January 20, 2009

The dope on TheLadders

Filed under: For Managers, Hiring, Interviewing, Job Search, Recruiting, Stuff I worry about

I’ve written before about TheLadders’ veneer of exclusivity and the mass-market business model underneath it. When a paying customer of TheLadders recently shared the transcript of a customer-service “chat” she had with a Ladders’ rep, I had to hit this topic again. The misrepresentations TheLadders makes on its web site are beyond the pale. “Only $100k+ Jobs. Only $100k+ Candidates.”

Only it’s not true.

The story is in this week’s Ask The Headhunter Newsletter: Liars at TheLadders. E-mail from readers has been filling my mail box — comments that I’m sure other readers would like to see. So I’m opening this up for discussion here on the blog. Please feel free to post your comments below.


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


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275 Comments on “The dope on TheLadders”
By M J Hazo
January 20, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Nick,

Your article was very enlightening. What is your thought about ExecuNet?

There are a number of people I have coached over the years and both Ladders and ExecuNet are frequently subscribed to as they are six figure clients.

By Norman Eagle
January 20, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Wow, quite an interesting article. I have used both sites for several years. I believe TheLadders should be checked out to insure people are getting what they are payiing for because if not lets make sure they know how upset we are. also if they are not honest about postings then we should get our money back. I have recently seen TheLadders jobs posted on other sites and you do not have to ba a member of Ladders to get the posting. This does not seem right given we are paying for exclusivity.

Norman

By terri
January 20, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Thank you for that note about Ladders. I too was a victim of this site. I am doing everything I can to warn others.

I paid over $1500. to have resume writers re-write my resume and cover letters. Only to have virtually no responses. They never let me talk directly to the resume writers until I called and emailed several times a day. I would never recommend them to write anything!

I then rewrote it myself and long story short, got hits from companies and recruiters. As a matter of fact I rewrote a resume for a former colleague of mine. He had a writer review it and they told him it was one of the best they ever saw.

While using Ladders, over one year, I have three recruiters contact me and no responses to the many jobs I applied to on line.

I now use Indeed.com and others as the jobs posted on Ladders are not unique to them.

I believe they prey on people who have never lost their job and don’t know what to do. That was my case until I wised up. I am now a much better networker and used the process every day.

Please let your readers know there are many other sources they can use to get the ultimate prize – a new job. Ladders in definitely not one of them.

And the inquiry about ExecuNet – same response. Save your money and get out there to network locally and with prove sites like LinkedIn. Get to the people in your target companies by using such resources and asking if they have time to talk, have coffee (that one has worked well for me) or simply email. People want to help people and you shouldn’t have to pay these sites for that.

By Nic
January 20, 2009 at 4:11 pm

What I have gained by reading Nick’s piece and the responses it has generated is that my gut instinct was correct. Each and every intelligent man (and woman) has it in them to do their own homework, write their own material (no one knows you better than you yourself – if you can be honest enough to know your limitations, and be strong enough to admit your weak points,) then as many here are already doing, simply have a trusted and talented friend read it over to proof it (for fluff, bullshit or down right errors.) It is that simple people, and saves a hell of a lot of money and time in the process. I have never used such services as these described and I would question the real ability of anyone who would. Think twice, act once.

By James
January 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Nick,

Good Article. It’s a sincere piece of journalism. I haven’t had the need to look for a job for a long time, but I like to know what’s happening. Whenever I link into the Ladders, frankly, I’m tempted by the jobs. But it’s always the case that I have to pay to play.

Your article brings truth to the job-hunting market.

Regards
James

By Holly S. Reslink, CPCC, CPRW
January 20, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Nick,

Your article “Liars at TheLadders” really hit home for me. My clients (executive resume customers) are all emerging leaders to CEOs and I am attempting to be proactive in my battle with canned critiques that undermine quality companies. Thank God only one of my writers (BTW – a Ladders sub!) was hit, which led to crisis management with a client. My goal is to educate every individual prior to beginning their project on these types of predatory services, so I am never there again. The issue of the critiques are epidemic in our industry, and the proof is all over the E-lists for the professional organizations. I counted over 100 emails regarding TheLadders on one list. We keep hoping they will do themselves in by lack of quality control (or quality, period), but with their huge budget, compared to smaller, boutique businesses like myself, there is little hope for their demise.

Thanks for the insightful article. Your “proof” was powerful. Keep up the great work. Now the question is: How can we get this information out to every current and potential Ladders’ customer?

Holly

By Karen
January 20, 2009 at 4:59 pm

OK, I can not resist sending you this letter.

I have been reading your column for almost a year. I have written once and asked you question and you were kind enough to respond.

But this morning’s article on THE LADDERS demands I take a break from my other work and write you once again!

I can not tell you how GOOD it feels to me to have my findings and beliefs supported so publicly! I too was drawn into the LADDERS 100 K jobs, but stopped just short of joining.

Something in my gut told me they were scammers, but I had no facts to back it up.

They just pushed too hard, bragged a bot too loudly and were a titch too slick for my comfort level.

As desperate as I am to find work I simply could not allow myself to be a sucker for them.

Then this AM when I read your article I breathed a HUGE SIGH of relief…my instincts had been right on the money!

Thank you for being so blunt and forthright in your writings!

I, for one (and I suspect there are thousands of us), look forward to your articles and advice.
…Karen

By Chet - CPRW
January 20, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Well done expository glance on The Ladders. It was spot on and badly needed. Our business is being overrun by untrained, undisciplined, greedy opportunists who see blood in the water. I hope more career professionals are able to speak up as well as you did and garner attention.

By Seattlenerd
January 21, 2009 at 7:40 am

I reluctantly have to agree with your column, “Liars at TheLadders.” As someone with an SVP-level background well beyond the $100K-claimed TheLadders level, two experiences as a subscriber since May 2008 have me concurring with your conclusions:

1) Since I had a relatively narrow job criteria, I kept noticing, over a period of a month or two, that familiar-looking positions would show up again on TheLadders as new jobs with new posting dates. Checking them carefully, it turned out these were the exact same jobs as those which had been posted before. They simply had not yet been filled, but had been dutifully recycled as “new.” The only reason I could ascertain for jobs harvested from external employer sites being re-harvested was to keep the perceived flow of new $100K jobs going on TheLadders to keep premium subscribers signing up. I now think of this tactic as the same job, artfully re-wrapped for re-gifting.

2) The ONLY recruiter contact I’ve ever had was from someone who — it turned out — wasn’t a recruiter at all, even though he was claimed to be a screened and registered “recruiter” with TheLadders and was listed on the site. After requesting my resume and contact information, it turned out he was a financial services marketer trying to recruit downstream sellers of financial services. Note: not a $100K opportunity, not a recruiter. When I contacted TheLadders about this, they thanked me and said they’d remove him from the site. But he still kept trying to follow up now that he had my personal information from TheLadders. Just what I needed: a multi-level stalker.

Needless to say, I stopped accepting email updates from the site, stopped checking it regularly, and consider my $180 annual membership a sad investment in the nothing-good-happens-easily category. I’ve gone back to full-time consulting.

By Craig in Dallas
January 21, 2009 at 11:27 am

Nick,

I have to share one more thing that I don’t think you really spoke to in your article.

First, if you’ve ever been solicited to join The Ladders, they do make it sound like they’re the place that employers come to when they have a $100K+ job to fill.

The temptation is “if The Ladders gets the jobs that pay $100K, I should join…or I’ll be missing something”.

Well, a friend of mine joined, and I looked at the postings with him for Marketing in my area. I was shocked to see that of 30-40 positions that came up in my search, only two of them were designated as “exclusive to The Ladders”. Meaning, I’m going to pay these monthly membership charges to The Ladders, when the vast majority of these positions are listed elsewhere and for free???

It is a rip! Keep the info coming!

By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, MRW
January 21, 2009 at 12:28 pm

It’s about integrity and value, in my opinion. It’s not about ‘not’ investing in yourself financially to support aspects of your job search, gain traction, or have a true ‘partner/coach/consultant’ to help you build your energy, confidence, interview muscle and value proposition statements that map to your goals.

Instead, it’s about ferreting out the quality and reputable career services firms to serve you. As a volunteer reviewer for ExecuNet (I own my own boutique resume firm but am happy to do free reviews; obvious value-add to me is the network I build among executives). I myself am reviewed quarterly on the value I provide to the ExecuNet members. This being held accountable further motivates me to provide value-add to their membership versus ripping apart the members’ resumes. As well, it is my own personal integrity, I believe, that provides a checks and balances system in how I conduct such reviews. The review is about THEM (not me, not my services), ultimately, spurring their search process, providing hints for improvement, accolades for successes, and overall resonating a positive ‘feeling’ versus tearing down ego.

That said, dismissing ALL career services firms and working it all out on your own as a job-search candidate is not necessarily prudent for everyone (in my not so humble opinion). True, we all can do many things, if self motivated, inspired and disciplined in every aspect of our professional and personal lives (this includes fitness programs – both mentally and physically – and job search campaigns, and in the past I referred to career coaches as personal job-search ‘trainers’). However, we all can find benefit from the coaching, consulting and services of others to augment, fuel and gain traction in our job searches or other goals. It’s not about laying the problem at someone else’s feet, but truly partnering with them (coaches/service providers/resume writers) to assist us in mapping and executing a plan.

My 2 cents!

Jacqui

By Susan in UK
January 21, 2009 at 12:29 pm

The UK site simply ported the US advice – much of it out of date and irrelevant to the UK market.

And you have to pay to read it.

By Rita in the U.S.
January 21, 2009 at 2:16 pm

A couple of years I had a subscription to “The Ladders”. I also stopped and then renewed my subscription, each time for less than 2 months.

There is an optiion to send your resume’ out to hundreds of recruiters that were listed in their directory. I sent mine out to several but I never received a single response from any of them.

In addition, you could get your resume’ critiqued for free. The first time I submitted my resume’ for feedback I received this 3/4 page response about how awful my resume’ was. It did offer suggestions to clean it up and so I did, but refused to pay several hundred dollars for a professional to write it. When I rejoined “The Ladders” again, on a hunch, I resent my resume’ and got THE SAME feedback as a response, even though I used their suggestions to update my resume’. After that, I refused to use their service at all.

While this company may have had good intentions in the beginning, I think they found a way to cheat the system to fatten their own pockets. But never underestimate the power of the people – and great sites like this one who expose the truth.

By Bill
January 21, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Nick – Your column is especially pertinent now as The Ladders is advertising heavily on cable…cynically preying on desperate people at a very tough time in their lives.

One question, and I’m not asking you to do Eric Holder’s job for him, or the jobs of the 50 state attorneys general, for that matter: Have you done anything to formally report this, at least to the FTC? Making money based on blatantly false advertising may very well be a crime and since The Ladders operates on the ‘net, it could be construed as interstate wire fraud. Have you contacted Consumerist.com and The Ripoff Report? Good as your column is, I’m afraid too many people are not seeing it and getting ripped off as a result.

Thanks for your diligence on these things. The job market keeps getting tougher by the day…

By April
January 21, 2009 at 8:31 pm

I just read your article on The Ladders and had a good laugh. I thought I would share my experience from the organizational perspective. We had a great employee who stormed into my office to demand why we were replacing him. I was confused and tried to reassure him we were not. He has recently joined and was doing a great job. He threatened to quit if we did not “fess up”. Upon pressing him for details, he said a friend just found a job posted on the ladders for a Sale Manager for XXX territory (his specific job). I was appalled. I called the ladders and they confimed the job was not posted to their site. They indicated they often link from third party sites. How appalling since this position paid under 80k. Further they could not tell me where they linked the job, since we had removed it from our standard sites.

When the ladders first came out, posting to companies was free. This encouraged me to post my 100k jobs. Now they charge a fee to employers and I no longer post there. This is why I am sure they now have to link to other jobs.

Thanks for pulling back the curtain on this sleazy company.

By Linda Dominguez
January 21, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Hi Nick – Love your articles! I just read your article on the Ladders and was not at all surprised – this is what I hear from my coaching clients on a regular basis! Kudos to you for bringing it to the public!

In this bad economic climate I’ve also noticed that those horrible “pay-me-$5,000-and-I’ll-find-you-a-job” companies are back in business. People in career transition are anxious to land, and a $5,000 “guarantee” sounds like a deal…Except it’s a rip off.

As for ExecuNet, I’ve been a volunteer network-meeting facilitator for 10 years now. I too am held accountable for the results of each meeting – and these meetings are simply an opportunity to get executives to share leads and contacts to enhance their job-finding success. And, since most jobs are found by networking, it’s a safe and easy way to build relationships with people in a position to help you find your job.

We need to help people find the resources they need, and avoid the rip-off artists. Keep up the good work!

By JD Whitaker
January 21, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Nick – I followed an ad link from LinkedIn to TheLadders. Thier sample jobs looked great and I started signing up. Several pages later, they already had my email contact info and wanted me to upload my resume. I balked at that point and left the site. I decided do some research before completing the process. By the time I got back to my email, I had a welcome and several “marketing” messages from them. When I did my research, I found your article and went back to unsubscribe. I can’t thank you enough for posting what goes on behind this slickly crafted curtain of deception. IMHO, taking precious money from the unemployed under false pretenses merits a class-action lawsuit. -=JD=-

By Erin Kennedy, CPRW, CERW
January 22, 2009 at 10:23 am

Hi Nick,

Well, I was both shaking my head for the people in your story, and also nodding my head because I have been seeing this happen for a year.

My most recent case was a CEO who came to me very disheartened about his “new” resume from The Ladders. He said, “you know, I’m not a resume writer, but this just does not look very professional…”. Honestly, it was horrible. The wording was juvenile and the format looked… unformatted, like the writer had forgotten to do any formatting–just line after line of boring words. He also sent me all the emails that were not-so-nice critiquing his original resume, which was a heck of a lot nicer than his “new” Ladders version. He tried to contact the resume writer, but the writer wouldn’t respond to his emails. When he finally got a hold of a manager, they told him that the writer was a subcontractor, and there was nothing they could do about the problem. Unbelievable. They never tried to remedy the problem at all.

He spent $1000.00 on that piece of junk.

When my clients tell me, “I just joined the Ladders”, they sound so hopeful, like they won’t have a problem getting another $100,000+ job because the site promises miracles. I am never happy informing them of the sites history, especially after they’ve been spending money on it.

I think The Ladders started off with good intentions, but greed and too many clients took over and turned it into a substandard resume factory.

Thanks for the article, Nick.

Erin

By Louise Fletcher
January 22, 2009 at 12:18 pm

So sorry to read these comments about people having a bad experience.

I do have to concur with Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter above and say I hope job seekers won’t dismiss all career professionals and resume writers as a result.

It is very true that some people can write their own resume very well, and also true that some can conduct an effective job search. If you are one of those people, kudos to you!

But it is also true that many people benefit from professional help. (I myself hired a professional to redesign my blog. I had the technical ability to set up a WordPress blog, but I wanted something better than average, and that I didn’t have the creative ability for).

I’m a professional resume writer and like Jacqui, I provide a lot of free advice by email, on my blog and on Twitter. The value of doing this is obviously to build awareness for my business, but like many others in my profession, I turn away potential clients if I don’t feel they need to pay for my help, or if my writers are not qualified to help them.

My advice to job seekers thinking of hiring a coach or a writer would be to ensure that you can talk to the writer, check references on LinkedIn, and also make sure there is a satisfaction guarantee in place.

By Cliff
January 22, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Well aren’t the chickens coming home to roost!

Hand out mortgage loans irresponsibly and the housing market crashes.

Launch a career organization with false promises and our industry rallies.

I, like so many of the other commenters, have been validated by this blog. As a resume writer, I’ve had several clients come to me to “fix” their resumes after being scared into paying the ladders $600-$900 for a piece of garbage.

In fact, this conversation with clients has become so frequent, I’ve started a file called “TheLadders Scam” to house my email threads with aggrieved customers.

Here’s a clip from one of TheLadders canned resume critiques (forwarded to me by a client):

“To be honest with you, you are missing SO MANY key strategies on your resume, and it doesn’t NEARLY reflect your career level. There is no excitement to the document, and no burning desire to run to the phone to call you.”

The only thing left out was “You are an unemployable loser.” Perhaps that response is saved for the followup email.

It’s clear TheLadders is giving a bad name to our industry and taking away self-efficacy from already intimidated job seekers.

Let’s continue to fight back by sharing these stories. Many thanks Nick, et. al. for coming together around this.

By Brightside Career and Résumé Advice » Blog Archive » Headhunter Gives Brutally Honest Review of TheLadders.com
January 22, 2009 at 6:50 pm

[…] for $100K+ Jobs? You might want to look somewhere other than TheLadders. According to this in-depth exposé by Nick Corcodilos, one of the industry’s most trusted voices of recruiting, Nick Corcodilos, TheLadders is […]

By Nick Corcodilos
January 22, 2009 at 11:58 pm

Thanks to all the resume writers and coaches who posted, but special thanks to the consumers who are sharing their experiences with TheLadders. More important than commiserating is sharing information about the various “tricks” Ladders uses to fleece its customers. That kind of education helps others see it before they step in it.

By Chuck French
January 23, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Nick,

Thank you for today’s post: Liars at TheLadders

I guessed this to be the fact, and appreciate your professional review.

I look forward to your comments RE:ExecuNet.

Do you have suggestions of legitimate Resume assistance services?

Regards,
Chuck
Londonderry, NH

PS: Friends tell me, “Just take any job, full or part-time.”
With layoffs of 500,000/week, where do people think these ‘bridge’ jobs are? ;-(

By R F Vasquez, CPRW/CEIP
January 24, 2009 at 9:33 am

In the top professional resume writer forums, we often discuss renegade companies making outrageous claims yet delivering little value. We analyze their mistakes and learn to do better. We do our best to discourage unethical behavior and, hopefully, protect the public from it.

If this company has now substituted professional resume writers in favor of generalists, it is very likely the writing quality has deteriorated. Consumers should be very wary of any company not using credentialed, professional resume writers.

By Don Goodman, CPRW, CCMC
January 24, 2009 at 10:38 am

We too have had issues with The Ladders in their tearing every resume apart despite its quality.

As a test we sent them 2 resumes to critique – one was a resume they had just written for someone for over $800 and the other was one I wrote that had been selected for publication in numerous books.

They trashed them both. What was humorous was how hard they tried to sign us up to rewrite a resume they had just written.

By Stan Cohen
January 25, 2009 at 10:03 am

Dear Nick:

Your article is right on. I have had CEOs, Presidents and other senior level executives call and email me after their resumes (written by me) were ripped to shreds by theLadders “experts”. The interesting thing is they called me to praise me, not complain. They had received virtually instant and positive response to the resume I created and just thought I would find it interesting. One of them was offered a position by a VC firm within three weeks of receiving the resume that mu=y client sent on the first day the resume was completed.

In today’s economic times and the hardships Americans are going through, it is a shame that people like this are allowed to prey on the vulnerable.

……………..Oh well

Stan

By Mark
January 26, 2009 at 4:50 pm

I’ve noticed jobs on TheLadders and noticed right off that the same jobs were being posted on other job sites and I knew they were not in the 100k salary range. A 100k job is approximately $48/hr and I know the jobs they are posting are $25-30/hr are 50k-65k per year range. Check out a job title, company, location etc and see if it matches other job sites. A standard 40 hr/wk job is 2080 hrs per year. Do the math, if it’s less than $48/hr then it’s not a 100k job.

Mark

By Avoid TheLadders! « Jennifer Anthony’s Blog
January 27, 2009 at 12:05 am

[…] Nick Corcodilos recently wrote a blog post titled, The dope on TheLadders. […]

By Phil
January 27, 2009 at 10:26 am

Several years ago I was doing a job search and actually signed up for The Ladders. It seemed OK and I actually secured a 100K job due to posting my resume there. Terrible job, but real enough. Last year I was again doing a job search and found , things had really changed. I was bombarded with 60K jobs that were poising as 100K positions, and the endless flow of juvenile chatter from their ” experts” became a real annoyance. Too much greed here, and a burning desire to take this business public have ruined a good product.

By Jeff
January 27, 2009 at 11:30 am

I agree – TheLadders sucks BIGTIME and the customer service is horrendous!

