Job Search- Climbing TheLadders: When Good Job Boards Go Bad

 In Career Tips, LinkedIn

Guest: Candidate Curmudgeon   When Good Job Boards Go Bad - The Ladders

Of all the job search frustrations I have had to endure over the past several months none can compare to the hurdy-gurdy, wacky world of navigating the job boards.

Now, I’m not one of those innocents who think that I can actually get a job from a listing on a job board – though I understand that many have. No, job board listings to me are like signposts. They tell you who’s hiring and for what. I apply, and then I turn to personal connections, connections on LinkedIn, Internet research on the company, etc. to help me find a way in – one that will differentiate me from all the thousands applying for the same position. I’m a realist.

So several weeks ago I received an email notification from TheLadders saying that it was time for me to renew my Premium membership. Now, I have been a member since the company’s infancy – since it was just Marc Cenedella and a couple of folks on Varick Street…since my premium membership was under $20.00 a year. I tucked the notification in my “To Do” folder.

Then, last week I just happened to be doing some research on niche job boards focusing on my area of interest and I came across a post by a guy named Nick Corcolidos, who authors the Blog, Ask The Headhunter called TheLadders: How the Scam Works. Since I was about to fork over yet another $35.00 to these guys I was intrigued.

Now, I am not inclined to spread nasty rumors on the Internet, but I do find some of Corcolidos’ (seemingly well-researched) revelations about TheLadders rather shocking.

According to the Corcolidos piece, TheLadders’ claim of $100+K jobs is a half-truth at best, and only a small percentage of the jobs posted on the site are actually “hand-screened” as the company’s adverts profess. Evidently, Cenedella’s own employees have confirmed these facts.

According to Nick’s piece,

Half or more of all Ladders job listings are not placed in TheLadders’ database by employers. When TheLadders does not have enough “$100k+” jobs for its paying “$100k+” subscribers, TheLadders takes jobs from employers’ own websites (and other sites) without the authorization or knowledge of those employers. (In fact, some companies complain that after they demand that TheLadders remove those jobs, and after they explain that the jobs do not pay “$100k+”, TheLadders temporarily removes them — and then re-posts them.) While Cenedella claims that two humans hand-screen every job, TheLadders’ “approvers” merely guess at the salaries of jobs taken without authority from employers. Then — without contacting the employers to verify whether a job actually pays “$100k+” — TheLadders represents to its subscribers that sub-$100k jobs pay $100k+.

Corcolidos says that this behavior has pissed off not just job seekers, but a large number of his corporate clients and non-clients alike.

Recent disclosures reveal that TheLadders’ claims of exclusivity and “Only $100k+” jobs and candidates are untrue, and that it not only fails to deliver what it charges for, but that TheLadders interferes with the business of companies that are not even its customers.

“Among the key accusations is that TheLadders takes job listings from employers’ own websites without authorization, even after being told to stop, and that TheLadders misrepresents the salaries on those jobs so that it can beef up its questionable database of “50,000, high-level 100k+ executive positions.

“TheLadders CEO, Marc Cenedella, has admitted that 50% or more of those “$100k+” jobs are “scraped” from other online databases, over which TheLadders has no authority or quality control. At best, TheLadders may thus have no more than around 25,000 verified job listings that employers have actually posted in its database.”

Now I ask you, given that these allegations are indeed true, can there be anything more despicable than preying on job-seekers? Can there be anything more shortsighted than pissing off the very clients who provide you with your “inventory” of jobs?

If, as Corcolidos’ article suggests, this company’s business model is really based on building an extraordinarily valuable database of high-income registrants it all starts to make sense.

“You have to stop and think a minute about the commercial value, to Cenedella, of slowly compiling a detailed list of everyone he finds who is upwardly mobile in an upscale income demographic. His kind of information is probably priceless to a wide range of upscale consumer marketers of one kind or another. I believe that Cenedella isn’t just trying to maximize cash flow from his job-posting business. I think he is probably also amassing a treasure-trove of intellectual property that he may be selling piecemeal and or cultivating to maximize his enterprise market when he brings TheLadders to market.”

Here’s a stunning statistic:

28% of people in the USA who make over $100,000 are signed upon TheLadders.


My sense about all this is that I am coming to this conversation late and that I am yet another Ladders sucker. I had noticed that a lot of the jobs posted on the site were “dead.” I’ve NEVER received responses to my resumes posted on their site as I have with other job sites. And I have also continued to receive email from from them even though my membership has expired.

And yet, I am not angry about this. It simply serves as yet another reminder to me that avarice fundamentally knows no bounds in too many corporate circles and that I (and only I) am responsible for the company I keep throughout my job search.

Thanks Nick Corcolidos. You just saved me $35.00!


So what has your experience been with TheLadders?  Negative or positive?



The opinions expressed by The Candidate Curmudgeon are the Curmudgeon’s own and do not necessarily express the views and opinions of CPGjobs, its clients, candidates or affiliates. CPGjobs is dedicated to open discourse about the candidate experience, and it is in this spirit that these blog posts are offered. The Candidate Curmudgeon welcomes all criticism and commentary!

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