Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Get Paid Hundreds of Dollars Just to Interview For Jobs

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: , ,

...like free donuts every Friday.

Hopefully you’re like me and are able to resist throwing yourself at all of the web startups du jour that keep popping up all over the place. A couple of years ago it was MySpace that drove all of the kiddies to hurl themselves like lemmings at a cliff. Now you’ve got websites with names like Fwurgle, Choopsey, and Hobnobble promising to do something to improve people’s lives when really all they’re doing is complicating them even further in order to make a quick buck.

So when I first heard about NotchUp a few months ago, I totally passed it off as another internet startup that would make a bang for a few days, maybe rake in a few dollars for its creators, and then make way for the next one-hit e-wonder. But then NotchUp resurfaced a couple of weeks ago, still alive, still promising to make people’s lives better, and (almost) ready to open for business.

So what is this NotchUp I keep talking about? Well, it’s a lot of things. On the surface, NotchUp is a service that connects prospective employees with businesses looking to hire. In other words, NotchUp is a headhunter—someone paid to help companies find good workers. If this were all NotchUp were, it would already be out of the picture because the world has more than enough headhunters already.

Where NotchUp distinguishes itself from your everyday headhunter is that 1) you don’t pay them a penny; the company looking to hire you does; 2) NotchUp passes on some (likely most) of the money it gets from prospective employers to you, the job candidate; and 3) you don’t even need to be hired by the company to get your money. In short, NotchUp helps you get paid to interview for jobs. And not just a few pennies per interview either. NotchUp claims that qualified candidates could demand in the neighborhood of $500 per interview.

At this point you probably just quit your sub-$30,000 a year job after doing the math that you could make your entire annual salary in a few months with just 60 job interviews at $500 apiece. If so, you may want to start interviewing for real because there’s a few things you should know about NotchUp:

  • They haven’t really started operating yet. Yes, you can sign up for a NotchUp account today, but nobody’s getting paid for interviews quite yet.
  • There’s a lot of competition. NotchUp recently hit all of the big social networking sites, so they’re probably already in the six figures for membership numbers. That said, I would expect that fully 90% of NotchUp’s current enrollment would be lucky to pass an interview for the position of 2nd Dishwasher Assistant. So if you have high-demand skills, there’s still hope for you.
  • Nobody really knows how it’ll turn out. NotchUp may or may not already be in talks with prospective employers and interviewers, but its claims of “$500+ per interview” are really just conjecture at this point. Maybe a few high-demand positions could fetch that much when NotchUp first launches, but I would expect the actual returns to fall a good bit short.
  • It’s just asking to be abused. When all you have to do to get paid is interview for the job, you’re opening up the possibility of people who become professional job interviewees—folks who sign up for interviews left and right while knowing full well they’re not really looking for a new job. If the abuse is bad enough, it could be the undoing of NotchUp.
  • Your current boss might see you. While NotchUp appears to have some rudimentary filtering techniques designed to help you hide your NotchUp profile from unwanted attention (say, from your current employer), they may be easy to get around. So unless you think your boss will buy into your explanation that you’re “just interviewing for jobs for fun and profit,” beware that potentially anyone could see your profile and assume you’re looking for new work.

Right now, NotchUp has a lot of promise but not much more than hype and resumes to show for its efforts so far. But if you’re okay with putting yourself out there on the internet, then you’ve got nothing to lose by signing up with NotchUp for free and seeing where it goes.

Oh, and while anyone can sign up for NotchUp, if you get referred by an existing member, you don’t have to wait for your application to be reviewed and possibly rejected. So if you want an invite, send me an e-mail. Note that I do get a 10% bonus for interviews completed by people I refer, so I especially encourage top-level astronaut baseball players who will fetch $50,000 per interview to ask me for an invite.

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