By Tom C.
January 27, 2009 at 2:17 pm

I almost swallowed the hook with TheLadders, its so tempting. What stopped me was, in becoming a “basic” member, all I received were teaser adds. You could never tell where the jobs were, or if I were qualifed, so I could never answer the question of whether I should become a premium member. I am in project management, but there are as many flavors of project management as there are ice cream flavors at Baskin Robbins. Likewise, I don’t want to relocate, so I could never tell if the jobs were local or not.

The only thing I can say in their favor is they only rip you off a small piece at a time, unlike the career coaches, career consultants, career rip off artists, such as Haldane, RL Stevens, and others who take you to the cleaners for thousands and deliver nothing.

By Bill
January 27, 2009 at 4:42 pm

NICK – ONE OTHER POINT to mention. If you join, there is a “success progress” bar on your homepage, which is made to look like the one on LinkedIn. However, unlike LinkedIn, where the bar shows progress in completing one’s profile, the bar on The Ladders won’t go past 60% unless you get the now-infamous “free resume critique.” This “critique of course has been the subject of scorn and ridicule here, and rightly so.

And again I ask – have you reported this consumer fraud to any agency? This is probably interstate wire fraud at best!!

By Do your investigation before signing up to TheLadders.com | www.sharongraham.ca
January 27, 2009 at 6:33 pm

[…] http://corcodilos.com/blog/311/the-dope-on-theladders […]

By Chuck
January 28, 2009 at 5:38 pm

My Ladders subscription is ends today. I am not renewing after reading the article. $30 is $30 and I think you can find most of the same jobs at InDeed or by Googling the description. Since most are confidential, save the money.

By Ben
January 28, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Interesting to see the original post and many of the comments. I never joined the Ladders as a paying user because Google searches turned up about 80% of the jobs listed in their regular emails to me. Just grab a few key words or phrases from the truncated job descriptions they furnish free and search – you’ll find the job on Monster or CareerBuilder or other sites. Don’t use the exact title of the job in your search as they sometimes change them.

So a few months ago I engaged one of their reps in an online chat. I don’t have the transcript but the rep admitted to me (after I cross-examined him like a prosecuting attorney) that “about 65%” of the jobs they list are not exclusive to them and can be found elsewhere. From that admission, I concluded that the number is probably more like 95% (since my searches were turning up about 80% of them on other sites). That percentage is “dropping all the time” per the rep. Right…

I retain my free membership because their email alert me to jobs I have not been alerted to via other means. Their ad with the mini-Godzilla-like creatures is funny. But I also laugh because they didn’t fool me.

By Jon Vanhala
January 28, 2009 at 10:31 pm

This article is completely on the money. i was about to write a note to the laddders complaining about the generic nature of the service. Your article makes me realize what I already knew: I am not alone.

By Tracy
January 29, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Tom C. said in his post that The Ladders “rip you off a small piece at a time” and I believe that he hit the nail on the head with that statement.

I signed up with this group in 2007 when my company was sold and I didn’t want to remain with the new company. 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. They didn’t know how or why I found the posting on The Ladders; they only use two online sources for posting job vacancies and The Ladders was not one of them. I should have cancelled then but I was desperate for a new job.

I found a reputable resume writer and had my resume rewritten, to the tune of about $500. After the rewrite I still received very little results so I decided to have it critiqued by one of the resume writers with The Ladders. She tore my resume apart and suggested that they rework it for me. I went back to my original writer and she gave me several sources to consult before having The Ladders rewrite my resume. I contacted all four, and even some additional resume writers that I found on my own, and all gave the resume a positive review. Not one person said that the resume was the problem.

I began doing some research on some of the positions that I had applied for and found that many were no longer available or had been filled for months. I cancelled my service immediately at this point.

By Kris
January 31, 2009 at 9:45 am

It is truly atrocious how these companies behave. I understand the value of a professional service and don’t mind paying for something if the service lives up to the promises. Unfortunately, what you see is not what you get with many of these companies.

I admit to having fallen for RL Stevens ploys when the guy told me that he had two personal contacts that he would introduce me to, after going through the job-search ‘class’. When questioned later, he claimed he did not know what I was talking about.

Oddly a similar thing happened with The Ladders. Due to my narrow industry, I could usually figure out if something applied to me. I found the employers in the area and searched their job boards. Then one day, a listing came up that did not appear on the boards of any of the employers I was trying to get into, so I signed up. As soon as I clicked on the main entry, the link did not work. I complained and was just told that the posting was removed from the employer site and it was valid while the listing was there. Needless to say I did not renew.

Classic bait-and-switch, I suppose. Buyer beware.

By Karen Mehegan
February 2, 2009 at 8:46 am

Your Ladders expose was tremendous. I’ve always had a problem paying to “see” postings. While I have registered with them, I’ve never paid the fee. When I’ve dropped them, I get an email from “Mark” (who really knows??) telling me that I am pretty much sabotaging my own job search! I now feel I can drop them and not look back!

By Glenn
February 2, 2009 at 10:59 am

Another thing to consider – When I cancelled (disregarded the renewal request-thus effectively cancelling) my membership to Ladders, I discovered 2 months later that they had continued to debit my card for monthly dues. They did credit me for the 3 months that they took, but it took some serious conversations with them to get it done. All postings are “Right-on” regarding the Ladders

By Jay Griffin
February 2, 2009 at 11:05 am

Did you see their commercials in the latter half of the Super Bowl?

By Kate
February 3, 2009 at 7:12 pm

anyone has any experince with Barrett Group (www.Careerchange.com). I was asked for 9-12K for the services. I am wondering if it is also a scam?

By jim
February 5, 2009 at 7:34 am

Your article on The Ladders was forwarded to me on the same day I had another (!) Ladders discovery.
I found a position at a defense contractor which fit me, advertised there. Although I applied online, through my network, I identified a member of senior corporate staff, with whom I had done church work. I was referred to the hiring manager, and sent him my package directly.
Today, I was called by HR, to ask about compensation, and schedule an initial interview. “We had screened you out as too expensive, but our client wants to talk with you.” I deferred the compensation question, but did mention they had advertised the job on The Ladders, which is a 100k+ screened board. The response? “We did? Never heard of it.” We’ll see what happens when we get to meet.

Second story. A company created a position around me, with the intention of making me an offer. Their HR people insisted on listing it on Monster. Somewhere between my 2nd and 3rd interview, it showed up on The Ladders. At the final interview, the controller (small company) started talking money, and I mentioned The Ladders, and 100k. He was shocked. Next day, I got a call saying they wouldn’t make an offer.. they were thinking total comp of 90k, and I would be unhappy.

So The Ladders cost me a job. I have noticed an increasing number of recruiter jobs which are obviously cribbed off of company sites, or other boards, and re-posted as contingent searches.

I’m still paying, (not for much longer) but I only use it for leads, I’ve removed my resume, and I only look at direct company posts.

By jim
February 5, 2009 at 7:37 am

Good work, Thanks, Nick!

By Audrey Chernoff
February 5, 2009 at 5:19 pm

I read most of the above comments and would like to express a slightly different point of view.

I am a recruiter and had a one year subscription to the ladders. I always made sure to post only positions that were $100k and above. I have some clients that took months to fill positions and I would repost these positions to attempt to fill them. I also posted on Monster and Dice and elsewhere, but never checked off the box that they were exclusive to the ladders.

I received some amazing resumes and placed two people and had many more interview, but I did notice that some of the people replying never took time to read the ad. I had to go through so many resumes that were not a fit whatsoever, just like Monster and Dice responses, but these were people earning over $100k, so I was surprised at how little they read the job descriptions. At first, I responded to everyone, but that was a big time waster for someone working on commission.
So, I would just like to say, I found many, many people who truly made over $100k on the ladders and if you didn’t receive a response, maybe you are like many of the responses I received who would say, “well, I have never done that but I could learn” to something that was a must have in the first bullet point.

Now as far as their resume writing service, I have seen at least 2 before and after resumes and the after resumes were just awful. Just my two cents.

By Ask The Headhunter® | Nick Corcodilos - An open letter to recruiters who use TheLadders: Stop complaining
February 6, 2009 at 4:16 pm

[…] My posting about TheLadders has more comments on it than any blog entry I’ve ever written (including while I was blogging for InfoWorld). What’s interesting is that no one defends TheLadders. Even people with embarrassing stories about wasting their money and getting burned came forward to share their pain and anger. […]

By Alex Coley
February 7, 2009 at 10:30 am

“A genuine job is highly unlikely to ask you to pay any money upfront or any registration fee.”

Michele Shambrook from Consumer Direct.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7875785.stm

My TheLadders account has now been cancelled. Thankfully I parted with no money. Their community manager was at least cordial and polite in his email responses, albeit unconvincing.

By Yolanda
February 8, 2009 at 10:01 pm

I was contemplating using the Ladders site but was really turned off when I saw positions that I knew were actually listings for my current employer which had been cancelled/(hiring freeze) due to a reorganization in process. Yet, the Ladders keeps pushing these positions to me in their emails as “fresh” opportunities. I knew that they weren’t being submitted by my company. I decided it was time to google this company and came across this blog.

By Another Steve
February 9, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Their “professional” resume writers were recruited from craigslist ads.

http://kansascity.craigslist.org/wri/1021593082.html

By jim
February 10, 2009 at 8:09 am

Committing fraud through use of mail, wire, or other communication, is a federal crime.

The FBI website to file a complaint against The Ladders is .

Not only have I caught them reposting two jobs from other boards, without screening, I have repeatedly discovered recruiters posting jobs they’re cribbing from other sites, as retained searches. Some are so inept as to fail to remove internal company identification from the job description. They’re easily worked around.

While they DO provide aggregated leads, you simply CANNOT assume that they’ve screened the jobs, which is what they’re saying in their advertising. That’s fraud.

http://www.ic3.gov. good luck!

By Bill
February 10, 2009 at 9:30 am

READERS: Please email

ben@consumerist.com
AND
marco@consumerist.com
AND
chris@consumerist.com

And ask THE CONSUMERIST to write a story on these interstate wire-frauders.

By Dave
February 10, 2009 at 2:19 pm

I wish I had something good to report about TheLadders; unfortunately, this is not the case. Aside from sharing many of the complaints set forth by others, I tried in vain to e-mail Marc Cenedella directly. After all, he floods my in-box with cheery notes, all of which are signed “Marc”. So… what happened when I tried to e-mail him?

Rather than offer a summary, which could in theory be viewed as biased, here’s the actual exchange of messages. My initial message is at the bottom, above that is the reply from The Ladders, and above that, my response to that reply. Not a word has been changed.

_______ to Marc, TheLadders,

This (below) is a very disappointing reply.

1. Nobody is asking Mark to speak with all customers – I was inquiring as to whether one individual would be kind enough to speak with another.
2. I’m not asking him to be “available” for my call; rather, I asked whether he would reach out to me at his convenience.
3. Most disappointing of all: Since I had replied to an e-mail from Marc’s address specifically, I inferred that Marc would receive the message. If I had wanted to contact customer service, I would have done exactly that.
4. As to calling customer service to discuss my “account”, that wasn’t really the nature of my question. So, in essence, my e-mail to Marc’s address was summarily forwarded to an automaton who didn’t even bother to read it.

Let’s start again…. I will expect to hear from Marc directly this week. I hadn’t necessarily expected that earlier, but now I do. Marc may be to busy to speak with his paying customers, but I have time on my hands, and I’d be happy to use it to share my negative experiences with my fellow job-seekers.

– Hide quoted text –
On Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 12:40 PM, TheLadders Help wrote:

Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.

Subject
Re: These Companies Are Hiring!

Discussion Thread
(Andy)12/08/2008 03:40 PM
Hi ______,

Thanks for writing in.

Although Marc would love to discuss the job market with all of our customers, doing so would be a humongous task that would leave him little time to ensure that our site is as great as it is. As such, he’s not available for personal phone calls, that said I should be able to help you with any specific questions about our service that you have. If you would rather discuss your account over the phone, please feel free to give us a call at 1-866-YES-100K and one of our phone associates will be happy to assist you.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns and I’ll be happy to personally take care of them. Have a great day!

Best,
Andy

Community Manager
Have a Question? Click Here: http://theladders.custhelp.com

TheLadders.com, Inc.
137 Varick Street
New York, NY 10013
Customer (_________)12/08/2008 01:49 PM
Hi, Marc-

Not sure why today should be any different than any other day in my job
search; for some reason, the idea of contacting you directly popped into my
head this morning. I have used LawLadders (specifically, LawLadder) for
well over a year now, including the past three months as a paying
customer. I would love to pick your brain and I think it would be easier
to summarize my situation in an interactive discussion as opposed to an
exchange of e-mails. Think of it as market research. I need to find a
solid, long-term position desperately (and I know I’m not alone out
here). Besides, my JD is from _______, so we have the upstate NY
geography in common, in case that’s any incentive for you to call.

I would love nothing more than to be the subject of one of the success
stories I continue to read in your e-mail distributions to the masses!
You can reach me – at your convenience – at _________.

Many thanks,
_____________

There you have it – arrogance defined. Needless to say, I never did hear from Mr. Cenedella. Once he had my money, what incentive did he have to interact with me?

By TB
February 11, 2009 at 11:08 am

I thank you for exposing this fraudulent website. I actually joined and paid the money only to have it refunded in FULL after I made a point to tell them how incredibly stupid they must think I am. I am college educated with two degrees and have earned over 100K. They tried spin the fact I had received no contact from employers was due to my unwillingness to contact their recruiters. I told them I can look recruiters up in the phone book and call them for free. Either way the site is bogus and a complete sham. The only positive thing I can say is that they refunded my money. Kudos to you for exposing the crooks!

By Nick Corcodilos
February 11, 2009 at 11:26 am

I keep thinking about what to write next on this topic, but compared to the volumes you folks have posted, I can only stand back in awe of the fraud that Ladders perpetrates every day. On the About section of their web site, it’s right there in stark Fraudulent Blue: “Only $100k+ Jobs. Only $100k+ Candidates.”

Is there a U.S. Attorney out there reading this?

By Bill
February 11, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Nick,

Holy smokes, I read your article (and blog posts from your readers) in the nick of time, just as I was ready to take the play-for-pay bait. I signed up with The Ladders about a month ago and initially was dismayed by immediate pay-for-play come-on, which looked bait-and-switchy to me (if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck. . .). So I held off uploading my resume and focused instead on building my LinkedIn network. Meanwhile, I have been receiving their almost-daily download of articles (most of which, especially the pieces on personal branding and using social networking sites to make job searching connections, I’ve found helpful).

Within the past week, though, the “two weeks free” and “25% off” pitches have started coming.

This morning, after receiving another batch of useful how-to content, I was ready to take the play-for-pay plunge. But since I still believe in the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t,” I googled The Ladders to see what would turn up. Boy, am I glad I did!

So while I can’t fault them on the quality of the how-to content they are are distributing, I am extremely thankful to have avoided falling into The Ladders’ pay-for-play briar patch, thanks to you and your readers.

By Terry
February 23, 2009 at 7:59 pm

If TheLadders is misrepresenting itself and what it is capable of doing, 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.

By John Bogren
February 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm

I sent in my resume for critique through The Ladders. The resume was a mess and I knew it. The critique was valuable and informative. I knew it needed help, but dealing with a mass-mailed offer made me a little leery. It felt a little off. Good customer service is what happens when things go wrong, so I sent a few specific requests to the person who had been Emailing me to discern if I was getting canned spam while being promised fresh fillet. After all, if they could not sell me their service when I asked for something out of the ordinary, what could they really do for me. I finally coaxed out a REAL response that was as suspected. Their guru sent a poorly written, but not canned, response saying that their writers were independent contractor’s and after I paid them they (the writers) would answer my questions about rewrites, cover letters, etc. The old pig-in-a-poke. She also explained that she was awfully busy taking care of all the important things that she had to do. I saved all the back and forth correspondence to give me a chuckle later. Trust, but verify.

By Ask the Headhunter discusses TheLadders.com | Career Management Alliance Blog
March 2, 2009 at 4:40 pm

[…] http://corcodilos.com/blog/311/the-dope-on-theladders […]

By Stan
March 3, 2009 at 10:21 pm

I guess I am the lone wolf here, as I had a good experience with The Ladders. I had great help on my resume (worth every penny), engaged with several recruiters (we still keep in contact to this day) and while I didn’t find my job on the Ladders, I had several interviews. I suspect that The Ladders “of then” (pre market meltdown) may not be The Ladders “of today” where jobs are scarce, recruiters are starving or have moved on, and salaries that may have been 100k before certainly aren’t these days.

I guess I lucked out. And sorry to hear so many have had bad experiences.

PS I don’t typically read this blog (and probably won’t, as I find some of Nick’s facts to be inaccurate) — it was forwarded by a friend who thought I might’ve been scammed also. I felt I needed to contribute my happy ending.

By Nick Corcodilos
March 3, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Stan,

I’d be glad to address any facts that I’ve published that you find inaccurate. Which ones? I’m copying this to you via e-mail since you say you won’t be visiting the blog again. I promise to publish your response here.

By Stan
March 4, 2009 at 11:00 am

Hi Nick –

I used TheLadders from mid-2007 through mid-2008…so I presume that the site has evolved much as every company / industry has since September’s market crash.

You share a number of opinions that I simply don’t agree with. Here are a few:

You: Looking for a $100k+ job? Who ya gonna call? TheLadders? Don’t waste your time. The promise of a web site “created exclusively for $100k+ talent” jobs is a lie.

My response:
My experience leads to two conclusions:
1. Yes, some of the jobs I saw on TheLadders were jobs I saw elsewhere including private company HR sites. Frankly, I would expect that, and I appreciate that they are culling through others’ opportunities. What I didn’t see was a lot of the “noise” of other job sites (eg, HotJobs, Monster, etc). TheLadders provided a good filter.
2. Salary. Many job postings don’t offer salary information. I find it perfectly acceptable to profile jobs against industry averages. So, the opportunity for the degree’d marketing professional with five years of experience (you don’t mention the city/region) earning an estimated $100k doesn’t seem unrealistic. Apparently the job pays 50k — and that is unrealistic. (No wonder they are hiring.)

You: Marc Cenedella came from HotJobs, another massive dump of JunkJobsForSuckers.

My response:
I believe that Mark’s experience at HotJobs is a plus and brings valuable experience with regard to operations, web strategy, etc. I would never compare TheLadders with HotJobs.

You: After much hype about exclusivity, Cenedella quickly started daily junk-e-mail campaigns to lure business. His ad copy was tacky and sloppy

My response:
Tacky? Nowhere in your link did I find anything tacky and sloppy. As I read through Marc’s “junk email”, I thought it stated the obvious fact that very few people can write a good resume. Many of us are “too close” to ourselves and need professional resume guidance and perspective. Call me gullible, but TheLadders re-wrote my resume. The process was long, investigative, annoying (they asked tough questions like quantifying success and results :), and in the end – fruitful.

Maybe our perception of who is using TheLadders is different. I think TheLadders is for professionals who are wickedly busy but don’t have resume critiquing ability…especially of their own. Having done my fair share of recruiting (though not my main focus), I think it’s fair to say that a lot of us are not as talented with the pen/keyboard as we would like to be. “Rookie” resume mistakes aren’t anything to be ashamed of, as you would suggest….we all make ‘em. And I wouldn’t discount TheLadders for the one random misspelling. (If you have a dozen examples of misspellings…now that’s a different story.) Finally, I asked about the credentials of my resume writer. She said that she was a contract writer. As someone who uses outside services, I use this set-up all the time. Nothing to diss here.

Nick, no wonder The Ladders tried to recruit you. You’re a very good writer and obviously have the pulse of the recruiting industry and talent. So kudos to you AND TheLadders for having and recognizing talent.

But when it comes to TheLadders, I think you missed the mark. I have a different perspective, and your readers can judge for themselves. TheLadders is probably somewhere between the “Monster” (clever?) you make it out to be and my experience. The bottom line is buyer beware.

Stan

By Nick Corcodilos
March 4, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Stan,

I don’t doubt there are people who think TheLadders is a good way to find a job. But the bottom line is that TheLadders clearly and prominently advertises “ONLY $100K+ JOBS. ONLY $100K+ CANDIDATES.” That’s a lie. It’s not an opinion.

If some people find it acceptable that Ladders permits cross-posting of jobs from other sites without vetting them doesn’t change the fact that TheLadders is lying, pure and simple. There is ample evidence in the phone transcripts I’ve posted and from other Ladders customers: Ladders runs jobs and candidates that are not “ONLY $100K+.” No other “big” job board makes that claim. There’s a reason. They can’t deliver on such a promise.

