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Is the Ladders a Scam?

by
David Manaster
Feb 15, 2011, 11:08 am ET

A couple of weeks ago, The Ladders invited (and paid T&E for) a number of influential bloggers, writers, speakers, and consultants in the HR and recruiting profession to join them for a day of “insightful and spirited conversations.”

If the reason for the invitation sounds like PR double-speak, that’s because it is. In spite of its rapid growth, The Ladders has a real image problem in our profession — if you type “the ladders ” into Google, the first autocomplete suggestion is “the ladders scam.” The Ladders’ invitation seemed like an attempt to step beyond that and change the conversation into something more positive.

The changed conversation lasted for a whole 37 minutes, when the first caller into a HR Happy Hour online radio show being broadcast from The Ladders’ own conference room ignited the scam debate all over again. Since then, the debate has spread around the HR blogs, and it has become obvious that this criticism is a genie that will not go back into the bottle until The Ladders addresses it directly and publicly.

Here are the the big charges leveled at The Ladders, along with some thoughts on each.

Is it Ever OK to Charge Jobseekers?

The most basic accusation leveled at The Ladders is aimed at the heart of its business model. The company charges job-seekers $35 for a month of service — or less for longer subscriptions. This rubs many people the wrong way, and I understand why — it just feels wrong to profit from the misery of people’s job search, especially when record numbers of people are jobless. It feels much more acceptable to charge big corporations than the little guys desperately seeking employment.

But is that all there is to it? If you believe that The Ladders is providing a worthwhile service, then it should have the right to charge for that service. And those who do not believe it to be worthwhile should have the right to tell them to go to hell. It’s a decision that every single one of makes every day with hundreds of products and services.

In the end, this ends up being a matter of degree, much like the financial companies that provide loans and credit in poor communities. Are they taking advantage of poor people with usurious rates? Or are they providing a valuable service by providing credit to people who would be unable to buy homes or start businesses without them? There’s a line in there somewhere that should not be crossed, but it is a blurry line at best.

In my opinion, $35 is not an exorbitant amount to charge for a product that is delivering value, which brings me to the second accusation leveled at The Ladders:

Is The Ladders’ Product Delivering Value for Paying Jobseekers?

There are a lot of people out there with a beef about the actual product at The Ladders, and the sheer volume of complainers gives them authenticity.

Mark Stelzner, one of the attendees at The Ladders’ event, writes:

In the interest of gathering some market intel prior to attendance, I put out an informal request to my JobAngels network to gauge their impression of TheLadders.
The results were shocking to me but may not be to others. I received over 800 messages in less than two weeks…
… and not one of them was positive.

I can think of a lot of reasons why that would be — not the least of which is that instinctive reaction to think that charging jobseekers is shady — but that is pretty damning. I wonder how many of those complainers had actually tried using The Ladders? (Stelzner believes that most had tried the paid service.)

The main complaint that I hear about The Ladders’ paid services is that many of the jobs on the service are gathered by a spider from other websites, often without their knowledge. The vast majority are not unique to the site, and some are not truly the 100k+ jobs that the site advertises.

Exclusivity

Employers don’t give “exclusives” to websites. It’s just not the way this game is played, aside from a few high-end executive search firms. I don’t see The Ladders promising exclusive jobs in its marketing, and when you search on their site it states explicitly that they mark all exclusives. In my searches, I did not see any marked jobs — they neither claim to, nor do they have many exclusive positions.

To the degree that The Ladders expertly curates the jobs on its site (more on this in a moment), it is providing a valuable service so people do not waste their time with positions that are not at a high enough level.

Feel that $35/month entitles job-seekers to exclusive job listings that non-subscribers don’t get? Good luck finding that anywhere.

Sub-100k Jobs

I’ve heard multiple stories about sub-$100k jobs on The Ladders, and for a service whose entire raison d’être is the $100k+ market, that’s a big problem. As I stated above, a major value of The Ladders service is the curation of the jobs on its site. It undermines their brand every time someone applies for a position and finds that it pays less than advertised.

Imperfect? Highly. A scam? Doesn’t seem like it. In Nick Corcodilos’ transcript of a conversation between a Ladders customer service rep and an angry customer, the rep says:

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

In this case, I see that the position requires a Bachelor’s degree and five years of experience. This is well within the experience range of a Marketing Manager who expects to make $100k per year.

Clearly that isn’t the case with this position and I thank you for letting me know about it as I am definitely going to remove it from the site immediately.

People running a scam would not remove the job post.

I spoke with The Ladders Vice President of Corporate Communications Lou Casale today, and he pointed out that the company has two full time employees dedicated to vetting the jobs that they post on the site. Still, I’d like to see The Ladders make changes to address this specific criticism more forcefully, because the presence of sub $100k jobs on its site is a major flaw in its model, and it clashes with what its core services purport to be.

Can 200,000 Customers Be Wrong?

Of course they can. But people vote with their dollars, so this question goes to the heart of the controversy over The Ladders.

The company has built an $80 million business mostly from jobseekers paying $35 a month. By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, there are between 200,000 and 300,000 job-seekers paying for the service at any given point in time. That’s a lot of people. As an experiment, I created a paid account at theladders.com and then cancelled the service. The cancellation process was easy and painless, which is not the experience I would expect from a service trying to lock in unhappy customers.

When people have a beef, they can be counted on to complain loudly. When people are satisfied, they tend to … well, be satisfied. The Ladders is a subscription business, and unsatisfied customers do not renew subscriptions. From the numbers, job-seekers appear to be coming back for more.

Full Disclosure: The Ladders did not pay my T&E for attending their event. Like many companies in the recruiting industry, they periodically advertise on ERE.net and at our events.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  1. Luke Toland

    The Ladders business model is something that I considered for a while. On the face of it, charging users for exclusive jobs seems like a great idea but in reality, most businesses simply are not going to source their hires from one website. Any company that does either has a very limited recruiting budget or have had tremendous experience in onboarding quality candidates.

    The candidate-pays model probably works well in the upper echelons of income scales and job titles, but for most professionals who are earning less than $100k, there’s always going to be the big job boards and direct access to company websites. Personally I think there’s much to be desired about existing job boards for professionals, which is why I decided to set up JobMeadow, launching in about three months.

    Regards,

    Luke Toland
    JobMeadow.com/blog

  2. Glen Cathey

    If one of the reasons people are offended by The Ladders is that fact that they charge the job seeker, why is no one talking about the fact that LinkedIn has premium job seeker accounts, from $19.95 to $49.95? http://linkd.in/eZZvkr

  3. Sandra McCartt

    David, interesting article.

    I have a couple of questions. It appears that you used a simple formula here of dividing their 80M revenue by the cost of the job seeker membership to come up with the number of customers. If that was not the formula then i am certainly wrong, just a guess.

