January 26, 2008

NotchUp Sells You Out, but Nobody's Buying

I can see how a few overzealous marketeers dreamed up the concept of NotchUp, a new career site for casual job seekers who believe themselves to be so good that prospective employers would bid simply for the right to interview them. The thought... "What if we combine the utility of LinkedIn with viral marketing, using spam and a half-baked pyramid scheme? All we have to do is create a site and force companies to pay for interviews! We'll be rich!"

But the idea is ridiculous. After receiving way too many invites to NotchUp in my e-mail box, primarily from casual business acquaintances who I haven't worked with in years, I thought I'd sign in to see what the noise was about, while also pre-emptively blocking future invites. And what I found was absolutely silly.

Some of the NotchUp e-mail invites I hadn't deleted yet...

NotchUp essentially wants you to recreate your LinkedIn profile, even offering to import your LinkedIn contacts, and then set a price for how much you believe a company should pay for the privilege of meeting with your egotistical self. And, if you act fast, you can spam all of your buddies, thereby gaining 10% of their earnings from interviewing companies as a referral bonus for a full year.

But there are some major glaring holes here.

#1: No company that takes itself seriously will pay for your interview

If a company needs to pay you to interview, they probably aren't one you want to join, and if you're willing to interview for the sole purpose of being paid, with no intention of taking the job, they shouldn't want you.

#2: In order to make any money off the process, you'd have to interview a ton, and never take a job. And all that interviewing might cost you the job you already have.

Notchup encourages you to set a price for interviewing between $75 and $5,000. Assuming you set your price at $250, you would have to conduct 200 separate interviews to rake in a $50k salary. And if you interviewed twice a week at that rate, you would be making $2k a month. But.... you wouldn't ever see that kind of money anyway.

I'm special. Pay me big bucks to chat.

#3: The very best way for people to find new jobs these days is through networking.

LinkedIn is a success because of who you know, not how well you write your resume or how well you interview. LinkedIn shows the quickest route between individuals, and NotchUp doesn't even talk about that. Their entire selling point is about you getting rich, not off working, but pretending to be interested in work.

#4: Friends who spam me shouldn't make a red cent.

You think I'm really going to export my 360+ LinkedIn contacts, invite them all to NotchUp, and then sit back as the profits roll in? Hardly. I don't have stars in my eyes thinking all 360 of my contacts will interview once a month at $200 each, and make me a cool $7,200 a month. If you sent me a spam e-mail asking me to join this quasi-pyramid scheme of a program, I'd have to reconsider whether I'd ever hire you on my team in a future capacity.

#5: The economy isn't so red hot that companies are panicking in need for good employees.

With all the talk about market fluctuations and even a recession, it's not as if companies are dying to meet you. I don't know if they want to meet you for free. The best ones, like Google and Facebook, aren't hurting for talent. They get thousands of resumes a day, most of which won't even get a courtesy callback. Maybe this process would have some chance of success in a go-go time of market inefficiency where job applicants were in control, but not now, and not any time soon.

I'm all for checking out the latest and greatest Web services, but NotchUp is a joke looking for a punch line.

See Also:
Center Networks: There Are Great Ideas, There Are Poor Ideas, Then There's NotchUp
Danny Man: NotchUp? Not so much . . .
eWeek: What if Companies Paid to Interview You?


  1. I've received two NotchUp invites from classmates who, I assume, left the "spam all my LinkedIn friends" box checked on the sign-up form. Thanks for summarizing the top 5 reasons why the "pay someone to interview them" model won't work. Over on TechCrunch someone actually dug through the terms & conditions and found that NotchUp disclaims all responsibility for you getting paid. "You agree to hold NotchUp harmless for any failure by the Company to pay the Interview Fee. The Interview Fee is the sole responsibility of the Company. Your sole recourse for non-payment of the Interview Fee is to contact the Company."

    So the best part about NotchUp is that as a company, you can just disregard the payment portion entirely! That'll come in handy as a defense against the thousands of users putting up fake resumes in the hopes of getting a big payday.


  2. First and foremost, thanks for seeing a bigger part of the picture that so many others seem to forget.

    Secondly, does no one read and compare Terms of Service and Privacy Policies these days?

    You have to agree to NotchUp's fairly sketchy-looking TOS prior to moving far enough through the registration process to see just what their privacy settings are. Makes me nervous, and I didn't get past that step.

    Also, compare the TOS with LinkedIn's. Do you feel the same sense of respect at both places? If not, why would you go and import all of your contacts into NotchUp, just to wave bye-bye to that comforting Privacy?

    It just feels like a company trying to generate and sell lists, in my opinion.


  3. Also tryout www.leapways.com. They have some similar inerview ideas coming soon in thier website.

  4. Jason, I am glad that you pointed out about the job market which is a big spoiler for notchup. When I heard/spammed by notchup invites, my biggest concern as an employer is, when I have already have candidates applying directly, resumes pouring and recruiters calling, why would I pay for a candidate to interview who is just testing water?
    Also, I would not like anyone use me to make money which is one reason why I co-founded BizFavors.com. You introduce professionals as a favor on BizFavors.com and get paid! - its that simple. You can ask for what you think its worth.

  5. I found this very interesting:


    These Applicant Tree guys have a much better deal, in my opinion, from a HR perspective. Their process should make things go a lot smoother than NotchUp’s. Not to mention, it seems there’s more ‘quality control’ as well. Sure, NotchUp has a money back guarantee, but they can’t refund my time I’ll be wasting on the interviews. This Applicant Tree checks out the candidates before I spend my money. I appreciate that difference.