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The Ladders: Now Providing a Free, Continuous Posting To Every Recruiter In the World...

How's that for a dramatic title?  The Ladders, the job board for 100K+ jobs, believes that job postings are quickly becoming commodities in today's SEO, search focused world.  They believe it so much that they launched a new service called "Passport" earlier this week.

What's Passport?  Passport allows any recruiter in the world to register with the Ladders and receive one free, continuous posting.  To take advantage of the service, all a recruiter has to do is register, at which point The Ladders will confirm they're a true recruiter eligible for the service, then the recruiter's account is activated. After that approval, the recruiter has the ability to post one job at a time on the Ladders, and they're free to change the single job out as often as they'd like.  Each time a job is posted, The Ladders will review the posting to make sure it's at the level deemed appropriate by The Ladders.

So, it's free job posting for any 100K+ job that you're chasing.  That's pretty interesting, but why would The Ladders roll this out?  A few reasons come to mind:

1. The Ladders is well known for charging candidates for access to job postings.  Lots of people hate this model, but like I've said before, if you were building this business from scratch today, you'd do the same thing.  If you're a smart business person, that is.  By getting you to post your best jobs free, the Ladders has better inventory for paid customers on the candidate side.

2.  By giving recruiters a free posting, you get a flavor for the product, which is pretty effective for the space it serves.  If you're a call center recruiter, The Ladders means nothing to you.  If you're a recruiter with lots of high end spots, it's in your sweet spot. You'll get exposed to things that are behind the paid wall, like resume search and other products tied to a paid license (you'll see them but won't be able to use them), and the Ladders obviously hopes to convert some freeloaders to the paid side.

3.  Market share.  There are still a lot of shops that make an annual decision to buy a Monster or CareerBuilder license, and lots of those still move back and forth between those Alpha and Omegas of paid postings/paid licenses.  By exposing you to what they can do on the high end, The Ladders surely hopes to break themselves off a bit of market share that they wouldn't ordinarily get.  You have 10 licenses to one of the big posting sites?  The Ladders hopes that you'll experience the free stuff and break off 2 or 3 of those to them upon your next renewal.

4. Innovation and mixing $#$t up.  One of the things I like about the Ladders is that they're generally unafraid to try new things.  Whether it's charging candidates, then charging employers, creating products like Fit Finder, or providing a free posting, The Ladders is pretty good at mixing it up.  Naysayers will say that The Ladders used to give postings away for free, and this is an example of what they did in the past.  To me, coming back to that just feels like innovation.  They used to give it away for free, then they put it behind a wall and made employers pay.  Now, they're back to give you something free again to tweak you to pay for more.  Effective marketing 101.

One other thing that's interesting to me about Passport from the Ladders: You've got the ability, as you post jobs as a single recruiter, to have candidates "follow" you, which is a form of social functionality built into their product.  With Passport, your account is tied to you, not your company, which means if you leave, you take any followers in The Ladders ecosystem that you accumulate with you - the account is portable with you, not tied to the company.

Are paid job postings dead?  No.  But if there's any company that could build a case for killing them on the high end, it's The Ladders.  

Free continuous job posting on a major service.  When was the last time you heard that?  Worth sharing, worth trying.


Nick Corcodilos

Kris: I've got another take on TheLadders new "Passport" program. They're dying on the vine and desperate.

TheLadders has angered too many of its customers by wasting their time with interviews for sub-$100k jobs, when TheLadders charged them for "ONLY $100k+ jobs." (Sorry, but the apologies about how "a few lower paying jobs slip through" is ridiculous. If you can't deliver "ONLY," then don't advertise it.)

But now TheLadders has eliminated "ONLY," while still promoting $100k+. What's that about? I think it's about desperation.

They've angered too many of their resume customers with low-quality services and questionable marketing tactics.

If a company signs up for Passport, do they get a free copy of the new Ladders Instruction Video? http://bit.ly/fBKxiR

I see a desperate company thrashing in its market, and sinking to "how low can you go" -- both with the free offer, and with the new commercial.

Alison Green / Ask a Manager

I agree with Nick. The Ladders has basically been fraudulent in its dealings with job-seekers, and it's an especially despicable type of fraud since it's playing on people likely to be out of work. I'd like to see our community call them out for what they are (as Nick as been vigilant about doing) and refuse to play with them. Job seekers deserve something better.


Hi Nick and Alison -

Here's my perspective - I've used the Ladders multiple times and had pretty good success, filling jobs with the candidates the Ladders provided me. My experience as a recruiter of Sr. Level positions is that the Ladders is a great option for flow if your position is national in nature and you can do relo...

That's the perspective here. Speaking from the employer side rather than the candidate. Thanks for caring enough about the issue to pitch in.


Kathy Simmons, CEO Netshare

I have always had an issue with companies who charge both sides. It creates a conflict of interest. We have been a membership organization that posts (personally verified) listings for our network of executives. We have never charged the company or recruiter, our loyalty is to the member paying dues. It means that we can and do reject jobs that do not meet our standards.


Nick, Alison,
You guys make me laugh. Your bitter vendetta against the ladders is twisting your minds to not see the truth of the matter. 1) the product works as evidenced by Kris's elegant slap down to your diatribe I.e. he uses theladders and is very satisfied. 2) the ladders is hardly dying on a vine Nick. The company does more than 70 million in revenue and is approaching 1 billion valuation. The fact it is advertising is because it is growing and executing a business plan. Envy- the green monster is consuming you Nick . You hate cenedella because he's successful. Alison you tend to parrot everything Nick says- not sure why. It's time you guys got real and buried your hatchets. The more you rant themore obvious your real agenda is. Time to stop.



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