Scuttlebutt on TheLadders.com

Of the 40,000+ employment websites that now exist, few of them attract as much attention or generate as much controversy as TheLadders.com.  For a subscription fee of $30 per month, this site claims to provide job hunters with a steady stream of job openings at the $100,000K level and above.  Here’s a direct quote from their website, in fact, summing up their unique value proposition:

“TheLadders.com brings $100k+ job seekers real, open executive-level jobs across the US and around the world. Our targeted sites list more than 35,000 new $100k+ jobs each month across every industry, in companies of all types and sizes. We only list jobs that pay more than $100,000/year, including many C-level, VP, Director and Manager jobs. If you’re in the market for a $100k+ job, you won’t find a better resource anywhere.”

Is this service worth the price tag?  That’s where the controversy kicks in.  Having asked my clients repeatedly over the years whether they felt they were getting value out of the service, for those who had subscribed to it, the answer heavily leans to the “no” end of the spectrum — although there were definitely a few folks who DID feel it was worth the money.  In addition, I personally don’t care for the company’s advertising strategy and the fact that they claim to have a “free” membership tier, but this tier does not allow people to actually APPLY to any jobs or see the application details.  It smells a little bait-and-switch from my perspective.  They also imply (or at least have in the past) that a subscription will provide people to access to many exclusive jobs not advertised anywhere else, which is a highly questionable claim, at best, although I noted that the lingo they now have on their website carefully tiptoes around saying this overtly — and positions them, instead, as a site that simply aggregates listings from other places to make things more convenient for the six-figure job hunter.  This is a very important distinction, since the average person may well be willing to pay $30 each month for a set of top-drawer job leads not available anywhere else, but I doubt many people would pay this same fee for the “convenience” of just having these leads collected in one place, when they could get similiar results from a free search on sites such as http://www.indeed.com and http://www.simplyhired.com.

At ANY rate, my intention here isn’t necessarily to bash TheLadders into oblivion, but simply to educate the novice job hunter about what they’re really buying when they sign up for this kind of service — since it’s easy to get sucked into the marketing hype.  And if you want a second opinion, I’d strongly encourage you to click here and read a recent article written by my favorite career author of all time, Nick Corcodilos of Ask the Headhunter.  He’s not nearly as shy as I am about sharing his opinions of TheLadders.com.  It’s well worth a few minutes of your time…

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2 Responses to “Scuttlebutt on TheLadders.com”

  1. Bruce Sullivan March 5, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    I subscribed to TheLadders for several months. While I found the articles to be useful — or at least interesting — at times, the value of the service fell far short of the recurring cost. Very few of the jobs listed were exclusive to the TheLadders — and none were applicable to me and my field. More to the point, however, I found a handful of jobs that were interesting but were… bogus. Even today there is a posting for an opportunity at Microsoft which isn’t actually available. It does not show up in search results on MS’s site *unless* the job req # is specified. And that is when you discover that it is an old position that is no longer valid.
    It’s not my intent to bash TheLadders. I do think there is some value there. But — for me — it provides nothing that isn’t available elsewhere. It was just more noise in my inbox.

  2. Thought you might like the Corporate Recruiters perspective – I can understand why many don’t feel that TheLadders is worth it because I have used Ladders many times to post corporate jobs. Each time I am inundated with hundreds of resumes, none of which are on target, most not even close. I suspect everyone who has paid their monthly fee applies to almost everything in hopes that something will stick. Having posted literally many dozens of jobs I don’t believe I have ever made a hire from TheLadders.

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