Would You Be Willing to Pay to Interview a Candidate?

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Last month I got my ass handed to me for daring to consider that those who interview with a company, should pay for interview feedback. Not just normal interview feedback —  like thanks, but no thanks — but something really good and developmental.

Most people think that idea is bad. They feel interview feedback should be free.

It’s not that I really want to charge people who interview a fee to get feedback, it’s just I think we could do so much better in terms of candidate experience, but we have to get out of our current mindset to shake things up a bit.

Could you get more interviews if you paid?

This all leads me to the next idea (hat tip to Orrin Konheim @okonhOwp) what if companies paid interviewees for their time?

Cool, right?

We’ve built this entire industry on shared value. Organizations have jobs, candidates want jobs, so let’s all do this for free.

But what happens when the equation isn’t equal? What if candidates didn’t want your jobs? Could you get more people to come out to interview if you paid them? How much would it be worth?

It’s a really cool concept to play around with, if we can get out of our box for a bit.

Let’s say you’re having a really, really hard time getting Software Developer candidates to even consider your jobs and your organization. It’s a super tough market, and you just don’t have a sexy brand. You also don’t have the time to build a sexy brand — you need the talent now!

Yes, you probably have concerns

How much would it take to entice great candidates to give you an hour? $100? $500? $1,000? What if I told you I could have your CIO interviewing five (5) top Software Developers tomorrow for five (5)  hours for $5,000? Would you do it?

I hear the backlash of questions and concerns already forming in your head!

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  • People would just take the money, but not really want the job!
  • How would you know these people were serious?
  • Why would you pay to have someone for an interview when others will for free?
  • Did you get hit on your head as a child?
  • This might be the dumbest idea since your idea last week.

When we think about really having a great candidate experience, shouldn’t compensation be a apart of the conversation?

Placing more value on interviews

For most interviews you’re asking someone to take time off work, losing salary, time off, putting themselves at risk of their employer finding out, etc. At the very least, you would think that we might offer up some kind of compensation for their time. I’m not talking about interview expenses but real cold hard cash. We appreciate your time and value it!

If you started paying candidates to interview, do you think you would get and have better or worse interviews?

When you put value to something — i.e., an interview — people tend to treat it as such. Now that interview that they might go to , or might not go to, becomes something they have to prepare for because, well, someone is paying them to do this — to interview.

I’m guessing if you paid your candidates to interview you would get a higher level of candidate, and, have a higher level of success in hiring. It’s just a theory, but I wish I had the recruiting budget to test it out!

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.


3 Comments on “Would You Be Willing to Pay to Interview a Candidate?

  1. I like the idea of paying for feedback after I interview (isn’t that what a career coach does?). Also, paying candidates to come in seems like a good idea in theory, but I’m going to want something in return for my $1k. Make it a test / mini-project / etc. so that there is some deliverable after the interviews are done. If you get something viable, then the brand new hire (provided they accept your offer), has something they already have a stake in and can hit the ground running. No more lousy-first-week-read-a-ton-of-policies-on-boarding without them being able to contribute. #BoredAndAreadyLooking

  2. I think this makes some sense, if you are talking about someone you have targeted in recruitment. I don’t think I’d throw an ad on Monster saying you’ll pay someone to have an interview (not only does it make you look desperate, you’d make their servers go down), but there is something to be said for covering someones costs (and then some) for taking the time to talk to you, especially if you are head hunting them. I don’t know that I’d go as high as the thousands, but maybe twice the going hourly rate for the position you are interviewing them for, plus expenses? If you are recruiting for a hard to fill position, it is certainly a fair option.

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