IS THIS FOR REAL?

A few days ago, one of our contacts at LinkedIn.com sent us an invitation to join NotchUp.com, a job hunt Web site where you get paid to go on interviews. Joy thinks it sounds good; Bob is a cynical reporter and remains skeptical. (As NotchUp comedienne Lily Tomlin once remarked, “No matter how cynical I get, I just can’t keep up.”)

OK, so you are paid to go on job interviews, and you set the fee, typically $500. The idea behind this is that people who are quite happy with their current jobs are often the most desirable candidates for a new job. But these people normally won’t enter the job market without some incentive. (This is where Bob’s cynicism kicks into high gear: Why wouldn’t people just take the fees for going on interviews, instead of taking a new job?)

You have to justify the price you set for showing up at a job interview by listing your qualifications, including your present salary. You can say what companies you would like to talk to about a job change and what companies you don’t ever want to talk to. Your personal information remains private, says NotchUp, until you accept an interview, and then only the interviewer gets to see it.

At this point the defense takes the field and tries to prevent people from gaming the system and just showing up for interviews to collect the fees. People who don’t seem to be serious about their job interviews are given bad ratings; those ratings are given by the interviewer. Too many interviews and bad ratings and no more invitations will come your way.

You have to receive an invitation to join NotchUp, or you can apply at the Web site. (We received an invitation, which naturally made Bob suspicious, as in the old Groucho Marx remark: “I don’t want to be a member of any club that would accept me as a member.” Besides, we don’t want a job.) Finally, if you recommend someone to NotchUp and he goes on interviews, NotchUp says it will pay you 10 percent of that fee for making the recommendation. The site says that companies using Notchup include Google and Facebook. (We contacted a spokesperson at Google, who wasn’t sure about the arrangements, but said it sounded legitimate.)

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