Holding job listings hostage ...

I’ve waited a while to address this issue, although do I mention it in my about section here.  As regular readers of this space know, I do a vast amount on online research for job opportunities, and I am primarily looking for executive positions.  This puts me on a collision course with various sites out there which say that they either are the gateway to particularly lucrative and/or high-level positions, or purport to specifically “match” you to openings.  For a fee.  Recurring monthly on your credit card.  With no easy way to stop the “subscription”.

I thought that I was the only person enraged over this practice, but I recently ran into some blog posts (this one in particular) which made me take a look around the web (finding pieces such as this and this and this), and prompted me to wade into this somewhat unpleasant topic.

From what I’ve noticed (and I’ve not really researched the subject, this is simply from my interaction with these organizations on the internet), there was initially the one group (with its assorted sub-groups “targeted” for various industries) which promised “100k” jobs.  I got on their mailing list, and was constantly frustrated to find that, when I tried to follow a link to a listing of a position that sounded ideal for my resume, I’d end up at a page that was demanding that I sign up for a recurring monthly credit card charge just to SEE the listing.

This was, perhaps, my greatest aggravation with this: I couldn’t even get to the information to make a decision that the job was a good enough fit to make a call on whether it was worth paying the ransom to access the application process!  And, frankly, what these companies are doing IS essentially “holding the information for ransom”, and it’s evil and sleazy, and evidently very profitable.  

I make the latter point because more and more “job sites” are using the same tactics.  Even ones that started out very useful for their “free” services are now putting the squeeze on would-be applicants.  One (the target of the initial post linked to above), recently changed so that it won’t let you access jobs it lists unless it feels you’re a match … I saw a job listed there, for which I have 30 years of experience, and it was telling me that I “didn’t qualify” and couldn’t get to the information!  Of course, were I to sign up for the recurring payments, I’d have access to whatever jobs I’d be interested in applying to.

Unfortunately, there are many “sharks” out there, and when they smell lucre in the water, there’s a feeding frenzy.  In the past several months I’ve seen scads of “targeted” job sites which list positions, but won’t let you get to them unless you pay up.  After all, setting up one of these sites isn’t rocket science … just have a program that scours the web for jobs matching certain keywords, then dump the listings into a database, and stick a “cash register” at the front end … any of the “black hat” SEO/affiliate guys could whip one up in an afternoon.  The other day I started listing the sites I kept running into and how much they charged, and figured that were I to fork over all their ransom demands, I’d be paying nearly $300/month … just to be able to see these job listings!

It’s sad to say, but one of the highlights of my weeks is when I’m able to extract enough information from the “kidnappers'” job descriptions to be able to Google my way to a free version of the listing.  Most of these jobs are listed elsewhere on the web (be it at the specific company’s own site, or some industry job board, etc.), and if I can find them, I feel that I’ve scored at least a small victory for the honest job seeker and (however minimally) “stuck it to” the scam sites.

Now, in those articles I linked to, the biggest complaint was about the resume services being peddled by the same sleaze merchants, but that’s not my main gripe, although I will revisit that issue on another day.  Just let me leave you with the suggestion that if they’re charging you to even look at the listing, they’re running a scam!

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