    Since the Ladders license to recruiters runs from 5K to 25K depending on the number of people and licenses any of them purchase. I would be interested if you were able to get any information from The Ladders as to what % of that revenue comes from the sale of user licenses to recruiters and companies. Based on the expense to recruiters and companies (although they would of course be considered customers) it would seem to reduce the number of customers significantly. It takes a lot of 35.00 customers to offset a 5K to 25K investment by someone purchasing a license. Interested in your take.

    Many of us who had used the Ladders, found it not to be what was represented, simply dropped it and forgot about it until that horrible commercial ran. It reminded many of us of the flaws we experienced first hand and personally we thought as a stand alone it was ugly and inappropriate. We spoke out about our own experiences and were referred to as “sheep, afflicted by group think” by a blogger whom i do not believe has ever used the service. That outraged many people.

    I have a little problem with the transcript of the outraged customer published above. The comment that a marketing manager with five years experience is well within the 100K salary range sounds like a canned response to me. A marketing manager with a BBA +5 may make 100K in New York or LA but i haven’t seen that many of them at that level in that range.

  4. David Manaster

    @Glen — Good point. Outplacement firms charge the jobseeker also, when their former employers don’t foot the bill.

    @Sandra — As I said in my post, it was a back of the envelope calculation, and I derived it exactly as you guessed. I did not know the exact revenue number or the exact average price (since there are discounted rates for longer term subscriptions), so the best I could do was an educated guess.

    The Ladders does not give out revenue numbers or and is pretty cagey with any information that could be used to figure out information that they deem sensitive. (And by the way, I don’t blame them for keeping their cards close to their chest — it’s the standard operating procedure for private companies.)

    They were, however, more then happy to tout that the demand for their enterprise-side products was up 50% year over year. My guess is that the strong percentage is off a very small base.

  5. Nick Corcodilos

    The relevant information that you have provided is about Google’s auto-complete, which demonstrates massive concern and complaints by consumers. Google results don’t lie.

    If “the ladders scam” results concern TheLadders, then TheLadders should focus on fixing the problems that contribute to the scam — not on changing the perception.

    The problem with fixing the problems that contribute to the scam is that those “two humans who check all jobs” would have to actually call the employers behind those jobs, and actually check the salaries before claiming they are $100k+.

    And that’s not gonna happen. So the scam will continue, and the Google results will continue to grow.

    “Two humans” guessing at salaries ain’t gonna cut it. All those people generating the “the ladders scam” result on Google aren’t stupid. They know what they’re looking for.

    TheLadders, on the other hand, has demonstrated that it’s not as smart as all those concerned people.

    Remember the customers?

  6. Jim Shaki

    Dave,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The Ladders, on paper, seemed like a phenomenal concept when it was first brought to my attention. I did question their exclusivity for the reasons mentioned above. You’ve certainly confirmed my reasoning, despite the fact that I’ve never subscribed to their service nor known of anyone that has.

  7. Claire Peat

    It’s not a scam, but it’s also not a good business model. I had a lot of contact from an account manager in the UK wanting to advertise our roles. The limit over here is £50k salary, and they’d checked our website and even proposed a few jobs that I might like to advertise with them. I pointed out that those roles weren’t £50k base, and even including all bonuses and benefits they wouldn’t be, so for mutual reputation safeguarding, best to not post them on The Ladders. Imagine my surprise when I did a quick internet search to find out who had been scraping my jobs, and there they were on the Ladders. I called the guy back and he did get his ‘scrapers’ to take the jobs down, and he also had a note put out to all not to put any jobs from our company on without passing it by him, but I found the same thing happened again a few weeks later.
    It’s disappointing because it meant I wouldn’t think of using them in future because of the lack of professionalism, and people working there that can’t follow simple instructions. It also caused me a huge amount of work speaking with disappointed candidates who were no longer interested when the actual salary was disclosed, rejecting people that were far too senior for the rolesbecause they assumed it would be something more at the perceived salary, and of course the time it takes to get the jobs taken down from their site and then having to continually monitor if they were still scraping unsuitable jobs from our corporate page. I’d love to charge them for the amount of my time they wasted…

  8. Ken Forrester

    What’s the big deal if some company wants to charge job seekers for an intangible service and the job seekers are willing to pay for their perception of that service? If no one is willing to pay for that service then the service has no value. It’s no different than paying a cover charge to enter a night club to buy expensive drinks, or paying for a first class ticket on the same airline, or paying for valet parking. I can go on, but the point is that some may view it as a value and others won’t. And From a business perspective, this model demonstrates creative marketing ingenuity. They are satisfying a need; and the need is that most job seekers are not skilled in marketing their own talents to employers.

  9. Marvin Smith

    David, this is a great, thought provoking article. I am curious; did you ever get wind of The Ladders habit of streaming jobs of large companies without their permission. I believe the industry calls it “job-jacking?”

  10. Tracy Brisson

    I have never used The Ladders (hate the commercials with a passion), but I was under the impression that the $35/M fee included a resume review and a job advisor? That impacts the answer to your top two questions.

  11. Joshua Letourneau

    Kudos to Dave for a superb piece of investigative reporting, whether any of us here personally agree with his objective analysis. Personally, I think Dave has done a well-balanced job of speaking to many of the “concerns”.

    If there is one thing any of us gained by attending the event, it’s the personal relationships needed to drive further positive changes at TheLadders. It is going to take inside-relationships and further (frank) discussions to shift some of the negative perceptions, not to mention the extremely relevant issue referenced by Claire.

    To anyone that may be wondering, I believe that TheLadders is seeing 65% of their revenue on the Consumer side, with the other 35% coming in on the Enterprise side. Their latest efforts are to not only grow the top-line, but also shift this toward more equilibrium. Time will tell, but the 35% revenue I suspect on the Enterprise side is surely not a ceiling.

  12. Ash DeVane, CPC

    When I first learned of The ladders 5-6 years ago years ago, they only charged job-seekers as I recall, and the economy was clicking along. Many, if not most, of the job-seeker clients of The Ladders were employed, or that was my perception anyway. In my view this was no harm no foul.

    My beef with The Ladders was when they decided to double-dip and charge both job seekers and job posters (me). The issues now at The Ladders are of course even more convoluted.

  13. Nick Corcodilos

    After reading Claire Peat’s story about Shell Oil above, it’s a real hoot watching the industry experts defend the clearly systemic job jacking that TheLadders is doing with knowledge aforethought.

    From Marc Cenedella, February 7, 2011:
    “Then, we screen through all the jobs they do send to make sure they are paying at the $100,000 or more level. We have two human beings review each job before it is allowed on the site — that’s a form of editorial oversight or curation that makes sense for you by eliminating the busy work.”

    The number of emperors running around with no clothes on, defending Ladders, is turning into quite a sideshow. I hope you guys all realize that while you hang your own reputations out to dry, Ladders is keeping quiet, letting you all swing in the breeze.

  14. Sandra McCartt

    Interesting numbers Josh. That was what i was wondering in my earlier post. Did they give you that estimate? Although they are privately held most companies don’t mind giving % numbers as to what part of their sales are widgets and what % is buttons and bows.

