-h-e L-a-d-d-e-r-s i-s l-y-i-n-g s-y-s-t-e-m-a-t-i-c-a-l-l-y.

By Iesha Giunta
December 29, 2010 at 11:48 am

You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most individuals will agree with your site.

By Is the Ladders a Scam? - ERE.net
February 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm

[...] heard multiple stories about sub-$100k jobs on The Ladders, and for a service whose entire raison d’être is the [...]

By Keith E. Gould
May 30, 2011 at 1:47 pm

The Ladders also operates in the United Kingdom. Yes, I did register with them. The experience here is very similar to those reported. Once they get their hooks into you they then escalate the costs. Joining is fee but you can’t seem much (and none of their so called exclusive content). If you pay for the next level of service up you get more access and apparently more utility. You also get the “service” of a free cv (resume) review. Other sources on the net echo my experience. Your cv (resume) is trashed and you are invited to pay even more for a rewrite. I stopped at that point. They’d still be taking fees from me had it not been for their incompetence – they somehow fouled up the billing process and my card issuer declined. I found the comments here encouraging. Someone really does need to expose these shysters. They’re very good at PR even the BBC has run positive stories on them. I’ve never heard of anyone who got a placement through the site.

By On-Line Robbery ... | Job Stalker
June 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm

[...] When I started in my current job search, it seemed like there was only one of these (the one you've seen on TV, with their various permutations under assorted other names), which was promising [...]

By statistics jobs hunters
August 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm

thanks for your Information….

By sillypaddy
August 31, 2011 at 11:58 am

Paddy,

Looks like you are the one who needs help since it seems you are getting off on reading about peoples complaints just so you can rush to the side of Ladders defense and for what just for the sake of being different? You are definitely silly and sad.

By Michael Orr
September 27, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Nick –
Excellent article.
I must confess Surprise this scam works.

I was contacted to pay them to get the fabled “$100K+ jobs”, and immediately smelled a scam:

What logic is there in an employer having a job opening for a high-paying position giving the listing to The Ladders (at all, and let alone exclusively), and agreeing only people who pay The Ladders would see it? as an employer, why would I limit the possible candidates this way?

I kind of think that whoever does not find this scenario suspect, and joins such a “service” needs a common sense and suspicion booster shot

By Desesoerate unemployed
January 30, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Our job search has been horrible. We contacted the Ladders and after paying a $25.00 fee a month, nothing turned into an interview. They offered an exclusive program that garantees a job in 6 months or less, of course after you payed $3,500.00. When I contacted them, they said that they would not hepl me because I’ve been unemployed for 6 months. They regected me. I was devastated. It’s obvious that I was unemployed… that’s why I was willing to pay the money. I don’t trust them anymore and of course, cancelled the subscription.

By Jim Wass
February 23, 2012 at 7:08 am

Good morning Nick. My complaint with Ladders was much simpler. I was paying for the service. The “Alert” message would come periodically with ten job listings. Too often a listing would have a broken link. I offered them a consultancy to redesign the process. I was ignored with “the job was pulled” messages. I know the job was pulled. No vendor should ever offer a customer something they can’t have.

By Jim Wass
April 3, 2012 at 6:35 am

The $100K thing was a disappointment to me but the weak quality doesn’t stop there. The Ladders has for me a much higher incidence of busted links in its email notices than competitors Dice and Monster.

By How recruiters look at your resume
April 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm

[...] I've been told that TheLadder's reputation might be less than savory, and a quick search shows some in agreement, so it might be wise to sidestep the service. Instead, go with my awesome six-bullet [...]

By Eye Tracking: What parts of a CV do recruiters actually look at? | Neurobonkers.com
April 18, 2012 at 7:31 am

[...] work the company have been accused of operating a “scam” and being guilty of “fraud“, both over separate issues to this more than a little suspect research. For this reason I [...]

By How recruiters look at your resume | WEBGRAPHIC
August 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm

[...] been told that TheLadder’s reputation might be less than savory, and a quick search shows some in agreement, so it might be wise to sidestep the service. Instead, go with my awesome six-bullet [...]

By THELADDERS.COM – CLASS ACTION INVESTIGATION « U.S. Consumer Law Blog
March 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm

[...] to recent story here, “People pay fees to access “Only $100k+ jobs.” Then they go on an interview for one of [...]

By The Ladders.com Class Action Investigation | Leonard Law Office, LLP
March 8, 2013 at 9:53 pm

[...] to a recent story here, “People pay fees to access “Only $100k+ jobs.” Then they go on an interview for one of [...]

By Ask The Headhunter® | Nick Corcodilos – TheLadders sued for multiple scams in U.S. District Court class action
March 11, 2013 at 9:21 pm

[...] TheLadders: Job-board salary fraud? [...]

By Michelle Foster
March 26, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Just went to sign up on Ladders and found a position advertised for $40K as an Admin Asst. Site says it’s free to join, (“Free Basic-view job titles only”) and makes no mention whatsoever that members MUST pay them before applying to any job. Under their terms and conditions, they make this statement: “We may make certain products and services available to Users and Members.” No where does the verbatim expressly say you HAVE to pay to apply for a job, or phrase it such to imply this directly to the average person. In fact, after reading their Terms of Use, I don’t think I saw anything in it stating Ladders is a “pay to use” website. Very misleading. I agree this constitutes fraud, in my book. Why should I pay them $25 for the “privilege” of applying, when the same job is probably available for free on Careerbuilder, Monster or Indeed? Glad to see this is going to Class Action status.

By Robin Lynn
March 27, 2013 at 8:47 am

Hi Nick,

FINALLY! This class action lawsuit has been a very long time in coming and I’m really glad someone – at long last – is going to hold Marc Cenedella accountable. Thanks for helping me get my story out back in 2010. It would be nice if at the very least, I could get my money back from that shyster.

All the best,
Robin

By Jim Wass
July 21, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Nice to hear the update. The Ladders should be made to answer for its poor quality. I chose to hold them accountable by dropping the service. Others may do as they please.

Nick, is that last post an advertiser? Potential spam alert!

Cheers,
Jim

Post a comment