Job candidate paid for interviewing!Especially during periods of high unemployment (like now, for example) when more candidates are competing for a smaller number of job vacancies, employers seem to hold all the cards. Candidates are made to jump through hoop after hoop with little if any value placed on their time, effort, or status as a sentient human being.

Take, for example, Meredith. Meredith applied for a senior analytics role at a major advertising technology firm in New York City (Resume Deli wrote her resume and stepped her through two rounds of mock interviews in preparation). After two interviews—one with an external recruiter and one with the hiring manager—Meredith was offered the job! She bought some new work threads and informed another prospective employer that she had accepted a different offer. But when Meredith arrived for her first day of work, she was made to wait in the lobby for nearly an hour before a company “representative” appeared to tell her that her business line—and therefore her position—had been cut earlier in the week. The representative’s only response to Meredith’s tear-filled protest was: Didn’t you read the news on our Facebook page?

Then there’s Bill, who submitted his resume for a CEO vacancy at a mid-size online publisher. After three rounds of meetings with seven different interviewers, Bill was asked to prepare and deliver an hour-long business-case to Board members and C-Level staff. Bill complied, then spent the next week preparing. It’s now been six months since Bill delivered his presentation and he’s never heard back regarding his status. (Bill is too angry to take Resume Deli’s advice to follow-up …heck, maybe Bill’s right).

Or John, who wrote a two-page social media plan for a non-profit agency as part of the interview process for a director of communications position, then wrote to follow up after six weeks of waiting. John was told that there must have been “some email confusion” (gently suggesting that it was somehow John’s flub) and that the job had just been offered to someone else. In fact, the company employee who responded to John’s email misspelled his name and referenced a social media plan that clearly wasn’t the one he’d submitted.

Or Joanne, who interviewed for a research position at a leading health information website and never heard back despite being told that she would be getting a second-round interview—it was just a matter of finding time in the senior director’s calendar.

Stories like these piss me off. And there are so many more of them—don’t get me started!

Uh, oh…too late…

What about poor Marc? Marc traveled from New York to North Carolina to interview for a director-level event-management role at a leading university. He was only informed that the position description had changed upon his arrival in the Tar Heel State. He’d prepared his shtick for a job that no longer existed! And he probably wouldn’t have taken a day off of work and made the trip down there had he known in advance.

There’s only so much that a job candidate can do to ward off scenarios like these. After all, it’s not in the job seeker’s power to provide employers will moral fabric, empathy, or a soul. A better resume won’t make a bit of difference; neither will more interview prep. Perhaps an improved networking strategy could help to avoid single-minded recruiters and fake job postings in the first place. But in my opinion, the real answer is for employers to put more skin in the game.

Job seekers should be paid to interview…paid for their time and their work output.

How would that work? It’s simple. Employers pay job candidates for time spent interviewing; preparing and delivering work projects that are assigned as part of the evaluation process; and traveling to and from the interview. Candidates are also paid a royalty for any original ideas and/or intellectual property submitted for consideration by the employer, whether or not the candidate is ultimately seated in the job, and whether or not the idea or IP is ultimately used by the employer.

Under this arrangement, employers will think much harder before they bring in a series of candidates to simply test the market, or gather ideas, or practice their interviewing skills. (Note to companies: You will also save time and money if you post only real jobs and interview real candidates.)

In conclusion, I’m a realist. Even if paid to interview, candidates will still get the short end of the stick much of the time. At least they will feel somewhat validated in the process.

The movement starts here…today…