    Everybody seems to like their 80M revenue number. Not shabby but for more kind of envelope numbers. That would be gross before tax, payroll, and all other G & A expense. Not that it makes much difference to this discussion but given the corporate tax rate, state tax rate, cost of real estate in NY, payroll for 400 people+ benes,the huge amount they spend on advertising and all the other expense that it takes to run a business of that size, that would seem to drop that gross number down pretty fast. Maybe a lot lower than anybody thinks. I mention this because so many people have used their revenue as proof of success. Maybe it is but i think it needs to be kept in perspective. As they are touting that enterprise side revenue has doubled over the year here is a thought. According to my memory (if i’m wrong correct me) they were free to recruiters/companies until Jan 1 2009. When they started charging for licenses and job postings i would guess there was a significant drop in users so as David indicates it wouldn’t take much to increase 50% from 2009 to 2010.

    The point of all this. Perhaps that is what all this is all about. Shock value, obnoxious commercials, trips to NY, Passport memberships, offers of discounted licenses. Perhaps it’s all about the money and not about whether they want to clean anything up. Perhaps their practices have driven away many individuals, recruiters and companies. So maybe it’s damage control. Understandable but from what everybody is saying they didn’t want input and they didn’t provide much in the way of anything but canned PR. It seems to have put them under a not so favorable laser focus in the recruiting and HR community.

    All i know for sure is that if i went to company web sites scraped jobs, put them on my web site and charged my candidates to look at them it wouldn’t take long before I would be called a lot of names we have seen thrown about in the past few weeks.

    Perhaps the whole Ladders deal is like all the “as seen on TV” products. Perhaps they look interesting but they are somewhat cheap and hardly ever deliver but a whole bunch of folks buy them. At least once. People will pay for anything. That’s not the rub in my book.

    I hope your faith in the Ladders motives are correct Josh. I don’t know that any personal relationship with the folks who sell the “as seen on TV” products would change what they do but if you can achieve that, go for it. It would certainly be nice to clean up yet another “shell game” in our industry.

  15. Joshua Letourneau

    Sandra, that 35% on the Enterprise side is an estimation based upon a number of conversations with some of their Execs and Employees. I could be incorrect, it could be 50/50, or more likely 60/40, but conservatively, I don’t personally believe about 35% of their current revenue is coming in on the Enterprise side. That’s just a calculated guess as they’re not overt in sharing some of this information. My guess is that they’re looking to break the $1B valuation point and then IPO. It’s my only logical conclusion. Is it necessary for TheLadders raise capital this way? Probably not, but it will make a few people very, very rich. That’s just my take.

    You’re correct that the $80M is just the top-line, pure revenue. I have no idea how profitable they are. Given how they’ve automated, and given what appeared to be major efficiency in how they’re executing (be it “right” or “wrong”), I’d imagine they’re extremely, extremely profitable. I want to say they have about 400 employees, which would put EBITDA-per-employee at ~$200k each. Assuming they’re profit margin is a mere 15% (again quite conservative, in my opinion), this would be put their Net Profit in the range of $12M. My guess is that it’s probably double that . . . and I’m not sure if they currently carry any debt. If so, it’s marginal at best. That’s just my opinion as I do know that eBay is one of the only companies in recent memory to generate the valuation as steep as they have (approximately $810M according to Business Insider) within less than 6 years on only $7.25M in initial venture capital funding. Note that I’m speaking current-valuation to initial VC funding.

    P.S. For the record, I started using their new offering, Passport, only upon returning from their summit in NYC. I created one job, and at last check, had 77 views and 4 applications to it. Three where not a fit, but one of them was a direct match, which has allowed me to move the current slate of Candidates forward with confidence. If that particular Candidate is awarded the role, it’s a ~$20k placement on a total investment of about 1 hour of my time (to create a profile and get approval, create the job and get approval, review the 4 resumes, etc.)

    P.S.S. I also ran into a challenge in 2007 where a Candidate had seen a job I was recruiting for on TheLadders, unbeknown to me. It was a sales role that paid ~$70k on base, and he assumed it was a base of $100k+. This was brought about based on his assumption that TheLadders only posted jobs that were above $100k in base compensation, so he was turned off with my Client and thought I was under-representing the true base. This was untrue, and in actuality, my Client had not posted the job on TheLadders. In other words, I’ve also had a negative occurrence, first-hand. In the end, it all worked out, however.

  16. Deane Osner

    theLadders’ model is horrible. They promise something to jobseekers and make them pay for it. Then they don’t delever what they promised. Also they do “job-jacking” – I wonder what percentage of their jobs are just reposts from other websites. I bet it is extremely high.
    We do not use them here where I work. We had the same issues that Claire Peat had and it even cost us a couple of candidates on job offers. These candidates were mad at us for posting the jobs on theLadders and them not being $100K. We had to explain that we didn’t post but theLadders scraped them from our website. They too were very displeased to hear that.
    I have expressed my dissatifaction with theLadders and had all our jobs removed. This was 2 years ago so I see they have not done anything to change and now more people are catching on.
    (And their commercials are awful)

  17. Nick Corcodilos

    @Josh: You’ve said elsewhere that, “if there’s one thing I have at this point, it’s the ability to call up someone at TheLadders and discuss these concerns.”

    I don’t know where you got that ability, but it’s sounding an awful lot like you’re TheLadders’ spokesperson here, discussing EBITDA, revenue sources, IPOs, valuations… Either you are, or you aren’t. Why doesn’t Ladders just belly up to the bar and speak for itself?

    For that matter, why don’t you ask Ladders, what is its explanation about, and its position on, the repeated and systemic misrepresentations of employers’ jobs on its site? The examples (with names attached) have been presented on the myriad blogs that have lately been defending Ladders – but they’ve been presented only by people who comment on the blogs, not by the bloggers. (Interesting situation, that.)

    It’s very troubling that the blatant abuse of employers is being ignored here by everyone (like you) connected to TheLadders (hey, you said you have the ability to call them up and discuss these concerns). Meanwhile, these diatribes you’re posting are all about your “guesses” about how Ladders is managed and performing financially. (I don’t understand why you’d be “guessing” and “imagining” if you’re in such close contact with the company.)

    What’s the point in the company’s financials? I thought we were here to serve employers and job hunters, who are howling. It seems to me that mounting a defense of Ladders – while ignoring the detailed barrage of customer complaints – kind of puts you out on a long, skinny limb, spinning the breeze, while Ladders is home counting its revenues. Is that what Ladders has asked you to do? Or are you just doing it on your own initiative?

    Who could afford the cost to reputation and credibility of ignoring the customers while defending the company? Even the company itself isn’t defending itself.

  18. Sandra McCartt

    Interesting take on the numbers Josh. Both of us throwing numbers around is speculative at best since neither of us really have any idea what we’re talking about. That 810M valuation however is based on 10 times earnings. That seems a bit high to me based on a service business model but what the hell do i know. But if you are correct you are also correct that an IPO is going to make some folks very, very rich which sort of makes my point from the other direction that this is all about the money and the reason for all the current hype. Hit em a lick and run. But whether it’s declining earnings or blowing up the numbers for IPO, the wiz is still behind the curtain.