My comparison of TheLadders to HotJobs and other mass-market job boards is not unreasonable. You just provided the justification: TheLadders cross-lists jobs from other sites. That’s what the other boards do. I don’t see how that is “filtering.” I had high hopes for Cenedella’s new operation when Laddders launched, but I was not surprised that he recreated the HotJobs model, put some lipstick on it, and calls a pig a “$100K+ CANDIDATE.”

Regarding Ladders e-mail promotions, when Cenedella chides his prospects for “making rookie mistakes” in their resumes, he’s not allowed a rookie mistake in his e-mail. He sets the standard; he’s judged on it. He has no standards. This is just one more promotional claim that is inaccurate. Cenedella’s junk-mail campaigns to his customers are legendary — daily drivel that clogs mailboxes. It’s Mass Mail Campaigning 101. How is that exclusivity? It’s the lowest level of marketing.

“Who is using TheLadders” is anyone and everyone. TheLadders reps admit it on the phone, with the lame explanation that they do their best to remove resumes and jobs that don’t meet the company’s standards — while they encourage any and all sources of resumes and jobs to post. Gimme a break. Ladders could just stop permitting cross-posting. The rep I spoke with gave me a long line about the “teams” that work with job hunters and employers to ensure that TheLadders standards are protected. It’s pure bunk. The evidence is in its posting and resumes.

As for Ladders trying to recruit me, I’m not impressed and I’m not sure why you would be. They no more know that I’m a good writer than they know whether the owner of a resume on their site makes $100K+. My point is that their solicitations for their own hiring purposes reveal their total disregard for their customers. They eat their own dogfood, and it’s rotten. They have no standards.

I expect some people find TheLadders just fine. You mentioned to me in an e-mail that you are happy with the resume Ladders wrote for you, but that Ladders was not responsible for any jobs you’ve gotten. That’s fine, too. But it doesn’t explain why only one recruiter and one job hunter on this thread finds TheLadders’ behavior acceptable.

By David Kinard
March 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm

My own two cents. I used the Ladders for more than a year and faithfully paid my monthly dues. NEVER ONCE did I hear back from any recruiter for a position I applied for. And over that time I have applied for plenty of roles I was VERY qualified for. I wasn’t reaching at all — these were jobs that I was ideal for.

I even wrote the Ladders and asked them to verify that my submissions were being sent on because I was so stunned that I never received a response from the recruiter.

I will say that I did have my resume rewritten — early on — so a professional did do it. I worked with her directly and found it to be very helpful. I regularly get compliments about my resume so using a qualified service is, in my opinion, a good idea.

Last month I was hired into my new job. Did I get that position through the Ladders? NO. I gladly canceled my subscription and will never use them again. It was a waste of time, money, and energy.

By Jerry Howard
March 10, 2009 at 2:56 pm

My experience with TheLadders.com raised a red flag (I did not subscribe as a result).

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.

Good luck with your “subscription fund raising” activity. Meanwhile you will be reported to the New York Attorney General for fraudulent business activity.

TheLadders.com replied:

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Would you please be able to send me the name of the job title with Star Dynamics in Powell, Ohio.

If it’s not on their site any longer it’s just because the position most likely got filled. Great jobs like this one don’t hang around for long! Thanks for the heads up, and I’ll be sure to take down the listing right away when more information from you. We check our jobs each day to ensure that they are still open and available, but some jobs (especially the best ones) inevitably get filled, and listings will get taken down. We apologize for the inconvenience in this case.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns and I’ll be happy to personally take care of them. Have a great day!

Regards,
Jessica

I sent back to TheLadders.com:

You have posted Sr. Software Engineer, Communications at $100k at Star Dynamics (formerly Aeroflex).

You also posted a position at the same location for a software engineer, middleware / communications.

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.

I may have applied for positions thru TheLadders.com. Please remove my applications for any positions applied for thru TheLadders.com. I have numerous employment resources to utilize that do not require a fee (with automatic renewal) for false job information.

By Jerry Howard
March 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm

It gets worse.

TheLadders.com replied to the above:

Thanks for letting me know.

Sorry to hear our service has not met your needs or expectations.

I took a look at both the “Sr. Software Engineer, Communications” and “Software Engineer, Middleware / Communications” positions and I see that they are both within Radar System Co. and not with Star Dynamics / Aeroflex.

In addition, both these positions were directly submitted to us by a recruiter or hiring manager who was approved by our site.

Sorry for the inconvenience, however I will not be able to remove your applications. They were submitted once you applied to the positions.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns and I’ll be happy to personally take care of them. Have a great day!

Regards,
Jessica

There is no such company in Powell, Ohio, or anywhere else in the world. There is a Radar Systems, Inc. in Latvia, however.

By Nick Corcodilos
March 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Jerry,

Thanks for sharing that exchange. I wonder whether TheLadders attorneys monitor the admissions of the company’s reps?

**We check our jobs each day to ensure that they are still open and available,**

Do you in your wildest dreams imagine that Ladders checks all the jobs in the data base “each day?”

If it weren’t so misleading it would be hilarious.

By Duped
March 14, 2009 at 10:29 am

Just read through all these postings and went online to cancel my Ladders subscription. I clicked on their “success stories” link at the bottom of their website. Four success stories came up. I googled one of the names and the name of the company where he found a job. He worked there for SIX MONTHS IN 2006!!!! Ladders has not been able to get another success story to post since 2006!!!!!

By Corp Recruiter
March 18, 2009 at 4:45 pm

My company had multiple problems with The Ladders and were forced to contact Customer Support several times. We were never a customer of The Ladders and yet they kept posting our jobs on their site. They were sloppy about it and didn’t take out the company info that was included in the job description. We then had people contacting us directly asking about jobs they saw on the ladders, jobs which had been closed months earlier. These same jobs never paid close to 100k. When we contacted customer support to have the postings removed we were told they pull jobs from across the web. They have a team of market experts that continually verify salary is 100k+ and that these positions are still open. The jobs had already been removed from our website, so if people were applying thru the Ladders they never would have made it into our applicant tracking system. It took several similar calls into customer service before these positions were finally removed.

By Nick Corcodilos
March 19, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Corp Recruiter:

Thanks for sharing that. My own research suggested this was going on, and job hunters have seen it from their side. So it’s no surprise to see an employer dealing with it as well. The job boards are such a big industry that experiences like yours are written off as “anomalies” that we must expect… No, we don’t. If Ladders wants to lie that it offers “ONLY $100k+ jobs and ONLY $100k+ candidates”, well, a lie is a lie.

By pj
March 20, 2009 at 9:39 am

I susbcribed to their premium service every month for $30 for a year. I did my resume TWICE, sent over 500 applications…Got 1 ONE response!!! From a recruiter. Company direct contact never worked and always got unanswered.
I am a sale professional that made a constant $100+, I know we are in a crisis as far as employment BUT I believe that the LADDERS is misrepresenting their services. I am ready for a lawsuit.

By Diane
March 26, 2009 at 2:06 pm

I feel like the biggest chump. I have been paying the Ladders their montly fee for about 4 months now. I have found very little value in the daily email job alerts. The jobs are almost the same every single day. Further, I find when I apply to jobs, 99% of the time I am redirected directly to the hiring company’s website. I clearly could have found or did find the exact job on other job boards. Within the last week I sent a reply email to “Marc” to ask how the salaries are screened and defined on his site. I was receiving too many responses that I was “overqualified” or “out of target salary range”. No surprise, I have not received a response. I’m cancelling my membership today!
Thank you all!

By John
March 27, 2009 at 3:07 pm

I’m one of those lowly $80k-$90k a year people, so I don’t qualify for the ladder’s standards. I’ve also never had to pay a dime to get a job.

By Derek
April 8, 2009 at 9:27 am

Thumbs down to Ladders.com! Don’t fall for the slick advertising they are doing on television these days. Their business model is a joke…

By Dawn Heather Roberts
April 8, 2009 at 10:55 pm

I was charged 90 dollars on my credit card by the Ladders 6 months after I canceled a 30 day trial. I saw heir scam immediately and began searching their site at the free pricepoint, when I saw the name of the business I was interested in, I went to their site and applied directly.

Three months ago I was on indeed.com and when I clicked on a job at a multinational company who did NOT list with the ladders, their site popped up, told me I was a “premium” member and could access more info, so I did. At no time did it inform me I was going to be charged for this. Now it’s March and my husband brings me his credit card statement with three charges from The Ladders. I am FURIOUS. When I was a member for that trial period, I was told by one of their recruiters that I was better off networking and that their site really couldn’t help me in my field (music and digital strategy). After having had that brief conversation I would never sign up as a paying member.

What I want to know is why aren’t we pursuing a class action suit against The Ladders. How do they get pop up windows onto indeed.com? I doubt indeed wants it’s members driven away from the site. If anyone has thoughts I am ready to take action. It’s hard enough trying to find a job, but being scammed by this con-artist company has to be illegal.

Please advise! Thank you.

By Lloyd
April 9, 2009 at 1:19 pm

TheLadders is a joke. Keep giving ‘em hell Nick!

By al
April 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Thanks for the article. I actually paid $30 to join. Got the free resume critique and it sounded like I had the worst resume in the world. It actually was helpful to be criticized. I spent the next two weeks re-evaluating my resume and it looks awesome now. No way in hell was I going to pay these bozos $650 to redo my resume. I probably have a better resume than all of those so called professionals.

By Laurie Smith, CPRW, JCTC
April 14, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Thanks, Nick, for exposing the true facts about The Ladders to the world. As a resume writer with more than 30 years in the profession who specializes in assisting executive-level candidates, I am a regular reader and fan of your newsletter.

With the pervasive and persuasive advertising campaign of The Ladders, many of my clients have already signed up on the site before engaging my executive resume writing services. Human nature being what it is (everyone loves to get something for free), my clients also often take advantage of the “free critique” offered there.

Over the past couple of years, a number of clients for whom I had written a quality executive resume contacted me within days after delivery with a copy of the blistering critique they had received from The Ladders. Thankfully, most were able to see the blatant contradictions between what the critique said and what they could see with their own eyes, dismissing the critique out of hand. With others it was only necessary to point out a few instances of the disconnect between the actual content of the resume and what the reviewer said to ease their concerns.

One client who received a terrible critique from The Ladders on the resume I had written him tells me he immediately sensed something “rotten in Denmark” and laughed out loud at the absurd criticisms made. To see what would happen, he then submitted the resume to several other well-known resume writers for review. Without exception, they told him that the resume was excellent. One writer in particular told him it was an outstanding resume and asked him who had written it. When told, his response was, “No wonder… She’s one of the best in the business.” All of this happened unbeknownst to me. It was only some time later when this client returned for a resume update that he said to me, “Oh, by the way….” and related the above facts.

What really amuses me is that I began to notice an eerie similarity among all of these reviews and found that they followed a basic script and consisted of boilerplate with only minor variations, regardless of the widely differing resumes that were critiqued. Virtually all critiques started with a comment about the resume lacking “The WOW factor,” which ironically is exactly the basis upon which my resumes consistently receive praise. They invariably said that the resume had few action words and used passive voice–both demonstrably untrue assertions. The criticisms were so unjustified as to raise any normal person’s blood pressure.

Many prospective clients also indicate early on that they have had their resumes reviewed by The Ladders, and been dismayed at the obvious attempt to scare them into engaging their resume writing service through grossly exaggerated criticisms and prediction of dire job search results. (Some of these people actually have pretty good resumes, and I tell them so.)

All of this is bad enough, but then I read Nick’s article about his findings regarding the fraud perpetrated by the site in their claims of exclusivity–“Only $100K+ Jobs. Only $100K+ Candidates.” I am normally reluctant to say anything negative about other companies, preferring to market my services from a positive standpoint. However, in this instance I felt I would be remiss if I remained silent. When asked about The Ladders or shown one of their critiques, I simply refer the client or prospect to Nick’s article and his blog entry on the subject, and consider that enough said.

Thanks again for your great investigative work, Nick. And ditto to your comment: “Is there a U.S. Attorney out there reading this?”

By misti
April 16, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Agreed with your assessment about The Ladders.

I sent my resume in for a “review.” From the critique I received by their special resume writers, you’d think I was functioning at the pre-school level. They trashed it completely, but offered me the opportunity to improve it for something like $900.

I wasted $30 and signed up for “exclusive” jobs – got nothing of substance. I continued my membership for several months. The only lead I received was from a recruiter who was so inept he made some comment about “getting his commission however he had to”.

Even after I unsubscribed, I still receive emails about $100k job opportunities.

There are no $100k legit jobs on this site. A complete waste of time and money.

By rvsharpe
April 23, 2009 at 2:00 pm

This Blog, the article and the site confirmed my cynicism as well. In this mass marketed, automated email based environment such as we’re experiencing today, this company appears to be no different than most of the other web based companies that continue to clog your in-box with solicitations on a daily basis. Exclusive opportunities are not usually presented this way. I really feel bad for the folks who paid money in good faith to the ladders.

I now have “the ladders” daily email automatically dumped into my junk mail folder and I’m about to request removal from their mailing list.

rvs

By marcus
April 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Allow me to convey the long and tedious story of how the ladders has wronged me, my clients, friends, enemies, my grandmother and everyone in my networking group (and why don’t I throw in how much better I am at writing professional resumes myself) … NOT.

Is it news to anyone that doing a little research is advisable before spending $600+ on any service? And, is anyone currently using The Ladders really under the impression that the site exists specifically to cater to their individual needs?

Gosh, thanks for exposing the “lies” and deceit and shameful business practices of the evil Ladders (they’re in it… for the money!). Shocking SHOCKING that the site doesn’t verify every resume and listing. Quel Horreur – users run the risk of exposure to sub-par offers (you might even have to decline unwanted low-paying advances). Occasionally, older jobs get re-packaged and put back on the shelf… right next to the fresh picks – icky. Once, someone got a really funny (that’s BAD funny) critique of their resume – and had no choice but to go elsewhere for better service. Scary stuff.

I beg to disagree. The transcript you provided as “proof” of lies reads like a normal conversation with any customer service rep at any number of companies. If you had a specific concern, why didn’t you ask? Would that have ruined your story or evidence?

I have nothing to do with The Ladders other than as a mostly happy – but practical, occasionally cynical and always realistic user of the service. It’s a tool – it helps me – I use other sites as well.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have networking to do.

By Nick Corcodilos
April 27, 2009 at 8:36 pm

marcus,

Parlez-vous? Yes, **Quel Horreur – users run the risk of exposure to sub-par offers**

I took both Sarcasm 101 and French Cynicism 204 in college. Cranks, crooks and assorted miscreants fleece the public every day because sophisticated people are accustomed to, how shall we say, a CERTAIN LEVEL OF FRAUD that our society is based upon.

Let us remember that dealing with liars is a necessity of American life — otherwise, what would we do when we wake up in the morning, non? What can we do, what can we do?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to answer the phone. A “customer service rep” has called me with an autodialer and le petit pauvre has left me on hold while he’s finishing another call. (The last time he called, he recited THE ENTIRE TRANSCRIPT you referred to.) I need to power up my bronx cheer before I pick up… gotta run, Dude. See you on LinkedIn, eh?

By Chris
April 28, 2009 at 2:12 pm

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. 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 the DO NOT PROVIDE REFUNDS. We’ll see about this.
How do you spell SCAM?

By gillian
April 28, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Nick,
thanks for the insight on theladders.com you have now confirmed what i started to suspect. I have been one of those “suckers” that have paid for theladders over the last 6 months, have applied to over 400 positions and not one phone call for an interview. Is there anything that can be done in terms of legal action against the organization for bait and switch?

By alex
April 30, 2009 at 1:50 pm

What a bunch of jokers. You should call marc and tell him. His number is 917-(917) 648-6134

By Laurie
May 5, 2009 at 11:38 am

Dear Nick: I appreciated finding your article while contemplating purchasing The Ladders premium package. Even people who earned good salaries & who are now jobless must count every penny. I (and others like me) would be totally remiss to just plunk down my dwindling reserves for a service such as this–but thanks to web searches that we can often avoid these kinds of scams by learning about other peoples experiences.

Even though I was using the Ladders “basic” service (totally worthless because you only get to see the first sentence of the post), it turns out that I am often directed to The Ladders from other job boards & then can I see the full post. I don’t know if the jobs are legit or really $100K, but there is no charge for viewing the entire posting or applying for the job. (one of the sources is http://www.hirediversity.com)

So thanks for the article helping me hold onto my money!

L

By gjm85
May 7, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Here’s a conversation I just had about a position that was advertised in the Ladders:
Chat Transcript – 05/07/2009 11:30 AM

Hi, my name is Andrew. How may I help you? [11:14:38 AM]
Greg McGiffney: Who do I talk to about what may be a misleading placement ad? [11:15:00 AM]
Andrew: Are you referring to a job posting? [11:15:48 AM]
Greg McGiffney: Yes. [11:15:59 AM]
Andrew: I can look into that for you. [11:16:08 AM]
Andrew: What is the position title, location and company name if you have it. [11:16:20 AM]
Andrew: A link would also be helpful, if you have one available. [11:16:28 AM]
Greg McGiffney: A link to what – your posting? [11:16:51 AM]
Andrew: Yes, please. [11:16:56 AM]
Greg McGiffney: http://sales.theladders.com/job/…[11:18:07 AM]
Andrew: Thank you. [11:18:32 AM]
Andrew: What do you feel is the problem with this job? [11:19:06 AM]
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]
Andrew: I will take that position off the site immediately. [11:19:32 AM]
Andrew: I will also make a note to my colleagues to avoid a position like this from [company X] in the future. [11:19:53 AM]
Andrew: Thank you very much for letting us know about that! [11:20:01 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. Furthermore, we aim to give you a pre-screened list of jobs over the $100k mark. To achieve this goal, our team of experts reviews every posting by hand before publication. [11:22:21 AM]
Andrew: In general, we scrutinize the following criteria in our effort to determine whether a job pays $100k+:

– Job title
– Job description and level of responsibility
– Hiring company
– The geographic location of the position
– Years of experience required
– Education level
– Who the position reports to
– How many direct reports the position has [11:22:48 AM]
Andrew: However, with over 9,000 job postings each week, it happens (rarely) that some jobs paying under $100k do slip past our sensors. In these cases, we rely on feedback from members, like you, to tweak our standards so we can continue bringing you only the best $100k+ positions available. [11:23:06 AM]
Andrew: We really do appreciate that you’ve taken the time to let us know about this position. [11:23:40 AM]
Andrew: You will not see this position on the site in the future. [11:23:47 AM]
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]
Greg McGiffney: OK – I know better now, I guess. Thanks. [11:29:35 AM]
Andrew: Again, my sincerest apologies for that inconvenience. [11:30:33 AM]

By mike
May 9, 2009 at 10:16 am

The Ladder.com is a scam – stay away from them. stick with the traditional posts. This company is interested in getting you to use their resume services.. ( there is not a single person I know, That was not told by them that their resume was not inadequate and they should speak to a “resume specialist that would fix it )- You get bombarded with e-mail Tips .. ( TIPS + you need to use our various services) And very few have landed any responses. A little work and Monster.com gets you much further.

Finally. They have a policy of recharging your credit card automatically WITHOUT any e-mail notice – ( that’s the only time they don’t send you one) specially since they are not cheap. Also it’s send on friday night.. reason is you have three days for a refund.. hopefully you won’t see it until monday and since it is just about impossible to find the “refund ” link. You are toast for another 75 smacks for the basic service.

They are plenty of ethical business for finding jobs. Just beware When they promise the world.. well you know “if it’s too good to be true .. ) you are better off at sites like 6figures.com & Monster..

my two pieces … Mike – CEO

By Nick Corcodilos
May 12, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Greg (gjm85):

“Andrew” could have just as well said to you, “Listen, you boob, we already have your money. Take a hike.”

Think of the time and money TheLadders could save. Come to think of it, why do they take customer service queries at all?

If any U.S. Attorneys are reading this… Dude, read the entire thread and file a case.

By Nick Corcodilos
May 12, 2009 at 8:46 pm

These recent posts inspired me, folks. So I tried to find an e-mail address on TheLadders site for someone in charge. The best I could do was: mediarequest@theladders.com. (I figure this blog qualifies as media, eh?)

