Is The Ladders a Scam?

Written by Karen D. Swim

That is the big question posed this week by Jason Alba who bravely wrote a post on The Ladders. Judging from the comments, his post touched a nerve among career industry professionals.   I highly recommend that you read the post and the thoughtful comments that follow. 

I receive more questions from job seekers regarding The Ladders than any other career service out there.  Two industry giants whom I greatly respect, Susan Whitcomb and Deb Dib weigh in with comments that sum up what many “insiders” feel about The Ladders.

As I read the comments, I was struck by one thing all career professionals share – compassion.  We truly do care and want to help you.  As you evaluate career professionals, this may be the true measuring stick of whether or not the service is a fit. You want someone who has your best interest at heart, even if that means referring you to somoene else better suited to help you. 

I have always said that my job is equal parts of technical expertise, coaching and cheerleading. I am proud to say that my belief and values are not at all unique in this industry of wonderful professionals.

  • Tom

    This happens in every recession – the résumé coaches do well, then begin fighting and attacking the ones that are prospering the most. I am a manager that hires people every week. Believe me, I do not care about the nuances of a resume – I care about keywords, technologies, and your technical interview.

    I don’t even read the resume until AFTER I receive the interview notes. I also never read the sales copy when I buy a car, either – I expect hyperbole, and discount for it. I want bottom line – only. All else is sales fluff. If you want to fix up your resume, fine. But it is not the make or break in my industry, at least.

    If you buy into comments that some “industry giants” (which industry – the job search industry, or the competition, in other words) think a competitor is a scam – you get what you deserve. Better to rely on your own knowledge and values as a person than marketing. Good value always has a market. If you want to try good marketing, you are welcome to it – but don’t expect competitors for your business to be totally honest about each other.

    My 2 cents after 20 years as a hiring manager – do what makes you feel confident, but remember in the end it is the reality of what you are selling that makes the deal, not the packaging.

    • Karen Swim

      Thanks so much for weighing in with your valuable insights! Your perspective as a hiring manager is very helpful. While I agree that it is the value, learning how to market that value is not obvious to everyone. The resume is not the magic bullet but it should also not work against your efforts. They are a screening tool and a poorly written resume that does not succinctly present your value to that company will prevent otherwise good candidates from getting in front of hiring managers.