    Didn’t know you used job boards. Thought from previous posts that you were a passive candidate kind of guy. Welcome to the cheap seats. :) I always have and have made a lot of money utilitzing them. The only value i ever got out of the Ladders was it was a great source of candidates at the 50 to 60K level. Didn’t place any of them because they had all been convinced by the Ladders hype that they were worth over 100K. But they weren’t getting any traction on 100K jobs either so there you have it.

  19. Sandra McCartt

    Here is my last question and i’m out of this.

    Josh, you are using the free Passport. If your candidate you got from your free posting gets hired..or not ,are you going to plop down 5K to buy a license? Do you have enough confidence that they provide what they say they do to put your own money where your mouth is? Or will they give you one due to personal relationships? I am not trying to throw rocks here just asking for full disclosure.

  20. Joshua Letourneau

    Nick, I was replying to Sandra’s question of me. I took it as a chance to have productive engagement and dialogue. It’s better than the alternative, which serves none of us well.

    Call them up, Nick. At this point, that’s all I can recommend. Reach out.

    Also, please re-read the substance of David’s post. He speaks to your concerns in a highly objective manner.

  21. Joshua Letourneau

    Sandra, good point – You’re right that I don’t post on Job Boards, only because my experience in the past wasn’t the greatest. I decided to give Passport a try, not really knowing what to expect. I think the concept of Candidates self-selecting what Recruiters they’d like to “follow” is interesting, at least to the point that I’d (at least) try it out. For me, that was the selling point. I don’t have a final analysis of my experience ready yet, but initial results are encouraging.

  22. Jeremy Langhans

    scam or not – i have sourced some stellar talent from it
    but. yes, they have a marketing/pr & cost/model situation.

    ~jer

  23. Joshua Letourneau

    Sandra, I’m not sure how much a license costs, but I’ll be honest I likely don’t have the volume to justify the expense. If I did have the volume, I would consider it, but only if this experiment and a few others played out well. I don’t believe they’d give me a free license, and in all sincerity, I wouldn’t ask for that.

    In regards to speculating about numbers, at least it’s a productive dialogue that all of us can build upon.

    P.S. I do admit having a 5XL T-Shirt and a pretty nice Coffee-Mug that I brought home, and they also gave out small notebooks. Unfortunately, I left mine somewhere and couldn’t find it when leaving!

  24. Sandra McCartt

    LOL, I don’t know how productive speculating about somebody else’s numbers really is, probably more like mental masturbation amongst people who really have no clue what they are talking about.

    I don’t believe you would ask for a free license but they may well offer you one just to see what you will do so they can talk about it if you take it.

    I just got a call from a recruiter in Dallas who received the passport email today. She didn’t understand exactly what it was so called them. The person she talked to told her to go to their website. The website would explain it. She indicated to him that she wanted him to explain it. After a spin of a few minutes she finally said, “Ok so what you are giving me is one free job posting and no access to candidates is that right?” He said, “I think so but go to the website”. She will probably use the freebie but her comment was, “I am not paying them for anything, i’m not dumb enough to buy into a bait and switch- and i loathe those horrible commercials. Another country heard from.

    I had to laugh at the T-shirt. Been there,done that, bought the T-Shirt. Be careful where you wear it. From the sound of things some angry jobseeker may think you work there and shoot you. :)

  25. David Manaster

    @Marvin — I think that any word ending in “-jacking” is going to sound bad, but The Ladders’ practice of spidering jobs is not different then the policies at Indeed or SimplyHired. I believe that all three spider job content until they are asked to stop by the owner of the content. The main difference is that The Ladders overlays their promise of $100k+ jobs on top of the spidered content, and people get angry when that expectation is not met.

    @Tracy — Good point. To the extent that these services add value, they do make a difference in those answers.

    @Ash — Why is charging both sides of the transaction wrong? Banks do this every day when they charge both the depositors and the borrowers fees.

  26. Ash DeVane, CPC

    @David- I never really said it was “wrong”. It just gave me gas when they did it.

  27. Ash DeVane, CPC

    @David- Here’s the more polite answer to why I didn’t like The Ladder’s change from their original model of only charging the job-seeker. If the shoe were on the other foot, and the job posters were the only ones charged, but then The Ladders decided to also charge the job-seekers, I think those job seekers would be equally annoyed. Keep in mind, this happened before the economy went in the tank and we became even more concerned about the fair treatment of the unemployed.

  28. Nick Corcodilos

    @Ash: I think job jacking is wrong, and I’ll shortly prove it on my own blog. The cost to employers who are victimized by job-jacking (which I think is a very apt term) is staggering. Think about it: You post your company’s corporate information (that’s what a job posting is), Ladders steals it, slaps a false salary on it, and then what happens?

    I’ll repeat: Ladders knowingly slaps a salary on it that Ladders makes up out of whole cloth. What else is that, if not a lie?

  29. Ash DeVane, CPC

    @Nick- I’m an independent recruiter. I agree that job jacking is wrong. I haven’t used the Ladder’s in several years and didn’t have to endure that particular experience when I did post jobs there. I have shared on this thread what I have found distasteful about The Ladders. Don’t construe my silence on the job jacking issue as acceptance of the practice.

  30. Rebecca Sargeant

    What a joke Ladders is!!!

    Yesterday we looked into signing up for the free offering unaware what a scam they are.

    FYI for everyone…

    The new passport offering is a MESS. In addition to the customer service line not understanding the meaning of “Customer Service.” You can only set-up a profile and post a job. These means ALL you are doing is adding to their ability to charge jobseekers.

    https://recruit.theladders.com/passport/free-signup

  31. Sandra McCartt

    Good point Rebecca, and let us not forget, just like my friend who wanted questions answered on the phone and was referred to the web site. That little trick would increase the number of hits on the web site to prove up that their commercial created highly increased site traffic when actually a lot of the hits are because the “kids” have been told to refer people to the web site.

    It’s like a chorus line. A cunning array of stunts.

  32. David Manaster

    @Sandra — According to Compete.com, theladders.com had over a million unique visitors in January. Customer service people telling people that call in to visit the site wouldn’t move that needle at all.

  33. Sandra McCartt

    @David I could certainly be wrong but it seems to me that if 400 employees told one person a day to check the website. It would not take long for the hits to reach a million.

  34. David Manaster

    @Sandra — I see a couple of flaws in that logic.

    First, according to compete.com, The Ladders got over a million unique visitors — not hits — in January. Each unique visitor represents an actual person on the site that month, not an individual pageview or visit. Presumably, most people calling a customer service number have already been on the site and had an issue, so they would already have been counted.

    Second, in my experience telling people one by one to visit a web site is not a viable way to build any substantial traffic. And not all of the employees at The Ladders work in customer service. But assuming for a moment that it is and they are, let’s work through your scenario and assume that each day 400 employees have one person visit the site. That’s 400 employees x 1 person each x 22 working days per month. In total, that is 8,800 visits — a far cry from a million. I submit to you that ANY business could find a more productive use for their employees time.