So I sent the note below. I’ll post the reponse, if I get one. Maybe someone will contact me via chat, eh?

==============
TO: mediarequest@theladders.com

Kindly pass this on to Mr. Cenedella. Everyone gets lots of e-mail from him, but there’s no way to reach him directly.

I’d like your comments on this thread of comments from many of your customers:

http://corcodilos.com/blog/311/the-dope-on-theladders

Nick Corcodilos
asktheheadhunter.com

By Mark Sawyer
May 13, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Several friends of mine and myself were laid off from our IT consulting company after it lost a major contract, all 4 of my friends joined the ladders and never received one single lead over a 6 months period. We all ended up fidning jobs through monster and dice. The ladders should be investigated for the claims they make. One of my close friends who works for a fortune 100 company recently shared with me that to her knowledge most Fortune 500 companies do not use their service.

TheLadders should be investigated by state attorneys offices to look into the claims

By Monie
May 15, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Many of the jobs that appear on email alerts I get from theLadders have been filled(some for over three months). Other than the frustration of wasting time, I can’t help but assume it’s a bait/switch to drive site traffic.

In this age of search engine marketing, showing more visitors and more inbound links drives up google value rankings. Could that be the reason they don’t delete job postings after they KNOW they have been filled? Mmmm disappointing. Would expect more of a service catering to $100K+ level execs.

By John
May 18, 2009 at 9:31 pm

I’m a 45yo accountant and signed up with the Ladders for 6 months. Just lost my job with as a CEO with a mortgage company. After reading the scripts above, I’ll make sure I cancel my subscription on the 5th month if I don’t get results. However, all the above comments don’t convince me that the Ladders is a ripoff, actually, it proves to me it works. I believe my resume is weak, but I haven’t found any other service providers out there that offers any resume review at all. $650 is reasonable if you get a good resume and at least some hits. Nothing in life is a gurantee. Seems odd to me that those looking for a $100+ job can’t afford $650.00 or a reasonable 6 month fee. Only true executives know the value of service. Even if I don’t get a job with the Ladders, at least I gave it
a shot. I don’t cry like a baby if I didn’t get a job.

John

By Nick Corcodilos
May 18, 2009 at 11:24 pm

John,

My two bits. You can do your own resume review using the crib sheet used by a major resume mill. Here you go: http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/haresumeracket.htm

No charge. Courtesy of one of my readers.

But why not pay for resume review and get what you pay for? There are good resume writers who will work with you one on one, and you’ll know who’s doing the work. “True executives” know that getting scammed starts with having low expectations and reading cheap ad copy.

At Ladders, you fill out a form, someone cranks out a “review” using a crib sheet like the one I just showed you, and then they tell you your resume sucks, but they can help you. You pay up, and they hand your resume over to someone who will never talk to you. They just crank out the doc.

Please don’t make me laugh: “Only true executives know the value of service?”

I’d like to introduce you to the executives who flushed $10k or $20k down a hole, paying “career management firms” to find them a job. Execs seem to be more sucker-able than lesser humans. Why? Because they like to believe they can pay someone to find them a job. More here: http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/gv000802.htm

And here: http://corcodilos.com/blog/528/executive-career-management-scams

Even if I don’t make a buck off my investments with Bernie Madoff, at least I gave it a shot.

Come on. Gimme a break. THINK.

By John
May 20, 2009 at 11:09 am

Hello

I may be late to this discussion. Regarding The Ladders. Their resume marketing tactics are questionable at least. I had my resume professionally written as well as vetted by friends who are HR executives(their firms are not hiring but have my resume on file)The Ladders group ripped it apart and for about $900 they would re write it.

I told them not at that price however about 10 ten days later I receive an e-mail offer for resume writing services at $625. Not happening.

I do use the ladders for names of recruiters(I contact them directly) and firms. Also to read job descriptions that may help me tweek my resume or cover letter.

In the end and from what I read on the Web only 2-3% of people actually get jobs via on line sites.

By Guest
May 24, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Trolling is bad.

By JibberJobber Blog » Blog Archive » The Ladders Scam
May 28, 2009 at 10:36 am

[…] posts on the Ladders – one called TheLadders: Going down? (15 comments) and the other is the dope on TheLadders (95 comments).  Nick DOES NOT like The Ladders… the comments are […]

By Luigi
June 3, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Oh my god, you just wasted my time with an endless wannabe-scandalous, wannabe-revealing article about your so-called “TheLadders lie”. I was hoping to get some shocking news, but there’s nothing either alarming or surprising at all.

Your first “scandalous” fact:

TheLadders cannot completely guarantee that their candidates are all $100k+ ….OH MY GOD HOW SCANDALOUS IS THAT!

Are you kidding me? Of course they can’t, so what? Why would they need to? They have a proper quality assurance that goes as deep as it could go: they check your CV. Let’s check if this is good enough:

If you don’t lie in your CV, that check works pretty well. If they deem your qualification $100k+ then you’re in, otherwise you aren’t

If you do lie in your CV, pretending you’re a $100k+ candidate even though you are not, what would it help you?

Why would you try to get into TheLadders at all if you are not among the target group of §100k+ candidates? You wouldn’t get anything out of it in the end. Who would recruit you if you’re a low-qualified guy applying for a $100k+ job? You could keep the lie up with your fake CV for a while, and then what?

Your second “scandalous” fact:

TheLadders cannot completely guarantee that all their jobs are $100k+ or that they even exist… NO WAY! ARE YOU SERIOUS?! ;)

Now please name one job website in the world that is able to make sure that the jobs their customers post truly exist. What should the guys from the job website do? Walk into the customer’s company and search the whole place to see if there REALLY is a vacancy? ;)

And more importantly: Why would they ever want to make that sure?

TheLadders’ customers pay money to post jobs, so don’t you think this system naturally regulates itself?

Can you please tell me just any plausible reason to post a job for a load of money if your aim is not to really hire applicants?

What alternative evil intention could you imagine? The customer wants to spam TheLadders with fake job posts that cost them a fortune or what? ;)

You’re all complaining about the “it costs money” argument with which TheLadders seems to justify their quality assurance.

But that’s exactly the way it is: TheLadders costs money for anybody using it, so none of the parties has an incentive to cheat.

By not cheating, you benefit from more precisely reaching your target group than you could on any other job site, no matter if you’re on the recruiter side or candidate side.

By cheating you get? Nothing.

Cheating would mean nothing more than a waste of money. Quite simple, isn’t it?

Next time you’re in the mood to fuss about some pseudo-scandal horror story, please spare poor blog readers like me who try to find real news. Thanks a lot

By Nick Corcodilos
June 3, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Luigi,

Your standards and expectations are so low that I’m no going to waste my time responding to your examples. You’re either the perfect shill, the perfect customer, or the perfect jokester. In case you’re serious, check the Ladders customer in this column: http://www.asktheheadhunter.com/newsletter/OE20090120.htm

Please send $2,000 in twenties and fifties and I’ll send you a job. Honest. I have no incentive to cheat. It’ll be a $500k job. Why would I list anything smaller? Act now and I’ll throw in a Caddy. Don’t tell the US Attorney’s office. Why would I lie?

;-)

By GL HOFFMAN
June 3, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Admittedly, there are some awfully bad characters out there in job board land, mostly fly by nighters, who take advantage of jobseekers at their most vulnerable. Wishing it away won’t get rid of them until the greed factor is slowly replaced by those of us in the business who actually DO verify job listings BEFORE they are posted. Luckily, however, continued operation such as the Ladders et al will eventually clean up the system. I hope so anyway. Luigi, I share your frustration but I am on the inside, not on the outside. Unless you are actually a Ladders employee…or worse, HOUND. Fess up.

By Yuri Viera
June 28, 2009 at 6:05 pm

What about bad recruiters/headhunters? Those who have violated the “errors/omissions” clauses that all headhunters have to have as a requirement, which also carriers a $1.0 million bond?
I know of one dirtbag recruiter, and I am ready to shout his name all over the world

By TheLadders.com Reviews « Jennifer Anthony’s Blog
July 8, 2009 at 12:18 pm

[…] There are 99 comments on this blog post (to date) so make sure check it out: The dope on TheLadders […]

By Deborah Overdeput
July 14, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Great article and comments. I am a MktgLadders user and have been wondering why as I have yet to see any results. Most of the jobs on the ladders are freely available on Indeed.com. Often when I click into a job listed on the Ladders, it takes me to the hiring company’s website (it’s not on TheLadders site) – so obviously the job is in the public domain.

I was recently suckered into attending one of their events. It was in a nice hotel and the list of attending companies and recruiters was interesting. I arrived at the event and it was empty – very few companies showed up (nearly half of those on the list did not attend) limited recruiters (maybe 2), and very few job seekers (I was hoping to at least network).

But there was quite a few resume writers offering free advice (in 10 minutes) with the goal of snagging a sucker to pay more money to have the resume overhaul. Luckily for me I worked with a couple of people (Zissis/McGovern) to perfect my resume and I’ve had many good comments and positive responses. I went to a resume review for the kicks, and was surprised that it wasn’t critiqued – the reviewer actually thought it was good. (I had once before submitted it to resume review on MktgLadders and they tore it apart! and for only $900 they’d perfect it – ha!)

I was pretty upset about spending my time at this useless event and ripped into a Ladders product manager who was attending the event. He was a recent hire and did nothing to improve my experience.

I have yet to see a return on my dollars.

Isn’t it amazing how many companies and people are feeding off the unemployed?

By Rodger Cram
July 15, 2009 at 11:21 am

Wow, Nick, you have really touched a nerve here! I don’t really have any horror stories to add. I tried the Ladders for a while, it did nothing for me, and I have moved on. At the risk of raising a little ire, I will say that many of the articles on The Ladders are pretty good, and you don’t have to pay to get them.

I think that people in transition soon find that it is ugly, hard work and they would love to be able to pay someone to do it for them, or at least make it easier. But like that Royal Caribbean Cruise Line motto, you have to Get Out There! Network strategically, talk to and meet with people, build your connections and get away from your computer.

Gotta run now – I have a lunch meeting with a guy in nanotechnology to explore career opportunities there.

By walt grabowski
July 21, 2009 at 9:42 am

Like some of the other people who commmented I also found your article about The Ladders reassuring. Reassuring in that my instincts were correct. I have dabbled with The Ladders and even paid for a one month subscription once. I discovered that most of what I saw was avaialable through other sites and it seemed to me the real objective of The Ladders was to write my resume for a fee. Additionally finding the job posting on The Ladders did not provide any advantage in actually finding a real person with the hiring company to actually talk to. Maybe I was silly but I thought joining “the community” would result in better access to actual people.

Like some of the other responders have said finding work is tough business and networking along with face to face contact is really your best bet.

By Bwana Dik
July 25, 2009 at 12:48 pm

Ladders is worthless and borders on fraud. I signed up for one month but they kept charging my card for 4 months thereafter.
They sent me 3 resume rewrite solicitations – each time the price got lower by $100. The free resume critique was virtually identical to a free critique they did for one of my contacts – whose experience and resume are vastly different from mine.
And like other people have observed most of the jobs posted on Ladders are posted for free elsewhere.
Marc Cenedella is only in it for the money and deserves a good kick in the balls.

By Roger
July 28, 2009 at 10:39 am

I visitied ExecuNet and the Ladders as I am now in the market. I found 2 disturbing things to be true. 1)The positions are in no way unique to them. These roles will be on Indeed etc. 2) I noticed 2 positions on the Ladders which are not real. In other words, one is a closed requisition (from over 3 months ago but is reflective of last 2 weeks)and the other position was open and closed internally over 4 months ago. How do I know? Because I was the person who filled or closed the reqs.

By Bill Johnson
August 14, 2009 at 10:35 am

Interestingly, I find EXECUNET little better than TheLadders.

I’ve been a member for 6 months, and in that time only two – TWO – positions have come up that are even remotely relevant to what I do and where I want to live and work. Instead I get things far out of my field and thousands of miles away.

They list people who are supposedly willing to help mentor job-seekers and provide contacts and advice. I’ve researched, identified and contacted 7 of these folks through their “exclusive” system and not one has ever even responded.

Their resume review was a little better than TheLadders’ but in the end it came down to much the same thing – the writer, despite having told me my resume was pretty good and only needed some tweaking, wanted $800 to “fix” it. I said no thanks, and told her why in an email, and got a snarky, sarcastic response back.

Above all, Execunet seems to be a publishing house – for their own employees, and for their affiliates, all of whom are really trying to sell their own services. They put a lot of time and effort into publishing and mailing a hard-copy newsletter, chock full of articles stating the obvious, with “hints and tips” about career search from people who…don’t have to look for a job!

I genuinely question their expertise in any of this. I have sat through several of their online seminars, too, and while interesting, they’re really not much use for finding a meaningful opportunity.

Not as blatant liars as TheLadders, but not any real value and even more costly. The one thing they offer of value is networking meetings, but happily you don’t have to be a member to attend those.

So on balance, Execunet is a huge disappointment and a waste of money.

By JT
September 3, 2009 at 12:35 am

I too received a call from RLS…didn’t know who they were, just that ‘they had the inside track’…after the initial BS marketing pitch, I sent them this 1st response:

….It was good to meet with you and discuss your proposed services. It was also good to speak regarding your endeavors.

I will review the documents provided. I would also ask that you provide to me at least two (2) names of recently-placed individuals, of similar operations or technical background (e.g. Manager, Director or VP level within the past 6 months of taking their desired position) that were ‘coached / mentored / fostered” by the local (RLS) team.

I wish to discuss with them independently as to their value-add experiences using the RLS system for career coaching in retaining their new found career path positions.

After I have an opportunity to review your documents (later this week), and contact the recent RLS system clients you provide, I can take a decision whether to engage RLS for services.

Thanks in advance.

THE BS RESPONSE WAS THAT RLS COULD NOT PROVIDE FORMER CLIENTS FOR INTERVIEW DUE TO PRIVACY CONCERNS…..BS, so the follow-up was sent:

If you can’t provide contacts of recently-placed clients, then I would like a copy of your resume, as well as the other coach/mentor’s team from the RLS office for my review.

This will allow me to review the professional qualifications of the person(s) that will be handling my coaching and representation, should I decide to engage, and I wish to have a good idea of those person(s) work histories, professional / educational credentials.

NO RESPONSE FOR 5 DAYS…final FOLLOWUP:

I have not seen any additional information regarding the resumes of the RLS coaching/mentoring team members from the local office (or others that may be assigned, based on my background).

Your email below indicated that I was to receive that information about a week ago for review. Please advise.

Can you let me know what the fee structure(s) in a not-to-exceed fee basis, as well as a timeline of events for the coaching/mentoring (how many meetings, basic agenda for each meeting and estimated duration of the meetings), and expected end deliverables (what type of marketing ‘package’ to expect) from your team.

These items will be needed in order for me to analyze your fee structure, as well as the team’s competence in formulating any further strategies, should I take the decision to engage.

NOTHING BUT BS….TOTAL BS

By Nick Corcodilos
September 3, 2009 at 8:55 am

@JT: What is RLS? More information about the firm? Your queries were excellent and the silence from them no surprise. Asking for references and credentials quickly reveals the scammers. They don’t have any. But I’d like to know more about the firm if you can share info.

By Deborah
September 8, 2009 at 2:08 pm

I am really glad that I found this blog regarding The Ladders. I thought it was a reliable resource for opportunities. Reading all of this makes me sure not to pursue The Ladders. Thank you very much!

By IT
September 23, 2009 at 3:51 pm

What about higherbracket? Their website is higherbracket.ca. Do they really has 100K jobs?

By Bianca
September 24, 2009 at 10:53 am

I paid $695 for resume writing several months ago and never even have received a 2nd draft yet.
When I call them, the phone goes to voice mail, and they don’t respond. The resume writer doesn’t respond either.
Their customer service reps portray as if you are the only customer who has experience this problem and they would report it to the manager. But nothing happens once you finish the chat or put the phone down.
They don’t refund the money either.
Overall it’s a FRUSTRATIONG experience, as they make falso claims of having tried to contact you and you not responding to them.
DON”T EVER THINK OF WASTING MONEY ON THESE CHEATERS !!!!

By red
September 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm

The Ladders seemed suspicious to me just because they required registration to browse. Did a quick search and found your post. Very interesting. I will not be using their website.

On a side note, if you are looking for six figures, you should be skilled enough to write your own resume. And also smart enough not to be suckered in by a service like this.

By Nick Corcodilos
September 24, 2009 at 11:15 pm

@Bianca: If you paid by credit card, you can complain to your credit card company and they will hold the payment until they investigate. If you can prove you did not receive what you paid for, you may be able to recover your payment.

@red: I agree with you. It takes two to get ripped off: the con artist and the sucker. But some suckers quickly realize what they’ve become, and they turn into attack dogs next.

By Bill Johnson
October 1, 2009 at 9:26 am

LUIGI IS MARC CENEDELLA!!!

Fraudster, thief, liar, charlatan, and hack.

By Nick Corcodilos
October 1, 2009 at 9:51 am

@Bill Johnson: You reminded me to go back and look at Luigi’s comment again… Let’s take a look at his key statement:

*TheLadders cannot completely guarantee that their candidates are all $100k+ ….OH MY GOD HOW SCANDALOUS IS THAT! Are you kidding me? Of course they can’t, so what? Why would they need to?*

It’s simple, Lu. TheLadders “needs to” deliver only $100k+ jobs because that’s what TheLadders claims – $100k+ jobs:

“Our experts pre-screen all jobs so they’re always $1OOK+”

“Exclusively $100K+ jobs”

The fact is, it’s not true. Based on reports from TheLadders own customers, TheLadders lies. I’m not “kidding” you, and it is indeed scandalous.

By PJ Maman
October 13, 2009 at 3:02 pm

I had a year subscription to the Ladders (sales) before I lost my Job in 2008. Let me tell you that I sent an average of 15 jobs per day to seemingly targeted offers in the sales and marketing sector. I only had 2 inquiries and not even ONE interview!! I had my resume estimated by one of their VERY expensive writers, I ended up contracting with someone else for 1/3 of the price. I am ready to do a class action suit on the LIARS (Ladders) There are unfiled positions there for MONTHS! I believe that the jobs featured are phantoms and do not exist. I did communicate with some recruiters on the site directly. But as far as JOBS I am UTTERLY disappointed and would like my money back and MORE. I am YET to hear of ONE person that got a job through the LADDERS. As a matter of fact the jobs keep on coming recession or not! MArc Cendella I am VERY dissapointed in you and your site.

By Smoke & Mirrors
October 16, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Here’s string from an R-el-S attempt to snag another ‘executive’…it’s fun playing with these clowns….

R-EL-S:
Subject: follow up information-1st e-mail
XXX, I found our conversation both pleasant and productive! I appreciate the information that you shared with me and now understand more about you and your specific career plans and goals.

If we work with you, the first step is to help you weigh options, formulate a marketing plan, and then aggressively pursue specific goals. The overall concept is a simple one. The most successful, efficient job search follows the business concept: an organized team will invariably outperform the inexperienced
individual working in their spare time. We create opportunities rather than waiting in hopes that they will occur.

In preparation for the possibility of working together, it is imperative to bring you up to date on the processes and the involvement that will be implemented if we decide to work together. The link below will give insight into who we are and what we do; The upper left corner link within our site shares our Philosophy in how we attack the market; The next link below that shares some success stories and will demonstrate many different areas where a professional approach has been productive; In order to access this in-house site, R-el-S site here…

Take time to review each sub menu. I have also attached several documents for you to look over and will be sending more relevant
information. Our next step will be to have a second meeting. If we decide to work with you, we will discuss the next step involved in helping you with your search along with fee options for our services. As I mentioned when we met, NOW is the time to jump head first into this!
It was nice to meet you. I hope we can work together to help you achieve the next step in your career.
XXXX Sr Consultant R-eL-S
RelS & Associates, Inc.
We Guarantee to work with you until you are in your career position!

1st RESPONSE LETTER:
Thanks xxxx,
It was good to meet with you and discuss your proposed services. It was also good to speak regarding your other career endeavors. I invite
you to review my consulting website as well.
I will review the documents provided. I would also ask that you provide to me at least two (2) names of recently-placed individuals, of
similar operations or technical background (e.g. Manager, Director or VP level within the past 6 months of taking their desired position)
that were ‘coached / mentored / fostered” by the XXXXX-based R-el-S team.
I wish to discuss with them independently as to their value-add experiences using the R-el-S system for career coaching in retaining their new found career path positions.
After I have an opportunity to review your documents (later this week), and contact the recent R-el-S system clients you provide, I can take a decision whether to engage R-el-S for services.
Thanks in advance. You can provide these contact names either by email or feel free to call me.

