Fast Company

Not A Scam: Get A Six-Figure Job In 6 Months, Guaranteed—Just $2,500!

If you were unemployed, would you scrape together $2,500 to learn skills guaranteed to land you a six-figure job within six months? TheLadders CEO Marc Cenedella bets you--and a lot of people like you--would. He tells Fast Company why his company is boldly changing its pitch.

job hunter

TheLadders, a job site for $100K+ income seekers, has launched a bold and pricey new training service that guarantees a job in six months or the money back, called "Signature."

For a whopping $2,500, TheLadders staff personally coaches job-seekers through search, resume creation, interviewing, and negotiation. TheLadders claims they can justify the risk of a guarantee because of a 90%+ success rate during the pilot program.

Additionally, thanks to the Internet, CEO Marc Cenedella tells Fast Company, they see "millions" of job-seekers, "and we get to study what works and what doesn't, and that's how we got to the point where we can guarantee."

Cenedella says 80-90% of job-seekers are simply making incremental changes. People who come looking for overly ambitious careers get the (polite) boot and "If your job goals are unrealistic, we don't take your money."

So, if TheLadders is so confident, why not front the money themselves, rather than give it back? Cenedella says they "tested it," and it failed because if job-seekers "don't have skin in the game, people don't perform as well." Indeed, Cenedella's observations are consistent with a well-known psychological rule that the simple act of commitment can cause enormous changes in behavior.

TheLadders boasts a professional resume service that claims to offer invaluable stylistic and substantive enhancements. Cenedalla says one of the biggest mistakes job-seekers make is focusing on what they have done rather than on what they could accomplish. So, instead of listing the amount of money or employees that were managed, write about how budgets were cut, new stars with hired, or growth occurred. We've included a sample page from the TheLadders below, which they believe highlights these enhancements.

In addition to resume enhancement, a career advisor spends weekly or bi-monthly calls coaching job-seekers on everything from negotiation to their elevator pitch. Role-playing helps candidates refine their technique and organize their thoughts.

As well, "too many" seekers fear that any salary negotiation will cause employers to rescind the offer, Cenedella says, So, "Most of the time job-seekers don't ask." Giving confidence to seekers to even begin negotiations, let alone do them well, helps justify Signature's high price tag, he says.

Despite the 90% of participants in the beta test that successfully found a job, Cenedella admits that the pool is from a highly selected population of seekers, who are already motivated and looking for relatively incremental change. He can't compare how much better Signature participants do, because only certain people are allowed in the program. "What's the success rate of people who don't have motivation or don't have realistic job goals? We can't help those folks," he says.

In other words, Signature is a game-changing idea that works best for TheLadders' elite population, and Cenedella expects these highly qualified clients to grow in number.

In other words, the ones coughing up $2,500 aren't the only ones gambling. "It makes it a two-way partnership," TheLadders CEO says. "We really both have skin in the game."

Follow Greg Ferenstein on Twitter. Also, follow Fast Company on Twitter.

[Image: Flickr user laverrue]

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3 Comments

  • Nick Corcodilos

    Ferenstein's entire column seems like a regurgitation of a press release from TheLadders. Blogging without fact-checking and background-checking doesn't accomplish anything for the reader. Pardon me for citing from my own blog, but the referenced blog postings include links to source material.
     
    1. "a job site for $100K+ income seekers" TheLadders' inclusion of sub-$100k jobs is well-documented by its own paying customers, who widely report wasting their time and money on jobs that pay far less. Its inclusion of sub-$100k job seekers drives employers and recruiters crazy. http://corcodilos.com/blog/321...

    2. TheLadders claims "a 90%+ success rate during the pilot program," but has offered no evidence. Given the heavy criticism by its own customers that the $35/mo deal doesn't deliver as promised, it's difficult to believe this latest bit of PR, which the columnist here seems to have swallowed without checking any facts and without talking to any Ladders customers. http://corcodilos.com/blog/237...

    3. "TheLadders boasts a professional resume service that claims to offer invaluable stylistic and substantive enhancements." TheLadders resume customers say otherwise: http://corcodilos.com/blog/13/...

    4. Cenedella "can't compare how much better Signature participants do, because only certain people are allowed in the program. 'What's the success rate of people who don't have motivation or don't have realistic job goals? We can't help those folks,' he says." The more parsimonious explanation for any success is that the people Ladders cherry picks and whose $2,495 it takes are perhaps those most likely to land jobs on their own, anyway. Any reporter would recognize Cenedella's quote as sales talk. Where is the critical analysis?
     
    5. "In other words, Signature is a game-changing idea that works best for TheLadders' elite population" GAME CHANGING? On what do you base that conclusion, Mr. Ferenstein? This appears at the end of your column, leaving no hope whatsoever for facts, evidence, third-party validation of Cenedella's claims. Did you just print the entire press release Ladders gave you? Where's the critical review? You have published a lengthy advertisement for TheLadders.

    Disclosure: I have long criticized TheLadders. My analysis is based on information provided by Ladders customers, people that Ladders sells to, employers and recruiters who use Ladders services, and employers and recruiters who don't use Ladders services but who have been victimized by Ladders anyway.

    Can someone at FastCompany please publish an unbiased article about TheLadders' new product offering? The ga-ga, rah-rah doesn't reflect FC's normally insightful reviews.

  • Jo Schmidt

    They won't work with people who are out of jobs for more than 6 months. Before getting too excited, people should be aware of this. 

  • Jo Schmidt

    What TheLadders failed to point out in their big splashy announcement was that this offer only applies to people who have been out of work for less than 6 months. Hence, this applies to a very slim % of the currently un-employed market. TheLadders should have been upfront about this instead of burying this info in the small print...

    Susan Adams wrote a great article about this program which is worth a read through...

    http://blogs.forbes.com/susana...