  35. Jason Gorham

    Now we have a topic…Dave I don’t see you writing on here much so it must have peaked your interest. Here is my take, people want value and are willing to pay for value. The value that the ladders is offering is to separate yourself from the herd. The way you do that is by putting some skin in the game. But what if the whole herd has skin in the game? Secondly I have posted on the site and have helped people find jobs on the site…end result not impressed. A friend of my was a six sigma black belt with a lot of experience from GE. He had a subscription and wasn’t seeing any jobs. I helped him locate a job on linkup with equifax and he got the job. So he paid for a service and got a job for free? The second question I have is this…when I saw fb postings on this event I was like what? You paid a bunch of people to attend a “summit” that was a complain fest? The whole thing seems strange to me, but this has been going on for a while…why the sudden interest now?

  36. Sandra McCartt

    You would be correct. But what if 200 of their 400 employees talked to 8 people a day who called in when they got an email or saw a commercial or wanted to talk to someone without going to the web site. That would be one an hour which would be low for customer service. That might tweak that needle just a bit. But maybe not. Just roughly 35,000 people who got sent to the web site instead of getting questions answered.

    I’m sure your are correct that any business could find a more productive way to use employee time and it might not move the needle. So i suppose that it’s just crappy customer service to try and get people off the phone and onto the web site to sign up. Or maybe those kids are just having a hard time explaining it. It seems to be causing more angst.

  37. Tracy Brisson

    @Jason Based on what I have seen here and other blogs, the sudden interest is generated on their new commercials. It’s a win for them if you think there is no such thing as bad publicity.

  38. Sandra McCartt

    http://siteanalytics.compete.com/ladders.com/
    Would one of you data/stat guys take a look at this and tell me what it means. I am not a statistician.

  39. Lance Haun

    Sandra: The correct URL would be: http://siteanalytics.compete.com/theladders.com/

  40. Joshua Letourneau

    Now TheLadders site analytics are being evaluated? Lol, awesome.

  41. Sandra McCartt

    Thanks Lamce. The one I got sure looked strange.. :). What does all that mean Josh. Does it figure into the valuation of the company. What does web traffic really mean. Is there any metric that compares number of visitors to buyers?

  42. Margo Rose

    Interesting discourse.

  43. Ron Mcmanmon

    In 2003 we interviewed 1000′s of executives who had been laid off due to the tech crash. We asked each of them if the Outplacement program their former company provided helped and they pretty much all said, NO. When asked why?, they said they expected job leads. Job leads are very important to most people that do not have sales and marketing attributes and if Ladders can provide leads that are in the ballpark for $35 per month then GOOD FOR THEM! And for those of you thinking I am not getting the point… then you don’t know me too well.

    The other question we asked was who would they want helping them with their job search and they all (for the most part) said they would want a motivated executive recruiter. Hmmm… I would agree!

    My question to recruiters is; why don’t recruiters compete with DBM, Ladders, Monster, LinkedIn and all of the services that are cutting into their market share? I think (most) recruiters are smart enough and in a down turned economy they have enough time on their hands. And, I don’t buy the ethical rhetoric about not charging jobseekers a few bucks at this level. In fact, we all should start investing in our own careers.

  44. Nick Corcodilos

    Ron: I’ll answer your question.

    Interesting report from the people you interviewed, but not surprising. Most people want to pay someone to do it for them. The sad truth, reported in surveys again and again, is that there really is no service that will find you a job for money. Just a lot of people who wish it were so.

    Some of what you suggest is based on a fallacy. Headhunters (executive recruiters) don’t help anyone find a job. I’m surprised that as someone who’s been interviewing 1,000′s of executives, you don’t know that. Headhunters work for employers. We fill jobs; we don’t find jobs for job hunters at any level.

    Your fundamental misunderstanding of the search business is at the root of your suggestion that headhunters should compete with DMB, Ladders and so on. Why? Those are not competitors to headhunters. Employers spend $30,000 or more to fill a $100k+ position via a headhunter. They pay the other services you mention a few bucks to post a job. Where is the comparison? Where is the competition? Why would a headhunter want to spend time charging a few bucks, when he or she can charges tens of thousands to do what they do well already. (DMB and outplacement firms are another story. Employers spend $10k or more per downsized employee, not a few bucks. But your own survey reveals what a useless racket that is. If you have time, I’d be glad to explain to you how the use of outplacement firms by employers has nothing to do with finding them a job. It’s a form of legal insurance.)

    As for your other assertion, I don’t know one good headhunter who has time on his or her hands. They’re all very busy working on assignments. One of the newest headhunters I know told me he’s hiring headhunters.

    You don’t say what kind of work you do. You imply you’re an employer, but employers who interview executives know the difference between headhunters and job boards, because they cut the checks for both. So tell us what you do, please, and why you’ve been interviewing thousands of executives. Are you hiring them, or finding them jobs?

    I don’t know where the rhetoric started about charging jobseekers. I agree with you – if someone wants to charge money to find jobs for people, more power to them. As long as their service works. I just have never seen one such fee-based service for job hunters that really works. If it did, people would be singing its praises and paying out the wazoo to use. In the case of Ladders, Monster, et al., people do spend their money — but they’re not doing much praising. Wishful thinking doesn’t go very far when the “investment” doesn’t pay off.

  45. Joshua Letourneau

    @Nick, I don’t agree:

    “Headhunters (executive recruiters) don’t help anyone find a job.”

    You’re describing the transactional Headhunter. Transactional Headhunters are a dime a dozen. They treat Candidates like meat and in the next breath, they point another tired, vitriolic finger at TheLadders. Because they don’t charge the Candidate $30/mth, they see themselves as somehow superior to anyone who does.

    I agree we work for Clients and everything starts with the search assignment. However, your assertion, “I don’t know one good headhunter who has time on his or her hands” is only true because you describe them as only “good”. Being “good” isn’t “good enough” in this economy where the total number of nationwide Headhunters are down 70% since 2007.

    “Great” Headhunters find time to add value and provide consulting beyond the transaction; beyond the single search assignment. They pay it forward. They’re committed beyond the transaction.

    “Great” Headhunters do many of the things TheLadders does, yet they don’t charge. They help that potential Hiring Manager amp up their resume because perhaps they can engage you after they land at their new gig. They provide competitive intel, such as what organizations seem to be making moves in what niche areas, who’s hiring and firing, etc. They know the inside scoop, the “buzz” that can only be gained from conversations with real players in the niche. Great Headhunters are great because they become a partner to Great Candidates that then rely on them for opportunities and invaluable intel, not to mention career advice. Over time, this goodwill accumulates … sprinkle in some outstanding performance by your placed Candidates … and that’s how you dominate the niche.

    If a Headhunter has time to post here on ERE (like you and I), we have time to pay it forward and offer a helping hand.

