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.
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."
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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."