RelS RESPONSE TO MY REQUEST:
XXXX
I would love to be able to provide you with the contact information of two (2) of our recently placed clients, but due to privacy concerns, we no longer give out personal contact information. We did this in the past
and found that these people were being abused by potential candidates with endless amounts of
questions during their decision process. If you honestly think about it, if we were to give you personal references, do you think we would give you the contact information of people that didn’t think we walked on water? lol I have attached our success statistics over the past few years along with testimonials from our office, but just like a resume’ or a reference, we can make them say anything we want them to! You are welcome to
do some investigation of us with the Better Business Bureau, the State Attorney General, etc. Your security blanket, that we are going to do what we say, is in our guarantee which I have attached also. We guarantee that you will be satisfied with every step of our process.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me,

2nd REQUEST LETTER:
I will resend a request, since I’m not sure whether you received my email from yesterday. I appreciate you sending information, and I understand the general philosophies that R-el-S uses, based on the information you have provided thus far. Here is my request from yesterday re-sent to you:
If you can’t provide contacts of recently-placed clients, then I would like a copy of your resume, as well as the other coach/mentor’s from the XXXXXX office for my review.
This will allow me to review the professional qualifications of the person(s) that will be
handling my coaching and representation, should I decide to engage, and I wish to have
a good idea of those person(s) work histories, professional / educational credentials.
My 3rd Request:
XXX
I have not seen any additional information regarding the resumes of the R-el-S coaching/mentoring team members from the XXXX office (or others that may be assigned, based on my background).
Your email below indicated that I was to receive that information about a week ago for review. Please advise.
Can you let me know what the fee structure(s) in a not-to-exceed fee basis, as well as a timeline of events for the coaching/mentoring (how many meetings, basic agenda for each meeting and estimated duration of the meetings), and expected end deliverables (what type of marketing ‘package’ to expect) from your team.
These items will be needed in order for me to analyze your fee structure, as well as the team’s competence in formulating any further strategies, should I take the decision to engage.
So that you are clear:
1) I am not looking for a ‘range of fees’, I am looking for NOT-TO-EXCEED numbers.
2) I am looking for a schedule of meeting(s) and basic agenda(s) (purpose / deliverables /
expected inputs) for those meetings (how many and approx. timeline (meeting duration
commitment, how many meetings)
3) I am looking for a ‘sample’ end deliverable, a typical RLS-developed career marketing package that has been developed by the same RLS team that would be assigned to my case.
4) RLS Service Agreement (you mentioned this item)

I would think that all of the above items RLS should have readily available, especially given your claim of the volume of successful coached/mentored individuals and testimonials from the past.
This seems as if it should be a minimum disclosure requirement to any RLS prospect that would is expected to pay a fee for services, instead of ambiguous or non-specific fee disclosures.
Thanks in advance.

These guys are buffoons….Its fun to string them along….

By Nick Corcodilos
October 26, 2009 at 11:03 am

UPDATE 26 October 2009:

Eegads! Hell freezes over! TheLadders CEO Marc Cenedella responds to a Ladders customer:

http://corcodilos.com/blog/1080/theladders-marc-cenedella-makes-a-phone-call

By Kevin
November 2, 2009 at 7:03 pm

I had a similar experience to Smoke & Mirrors. After an initial meeting, I received a nearly identical e-mail. I also asked for references, and that request was denied because of the confidentiality agreement. I also asked for statistics – specifically what percentage of clients who signed a contract achieved success with the company. After initially being told this may be difficult to obtain, I have not heard back from the company.

As I look back on the initial meeting, it really felt like an initial meeting with a time-share sales company. There were some high-pressure sales techniques, lots of promises, but not a lot of data I found interesting. I can’t comment on if this is a scam, because I have not signed a contract.

As with everything else, I think the buyer needs to beware, and there are no short-cuts to the hard work required in a job search, which includes resume prep, interview practice, and lots and lots of networking.

I do appreciate the comments posted here, as they were helpful in my interactions with the company.

By Ian R McAllister
November 3, 2009 at 8:37 pm

I keep referencing this blog and the main blog entry to various people – job seekers, recruiters, executives – as it summarises many repeat experiences of the same darned awful service. Being based in the UK, I wholly agree with Susan, in that they just ported the whole US site and its Americanised English. Now that would be average if I was sat in the great USA, but its utter tosh being read from this side of the Atlantic. What shocks me is that LinkedIn have partnered with these people – do we assume that’s because they offer the best affiliate/cash flow projections? Is there any way we can get a blog entry up high in the Google results to warn more people? I’m happily in if anyone wants to take the lead!

By Mike Shaheen
November 10, 2009 at 5:39 pm

While looking for a job I was always tempted by the Ladders. They always post the best jobs with good pay. So I joined. I applied for many positions over the year’s time and never got a response from any. I did check into the resume writing service which, guaranteed interviews if you paid over three hundred dollars. I decided not to use the service. Six months ago, my sister joined the Ladders and has not received any responses. It’s my belief, the Ladders is a scam.

By Jonathan Strum
November 10, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Well if this is such a scam why in the heck is Mr. Cenendella all over the news, reporting on the status of the unemployment market relating that his company did not suffer from the economy.
Also WHY will a candidate have to PAY to get job posting?? Why is the LADDERS allowing pyramid schemes type job offers?? Why is the LAdders have posting of supposed job vacancies that remained unfulfilled?
Why are JOBS are the LADDERS appearing and dissapearing?

By Jonathan Strum
November 10, 2009 at 7:52 pm

I was not totally done, above all to add insult to injury their VERY EXPENSIVE resume services are just that, very expensive and I bet you have a hefty AFFILIATE KICKBACK to the LADDERS.

THELADDERS=THEGRINDER

Have you seen Pink Floyd the wall??

By Mark
December 4, 2009 at 1:03 am

Now I feel worse after reading this string. I finally cancelled early last month but not before they hit my CC up for $75 and the refund I received after 4 days was for $45, meaning I paid $30 for the month.
My experience over this past year was about the same as most have noted, not all jobs are posted, Indeed has them for free, no recruiter ever called me, and they ripped my resume despite fact that local recruiters tell me its outstanding.
After one year and applying to countless jobs, I never received one call….hmmm.
And what else am I getting, the ability to store resumes and cover letters on their site.
Not a good deal where I sit. I should have quit months ago.

By neil licht
December 4, 2009 at 4:18 pm

The free trial lets you try out those lists. Every one of them refers you to another site to apply including another jib board. Looks like the listings are simply “borrowed” from other job boards, “linked”, are clearly publically listed for free elsewhere and often, already filled or pulled.

Its more of a compendium lisy than exclusive so don’t pay for it ever.

By Jilly Bean
January 6, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Hi Nick,

Great article and brilliant posts and I hope that job seekers in the UK avail of this as the Ladders are advertising on peaktime TV here and with the recession now in full flow there are candidates out there desperate for work and this sort of site is timing their marketing well. I am a recruiter in London, have been for nearly a decade and I provide my service for free to jobseekers, it is law that a agency/consultancy cannot charge candidates but this does not apply to the internet apparently.
I love what I do and I have been really weary of a company charging candidates without some guarantee of job finding, afterall I only charge a client when I find them the perfect canddiate and I rebate if they don’t work out.
I have many clients/candidates at the £100k ++ level and a few who have registered with the Ladders to be totally deflated with the impersonal responses and lack of follow-ups etc. This company is new here, but hopefully people here will not fall for it and that they will continue to avail of the free services from people such as myself who go to every length to represent them in their job search.
This company is just about making big $$$$ and they hire sales reps rather than experts in the field they claim to work in!

By Allan W
January 11, 2010 at 12:23 pm

At the Top of The Ladder is a rope,’Don’t Do It, there is hope’ this is provided as you have spend hundred of dollars on monthly fees, resume writing and a variety of other avenues that Mark and his team will approach you with. I was ‘On-Board’ for a year, submitted 77 applications, has my resume reviewed 4 times by recruiters and NOT ONE, YES REPEAT, NOT ONE phone interview. I believe that some needs to contact that authorities to see if a scam is in place.

By Peter
January 13, 2010 at 11:40 am

Buyer Beware!! The Ladders pricing policy is very tricky and, in my opinion deceptive. Whatever level of service offered is auto renewed without any statement to you, even if it says “1 month, only $35″. In other words, you will think you are buying access to their service for a one month fee of $35, but they will continue to charge you perpetually until you go back to their website and cancel. At $35 per month, is it possible that some people may not realize this until several months later? or years? The Ladders will not remind you or send you any type of statement, it is up to you to find the charges on your credit card.

Use your common sense; if a company really has something of value to offer, why would they choose to use a deceptive pricing policy with fine print and hidden policies?

Buyer beware of The Ladders…

By John Houghton
January 14, 2010 at 11:22 am

They are charging clients for their ads, just like other job boards so why would you pay to look at them on the Ladders. They have a savvy sales team and large marketing budgets and charge for services that is free elsewhere to job seekers. I have researched them more here in the UK and it is becoming evident that there is no value in their service to candidates and they are maximising on an increasing unemployed workforce and if they were really confident in what they did they would not be charging candiates to just access the site. No one can see what is really on offer without paying up. I hope that the people of the UK are not stupid enough to fall for this sort of empty service which is nothing new and nothing guaranteed…. they should be ashamed to charge people and many UK Recruitment Agencies are enquiring why they are doing this because under the Employment Act it is forbidden to charge a job seeker for services.

By Kirk
January 15, 2010 at 3:11 pm

I too was mislead by R.L. Stevens. I wish it wasn’t true because I think of myself as a pretty smart person. I started my job search approximately 2 years ago. I first got to RLS by a Career Builder posting of a position for an SVP of Sales and Marketing. When I viewed the post, it was the ad for RLS and I thought maybe I could use REAL help since I was not successful to that point on my own.

In my meeting with the sales consultant, I was told of their success rate (98% placed). I was told they would rework my resume with the key words properly placed to get my resume traction even with the automated resume systems used by many of the top firms to screen applications to find the right people. I was told that they have access to jobs that are not ever or seldom posted and subsequently to people at high levels who where the decision-makers for hires. I was also told that THEY would market me to the unlisted postings and give me access to their prior placements of RLS, giving me access that is not had by other job seekers. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Then came the initial fee – $6,800. I couldn’t afford that at the time but said that I would stay in touch while I tried to put the funds together. Then came the second offer – $5,500. Then a third $4,475 and finally, a buy it now and final offer of $3,475. That is when it happened. I bought the services based on getting all of the services provided for $6,800 for now only $3,500. That was great…how smart I am to have waited.

I wrote a check for the entire amount and was assigned a representative to help me. He hadn’t been there long but was an HR guy that had worked for multi-million dollar firms. He seemed to know his stuff as well and I had no complaint with him. However, when I explained that I was promised all of these services listed above, he could offer only a nervous looking smile in response. To his credit, he did not try to excuse the sales devises used to allure me. He actually seemed visibly upset that they did that. Like I said…he is new to RLS and maybe doesn’t know all of the things they do to bring in clients. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt; one time.

I thought that based on his vast experience, though not giving me what was promised, could likely help me find a position commensurate with my 25 + years executive and operations experience. Further, I had already paid for the services in advance and felt as though they should at least be given an opportunity to help me in my career.

The personality tests only confirmed what I already knew about myself. The wants and needs assessment in reference to my job search only confirmed what I already knew about that as well. So far, no assistance is being offered. Then came the resume re-write. OK, this was an improvement over my prior resume…at least it looks better. This is a service that can be done for $200 to $400 almost everywhere.

One problem though, after posting the new resume….no more calls than I had with my crappy one. (Still not getting the help I paid for) So, here we are 5 months later and not one call for an interview. While my resume clearly looks better (I think), no one else seems to think so.

I am currently in conversations with a Customer Service person after talking with the SVP of RLS in northern Ohio, but I have little hope of getting the refund I asked for or the services as promised at the point of sale.

This story is much more involved than what I have written herein but it is the cliff notes, which sound a lot like many of the complaints registered on this site dating back some as far as 10 years.

Here is what I am preparing to do….I wish to compile all of the complaints from the past five years specifically and have them merged into a possible single action against this firm and others that operate like it. After we have this comprised I will bring the information to my attorney, who I already have on retainer, and file an action in behalf of us all. I believe that the strength of the case here is in the numbers.

If you don’t think that RLS should be able to walk away without recompense for their fraudulant actions, join the fight to stop this shameless conduct. Recent history has shown that many corporate entities are taking advantage of the little guy with impunity. I don’t know what the outcome will be but look at the all of the others just found on this site…we all have one thing in common: we needed a job and we got taken.

Let’s send a message to these scam artists that we will not just lay down and take a loss. Please respond ASAP as we want to get this going.

By PJ Maman
January 16, 2010 at 6:47 am

We all seem to have a problem with the methodology and promises made by the ladders. In my opinion The Ladders is an habile aggregator that at times does not QC their ads.
What irks me also is the amount of commission only 100K plus potentials positions.

By Mia Sophia
January 22, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
A few hours ago my husband called me from the RLS office where he had a second interview with a consultant…

This morning he was very excited about the idea of getting the kind of help they had offered him in his first interview, he had worked on all the paperwork, etc.

I was really proud because I had found the link to RLS @ the monster website and set him with his first interview.

I told him that day to convince him of going –

“Honey, you are now a Director and are at a level in which, if you want to change to another job you have to do it in a different way, in a more professional way… its OK if we have to invest some money on getting your resume polished and maybe your interviewing skills, etc..”

Anyway, we were both convinced after the first interview that it was a good choice.

Then after his second interview today he calls me from the RLS building and says

-“How much money did you think they would charge me?”

-“I have no idea, why? Is it too much? Don’t they charge the company that becomes intereste in you?”

-“They are asking me to sign a contract to pay them $25K… $15K now and $10 when I get the job”

(OF COURSE NO NEED TO WRITE WHAT MY ANSWER WAS, but it was in the same line as: WTF!!)

After listening to him for a couple of minutes, it seemed like my husband was willing to pay the money and he had just called me to ask about the limits on our credit cards because the guy (a trained sales person) had convinced him it was worth it; even if we didn’t have the money, because we could put it on credit and then when he landed this perfect job, we could pay the debt.

I believe in god and in his divine intervention, somehow we agreed that it was an “INVESTMENT” and that we could put in a credit card but was not very convinced myself, I just wanted to make him happy.
A minute after hanging up the phone, I google RL.Stevens and come up with this blog. I read Kirk’s post of Jan/15 because it was the first one to come up.
I didn’t even finish reading when I called my husband up again and told him to come home and talk to me something before signing anything. I just said “Trust me, you have to read this before you sign anything, just tell him I am hard to convince when it comes to money and drive back home”

He did. He just read this and felt a little bit disappointed because he really believed it was the best thing to do and now he felt like we should have done our reasearch before even talking to them. He also told me I had to write to you about our experience and thank you because you saved us $25K!!!

I hope that by sharing this we can also help people make a more informed decision.

We are confident that my husband can get a better job than the one he has now and we are aware that there are a lot of resources out there to help us along the way. We just need to be more careful and do our research before we open our checkbook or sign anyting for that matter.

Again, T H A N K Y O U !

By Nick Corcodilos
January 23, 2010 at 12:33 am

@Kirk, @Mia Sophia: I’d like to say I’m stunned at your stories, but I’m not. Kirk, I’m sorry you’re out $3,500. Mia, I’m glad you saved $25,000. The staggering fact is that these firms set their prices based on what they deduce you can afford – what they can fleece you for. Kirk, go for it. Perhaps Mia and her husband will help with your legal action by providing evidence. Then there are all the other hopeful people who got fleeced…

By skip levine
January 23, 2010 at 4:23 am

Is there anyway to prosecute these scammers and lousy sales people??

By Nick Corcodilos
January 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm

@skip levine: The place to start is with your state’s Attorney General’s office. Ask them whether they have a pending case or investigation relating to the company. If not, ask how you can file a complaint to request an investigation. Then contact your state AND US legislator and request assistance with a consumer fraud investigation. Legislators are usually very responsive. (Don’t waste your time with the Better Business Bureau; it’s largely a racket run by businesses protecting their own interests. If you file a complaint and the business files a response, your complaint is removed from the file, no matter how good or poor the response is.) If you get action from your AG and/or legislator, share the information online. In fact, if you will contact me with such information, I will see that it gets published.

By Nic
January 26, 2010 at 9:01 am

Let’s make this really simple …IMHO no one truly worth $100K (or more) a year is going to to ever have to go to such sites, nor ‘require’ resume writing services. COME ON the entire concept of that is hilarious and ridiculous to me. END OF STORY.

By pj maman
January 26, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Yes I also went on the Ladders for a year or so and quickly realized that I did fall few steps down closer to the real world.

1) There is no such thing as only $100K Jobs, specially now in this tough economy.
2) Ad revenues and membership revs. are driven by companies postings so who cares if they pay $50K $100K or if the companies are commission only sales outfits, MLM or Fin Servs.
3) Any time I get HIGH PRESSURE sales from a resume service company, I walk away.
Good Heavens, when will clients, consumers, job hunters and people GIVING MONEY FOR SERVICES, be treated like kings?? After all Client is KING right?

4) If the jobs are available why are they still there??? I replied for an ad about a company recruiting for a sales position..the job was “unfilled” for months!!

Marc Cendella….lead better or get out of the way. The basic sales skills is to give people what they ask for not what you want them to have…that is deceipt.
The LAdders has a a great opportunity to serve and serve right….

By Ed Miles
January 28, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Hey Nick,

GREAT ARTICLE! I was thinking of using Ladders as an executive recruiter for searching purposes to fill professional positins that we have with our clients all over the country.

After reading your blog in addition to several others I have found on the web. I am definitely not going to spend our companies capital on it.. thats for sure…

I have used several other databases, and have been successful for the past 10 years, however, am always searching for new places to find extraordinary professionals!

Thanks Nick for the blog it was defintiely informative!

By Becks
January 30, 2010 at 12:20 am

lol, I find it funny that you bitch about this site when your very own blog is a marketing scheme in itself. Trying to sell some books, eh? Well, you’re just as lowly as TheLadders since all you care about is selling your products and making a profit. Don’t be fooled by this guy! It’s all a f**ked up sales pitch.

[POST EDITED: f**ked. I don’t normally censor posts, but expressions like that get censored.]

By Skip Levine
January 30, 2010 at 3:50 am

Hey BECKS you are happy now? Someone did read about you and the only thing you managed to write is non sense. Get educated.

By Samuel Bronkowitz
February 2, 2010 at 6:55 pm

You all would be interested to know that Marc’s personal cell phone number is 615-516-1400.

By Becks
February 7, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Hi SKIP (caps are necessary so you know I’m talking to you, right?). Does telling someone to get educated make you feel better about yourself? Do you feel really smart now? i men if i waz goin 2 talk lyke dis then may-b u culd tell me 2 get edumacataed.

However, I simply stated my own opinion (just like everyone else who posted comments on this posting – I am entitled, correct?), and my opinion is that Nick Corcodilos is trying to scam everyone who visits his site. “Hey! Read my great blog. Oh while you’re at it, buy my book!” I’m simply stating that this is pretty much the same tactics that TheLadders uses. “Hey! Come to our site that posts only $100K+ positions. Oh, want to apply to these positions? Upgrade!” Same sh*t, different websites.

[Post edited: One entire paragraph removed, which included gratuituous cursing that isn’t acceptable on this forum.]

By Nick Corcodilos
February 8, 2010 at 9:51 am

@Becks: You’re welcome to state your opinions, but gratuituous cursing isn’t acceptable.

By Skip
February 8, 2010 at 10:14 am

To BECK
did you know that profanity users are weak and needed attention when they were kids?
Are you happy you accomplished just that and in public!

By Nic
February 8, 2010 at 11:17 am

I am not going to defend the misuse of language, but that stated, IMHO I have also found that those who have to humiliate people by calling them out on their alleged use of ‘profanity’ are themselves weak and needing attention by having to prove their moral superiority. Linguistics and/or semantics aside, I personally think this thread has been worked to death, may we please proceed.

