Stealth Job Site NotchUp Makes Companies Pay To Interview You

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notchup-logo.pngThe problem with most job sites is that the people companies really want to hire don’t put their resumes on them because they are happy in their current 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. Who wants to bother looking for a job anyway if you don’t have to? That’s right up there with looking for a new house in terms of time-sinks to avoid.

The folks at NotchUp, a stealth startup based in Los Altos, California launching later this month, have a better idea. Founded by two Peerflix refugees, Jim Ambras and Rob Ellis, 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.

notchup-price.pngThe site lets you set whatever price you like per interview, but also provides a calculator that takes into account your current position, experience, education, and salary to come up with a number. What I like about this approach is that it uses economic incentives to try to bring a better inventory of talent onto the market, just like Zillow does with its “Make Me Move” feature that lets people make unsolicited offers on houses that are not officially on the market. 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.

According to the site, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Powerset are all corporate beta testers using NotchUp for recruitment (well, maybe not Yahoo). NotchUp is still in stealth. The only way to get into the site right now is to be invited by a current user, which is how I learned about it.

Setting up a profile is easy, especially if you already use LinkedIn. NotchUp just imports your LinkedIn profile, you set your price, and you are ready to go. Any friend you refer to the site who gets an interview earns you a 10 percent referral fee. As employers search the site, they can make offers to interview you, which you see in your inbox. You can choose to only get offers from corporations, or from headhunters as well. And you can block recruiters from any particular company (like the one you currently work for) from seeing your profile. The service is free for job seekers, and companies pay NotchUp a fee for each resulting interview.

NotchUp is a really good idea. It turns job hunting into something more people will want to do in a way that makes them feel good about themselves. Even if you don’t get the job, you get paid for your time.

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