    @Ron: Thank you for your injection of reality into this conversation. Dave’s analysis was objective as they come, and your comment hits the nail on the head: “In fact, we all should start investing in our own careers.” Most that agree with your take are afraid of being impaled in the comment stream, but you and I both know they’re out there. One of the most critical elements here is simply the fact that the Transactional Headhunter is a dying breed, and rightfully so. Times have changed …

  46. Ron Mcmanmon

    Hi Nick… My guess is you don’t subscribe to a scalable solution?

    To answer your question May 2001 I was the #1 billing recruiter in the nation with MRI. I am an executive recruiter, I am a career coach, a trainer and I have build and sold an Outplacement company to one of the largest HR groups in our industry. What gets me is people who think Executive Recruiters are one dimensional and the only thing they can do or have time to do is RECRUIT.

    I understand what recruiter “do” and “don’t do” for a living. The fundamental miss understanding of the “fundamentals of marketing” is the very reason why recruiters don’t sell other services (and our leaders are telling them this is the only way to recruit).

    First and foremost I am an industry expert and recruiter second. I want to be able to offer Outplacement (that works), Onboarding, CI and Legal Services (you know added value). If recruiters adopted these services in their portfolio they wouldn’t be the first to lose their jobs when the economy goes south and they can service their customers in a way Ladders will not be able to compete with.

    Anyway Nick, this is working for me but perhaps it’s not for everyone.

  47. Nick Corcodilos

    @Josh: Jargon doesn’t change reality. Headhunters are hired by and paid by employers to find hires. Headhunters are not in business to help anyone find a job.

    That’s the definition of the business. Once you can actually pull that off, and build the chops, then you can claim you’re saving the world.

    What qualifies you to label any headhunter “Transactional?”

    Your attempt to distinguish a “good” headhunter from a “great” headhunter is self-serving at best. Any good headhunter helps his or her candidates land the position. They also pay it forward every day.

    The transparent (and embarrassing) implication that I’m a “Transactional Headhunter” (Why the jargon, Josh?) and that you’re a “Great Headhunter” leaves a bit to be desired — like proof. When and where do you share your headhunter’s insights and expertise with job hunters, to improve their lot?

    This headhunter has time to talk to hundreds of Harvard MBA execs about how to stand out when job hunting. And to hundreds of executive-management Cornell grads, about how to work with headhunters. And to thousands of professionals, in a weekly newsletter (free, BTW) that’s been going out for over 8 years.

    How and where do you spend your Great Headhunter’s time “helping” job hunters?

    Lose the superior attitude, Josh. It’s unbecoming. Holding forth with other insiders doesn’t do squat for job hunters or employers, who need all the good (or “great”) help they can get nowadays.

    (BTW, an honest “Transactional Headhunter” who speaks plainly is worth more than a “Great Headhunter” who quacks jargon, any day.)

  48. Nick Corcodilos

    @Ron: Congrats on being #1 at MRI. Good for you if you can expand into all sorts of other areas. I’ve found that the services you describe create a conflict of interest for a headhunter. Glad it’s working for you. And if you can charge fees to fill jobs, and charge fees to find jobs for people, go for it. But please don’t suggest that there’s something wrong with headhunters who don’t view job boards as competitors, and who aren’t interested in working on that level.

    Do you buy Letourneau’s suggestion that “Transactional Headhunters” are somehow “Greater” than other headhunters, and that they’re a dying breed, because they don’t consult and train and do other kinds of work? Or that because they don’t talk about “the state of headhunting” on forums, they are somehow less sophisticated?

    I think most recruiters don’t “sell” other services because they’re very good at what they do; they like doing it; and they don’t want to get involved in other services.

    I just tried to answer your question, as one headhunter. I wish you great success with all your other projects.

  49. Joshua Letourneau

    @Nick: Lol, take a deep breath and try to stay focused here. Your comments were, and I quote, “Headhunters (executive recruiters) don’t help anyone find a job”, and, “I don’t know one good headhunter who has time on his or her hands.”

    When I say you’re dead wrong on both fronts, that’s not jargon … and writing a “newsletter” makes you right on neither.

    The anger within the tone and tenor of your approach and conversations online is hilarious. One moment, you’re floating around the web flaming people about TheLadders, and on the other, you claim of consulting “Harvard MBA Execs” and “executive-management Cornell grads”. And after making that claim, you suggest I’m the one with the “superior attitude”? This is what I will say – anytime you’d like to compete with me on the Exec Search front, I’m game. Given how you’ve consistently positioned legitimate business concerns as “jargon”, I can only imagine Client and Candidate conversations.

    And here’s my offer given how ERE now owns Fordyce: If you’d like to debate your affinity for yesteryear’s “Transactional Headhunting”, let’s do it at the conference in front of an audience. We can call it “Old School versus New School”, and may the person with the most crown applause win :) I’d love to debate with you all these “conflicts of interest” that you claim, but let’s get off these forums and do it face-to-face. I mean, if you’re really out to entertain, let’s go big. You’re calling me a “zero-integrity” “disgrace” over at HRExaminer is all the motivation I need. I’d like to see if you can keep your cool after being proved wrong time and time and time again for everyone in person to see.

    Lose the negativity and bloviated screeching about opinions you don’t agree with Nick. It’s unbecoming, close-minded, and most importantly, weak.

  50. Nick Corcodilos

    @Josh: Still haven’t gotten over what you did on Sumser’s blog? You took a position and posted it at length. Then, after you were criticized, you re-wrote it, making the comments of others appear like non sequitors. Yes, that’s a disgrace and demonstrates zero integrity.

    We have a very short phrase here in New Jersey that cuts through jargon and any inflated sense of self-worth. Shove it.

  51. Joshua Letourneau

    @Nick: Lol, that’s exactly what I thought you’d say in the face of an open challenge. Being from NJ as well, not all of us are “Jersey Shore” types. Good luck with those “Harvard MBA Execs” . . .

  52. Ron Mcmanmon

    @nick: Hi Nick, NO… [I believe] most recruiters don’t provide other services because they have been taught, told or directed to focus exclusively on the “placement” because of the “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” mentality. This is usually driven from the top down. I whole heartily agree with healthy activities but I also believe in strategy and evolution. Having one product vs. a product line is always a better scenario in sales… yes? If this is not true why then did we lose 80% (or whatever) of the executive search industry when tech crashed?

    BTW GUYS… I usually don’t participate in these forums because of this very distasteful condescending, “I’m better than you are” ego driven BS. Bottom line is, we can build a better machine (with smart guys like you and Josh) if we seriously try and learn from one another. What is good for me might not work for someone else but we should respect our counterpart. My challenge for you two is to find the common ground? This usually makes for a solid foundation:) IMHO Peace-Out!

  53. Sandra McCartt

    Let me say this about Ron’s comment about a better machine. To you Josh, before you jump out there and totally denigrate those of us who brought this profession from a bunch of little old ladies sitting in cubes, charging people to find them a job, then collecting those fees at 25.00 bucks a week, to smart people working for employers. We brought this profession a damn long way. We did it without technology. Then we embraced technology. It made us better, more informed,expanded our reach and our ability to place people not just in our own little puddle but all over the world.