By Jily Bean
February 8, 2010 at 11:51 am

@Nic – this thread is not worked to death, it has been invaluable to many who have saved money due it highlighting the scam of the Ladders. Feel free to proceed Nic, but Nick Corcodilos please keep these stories coming and most of us value what you right.
As for the colourful language, it usually means a sheer sign of a lack of vocabulary.
Ladders still advertising in the UK, using lots of spin and generalised, automated emails to entice people to spend with them to view jobs that are free to look at elsewhere!! BIG CON!

By Nic
February 8, 2010 at 1:15 pm

@Jily Bean have you seen the length of this thread? Who requires a book of repeated escapades to get a single issue across? There is such a thing a $100K plus individual should possess in the first place, that is educated judgment. Anyone who would pay for what is being described here in the first place gets exactly what he or she deserves.

By Nick Corcodilos
February 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm

@Nic: The number of visits to this thread is astonishing and just keeps growing.

By Nic
February 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm

@Nick I agree, and have to admit that alone says everything about the potential employee pool!

By Mike
February 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm

You should be aware that Ladders.com has an automatic renewal policy where they charge you virtually ‘at will’. The policy states that you have 3 days from the billing statement to cancel, but they DO NOT notify you when the charge has been made. So, unless you monitor your credit card activity very closely (i.e. every day), you’ll miss it, since the only way for you to see the charges is in your statement, and by then it’s too late.
They are also very rigid with this policy and absolutely refuse any refunds, which is disingenuous in the least, since they try to woo exec-level customers.

By Deelon Royster
February 28, 2010 at 6:02 pm

They got a TV add going now. More will fall for this scam. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck its a duck. And the Ladders sure looks like a scam on first glance. There are so many scams going now. Real estate is another one. People are losing there jobs and losing there houses and are desprate and will bite on anything. The scam artist are cashing in on peoples desperation and law enforcement is not able to keep up. I know of lots of 100K + jobs. It takes many years of study, many years of hard work and sacrifice to do this. Then people will be asking you to work for them because they highly value what you offer. Paying a scam artist will just make you poorer and worse off.

By Tony Benedict
March 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm

I’m so glad to have found this site and read all of the responses on theladders.com. They are such a rip off. The jobs advertised pay much less than the $100k advertised and I was dumb enough to pay for their resume service, only to have zero responses. The ladders will eventually be sued by a law firm who’s smart enough to collect enough names to bring a class action against them for fraud.

By Bob McN
March 4, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Sure wish I googled “The ladders Scam” and found this blog before I gave these crooks my credit card last March. They billed my credit card four times before I caught (shame on me) They have it all worked out! I call BOA to dispute the charges and the bank got the ladders on the phone the ladders has all of their legal butts covered.

here is the ladders response: I checked your record and see that when you signed up for the wrong membership length, you asked how you could set your account to not renew and we told you to do so through your Account Settings. This account has no record of a cancellation.

Our records show that your final charge was on 1/30 for $75. Just a reminder, your account expires on 4/30. We’ll automatically downgrade you to our Basic level of service (which is completely free!) after your expiration date.

Here at TheLadders.com all our Premium memberships are set to auto-renew – this is stated on the confirmation email you received when you first upgraded, as well as on our payment page. You can re-visit our upgrade page (listed below) to see the auto-renew policy outlined. (Please note that you will have to log out of your account completely before you are able to view this page.)

Has anyone out there pursued the State attorney’s office with these bottom feeders? They should not be allowed to keep ripping off people.

By Geoff
March 10, 2010 at 4:10 am

Have had similar negative experience with Job Fox. Fortunately, the “basic” profile does not require a fee. But boy are they PUSHY about wanting to critique my resume and getting me access to the “real” jobs that I can’t see because I’m only a basic member. And how about USAJobs.com – not a “scam” but let’s face it what a time waster – enter they abyss. That’s the recurring theme here whether it’s the Ladders, Job Fox, or any other site, internet job searches are a joke– a very, very low return on your investment of time. Great if you’re in H.R. and have access to the delete key, but no so great if you’re a job seeker with five hours of resume and profile tweek time to kill. Save your money. Join a book club, a tennis association, or go have a drink at the bar. You’ll probably meet more people there that can help you with your career than you’ll ever meet at Ladders.com.

By Nick Corcodilos
March 10, 2010 at 4:36 pm

@Geoff: Your closing suggestion is right on the money. Go meet people!

By Peter
March 16, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Has anybody ever heard back from one of those ‘confidential Ladders exclusive’ postings that are usually for jobs at $250K and above. What a great way to generate traffic by listing great jobs at great pay with vague requirements?

By Jeanne
March 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Okay, a couple of things….

@Tony… Why is your url going to “The Ladders” site?

Second, I appreciate you taking the time to make this post. I was just checking into them and am thankful that I did not get ripped off. I can’t afford it (no one can in this economy).

Jeanne

By Al
March 25, 2010 at 9:51 am

I was thinking of using the ladders until I read this article. Times are had enough without wasting people’s time and money. These are people who don’t have money to waste . The should be ashamed of themsleves stealing from the poor!

By Skip Levine
March 26, 2010 at 5:05 am

There are so many companies taking advantages of job seekers, it is disgusting and should be reported to the FTC, exactly like scamming mortgage companies etc….The Ladders SHOULD be audited and SHOULD back up their claims!!!!

By Ashley
April 21, 2010 at 10:05 pm

You’re an idiot and completely wrong! I, myself, and many people I know have landed successful $00K jobs of their site. Obviously a truck drive with only 5 years of experience will not make $100K a year. Are you stupid? All your information is wrong. And for alisha, for any job posting their is no way to know how much the jobs pays. You’re and idiot!

By Nick Corcodilos
April 21, 2010 at 10:33 pm

@Ashley: What kind of medical benefits do those $00K jobs include? Seems like it’s not much.

By Nic
April 22, 2010 at 7:18 am

@Ashley: I watch what people write, and how they respond to others, therefore I am curious to know if post at 10:05pm is an example of your $100K talent in terms of its content, context and grammar?

By Skipper
April 22, 2010 at 9:02 am

to Ashley, if you were able to land a free job on the ladders, then I should be able to get one too right, a little bit like, like..let see what i mean ;-)

By jillytb
April 22, 2010 at 10:13 am

@ Ashley if the Ladders helps people like you find jobs I dont think clients I know would want to pay to advertise with them. Most clients want people who can spell and use good grammar, so they know they are not hiring an idiot!!!

By Jason
April 23, 2010 at 10:43 am

My reply to Justin after he sent me a first draft of my new resume:

Justin,

For $500, I expected much more in a first draft. as I now have slowed down and have actually done my research on theladders I realized that I am part of a long line of suckers who have fallen for this scam.

Beside simple cut and pasting, you have added statements that are simply not true and if I was to try and fix it I would basically be doing the job that I have paid you to do.

I am assuming that a refund is out of the question, so I will chalk this up to an expensive lesson learned and try to warn others.

I would say don’t take this personal, but considering the company you work for how could you.

I guess I know what I am doing this weekend.

By Allan Smith
May 22, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Hi
Has anyone had similar experiences to any of the issues listed here with the Canadian site Higher Bracket? I took up their offer of a “free” Resume Review(included in subscription) and got a terrible review by the supposed resume expert Sharon Graham. This included critique suggesting that I include elements in the resume that were actually already present. This made me suspect that in fact it wasn’t even read properly and a standard scorecard response was applied. As a result of this review of course the next step recommended is to take up additional fee based services to get your resume improved. I have been a professional career adviser for many years, a recruiter and professional within different industries so I have a reasonable idea of what works or doesn’t with resumes for different industry and job searches. However using the same resume I sought feedback from 3 headhunters, multiple colleagues within the HR industry and hiring managers. All provided feedback that my resume was written well and had no changes to suggest other than ensuring the resume be tailored as needed for the vacancy/job/industry. I sent some feedback to the owner of the site, Anthony Kaul. His client services rep responded immediately and promised follow up but it was only after 3 subsequent email reminders and 6 months that Kaul finally responded by asking me for a copy of the resume and my original comments again. When he finally rang me he was very defensive of his resume expert, agreed with all her ratings and comments and was quite aggressive in wanting me to convince me the resume was not effective.

By CK
May 25, 2010 at 5:06 pm

interestingly, though it was short lived, due to being a start up, but I applied to a free job on the ladders through indeed.com, and landed a $125K base salary job within a week. Is this the exception that proves the rule? I am not sure.. I thought it was BS..but when I got the job, allbeit shortlived..$35 for a one month trial may be worth it..
Good luck..

By Dave
May 30, 2010 at 11:53 pm

First of all, any “job site” that makes seekers pay is a scam. No exceptions. Second, most “job sites” simply try to get you to upload your resume so they can sell your personal information to telemarketers and direct mail outfits. It’s the resumes they’re really after. Anything else they get from you, like your credit card number, is gravy. They’ll run that into the ground until you call your bank.

By Chris
May 31, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I have read reviews of TheLadders on 2 other complaint boards. Aside from the questionable authenticity of the $100K+ jobs, the major problem I have with them is their “Auto-Renew” feature, similar to what I encountered with so-called fitness clubs in the distant past. I did not check NOT to auto-renew, recently tried to get into my account and got an error message saying it had been disabled. However, there is a $180 charge for a renewal of their Premium membership on my most recent credit card bill. This auto renew feature routine along with their posted refund policy seems to guarantee them an easy cash flow for those of us too distracted by everyday life to check.
Besides the State Attorney’s Office and FTC, how about FCC, FBI, 60 Minutes, writers for the major newspapers? I’ve seen complaints posted going back to 2006. Why is this still happening?

By april
June 2, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Hello,

1)Why is it that theladders.com is the only company on the job boards with $100K jobs?
2) Why in this tight job market where employers have the advantage of picking and choosing from a plethora of canidates would an employer pay a company like theladders.com?
3) Why does theladders.com offer a free 5, 7 day service whereby you send in your resume and can apply for jobs and then they never, ever make any attempt to contact you? This doesn’t make sense? You’d think they’d want to attempt to feign interest so they can then get you to pay when the free trial is over!

THELADDERS.COM IS A SCAM!!!! Don’t be fooled!

By april
June 2, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Cybercoders is also a sham!!! Why do they never, ever call you or follow-up with you after you send in your resume and your a very good fit?

CYBERCODERS IS A SHAM!!!

Also, beware of paying $$$ to The Vault.com.
I paid and wanted a refund after I found the company reviews were 2-3 years old!!! The information is not current or relevant to 2010!!!

They do not refund.

BEWARE OF THEVAULT.COM

By Andy
June 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm

I am very familiar with the staffing industry as I worked as CIO in the staffing industry for 5 years in the 90’s. I was just let go from my job as CIO in a software company. I have posted my resume on various job boards. CareerBuilders seemed to generate a lot of “action” however a number of the emails were for companies that “represent” you as a job seeker – meaning you pay them. I would never engage a company to do that. I responded to RLS for a CIO job and went in for an interview. It became clear that they wanted to “help” me find a a job, but only with a retainer – from $3K – $30K. I said thanks but no thanks – however was annoyed that they got me to go in for an interview leading me to believe they were an executative search firm (client pays for engagement). I was not happy to waste my time. Clearly, trying to get me in the door for their sales process. Pretty sleezy.

By Jeff
June 21, 2010 at 8:52 am

I was just wondering if Nick’s opinion of The Ladders has changed at all since his original posting, or if anyone has had any success through them. THanks.

By Nick Corcodilos
June 21, 2010 at 10:22 am

@Jeff: My opinion of TheLadders has not changed. It is interesting, however, that since I published this article:

http://corcodilos.com/blog/1390/theladders-job-board-salary-fraud

TheLadders has changed its home page. It no longer claims to offer “Only $100k+ jobs.”

By JG
June 28, 2010 at 9:40 am

Here it is .. June 2010 …and this thread goes on! Excellent thread! Guess there are still a few people in America who can think for themselves. I was one of the duds who paid for both ExecuNet and theLadders – and got nothing out of it (except for pressure to pay more for a resume analysis and re-write). My partner (and pocketbook) stopped me from going any further. Thanks for getting all this down in writing so others can avoid some of our mistakes.

By Scott
July 1, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I recently signed up for the Ladders’ service to rewrite my resume which cost $695. I spoke to a representative of the Ladders in their resume writing department, Ian Hubbard, prior to signing up for the service. Ian Hubbard assured me that their $695 charge would include 2-3 versions of my resume, making minor changes, which I could use to apply to different types of jobs. After I paid $695 I was told that it would cost me an additional $350 for a 2nd version of my resume, even with very minor tweaks.

Do not get scammed like I did by their phone pitch from The Ladders with promises that they don’t deliver on. Go directly to a professional resume writer and ask for the charges in writing up front. I do not recommend using The Ladders for resume services!

By Tom De Gowin
July 3, 2010 at 2:58 am

THERE DOES NOT EXIST ANY EMPLOYMENT WEB SITE THAT COSTS THE CANDIDATE MONEY AND ACTUALLY PROVIDES SERVICES RENDERED.

CANDIDATES SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO PAY. ITS ALL A SCAM BECAUSE THESE BLOODSUCKERS KNOW YOU ARE DESPERATE. THE FREE SITES ARE PLENTIFUL AND PROVIDE MUCH BETTER SERVICE.

STOP LETTING YOURSELF BE TAKEN FOR A FOOL..DON’T PATY FOR A MAGICAL EMPLOYMENT SITE..DOESN’T EXIST..NEVER HAS, NEVER WILL

By Tom De Gowin
July 3, 2010 at 3:09 am

On resume writing:

It is amazing some of the charges these companies are getting from some of the people who have written in. $700 for a resume..are you kidding? Want to know a secret?

No one will ever write a resume a good as what you can do on your own..Why?..because no one will ever care as much about your resume as you will. They will take you money, sure..but do you think that resume writer gives a hang about whether you are successful or not?? Look, it looks like everybody here has a good brain, everyone here is very smart..So, why not save yourself your cash and go to the library (costs nothing), find some books on resume writing and do your own resume. Just clean up some rough edges, polish it up with some buzz words and you are set. Or watch YOUTUBE for lessons on resume writing, or do a google search on resume writing. HOWEVER, you will need to do the work!!but it is time well spent, since it is time that you are investing in you~!~! Dont pay these charlatans to write your resume–learn how to do it yourself!!

By Skip Levine
July 3, 2010 at 3:51 am

If candidates are to pay for job search then they should not be provided with leads that can be obtained anywhere else. The Ladders people should be able to provide job services to candidates! The Ladders Charges for job Listings and charges for jobs browsing! C mon

By Kaitlyn
July 7, 2010 at 4:22 pm

I joined the Ladders as the start of my job search post-MBA. I spent over a month working on my resume in the evenings and showed it to colleagues who frequently screen resumes. All of the feedback was positive. They said it was the best resume they’d seen in a long time. they liked the format and felt that the first half page was so effective that a recruiter would not even need to read on. When I submitted my resume to The Ladders and indulged in their resume critique, I was pummeled via email by their resume writing professional. The very first thing to fall prey to the critique was the first half page. It was branded “ineffective”, contrary to the opinion of those who were not trying to get their hands on the content of my wallet. The writer actually called my resume “death-by-bullets” and referred to me as a “maybe candidate” several times throughout the email. In addition, the writer criticized the design of my resume which happened to be another area my colleagues praised in their reviews. Other comments in The Ladders review insinuated that my resume was unprofessional and that I made technical errors such as the use of improper grammar or misspellings, though no specific examples of this were cited.

The part that brought it home was the seed of doubt that The Ladders attempted to plant by stating that “Only a professional resume writer can pay attention to all these details and create an error-free document.” I suppose I should have felt like I had no hope without The Ladders after reading this. Instead I was furious. As I received repeated pleas for business from the resume writer, I became even more furious. Don’t they realize that marketing expensive services to people they have just insulted is not the best business decision? I think those who have had this type of experience with The Ladders could offer some advice in return. I was tempted, but refrained.

By Nick Corcodilos
July 9, 2010 at 11:04 pm

@Kaitlyn: My compliments for becoming and staying furious, rather than questioning yourself in the face of such quackery and harrassment. Offering advice to monkeys clattering on keyboards is a waste of your time. Thanks for sharing your story.

By Troy Mattson
August 9, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Go with your gut. If you are paying for something that is suppose to be free on your end or the company has recruited CB Job Fox or others, shame on you. Pay attention The Ladders has been trying this with me for the past 5 months and I cant even get them to stop sending me e mails. Lastly there are safe and secure places to post resume`s freely without being charged. Be careful there are a lot of scams. Good Luck.

By Maddie
August 12, 2010 at 10:11 am

Snakes & Ladders, I say no more!

By Troy Mattson
August 12, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Lies and deceit are what have put this country and many of its great citizen’s in the peril that we are enduring. Wall Street, Big Banks, & Our Wonderful Government, & add The Ladders & many others like them. The situation will happen again in the near future and it will be catastrophic. Please read this, it will open your eyes. http://money.cnn.com/2010/08/10/news/economy/VAT_tax_ryan.fortune/index.htm.

By Jim
August 17, 2010 at 1:45 am

In the UK it is illegal to charge job seekers to search a job board or apply for jobs, so how come TheLadders.co.uk appears to be charging jobseekers £10 per month to view/apply vacancies on their site?

Well I’ll let you in to some inside info… : O

TheLadders.co.uk uses a “pay wall” (£10 per month ouch) blocking any poor unsuspecting new user to their UK site being able to view/apply for £50K + jobs, this is simply a smoke screen. If you register on TheLadders.co.uk and go to your “account” page then go to “settings” you’ll see a little tick box (which has been hidden away on purpose) that reads “allow me to apply for jobs for free” tick this box and hey presto you get FREE access to TheLadders.co.uk… I’m not sure that the 1000’s of unfortunate job seekers in the UK will not be too happy when they find out they have been paying £10 per month for a service they could have gotten for free!!! Now Theladders.co.uk know it’s illegal to charge job seekers to search and apply, but they get around this by making it less than obvious that you can gain access for free.

TheLadders.co.uk say that that for your £10 joining fee you’ll get a free CV critique, but not surprisingly if you tick the “allow me to apply for jobs button” your free CV critique is not avaiable..!! ? hmmm..

The Ladders.co.uk use non trained and non professional CV critique staff in the UK (in fact they are not even employed by TheLadders they are freelancers and in some cases Theladders have not even met them), they get paid about £125 per CV, whereas TheLadders charge you around £400, although this price might vary..I mean a CV is a CV right (resume to folks in the US) wrong… The more you earn…The more they will charge you as they feel that you can afford to pay more..

It’s about time that TheLadders.co.uk came clean and dropped their pay wall. If they did this they’d and got their CV writing on track they have a good site, until then it’s a cloak and daggers offering..

By Nick Corcodilos
August 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm

@Jim: That’s quite a trick TheLadders uses in the UK. “Pay or use it for free so we can avoid violating the law.”

Ladders used freelance resume writers for years in the U.S., learned the business from them, then dropped them and started its own resume business. Those resume writers protested very vocally. But they have quieted down now that Ladders pays for their services again.

Who cares about the customer? This is big business.

By Skipper
August 22, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Isn’t it time for a class action Lawsuit against the ladders? I may look into it and file a petition first….this is ridiculous…The Ladders is organized to take money out of people in dear needs.

By Maddie
September 1, 2010 at 10:39 am

The Ladders set up in the UK and what timing, with a downturn in the market and the highest unemployment in years they know people are desperate for jobs and they are exploiting this.
Yes, it is true, you can surf the Ladders for free but you need to navigate through a few pages to find the very TINY tick box to do so and you also need to get past the pages that insist you HAVE TO PAY to access their jobs, its a loophole that they have cleverly used.
This is sharp practice and it is an absolute disgrace that they are allowed to get away with it here as it is in fact illegal to charge candidates for employment services!”
Snakes and Ladders go together!

By Mark
September 5, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I enjoyed your article on Ladders-I never used it. Any website that pushes it’s agenda on a daily basis to my in box loses my interest quickly. Not sure how I got to your site. Is this on twitter?

By John
September 11, 2010 at 7:06 pm

I was looking for reviews of job sites, including Ladders. I was looking for objective, professional reviews similar to a CNET review, for example. But your “review” is so vitriolic, so bitter, that it must be discounted as just a personal attack, like that from a disgruntled employee. If you have such overwhelming evidence, why the need for such, again, bitter, language. Disappointing. And not to be trusted.

