Should Companies Pay for Interviews?

It’s Re-Run Friday! This post originally ran in May 2014.

Would You Pay A Candidate To Interview?

Last week 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.  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.

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, let’s all do this for free.  What happens when the equation isn’t equal?  What if candidates didn’t want your jobs?  Could you get more people to come out an 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!  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 5 top Software Developers tomorrow for 5 hours for $5,000?  Would you do it?

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

– 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 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.  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, might not go, becomes something they have to prepare for, because, well, someone is paying me 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, wish I had the recruiting budget to test it out!

3 thoughts on “Should Companies Pay for Interviews?

  1. If you’re having trouble getting applicants and interviews, absolutely. There’s a big employer group an hour drive from any housing here, and getting people to even interview for jobs at that site is real tough, no matter how compelling their package is for after you get hired. That would be an ideal opportunity to incentivize interviews with compensation, such as a popular gas station chain gift card for a generous amount of money would be great in that scenario.

    That being said, virtual interviews make it SO MUCH EASIER to job seek. You don’t have to “make a doctor’s appointment” and lie to people at work, you just need to step out to your car or find an empty office to have a call. Sure sitting in your car “doesn’t look great” but I 100% get it. I’d rather you call me from your car than struggle to figure something out. Come in person when you’re one of the final 2-3 candidates and we’re on the verge of an offer.

    Also: POST THE SALARY AND BONUS POTENTIAL! Yes, right there on the job posting for the public to see!!! You will get better candidates if you post the salary! Or at the very least you won’t be wasting your time with candidates that are well out of your range.

  2. I don’t hate it either. I believe this will also put some pressure on the hiring manager to actually make a decision on candidates (some are really bad at that), or they will be spending a lot of company cash…

  3. I actually don’t hate the idea (unlike your paying for feedback idea…). We ask candidates to take time off their jobs, away from their families and put them in a stressful situation. Give them a “travel stipend” or reimburse their mileage. I don’t think either of those are out of bounds. And I agree, if we paid candidates, I think we would get higher quality. It’s shows that we value the candidate too.

    Now, I don’t see this happening, but it’s not a horrible idea.

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