    I sincerely hope that you guys and gals who are making all the noise about the current “new school” of recruiting make as many millions of dollars, bring as much value as we have, gain the trust of the people you work for (both employers and candidates) and learn as we did that every new clever idea is not going to work. Some do some don’t. If it had not been for those old “employment agency” types who laid the first foundation for what would become executive recruiting we might all be selling insurance. They gave us something to build on as i hope we have given you something to build on.

    We didn’t do it by throwing around big words, going to conferences, beating our chests and wanting to debate about whose is biggest. We did it by doing it and doing it well.
    We didn’t have to say we’re “paying it forward”. When somebody fell through the office door we just stopped for a few minutes, reviewed their resume, made suggestions as to the resume and where they might go to find a job. It wasn’t then and it isn’t now “value add” it’s just helping somebody when they need help. It’s what we do because we know how. And believe it or not we are pretty damn good at it. That’s not ego it’s just experience..we should be at this point.

    When one of our clients called us upset because they had to lay off people and wanted us to help. We did and we do. Sometimes we get paid for it and sometimes we don’t.

    Were we and are we better than the folks who hired us originally. Probably. Will those of you who can take this profession to the next level be better than we are. Probably, i hope so. I would hate to think that i spent all these decades in this profession trying to clean up the image of the recruiter, shoot straight, not scam people with big promises of what i didn’t intend to do for them, only to have it go the way of the dodo bird and disappear up it’s own anal orafice because the young lions were so busy beating their chests about how much better they are that they lost site of where we came from and where we need to go.

    As to the original headline of this post. Is the Ladders a scam? Those of us who have been around this industry for a long time have seen a lot of these deals come and go. As each new one pops up, we start to hear and experience first hand some crap that makes us cringe. Anything close to our industry that looks like shysters out for a fast buck, we simply hate it.

    It is a truism that the reason scams, con games, ponzi schemes and the lottery works is because not everybody loses.If nobody ever won the lottery it would be over pretty quick. If nobody ever got a job through the Ladders or no recruiter ever got a candidate that they could place it would have died on the vine pretty quickly.

    Do I think it’s a Scam, yes i do. I have worked too hard not to misrepresent a job, a salary or a candidate to feel any other way about anyone or anything that misrepresents what they are selling….for any price. Personally i have interacted with five people (not a big number out of all those thousands) who were scammed by being presented my job as a viable job when it had been filled for over three years. I know personally that many jobseeker resumes i was forwarded or contacted were not 100K a year candidates so to me that’s a scam to tell me they are or should be. I don’t care who they charge, who they fly to New York or how many millions they spend on nasty commercials, or how much money they make. In my book, based on my personal experience ,they misrepresent what they do and what they sell. That may not be your definition of a scam but it is mine so to hell with them.

    That Mr. Josh does not make me one of the “sheep, blindly following group think”. If you have success with them and you have a different opinion dandy. That’s why scams work if it works for more people than it scams is it a scam. In my book if five were scammed it’s a scam. End of story.

    Now i am going back to work to try and fill about nine jobs that are not going to be listed on the Ladders. In my own style, thank you very much. It will in fact take a transaction or two to make that happen. Most business deals do require a transaction or two. I also have to see if i can come up with a solution for a recruiter friend of mine who is in the ditch due to getting all caught up in all the new hype. All she needs to do is make a placement or two by doing what we do.

  54. Joshua Letourneau

    @Sandra: Sandra, believe it or not, our opinions and thoughts on helping people are actually quite closely aligned. I agree with what you’re suggesting here. It’s no mistake that the best Recruiting Trainers (imho) have been around for such a long time. You’re also right that we need to know where we came from to know where we’re going. By no means do we stand apart in this regard.

    Regarding the title of this post, I respect your take. In fact, I acknowledge many of your concerns. I don’t objectively agree with all, but believe it or not, I’m aligned with you on many. The point of my original FOT post was to point out some positive elements because there is so much controversy about TheLadders. That being said, I didn’t realize that the emotions around this company were synonymous with discussions of ethics and law in our space. Now I know, and that’s no understatement.

    My objection was to the statements that, “Headhunters (executive recruiters) don’t help anyone find a job”, and, “I don’t know one good headhunter who has time on his or her hands.” I agree with neither.

    I will admit I made a mistake positioning the difference as “Old School versus New School”. I say that because I believe we need a massive injection of “Old School” to counter the deluge of Candidate criticisms we’ve started receiving given the explosion of new media. I should have said “Transactional versus Beyond-Transactional.” And you’re right that transactions are a part of the business. It’s just my opinion that the transactions occur as a result of us going above and beyond purely the search assignment. To Ron’s point, there is certainly common ground here among the majority of us.

  55. Karen Siwak

    The debate has gone off a tangent that, while interesting, muddies the already muddied waters. Some of The Ladders’ business practices are misleading, if not downright duplicitous. The question is whether The Ladders are duplicitous by happenstance or by intention, and how motivated the company is to move away from its shady roots and start providing genuinely transparent value-added services to candidates and employers. Until there is some evidence of a culture shift, many of us in the career services industry will continue to steer our clients away from The Ladders.

    Josh, you are arguing that The Ladders’ intentions are good, but by continuously denying that the shady roots exist, your credibility as a champion for The Ladders is shot, especially since you seem to base your position on “They wined and dined me, therefore they are good”.

    Since you now have a direct line to The Ladders’ executive offices, why don’t you invite them to participate in a public debate, where they can defend their practices or indicate how they are changing. This would be much more useful than the public slugfest with Nick. I understand that there is an open invite to The Ladders on The Recruiting Animal show.

  56. Sandra McCartt

    Ok, damnit, i need to go to work but i am going to address a couple more things here.

    Unless candidates pay you to find jobs for them ,as an executive recruiter/headhunter you do not find jobs for people. All of us once in a while get a good candidate whom we know will be a good fit for a company so we market them to an existing client. The distinction here is ,that even if we market that candidate,the employer is going to pay us. If you or any recruiter is being paid to find jobs for people you are not a recruiter you are an employment agency or a paid career consultant or something else or maybe you are both. I don’t double dip cause i don’t want to. By definition a recruiter finds people for companies, or recruits for the army or students for a college. It may be semantics and certainly we help the candidates we represent find a job if we can place them with one of our clients. We give a lot of free advice but if somebody asks me if I find jobs for people, no i don’t. I find people for companies to fill jobs that are listed with me.

    As to any good headhunters having time on their hands. I dont’ know any either. Everybody i know whom i would classify as a good headhunter or even some mediocre ones who barely make their draw are busy as cranberry merchants right now. Did a lot of good headhunters have some time on their hands last year. Yes they did.