By Nick Corcodilos
September 12, 2010 at 2:31 pm

@John: There are about 200 comments on TheLadders here. Many people provide detailed information about how TheLadders operates, about their experiences with TheLadders, and their opinions.

This posting and the associated comments are not “reviews” nor do they purport to be. I’m not sure what it is you are criticizing as a “bitter” review. These are critiques and comments. (There are even some positive ones.)

By eshiir
September 13, 2010 at 10:40 am

Hi Nick,

The other issue with Ladders that people should be aware of is after you purchase their initial service for a specific time frame, they will continue to try to charge their service to your credit card after the initial time frame expires even though you did not authorize the continuation. Anyone that has signed up and used the Ladders be aware – monitor your credit card statements closely as they will keep trying to slip in ongoing charges you did not authorize.

By Helen
September 27, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Nick –

Love your stuff! You left out the part about being able to get to some of those “member-only” jobs thru other job boards.

It’s the “massive dump of JunkJobsForSuckers” that is the reason I developed my own product for the job search market – NO CHARGE TO CANDIDATES! In beta now. My product is like a match.com for job search – matching profiles, not keywords. It also has an embedded screening process. Keywords have been our biggest demise! I welcome you to check it out. http://www.directapproachsolutions.com.

By Nick Corcodilos
September 28, 2010 at 11:04 am

@Helen: I checked out your website. Seems to me it’s just another spin on keywords and databases diddling themselves. Where is the human judgment? You’re just trying to automate the process on another level. Profiles may be a little more sophisticated than keywords, but in the end you’re comparing strings of text to strings of text.

By Helen
September 28, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Nick –

Thanks so much for taking the time to check out my website.

The human judgment is that EVERY user – candidate and employer – must be approved by someone from my company – before they are accepted into the database (and not everyone gets approved). It is only then that matches are made specific to the profile.

So you’re right from that perspective – that I am trying to automate the process at that level. But then there’s another level of where someone from my company interacts with the client and candidate to get the best possible fit (not a recruiter). This is virtually non-existent in job boards. Also, there’s no browsing on my site – complete confidentiality. Hence – I am not another job board.

I developed this idea when I got downsized from my job and I saw how horrific the job search process really is. I really want to find a better way for people to get hired. My vision is like the Starbucks for job search – an affordable high-end product for the masses (unlike Ladders which is a high end product for the high end).

Your comments and feedback is much appreciated.

Helen

By Susan Herndon
October 8, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Wow, you headhunters get really angry, when some great service (not perfect, but great), goes after your 25% headhunter fee. I see the anger.

Two issues:
– TheLadders verifies a job applicant’s salary history, the way YOU do — self-reporting and honesty. Duh? How do you verify? A phone call, email, form; it’s all the same – you are trusting the honesty of the candidate. Lying gets you nowhere.
– TheLadders spends time and money hunting for $100K jobs as a service to their premium users? That is a useful service to attempt to bring it together in a search engine…What is the problem with that?

I would reconsider your bombastic ways and put yourself in a job seekers or employers shoes…you’ll see that you guys are the ones that are greedy and getting squeezed as technology and services like TheLadders aren’t perfect, but a hell of lot better deal than what headhunters charge.

By Nick Corcodilos
October 8, 2010 at 3:26 pm

@Susan Herndon: Let’s talk about your two issues:

1. Know how Ladders “verifies” a job applicant’s salary history? I’ll let a Ladders customer service rep explain it. This is from a transcript of a Ladders customer service call, where I asked how Ladders knows an applicant is in the right ($100k+) income bracket. Here’s what he said:

“Not the proper income bracket, but I know that they have enough money that they’re willing to use our service.”

Is that good enough for you? If you have proof that Ladders actually confirms salaries, I’ll eat my flat screen display with salad dressing.

2. You explain that TheLadders “hunts” for $100k jobs?

At an event earlier this year, Ladders CEO Marc Cenedella was asked where his job postings come from. He quickly admitted about half come from other job boards.

Is that hunting, or “garbage in, garbage out?”

I have put myself in a job seeker’s shoes, as you suggest. The shoes of the dozens of job seekers who have posted on this thread, calling TheLadders a fraud. Whether you’re a job hunter or work in HR, I wish you a lot of luck. I don’t believe in luck.

By Bryon
October 22, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Hello,

I recently had an interview with RL Stevens.. and I thought I had really found an avenue to escape the dead end job in the steel production / quality / manufacturing field that I am currently in. I am very disappointed to hear all of this.

Does anyone know of any sources that produce genuine job leads or assist with employment? I think the concept of RL Stevens is certainly a service that is highly needed today.. and worth a fee if results were produced.

Thanks for listening.

By Helen
October 23, 2010 at 10:54 am

Bryon – I checked out RL Stevens. I don’t see how they’re different from other recruiting firms. What “concept” are you referring to?

Helen

By Steve Hitch
October 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm

I was taken by TheLadders.com too. At first, it was my own choice to sign up for 6 months at $120. After seeing what little they had, and knowing that it was all available for free elsewhere, I started ignoring emails from them, and just intended to let my membership lapse. This was a mistake, because they just charged my credit card without authorization to auto-renew. I have told them I was cancelling, started disputing the charge with my credit card issuer, and got a polite “gotcha” email from TheLadders for the 2nd charge, so I filed a claim with the NY BBB against them. If they’re going to act like scum, I will treat them as such, and hope everyone else will too.

By Darren Stevens
October 27, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Rule of thumb: Do NOT pay a company to find you a job. They are vultures preying on weakend souls. Stay away from Ladders.com, MRI Network (crooks!,)ExecNet,(they take 8%-12% of your first year’s salary). Be smart! Let’s put the unscruples out of business!

By Helen
October 27, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Darren – I couldn’t agree with you more. That’s what I’m trying to do with my company and product that I created for job search – http://www.directapproachsolutions.com. I’m able to give companies a targeted selection of pre-qualified candidates. Candidates never pay. I hope to shake things up.

By Ladders Resume Writer
November 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm

No way am I going to give my real name because frankly, I’m worried about the possibility of villagers with torches showing up. At any rate, here’s a view from a Certified Professional Resume Writer who currently works for The Ladders.

I’ve worked for them as a sub for the past couple of years. During that time I’ve handled so many ‘turnaround’ assignments from clients who were screaming for a refund because the original writer was a lazy moron.

Yes, The Ladders requires their writers to be certified, but any yahoo can receive a certification – it’s a joke.

I’ve been horrified way too many times by nonexistent customer care by some of these writers, and the lack of basic spelling skills and punctuation. Don’t EVEN let me get started on the lackadaisical efforts in proper grammar usage.

I’ve seen several drafts that proved the original writer doesn’t know the difference between “too” and “to.” Writing styles and formats appear as though the draft was composed after the writer was set on fire. Some writers wouldn’t know what a contraction is if it jumped up and slapped them.

And my favorite: The writers who have the gall to make excuses to the client as to why the first draft is rife with errors, misspellings, and circus-ugly formatting. Wanna know what their excuse is?

Wait for it…

“This is just the first draft.”

Wanna know why?

They don’t care. They don’t have to. They’re being paid between $175 and $200 to crank out a new resume, which isn’t too shabby if they produce three or four a day. I can write only one or two a day, because it takes me a good four to five hours to produce a first draft.

Why?

Glad you asked.

Because I don’t just rewrite what the client included on his/her worksheet and original resume. I research not only the jobs, the companies, but the clients too.

I am also dismayed at the boilerplate critiques that are not only insidiously inaccurate much of the time, they’re rude and full of scare tactics.

I have my own little company on the side, and whenever I receive a request for a critique, it takes me a solid two hours to complete at least. Yes, I’m uptight, but I have a huge portfolio full of very positive feedback.

When I write drafts for the clients assigned to me, I make sure they are happy, and I am one of the few who go above and beyond to ensure their new resume is going to land interviews.

I stay in contact with my clients, and call every single one of them before I get started.

I am sick to death of the poor work ethic demonstrated way too often that is giving the few writers who truly care a bad rep.

All that being said, I just wanted to say that not all CPRWs are idiots. There are still a few of us left who take this job seriously, and truly do care what happens to the client.

My sincere apologies to all of you who’ve had a negative experience with a poor writer.

Mr. Cenedella, you need to take some time and go through the message center, and review your writers. Check on who’s doing what, when, and how well they’re doing it. Those SLA reports are incorrect much of the time, so they shouldn’t be taken into consideration.

Then, when you get your list together of the writers who not only offer really bad customer service but also can’t write worth a darn, get rid of them.

There are two other writers with whom I work who’ve tried to get on board with The Ladders for quite a while, yet they’re ignored. They have the experience, skill, knowledge, and verifiable backup that put the majority of the current stable of writers you’re paying to embarrass you. However, it seems that your management team can’t be bothered to reply to their requests to just be given a chance. They’d even do a couple of projects at no charge for you just to prove how good they are.

Referrals play a major role in sustainability. I cringed so much reading these posts today that I think I dislocated my shoulder. If I were the owner of The Ladders, you can bet I’d be changing my business model to ENSURE ONLY THE HIGHEST QUALITY CUSTOMER SERVICE AND PRODUCTS.

The Ladders has developed a reputation not for integrity, not for strong customer care, and not for quality resume services. The Ladders has quickly [and regrettably] developed a reputation for being concerned only with their bottom line.

Shame on them.

By Helen Rosen, President and CEO Direct Approach Solutions
November 4, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Dear Ladders Resume Writer –

Don’t worry about about “the possibility of villagers with torches showing up”. They would have done that to Nick long long ago.

Helen Rosen

By Bert Hammer
November 23, 2010 at 11:50 am

Ladders and Execunet both perfect for the holiday season….you can catch them on the island of misfits!

Any Executive worth their salt would never use these two organizations, they are internet ambulance chasers….

By Meadomatic
November 28, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Thank you all for posting these comments before I wasted any money. I have already developed or run companies and was really skeptical of this pay fo a $100K job format (especially since, in every company I have worked for or ran, I have never seen one recruiter selectively have positions segmented by pay scale. Generally, I have found that the recruiters that are the “real deal” specialize in industries and not salary levels. Cheers; have a nice rest of the holiday season.

By Mia
January 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Thank you for the validating article and to all who shared their experiences. I have never posted anywhere but felt compelled in this instance to hopefully help others from falling into a similar trap. It is good to know that I am not alone. I also had the same experience with TheLadders, ExecuNet and a horrific encounter with Haldane in Florida where I lost $5000 in what was touted as a personalized executive career search firm. Although I did my due diligence and spoke to others who used the service – it turned out the subscribers lied because they were too ashamed to admit that although being highly educated and experienced professionals themselves, they too had been taken in by these scammers. When I tried to sue to recover some of my money after getting nowhere with my direct complaints, the company disappeared off the face of the earth. But popped up in another location under another alias. When confronted they claimed they were never affiliated with Haldane and were not responsible even though many of the “career counselors” were the same people I had encountered. Recycling at its best! Being unemployed was hard enough but being taken advantage of was especially heinous. Although I also tried TheLadders and ExecuNet briefly on a trial basis – both their “resume critiques” generated the same scary, canned responses and relentless harassing emails from their sales staff to join and fix my resume, even after I also resubmitted a professionally re-written resume. My bad experiences helped me listen to my gut. Caveat emptor! Believe in yourself – for you are your best resource in finding a job.

By PJ
January 22, 2011 at 4:09 am

I think the market is ripe for a new kind of job search scheme. I do not believe in boards that specialize in $100+ it is just a ploy to entice more people and make more money and take more money AWAY from the subscribers….because after all one that applies to 100+ is more likely to have more reserve and to gain than a $10 per hour clerk…with all the respect due to them!
I just do not understand why these companies are not BUSTED???
BEST

By Brian Murphy
January 31, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I am currently fighting theLadders.com because I never signed up for an auto-renew, but somehow it magically just charged me for another year. I decided to save money the first time around and pay for a year, but I got lucky through my network and found a job within a few months.

So naturally, I stopped paying attention to the constant barrage of emails that I got from them. When reviewing the year of emails, not a single one mentioned the auto-renew feature being turned on, or that I was about to pay for another year. Their cancellation policy conveniently states that you must cancel before the auto-renew (which doesn’t make sense anyway since they have not earned my money yet and only a single day has passed into the entire year that they charged).

I didn’t know they charged me until I saw it on my bank activity (one day after). I am filing a dispute with my bank and have asked theLadders to remove the charge, knowing that the auto-renew was never something I would ever do. I believe there will be a class action coming soon.

Brian

By Diego Sanz
February 10, 2011 at 7:32 pm

@BrianMurphy. The terms when you became a member indicated that there will be an auto-renewal at the end of your term. I signed up for a 3 month subscription, thinking that at worse $75 is a fair investment in myself. I certainly have spent more on myself (like $500 on an in-person GTD training) and felt that it was worth it. Unfortunately, this is the business model of many web companies (which they like to call recurring revenue stream).

I just had my resume critiqued for “free” as part of my premium membership. Here is how I see it. They are giving me a second opinion on my resume, but realize that this is a bit of a chop shop. The reviewer told me that my resume needed to be stronger in the way I present my skills and what I bring to the table. I feel that the critiques were valid, but at the same time seemed like a psychic: generic advice that has some validity.

But what really got me was that the reviewer suggested that I give a little detail such on one of my past employers to “help a potential new employer understand my background”. I used to work for that Texas energy company that started with an E and ends in ron. Do I really need to explain who they are, or is this resume reviewer so young that they have no clue about this company?

I do think that the ladders has some good advice on their site, but I feel that the upselling can be a bit much.

By Nick
February 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm

A $45K job on http://www.theladders.com
WHAT A RIPOFF

The Nielsen Company Field Operations organization. We provide:-Office in your home, including laptop, printer & blackberry-Company car including gas, maintenance and insurance-Comprehensive benefits package; including medical, dental, vision & 401K effective first day of employment-Paid training program, includes 3-4 weeks in Tampa, FL. Flight, corporate housing and transportation will be provided.-$32,100 base salary, $1,500 language differential to those who qualify and potential for OT. Average quarterly bonus potential of $2,900 if goals are met/exceeded.Nielsen strongly encourages the referral of women and minorities for all open positions. EOE/M/F/D/VIn addition to a professional, get-it-done attitude, the successful candidate must possess the following qualities:-Excellent organizational skills-Ability to meet deadlines-Communication proficiency in all formats-Demonstrated success in outside sales-Influencing or persuasion experience -MS Windows experience including Word, Excel and Outlook-College degree or equivalent experience-Ability to travel including overnight travel as business needs determinePreferred:-5 years sales experience-Fluency in SpanishEOE

http://sales.theladders.com/job/la?cr=2591732&sti=117578141&ct_jpp=20&ct_pos=4&ct_rs=&ct_sort_col=date&ct_sort_rev=false&_ctdone=true

By Nick
February 14, 2011 at 4:45 pm

So, if you call one of these bogus jobs to their attention, they offer you a free extension of your membership.

By Nick Corcodilos
February 14, 2011 at 4:56 pm

@Nick: That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while… thanks for sharing that! You do realize you could “earn” a free Ladders membership for life, now that you know how to do it.

By Tyler
February 21, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I am a professional writer/editor and have been helping friends (successfully) with resumes for years. I submitted my own resume to The Ladders a couple years ago for the free critique, thinking maybe I could learn from them some new techniques for addressing a more exclusive audience. Much of the advice that I received in the initial assessment was amateur and, as another commenter here said, “psychic” – only true in that it could be true of everyone, not my particular resume. I stayed with my gut, did not pay for the service, and have done just fine writing my own resume and landing real, live $100k+ jobs.

By >$100K Job Hunter
February 24, 2011 at 12:06 pm

After scanning Nick’s blog post and most of the comments I don’t have any high hopes, but thought it was interesting that I was allowed to apply to a posting without paying theladders for a membership. I feel compelled to add my brief experience.

I am not a $100K candidate, yet. Someday I will be, but I’m not there yet and I know it. I generally use indeed and other sites to look for leads. Today while reviewing indeed I saw a posting for a $100K job in my field. Naturally I was interested as my background fit the qualifications. The indeed link took me to theladders where i was able to sign up for a free membership (no credit card info given) and apply for the job.

By Nick Corcodilos
February 24, 2011 at 12:33 pm

@>$100K Job Hunter: So for free, Ladders let you apply for a $100K job that some company posted on Ladders. Nice. So much for “ONLY $100K” candidates applying for those jobs. Wonder how the employer will feel, after it paid for “ONLY $100K+” candidates.

No offense to you intended; you should do whatever you feel will advance your career. But what do you think will happen if you get to the offer stage on that job, and the HR dept asks to see a recent pay stub to prove you’re a $100K candidate?

Or, maybe what Ladders really means is, “We have job hunters who want to make $100K, even though they’re making less now.” Wonder what the employers who pay to list jobs think about that.

Again, I have no problem with what you’re doing. You should exploit Ladders any way you can to get the job you want. Just be aware that there are a lot of p.o.’d employers out there who paid Ladders for access to people who are already making $100K+.

By Nic
February 24, 2011 at 12:39 pm

@Nick I could not care less about this firm, The Ladders because I have never used them nor do I plan to. However, I am jumping in here because I honestly cannot believe you are going there talking about potentially showing a pay stub. It is my understanding that you always support not disclosing past salary. Who in their right mind would show a prospective HR employee a past pay stub to show past salary? I would never.

By Nic
February 24, 2011 at 12:42 pm

” the HR dept. asks to see a recent pay stub to prove you’re a $100K candidate?” Prove to an HR minion that you are a 100K candidate by a pay stub? Come on, Nick. That is the best laugh I’ve had all morning, and trust me I needed one.

By Nick Corcodilos
February 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm

@Nic: You’re absolutely correct, and I have not changed my position on pay stubs. I’d never suggest anyone show a pay stub. My larger point is that if it happens in that case, TheLadders will have put the candidate in a position where he or she has no choice, because Ladders misrepresented the candidate to the employer to begin with. While the candidate made no representation about his or her current salary, TheLadders DID. That’s wrong, and it puts the candidate AND the employer in a worse spot than otherwise.

Whether the employer has any business asking for a stub or not, the employer has signed up for a service that guarantees “ONLY $100K+ candidates.” As I said to the candidate, more power to you!

Ordinarily, you might never ask a waiter whether the New York Strip Steak you ordered is from grass-fed cattle from a certain Texas farm known for fine beef. But if you read a fraudulent restaurant review that claims that’s where the steak is from, and you go to the restaurant expecting that type of steak, and you find out after you ordered that it’s not — the restaurant has no obligation to even dignify your question. But you got screwed, because the restaurant reviewer lied. Who you gonna call?

That’s my point. There’s a “reviewer” out there named TheLadders that’s misrepresenting steaks without the restaurant’s (or the diner’s) knowledge. Till it’s too late to put the steak back in the fridge.

By Nic
February 24, 2011 at 1:06 pm

But that is the agent’s problem, no? It isn’t the candidate’s unless they allow it to be so. I would make it clear to any agent up front that I do NOT disclose salary under any circumstances so if your client is going to ask don’t waste my time. I agree with your scenario and am glad to hear you have not changed your position on the matter which to me is significant.

By Helen at Direct Approach Solutions
February 24, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Nick – this is in reply to your reply to applying to a $100K without signing up as a member. You stated:

“Wonder how the employer will feel, after it paid for “ONLY $100K+” candidates”. What about how the job seeker will feel after THEY’VE paid for the service that others are getting for free.

By Nick Corcodilos
February 24, 2011 at 2:54 pm

@Nic: In the case described, there is no “agent.” The candidate seems to be dealing directly with the employer whose job was found on TheLadders. It seems to me that the only recourse for the candidate AND the employer is against TheLadders for misrepresentation.

Of course, we’re forgetting one thing, which is the subject of the article at the top of this blog discussion. How does the candidate know the position is REALLY $100k? Just because it was on TheLadders? We know that’s not necessarily true. More recourse? Who is going to get fed up, demonstrate they were harmed, and sue for damages?

@Helen: I suppose that if the job seeker doesn’t do anything about it, and Ladders certainly doesn’t care, then there are no consequences.

