A New Way to Source IT Pros: Pay Them to Talk

A few years ago a tech friend of mine changed his phone number. An inconvenient and, in this day of permanent numbers, a somewhat unusual occurrence.

The reason, he explained, was to get away from the recruiters pitching him jobs. He’s a highly experienced systems manager with a record of leading successful project teams for a major aerospace company. On a slow week, he’d get two calls. His record was 11 recruiting calls in five days.

It wasn’t just the frequency, he told me. It was the “ignorance” of too many recruiters, who would call with jobs that weren’t a fit, were outside his specialty, or who would start a call asking him what he did.

After hearing of JoinJune.com, a new tech recruiting site that’s on the cusp of its grand opening, I asked my friend what he thought. When I told him he’d get paid $100 or more for every recruiter call he accepted, he response was an unqualified yes — if he was looking.

That’s exactly what Lane Campbell, co-founder and CEO, is hoping.

“I think June is the next evolution” in recruiting, he says. By requiring recruiters to pay candidates for that first contact interview, it “cuts through the noise” for tech candidates who are in one of the most in-demand fields.

When a recruiter has to pay for each conversation (pricing starts at $60 and goes up from there, with $100 being the most common), it makes them more selective. Before spending that $100, recruiters are going to do enough backgrounding on the candidate to have confidence in the match.

On the other side of the deal, a candidate who gets notified of a recruiter’s interest in having a conversation will review the job description to decide if it’s something they want to pursue.

Campbell discovered for-fee interviewing when he ran a tech staffing firm. He paid candidates a modest amount to talk with him, finding it worked. He also discovered other agencies were doing the same.

The obvious question: what’s to keep a candidate from gaming the system?

“Among other aspects,” a note on the JoinJune site tells candidates, “we look at where you’re currently employed, what your role is, and any public portfolio you may have. To ensure the quality of the members in our network, each application is carefully examined by a real person.”

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A post specifically for accepted candidates by co-founder and CTO Amir Yasin explaining the process details some of the safeguards:

  • You get a detailed description of what the recruiter wants to chat about, how long they anticipate the call will last (usually 12–17 minutes).
  • If you decide you’re interested in a chat, you schedule a call through our conference system. The call is recorded to prevent fraud (candidates misrepresenting their skills, or recruiters misrepresenting the call to get a refund).
  • You may choose to share your contact info at any time, there’s no requirement for you to do so.
  • You get paid whether or not you pursue the opportunity any further.
  • Recruiters do get to see how many calls you’ve taken in the last 90 days … if they see you’ve taken a bunch, they’re less likely to reach out to you. This prevents candidates with highly in-demand skills from gaming the system.
  • You will have an opportunity to rate the recruiters you speak to, ensuring that bad ones naturally get weeded out while good ones rise.

On the flip side, if a candidate misrepresents themselves or their actual interest, recruiters can get a refund and they and candidates both provide feedback on their interaction.

Participating in June, says Campbell, means, “I’m a serious recruiter. You are a serious candidate.”

But whether the fee is $100 or $1,000 (as at least a handful of professionals demand), will top talent participate? Campbell points to the 20 percent of the candidates who, he says, are MIT grads. “If you look (at who’s signing up), the top talent is there … They want a firewall from recruiters,” he says, adding that it is the top talent that’s most likely to already be getting recruiter calls.

Since launching on August 30, the JoinJune has enrolled about 1,000 or so candidates. Campbell says signups now average about 100 a day; the company goal is 100,000 by the end of the year. An affiliate program by which agencies will share in the candidate interview payments for every one of their candidates who join June.

Later this week, the first recruiters will be allowed in. More will follow in the coming weeks. Corporate, as well as agency recruiters, can participate. What’s required is an up front $500 minimum and acceptance.

One last question: What’s with the name? In January, new recruiting budgets kick in. June was picked as sort of a reminder that recruiting is year round.

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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