Who Pays for Work

In a previous association we always told job candidates who registered with our very successful job board that they should never have to pay for a job. Unfortunately when you are in need of work, individuals will do almost anything that can result in gainful employment. 

In a recent article in Time, (January 24, 2011) author Brad Tuttle reveals stories of individuals who become so deperate after lengthy unemployment that they are willing to make offers that you would not have imagined just years ago.  He mentioned one job-seeker who has an MBA and was willing to provide $10,000 to anyone who found him an appropriate position; unfortunately that bounty resulted in no viable employment offers and the job-seeker is now serving as an intern in Los Angeles. The article also mentioned a Fort Worth, Texas financial analyst who offered a $1,000 bounty for a job in an ad she posted in a local newspaper website.  No results were detailed.

Though it is quite understandable why individuals are willing to extend financial incentives to gain employment, this practice is certainly out of the ordinary and setting a precident that may come back to hurt the job-seeker.  Historically the employer is the individual who pays the fee in the hiring transaction which can result in the search firm receiving up to one year salary of the new hire.  The “head hunter” is also responsible for a sustainable candidate – meaning most search firms guarantee that if the new hire doesn’t work out within a year that they will once again conduct a search and this time not charge the employer for the extensive, time consuming process. 

The argument made by executive search professionals is that using a search firm has a built in quality factor and ultimately it is in the best interests of not just the employer but the “head hunter” to present and ultimately hire the best candidate so that they are not forced to repeat the same process a year from now. 

As an individual who has been part of the hiring process more than once I would advocate always working with a professional search firm.  Though a specific job offering has a built-in “head hunter” or firm overseeing the selection process it is important for candidates to network with all the major firms, to make sure you have your resume on file and without a doubt try to connect with the “head hunters” through social media.

Like any marketing or promotion activity it is imperative to get your name in front of the decision-makers and when it comes to employment, the first step towards a paycheck and tenure with a new employer is making search firms aware of the fact that you are available and that you are their best hope to complete this employment project in a timely fashion.  Many of us have marketed services and products for most of our life so now it time to promote yourself as the answer to their immediate need – finding a spectacular candidate for their client.

Though desperate times demand desperate deeds I do think it is important not to portray yourself as being desperate.  Offering a bounty for a job or paying for employment leads does smell a little like desperation and employers just aren’t fond of individuals who are not selective in their career choices. 

I remember interviewing a candidate years ago for a communications position in my role as an association exec and the poor guy broke down in tears.  It wasn’t because I was asking challenging questions but the candidate was so worn-down by being rejected time and time again by potential employers that he could no longer present a professional fascade. By the way, I was so uncomfortable even after he apologized for his actions that I did not hire him.  I understand that he eventually found a new association but to this day I remember how he made me feel and can only imagine how he felt as he left that interview.

We all would like to start our new job immediately and sometimes that comes to pass, but the truth is that the Transition Process can be an extensive and anxiety-ridden path to a new future.  It is not easy to find just the right job or the right employer, so take your time, build your networking infrastructure and most importantly maintain your confidence – it will ultimately be the reason why you get that new position.


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