Recruiting firm pays candidates for job interviews

NotchUp changes recruitment tactics by matching candidates with paying companies

NotchUp.com has upped the ante in the job recruiting stakes by allowing potential candidates to calculate a price for which they will agree to interview with prospective employers.

The company, which officially launched this week at the DEMO 08 conference in Palm Desert, California, said that companies like Yahoo, Google and Barracuda Networks have signed up to use the online service, which is free to job seekers.

Job candidates sign up for the service, create a profile and calculate their interview price (usually between US$300 to US$600) based on their skills and experience. Prospective employers can search the profiles and make offers to the candidates. If the candidate accepts and goes on the interview, the site collects the interview fee and transfers it to the candidate.

The site allows users to import their LinkedIn profile to use as the NotchUp profile and then to hide their name and contact details until a prospective employer agrees to schedule an interview. Users can permanently hide their profile from their current employer.

According to the NotchUp Web site, an average recruiter charges up to 20% of a candidate's first year salary. NotchUp, on the other hand, charges an average of $500 per interview. At that price, a company could interview 10 people for a job with a US$100,000 a year salary using NotchUp and still save 75% compared to using a recruiter.

Companies get their money back and the candidate is not paid if the candidate doesn't show up or arrives late for the interview, fails to take the interview seriously or has lied on his profile.

"NotchUp will force companies and candidates to rethink how they find their next opportunity," said Jim Ambras, NotchUp CEO and co-founder, in a statement. "The Holy Grail for professional talent search is to identify the happy employee who is open to new opportunities, and the candidate who is seeking a specific professional challenge. NotchUp provides the missing link in this discovery process."

Erick Schonfeld, a blogger at TechCrunch, noted that the problem with most job sites today is the best prospective candidates typically post their resumes on recruitment sites because they are happy in their positions.

"If you are a star manager, chances are your employer knows it and is treating you well so that you don't even think about leaving," he noted. "NotchUp tries to lure talented but complacent workers and managers into its recruitment pool by turning the job search on its head. Instead of desperate out-of-work employees going hat-in-hand to companies begging for a job interview, on NotchUp, the companies have to pay to interview you. This is supposed to bring out those passive job seekers every company really wants to find."

In addition, setting a price for a job interview uses economic incentives to bring a better inventory of talent into the market, he added.

"If a company is willing to pay you a few hundred or even a thousand bucks just to interview you, chances are they are pretty serious and it is not going to be a waste of time. It acts as a filter for both the employer and the prospective employee. Even if you don't get the job, you get paid for your time."

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