March 17, 2008

Get paid to interview for a job?

Filed under: Recruiting

It’s always interesting when someone comes up with a new approach to recruiting. Imagine getting paid to go on a job interview. Clever, eh? CIO magazine reports that a Recruiting Firm Pays Candidates for Job Interviews.

Help me work through the logic. Notchup.com suggests that the best people are busy at their jobs, and they probably don’t search for jobs or post their resumes online. Makes sense to me. So, Notchup will help employers attract these people. (The fundamental issue here is the distinction between attracting people, and going out and finding the ones you really want. Notchup doesn’t deal with that, but that’s for another column.) Notchup serves as a go-between, allowing companies to offer money to these desirable folks to come in for a job interview. So far, it’s interesting. Notchup lets hard-to-find candidates fill out a form about themselves and post information so the process can get started… And that’s where we hit the wall.

If these folks are not out looking, why would they sign up? To make a few hundred bucks on the chance a company will invite them for an interview? Well… the problem is, you’ve got to get them to sign up first. The best people, that is.

Who is most likely to sign up for such a service? Yah, people whose resumes are already plastered all over the Net. So, what does this clever recruiting method accomplish? It makes it easier for those busy folks in the human resources department to sit around, waiting for someone to come along and ask for a fee to be interviewed.

And that’s the first problem. Notchup creates a new job — interviewing. A job hunter could earn some nice change doing this, without any intention of accepting a job. Of course, I’m sure Notchup takes measures to prevent serial interviewees from, well, interviewing too much without success. So, bollocks to that.

Second, employers will never buy into this on any scale because the challenge is not getting passive job hunters in to interview. The challenge is passive managers who don’t know how to select the right candidates to interview. Offering money doesn’t ensure better candidates. (It certainly won’t ensure they’re the people you want, who are hiding, busy at their jobs.) Elsewhere, I’ve written about what might happen if employers had to pay for interviews. But, while the basic Notchup concept has some merit, the problem is that managers must make good choices about which candidates they’re going to pay to interview. Managers in general are lousy at selecting candidates — whether the candidates are paid or not. Notchup does not solve this very big problem. All Notchup does is give HR yet another excuse for its failure to recruit actively and effectively. This is just more armchair recruiting. It’s just more take who comes along, rather than go out and find the people you really want.

Notchup’s biggest problem is that employers are so deeply in bed with the big job boards — Monster, CareerBuilder — that they will not allocate money in HR budgets for anything new. Top HR executives in the Fortune 500 have cozy advertising relationships they’re not going to give up.

Finally, there is an inherent conflict in paying for interviews: a selection bias. Will employers hire candidates they’ve paid, just to rationalize the money they’ve spent? I’d love to see how Notchup’s program works out — and whether the quality of interviews goes up. If you’ve seen a news update, please let us know.

3 Comments on “Get paid to interview for a job?”
By Lucille
March 19, 2008 at 1:43 pm

I like your newsletter, your InfoWorld column and your general view on life. Do you think that you could clean up your language on this blog? It doesn’t hold up to your other standards of respectfulness.

By Michelle
April 13, 2011 at 5:50 am

This doesn’t happen in case of many recruiting agencies. Are you writing here about some specific?

By Nick Corcodilos
April 14, 2011 at 9:26 am

@Michelle: Nope. Nothing specific. I was writing about another kooky effort to start a trend… that never took off. And no surprise. I use stories like this to make other points.

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