By Robert B
March 2, 2011 at 5:37 pm

My brother and I both had theLadders accounts. He paid the $900 fee for a resume re-write. When he got it back, he gave it to me. I changed the name to mine and submitted it back to the Ladders resume evaluation team under my own account. They told me that it had significant errors that would stop any hiring manager from considering me. Of course they did offer to correct those errors for $900

By Nick Corcodilos
March 2, 2011 at 6:12 pm

@Robert B: I’d love to see both versions of the same resume – the one with your brother’s name on it (produced by TheLadders crack resume team), along with the $900 invoice; and also the one that you slapped your name on and sent back to Ladders for a critique. And also the full e-mail, critique and sales pitch you received from TheLadders. If you’d be so kind, please send them to me at nick@asktheheadhunter.com. Thanks!

By Helen
March 2, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Can’t anything be done about this? File a complaint with the BBB? Get some media coverage on this?

By Nick Corcodilos
March 2, 2011 at 7:00 pm

@Helen: Every state has an attorney general and a consumer affairs agency. It’s up to consumers to file complaints with either or both. (The BBB is a total waste of time. All it takes to get a complaint removed by a “vendor” is to submit “an explanation.”)

There’s probably a “consumer advocate” feature on your area TV station. Another place to file a complaint. If you do, please let us know.

By Diego Sanz
March 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm

FYI: If you work/worked for a medium or large company chances are that HR CAN verify your income through Talx, which is part of Equifax, one of the 3 big credit bureaus.

You may also know them as The Work Number. This little known arm of Equifax has access to 76,000 companies W-2 info. So when you apply for a job and sign the statement that the employer can perform a background check, this includes verification of income through such services or pulling tax records, etc.

More info from Talx’s site here: http://bit.ly/gX2Aj1

By cytoman
March 4, 2011 at 11:34 pm

I unfortunately joined and what a rip-off. The whole site is a scam to get you to have your resume review ($500), get special priority treatment ($1000) and on and on.

Don’t do it.

By Jase
March 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm

I am currently a member of the TheLadders, and want to share a slightly different twist…but one that still aggravates me. I will seriously contemplate cancelling my subscription after reading this, and conducting some more research..

My twist – I applied for a job AT TheLadders posted on TheLadders. I more than qualified for the position from an experience standpoint, and was coyly using Cenedalla’s email advice against him. I followed his advice to perfection, surveying his emails for more than 6 months, and eventually contacted him directly, with my 90-day plan.

Guess what? No response. Well, not from Marc, but from some jabronie posing as my recruitment expert – WHO HAD NO ACCESS TO JOBS POSTED at his own company.

At the time, I should have been more suspect, but didnt want to portray the role of disenfranchised “non-qualified” candidate. But now, 6 months later, and still not a single phone call back – I’ve altered my search criteria. I use TheLadders to generate leads, and then go right to the company website.

Ironically, I applied for a job last week, that asks what “source” I found the job on, and TheLadders was not even a selection. And there were over 50 options in the drop down.

Gives some credence and validity to TheLadders poaching jobs from other sites, and putting it on theirs, passing it off as their own lead.

My guess is they are making some kind of money off of advertising or membership for smaller companies, that see “bigger” companies using the service.

In retrospect, probably a blessing in disguise. At least I can see the company for what it is, and not brainwashed by the public relations dept, or some weekly newsletter by a guy that feigns relational savvy for the betterment of his Enterprise. God only knows what they tell you once you’re in..good riddance.

By ExtremelyQualified
March 31, 2011 at 9:50 am

I have had a similarly negative experience with The Ladders and am seeking a refund right now. HOWEVER, I’d like to suggest to anyone that has posted before and who posts after, PLEASE CALL 311 and REPORT this company!!! My cousin used to work for the Consumer Protection Agency for NY and she says the city will get involved if there is an increase in complaints. She also expresses doubt about whether The Ladders has the proper licensing. Let’s do more than just blog about these crooks!

By Jeff M
March 31, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I agree, the Ladders offers nothing you can’t get for free. Also note that their resume writing service is a complete ripoff.

By Donald Chambers
April 16, 2011 at 12:49 pm

The Ladders is a CHEAT and SCAM – not only is the site useless and unhelpful, they scam you into an auto renew scheme. Purportedly they “tell” you in some introductory email but you DO NOT geta notification you are about to be auto renewed and even if you complain, they will not reverse the charge – the people behind the Ladders shoudl be investigated my the DOJ – I will be offfering them my testimony

By John
April 17, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I signed up for the ladders and was completely disillusioned by the resume writing bull.
I bought the three month package.

I did not realize that it was for automatic renewal and I wrote them and cc’ed the Attorney General in MO. I was refunded the second three month renewal in a matter of days.

They should be ashamed of their way of business.

By Rabbi R. Karpov
May 12, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Now this is why I research before jumping into anything.

And, I certainly hate being interviewed, then having my comments misrepresented. It is so important to know with whom we are involving ourselves, what their ethical track-record is.

I want to recommend LinkedIn’s most connected Career Coach, Phil Rosenberg. He “gets it” and is not simply disseminating irresponsible advice; he has researched out the latest wrinkles in this area, and rightly deserves the prominence he is receiving. The people who invested in wrong places would have been better off here.

Rabbi R. Karpov
Resume Clarity, Inc.

By Yvette
May 17, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I just paid $695 for a resume revision and they just took my old resume and switched from bullets to paragraphs. Has anyone considered a class action lawsuit?

By Yvette
May 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I just posted the above comment. The $695 was obvioulsy to “The Ladders”. I have contacted them a few times to ask for a refund and have had no response. If anyone does initiate some type of lawsuit PLEASE contact me. They’re scam artists and need to be stopped!

By Ian R McAllister
May 19, 2011 at 10:09 am

Just got this through from a third party recruitment orientated list that I am a member of in the UK:

TheLadders.co.uk closes in on 600,000 candidates – Our Summer Proposition

Our 2011 brand campaign contains a mixture of TV, radio, Video-on-Demand and online advertising which has resulted in TheLadders.co.uk rapidly approaching 600,000 UK based candidates members.

TheLadders.co.uk has the largest pool of qualified professional talent earning £50K+ in the UK. We manually pre-screen the CV and experience of every single candidate before they are approved into our £50K+ audience to ensure we have the highest calibre and relevancy of job seeker for you.

It then goes on to say that you can access their package at a special price, effectively a two third discount. When they don’t guarantee their jobs have a salary of greater than £50k, what hope of living up to a promise of “manually pre-screen” all of their candidates CV/resumes??? Nil points again…. :(

By Maddie
May 20, 2011 at 7:50 am

Do they just take peoples “word” that they earn over 50k! Manually pre-screen CVs??? Who the hell wants to pay for that, either client or candidate, any idiot who is literate can read a CV – such a con!

By Edward
June 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Hello nick, I thank you for your informative review, as I am currently unemployed from the lab position, and in need of another lab job, I just saw this site on an tv commercial, and I felt since they charge you before you get on their site, it would be the smart thing to do, to review it before I go to it, your review as well as all the replied regarding it, has saved me probably hundreds of dollars, and a lot of time myself and my wife would have to endure, with dealing with them. thank you and i “Tip my hat” to you good sir, pure-say

By Yoga Manly
June 26, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Thanks for sharing this interesting review. I like the visualization of it. Thanks for the effort. You did a great job.

By Jim
August 8, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Thanks for the heads up on LADDERS per the article posted by Nick Corcodilos on January 20, 2009. The article was referenced in the book Guide to Job Hunting Online (Bolles).

I was just about to sign up for a three month membership then noticed they were not mentioned in the book by Bolles (only the reference to the article link). I am slow and cynical about doing any business online. In this case, I was saved from a mess – a hearty thank you to Nick!
Jim in Massachusetts

By Neesh
August 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Wow, I wish I had found this site before I signed up for a $700 resume re-write a couple months ago!
The whole process has been nothing but trouble.

By Vern Blythe
August 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm

I’m unemployed for over a year and would qualify for TheLadders income level. However, I stopped short because of my gut instinct that someone offering to help an unemployed person if they paid them money, was just someone scamming on the unfortunate.

In addition, if this is auto-renew – RUN! I’m not so sure it’s even legal and I know it’s not legal in some states. Just remember, auto renew means they can bill you for life.

By Denise
September 18, 2011 at 4:42 pm

I’m very happy that I found this post. These are my experiences with The Ladders:

I used their resume writing service and it was horrible. You never speak with the writer by phone and they were only allowing 2 drafts until I complained that I was not happy and would contact BBB if they did not provide more drafts until I was happy.

1. After spending nearly $1K for a new resume and cover letter three years ago, I NEVER received a call from a recruiter with their resume. However, I receive calls from my own resume that I wrote myself.

2. After they re-wrote my resume with a PR focus, I immediately applied for a job with The Ladders are a PR Director. I didn’t get a call back.

3. I’ve applied for jobs that recruiters have posted and have not gotten any responses back – and that was using the resume written by The Ladders.

4. The cover letter is generic. It was the exact format of the cover letters found for entry level jobs in college text books.

5. I provided another resume writing service (that’s cheaper) and they said the resume written by The Ladders was a good start, but ineffective as a sales tool as the statements were too general, the company descriptions to detailed and the information was job description instead of success metrics.

By PJ
September 18, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Everyone cuts the THE LADDER but meanwhile they are laughing all the way to the bank!!
what is the point???

If it is deceptive advertising DO SOMETHING!
There is enough verbiage o nthis site to petition and start a C.A suit!!!

By Kira
September 21, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I appreciate your article. However, I have the FREE Ladders membership which I use exclusively for the articles, and I find many of them quite good. I recommend the articles to my mentees at my alma mater, too. I agree it is not worth paying for their services.

By What are some complaints you have about resume writing services? | best job hunting guide
October 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm

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By Michelle
November 7, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Thanks for the article. I know it’s pretty old news, but I was prompted to search for information on TheLadders when I saw a position listed by the site for an Executive Assistant position through Indeed.com.

First flag, the position was posted through a third party. Second flag, it’s for an Executive Assistant position. No way it pays more than $80k. And it’s with a company that, according to my research, doesn’t exactly pay in the high range of competitive.

Pretty disgusting that there are still job-search sites out there made solely to take people for their much-needed income.

By Tom S.
November 16, 2011 at 3:14 pm

TheLadders is probably not worth the cost. Their new policy on showing ALL jobs (not just $100K+) is disappointing. I received no solid follow-ups/interviews from TheLadders. All face-to-face interviews came from leads on CareerBuilder and Monster. I paid nothing to post my resume on these two sites. I wish I would have focused more attention to their sites than TheLadders and tried their paid services. Also, I received direct calls from companies that found my resume on the other sites and not one company I interviewed with found me on or referred tome from TheLadders.

After a 3-month search (two of which I focused on TheLadders…ARGH!!!) I have landed a new position as a Major Accounts Manager that I couldn’t be happier with.

By kavitha
December 26, 2011 at 12:36 am

Is there any way we can complain on these guys .No response from those guys . If I can scold them , I should do it myself first as I should have done some research before I payed for it as a recruiter .

By tom kane
January 16, 2012 at 3:07 am

The Ladders is the most inept organization that I have hired. For the last 7 years I was President/CEO & Chairman of a $10M manufacturer. The time came for me to move, so the Ladders lured me in with the money back guarantee. For 6 months I executed the search with all my effort and following the guidelines of the Ladders. Not one interview resulted from the ladders leads. I participated in 2 interviews through my own contacts. NOW, the Ladders does not want to refund their guarantee because I am 5 phone calls short to my career counselor according to their “checklist of accountability”. I have blown away all the other checklist metrics including # of resumes submitted (they require 3/week and I’ve been burning 30/month). It is simply illogical to use a checklist as the measure of an individuals search effort. It is not reasonable to think that 5 more 15 minute “check-in” calls to my career counselor would have made any difference in the dismal results of their planned program. Further to withhold a $2500 refund indicates that somehow the Ladders believes that services offered have been delivered. OK, “we guarantee a job in 6 months”. No, Marc Cenedella that did NOT happen, and in fact your system failed to initiate ONE SINGLE INTERVIEW despite my dedicated compliance to your proven program. So your Signature program now only failed to produce a job it produced literally ZERO INTERVIEWS for a polished C level executive with 20+ years of excellence. And now your policy decision: you missed 5 calls to your adviser over the 6 month program, making you ineligible for the refund, just read the terms and conditions Mr. Kane. Scam? definitely. Professional ethics? Moral Fabric of the Ladders leadership? A commitment from Marc Cenedella that he stands by his organization and makes good on his BOLD marketing statements. Marc is a well funded fraud at best and a loathsome talent-less queen of the marketing glitter parade, nonetheless, his personal values and company policies prove him to be a cold and inert con artist who gets fat on costly false promises. He is to inexperience and generally ignorant to recognize that he will not leave a legacy of a great company behind. He is making enemies with a select group of businessmen who will expose him and bring down his house of cards. And these men will do it, not for spite, but because it is the right thing to do. (The lessons that Marc missed while he was weasel-wording his terms and conditions.)

As for me, I will be in small claims court should anyone care to join me.

By Bob McGinnis
March 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

TheLadders.com? Markets change quickly and volume during these times for such a market are vital. I recently aquired TheLadders.com do draft a more current resume for myself only to be ignored. Oh, they took their money immediately, but did I receive a call, thank you or even an email. No! It’s been 3 days since aquiring TheLadders.com to do this for me and still nothing. I requested to be refunded in full. I must say that the individual whom sold me on this at TheLadders was very apologetic and helpful. It would be nice when companies establish themselves that they first wait to go to market until they know they can handle the volume. Most businesses experience pain points, but my experience has been once these pain points are brought to light in such companies they are merely brushed aside and never really addressed. Imagine how much more revenue could be generated if someone would just take the time to do it right the first time and address issues as they arise. Too many chiefs and not enough indians??? Someone is taking the money to the bank. Doesn’t that someone want to take more to the bank? Go figure!

By Tony
April 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm

When you pay the premium amount you are told your resume is evaluated, read and edited by a professional. This is a lie. An automated computer program compiles pre-canned notes to your resume based on some algorithm. The notes are unhelpful and are the same general tips you’d get from googling tips for resume. Some of the tips didn’t even apply to my resume at all… It is not customized or personal at all! ! Just pre-canned drivel.

Don’t pay for the Ladders!!!!

By Lisa
June 25, 2012 at 5:23 pm

My dad, my best friend, and myself all received the SAME ‘review’ letter! the only thing different was our names! RIDICULOUS! I finally decided on beachresume.com and am very happy, and am not broke (like i would be if id hired the ladders!).

By d
July 1, 2012 at 7:38 pm

trying to navigate the website and get information relevant to what you need is worse than trying to return a faulty hard drive. obviously a sham. don’t use them, delete them and forget the name exists. P.S. I should charge them for wasting my time trying to get info on employment

By disgusted
July 1, 2012 at 7:47 pm

schmegma(ripoff)/loss of time spent investigating=ladders.com(x)

By Kevin G
July 11, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Yeah…they are a definite scam and if you have given them your card they keep running through until you tell them to stop. I don’t know how they did this as the expiration date on my card changed from 5/12 to 5/14 this year…they billed me on July 9th this year….soooo how did they get around that….they said the fine print allowed them to go ahead and charge me. Did they assume the date changed without contacting me..ABSOLUTELY….SCAM in the first CLASS!! I will have my bank change my CC number and effectively eliminate their ability to automatically deduct it from my card. Oh and by the by….I make over $250 K, employed for the last 5.5 years and am in demand as a Sales Manager, fielding about 3-4 calls per month from headhunters…..in 2.5 years I NEVER received a call from anyone at the Ladders or the companies I applied to about the 35 or so different jobs. What does that tell you?

By Pamela
August 25, 2012 at 1:12 am

Kevin G,

FYI: be carefully in regards to the automatic charge issue. I had a company which was doing automatic billing and thought by changing the credit card number I wouldn’t be charged.

Surprise, the bank just transfer the charge to my new card number without informing me. I had to jump through hoops to get the charge reversed.

Also, this is a a note on banks. I have in the last 2 orders of checks been asked personal questions on data which I have never given any bank. Like; what was my sister-in-laws birthday. How did they know I had a sister-in-law, her name and her birth date? I confronted them the 2nd time when they ask personal questions about my mom. They just asked a different question about me, like the address where I had lived 25 years ago. They refused to give me any information about where they were pulling the information from.

By Former Ladders Subcontract Writer
October 9, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I am a certified professional resume writer and have been writing resumes for 13 years. About three years ago the Ladders came begging me to join their team. The first two years were great. Then they either started to either lose money or they got greedy as the payment for subcontractors went to just $90 an order. A lot of writers left and then I was writing resumes for industries that I usually did not typically receive orders from. Then the ladders took on a bunch of new subcontractors and paid them even less. The last three months that I was with them they never sent me an order. When I would e-mail the ladders about not receiving work or if to see if orders were slow, they would ignore me. That’s real mature and professional of them. I have since moved on and returned to the private sector to make a decent living.

By pj
October 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Yes everyone complains about the ladder but no one does anything. Meanwhile they are thriving and getting good press reviews. Are you all barking up the wrong tree??

By lista discoteca sotavento
November 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Helpful information. Lucky me I discovered your website accidentally, and I am shocked why this twist of fate didn’t took place in advance! I bookmarked it.

By JRB
January 19, 2013 at 2:01 am

As a recruiter – my experience with the Ladders has been very disappointing. I was having problems with the site and I called customer service 3 times and told them the problem and no one got back to me – wrote them – no answer. Their support teams were rude and had no customer service skills at all. Their resumes on the site are old and stale. Their search feature did not return accurate results and I had to page through the results
with no ability to avoid resumes I already viewed even though I deselected “VIEWED” feature. You are better off using other board – get better results – there is no way to tell on Ladders how old resumes are. They have a ton of names that only give you a minor profile but no resume. The site is time consuming to work with!

By Dan Potter
February 27, 2013 at 1:36 am

I visited again today after some time and was again woefully disappointed. The search filters are far too broad and ineffective for use in healthcare leadership recruitment. I made repeated attempts to identify simple hospital titles and received garbage in return. I will need a compelling reason to return.
Respectfully,
Dan Potter
Managing Director
Potter Associates
(25 years in retained search)

By Ask The Headhunter® | Nick Corcodilos – TheLadders sued for multiple scams in U.S. District Court class action
March 11, 2013 at 9:19 pm

[…] The dope on TheLadders […]

By Chris Phillips
March 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Add me to the long list of haters of theladders.com here. What a total rip-off. I got some of my money back, but I should have known better. I wish more could be done to put them out of business. If anyone is starting such a movement, count me in!

By Ask The Headhunter® | Nick Corcodilos – TheLadders: Job-board salary fraud?
March 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm

[…] 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: […]

By J.A. Brandon
March 28, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Wish I had been hip to this rip off before signing up. Paid for over six months and not one single job lead from The Ladders. Just endless comeons for other services.

A complete and total scam.

By Tim
April 30, 2013 at 12:28 am

I signed up for the ladders but only basic, i did not pay but i wanted to cancel it and i tried for an hour or close to that and it kept saying hmmmmmm this site did not load….they wont let me cancel, now all they have is a name and email address but i did not pay them… i wrote and demanded they cancel…i dont want them. If i threaten to call the law on them will that hurt my chances at finding a job. I am an honest guy.

By Tom Quaverie
June 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I applied for a few jobs on the Ladders and received an offer for 3 of them. Each one was over 150K/ann. Maybe you people are just unqualified or uneducated.

By PJ
June 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I really do not care about what people write about the Ladders…if the job posting are REAL then you are not qualified for the job.

By Former Ladders Subcontract Writer
July 6, 2013 at 8:59 am

I subcontracted with the Ladders for three years and I think many of the clients had unrealistic expectations of the services offered, especially in the midst of the Great Recession. Clients who once earned over $100,000 would refuse a $70,000 job, which is more than what most Americans earn. I often felt like I was writing resumes to help pay for someone’s yacht, ferrari, country club membership, mansion, or European vacation.

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By Ask The Headhunter® | Nick Corcodilos – Federal Court OK’s Suit Against TheLadders: Breach of contract & deceptive practices
March 19, 2014 at 9:13 am

[…] | TheLadders: A lipstick pig’s death rattle? | TheLadders: Going Down?|Rickety, Leads Nowhere|The Dope on TheLadders|Marc Cenedella Sells E-mails: $30/month|TheLadders: Job-board salary fraud?|TheLadders: A Long-Shot […]

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