    And what the fuck is Transactional VS Beyond Transactional.
    Everybody goes beyond just reading the job order and throwing crap against the wall. The first transaction is when the phone rings and we get that job order. Sorry, i am so old that i still call it a job order but i can live with search assignment. The last transaction is when that person i placed 30 years ago right out of school who is now one of my hiring managers, dies of old age and we do the final transaction to the beyond. :)

    As to the title of this post. Those are facts to me, something that happened, not concerns. They happened to me and five other people who got scammed. Just like when my damn horse stepped on my foot last night. It was not a concern that he might or a maybe or hearsay. He freakin well did it. It’s a fact. I will be very careful when i work with him next time because he did it once so i know he may, can and will do it again. Or i can send the sucker down the road even if there are some positives about him. If you think he is a little darlin cause he never stepped on your foot you can have him but you are forewarned that the big black bastard will in fact stomp your foot cause he has done it before.

    Ok, you didn’t have any idea how strongly a lot of people felt about this bunch. There are some that are out there that you may have never heard of. All i can say to you is before you start pointing out the positives of what might just be a turd and get it all over yourself, take a look at your own experience with the one candidate. It sounded pretty scammy to me.

    I appreciate your post here that you may have used the wrong approach with the old school VS new. From an old headhunter to a young lion > How about you look at who you might piss off or miss what you really wanted to say by the way you state something before you jump out there.

    As i said to my young son when he, as a reasonably new staffer with a big 4, sat in my office bemoaning the fact that nobody would listen to his great and revolunary ideas about the tax world. “My dear, you barely know enough at this point to balance your own checkbook. ” “Now go back to work and listen to those old bastards whom you think are so old school, stodgy and boring.” “When you know everything they know then get after it, change the world.”

    We laugh about that conversation at least once a month and he uses it with his “young lion” staffers almost daily.

    Perhaps you and i will laugh about this someday. It would be nice to have a little levity. I think the whole world is funny, i’ve been in the recruiting bidness so long that if i don’t laugh i will go crazy. I am gonna , really, really i am, gonna go do a transaction or two before i go to the great beyond.

  57. Joshua Letourneau

    Karen, the following is not my logic: “They wined and dined me, therefore they are good”. Dave wrote an objective analysis here, while I wrote a subjective analysis (at FistfulofTalent.com) of the positive things I observed . . . only because I understood the level of controversy surrounding the firm.

    They did not ask me to write anything, but given such negative op-ed blogging in our space about them, my approach was to shine a slightly different light among the overwhelmingly (and justified) concerns. In that sense, my post was an effort to providing a more balanced perspective (hence “More Cirque de Soleil than Evil Empire”.) As I can now attest, there is no room for this perspective in our space. An example was the lack of the “Mahogany Row”, where all Execs work in the same room together in what I’d consider a constant brainstorming session. I found that unique. I’m certainly not a champion of all-things TheLadders, but did notice some positive things amidst all our concerns. Nothing more, nothing less.

    If you’re asking me to call an Exec at TheLadders and tell them there is an open invite to an “Animal Show”, I’m not sure how far that will go. Frankly, I don’t know what BlogTalkRadio shows are listened to by anyone on their staff.

    However, here is my objective recommendation that I think may have a chance of working well: Tweet it out to their PR presence on Twitter (@TheLaddersNews) if you’re getting no response. This is the only reasonable thing I can think to do. Leverage Social Media to your advantage and get people RT’ing it and Liking/Sharing it on Facebook. Generate buzz on the open web, not here on contained blogs because most have zero exposure to them. I imagine if you generate enough buzz, perhaps one of their PR people will consider. I can’t confirm that this may definitely work, but if your approach is sound and balanced, I believe this may offer the best shot.

  58. Sandra McCartt

    The Ladders News just posted an interesting link to their take on the “Position Accomplished Summit”.

    I am glad to know that you guys were in agreement with The Ladders. The spin is on.

  59. chris web

    I don’t know if you can call the ladders a scam but it is a business model that tries to rip people off by claiming to provide a product or service that it can not or at least does not provide. I am speaking from experience of trying the service and seeing that the subscription model is the only way they could survive. the are fabricating an air of exclusivity and their results as well. They don’t have all 100,000 plus jobs and anyone hiring for 100,000 plus jobs would be foolish to limit their search to the ladders.com. maybe you could actually call it a scam.

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

  61. Eye Tracking: What parts of a CV do recruiters actually look at? | Neurobonkers.com

    [...] worth noting that in their day-to-day work the company have been accused of operating a “scam” and being guilty of “fraud“, both over separate issues to this more than a [...]

  62. How recruiters look at your resume | WEBGRAPHIC

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

  63. Controversy ladder | Lentablog

    [...] Is the Ladders a Scam? – ERE.netFeb 15, 2011 … But people vote with their dollars, so this question goes to the heart of the controversy over The Ladders. The company has built an $80 million … [...]

  64. John Galloway

    The strangest aspect of all this is that there is no mention of The Ladders success rate of actually finding people jobs. That is after all what matters isn’t it? Their site currently (in the promo to upgrade from free to paid) says “apply for any of the 934 jobs listed”. Uh 934 jobs nation wide? That seems pretty small doesn’t it?

  65. Job Search- Climbing TheLadders: When Good Job Boards Go Bad « CPG Jobs

    [...] to the Corcolidos piece, TheLadders’ claim of $100+K jobs is a half-truth at best, and only a small percentage of the jobs posted on the site are actually “hand-screened” as the [...]

  66. TheLadders Sued in Consumer Class Action That Calls Site a “Scam” - ERE.net

    [...] Throughout the suit are references and examples of the company’s own advertising and statements by Cenedella, as well as blog posts critical of The Ladders. Among them is a strongly worded article by ERE Media’s founder and chairman, David Manaster. [...]

  67. Job Board TheLadders Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Calling It a “Scam”

    [...] and statements by Cenedella, as well as blog posts critical of The Ladders. Among them is a strongly worded article by ERE Media’s founder and chairman, David Manaster. (Editor’s Note: ERE Media is the parent company of [...]

  68. No More Job Titles or Cubicles | TheLadders | eHarmony | TALENT2050: Multicultural@Work

    [...] Is the Ladders a Scam? [...]

  69. Kris Kaznaski

    The Ladder’s Resume Service is a scam. I have known quite a few co-workers who initially used their critiquing service and received the SAME crituquie with only minute differences. These differences were in places where they simply pulled information from the resume and posted it in one of the sections to “personalize” it. They scare people into thinking that their resumes are sub-par and then try to get you to pay enormous fees to have THEM write it for you. This service preys on people fear of being inadequate and not finding a job.

  70. John Galloway

    I don’t think TheLadders.com is a scam as such, it just isn’t a site that works to find you a job. I paid the $50 for a 3 month membership and did not get a single relevant (i.e. interesting, looks like it has potential, etc) job inquiry. I got all my inquiries from LinkedIn and got plenty from that (including the one I finally accepted). The few other Ladders members that I know all have said the same thing, the site is worthless. I will give the operators the benefit of the doubt and say that they are trying to make it worthwhile, i.e. its not being operated as a scam, but my recommendation would be to skip it.

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