ZipRecruiterJust how much can ZipRecruiter insult its HR customers and still get their business? And how many arm’s lengths away from federal employment law violations can employers get?

HR: We pay ZipRecruiter to insult us

ZipRecruiter, a venture-funded, privately held company, markets itself to employers as “The Fastest Way to Hire Great People.” It lets HR departments “Post to 100+ Job Boards with One Submission.”

What’s so insulting about that? In a long-running Bloomberg radio ad, ZipRecruiter features an employer who says:

“Hiring people is probably the worst part of my job. It’s such a hassle — the searching. The sorting through resumes.”

Man, doing HR work really sucks. Is that an HR manager grousing? Or maybe it’s a hiring manager? Imagine a sales rep at your company complaining about what a hassle it is to sell.

HR executives ponied up over $100 million in 2016 to ZipRecruiter for help filling jobs so Zip could cast them as dopes who hate the most important part of their work — recruiting and hiring talent. That’s submission.

According to USA Today, “Zip makes most of its money by charging $249 monthly to employers to post [their job] listings.” That’s a lot of job ads. That’s a lot of passing the buck.

What’s it like when the vendor you rely on to do your job for you blares to the world that your job is one big bother? Do HR execs love being insulted? Well, they keep paying for it. “Revenue is up 270% since 2013,” says USA Today.

HR seems to love being abused.

“We started using ZipRecruiter about 3 months ago. Right from the start you could tell it was going to make hiring a lot easier.”

HR also loves getting millions of job applications that no human ever needs to touch. Candidates “roll in.”

“One click and my job was posted to 100+ job boards — all the top sites.”

One click and a job is sprayed all over kingdom come. Says one job seeker:

“I heard an advertisement for ZipRecruiter on the radio. In short, you can post a job on this site and it simultaneously posts it on other job boards and social media outlets. Does HR really need that many applications? Especially in these times?”

The challenge is not picking good hires. The challenge is wiping away the mess of unemployed lemmings dying for interviews. Who needs to learn how to recruit when you can have “all of the candidates” from all of the job boards in your “dashboard”?

What do you do with them?

“All of the candidates came to my dashboard and it’s easy to compare them. Thumbs up if I liked them, thumbs down if I didn’t. No e-mails and attachments, printing up docs, phone calls, none of that.”

Imagine: None of that. No “docs” — no resumes, no application forms. No communications with applicants — “no e-mails, attachments… phone calls…” Nada. 100% keywords, no humans need apply. And HR can go home.

Zip takes care of everything — including turning job applicants into your own private digital beauty pageant.

Except really ugly stuff happens in beauty pageants when there’s no regulation. And while some venture-funded firm sucks up the profits, humans submit and are sent home to clean themselves up for the next opportunity.

What job seekers are saying about ZipRecruiter

While ZipRecruiter’s investors are cleaning up, job seekers are left drowning in the mess.

One job seeker says it for many:

“My Gmail inbox is littered with e-mails from ZipRecruiter,, and others. It is so frustrating to go through the daily search and submission only to get the robo-e-mails from ‘’ — the Job Seeker Advocate — and similar messages from Indeed and others. Sometimes I think it’s all one big bizarre video game and I am the hapless mark helping to feed the Monster(.com?). At first, I viewed them hopefully, but now I see them as a part of a giant ruse.”

Another job seeker peals out:

“Things have changed too much for the worse. The old, tried and proven Agencies have gone to wayside and replaced with kids calling me…Saying, ‘Hey, I saw your resume on Indeed or Ziprecruiter or LinkedIn, etc.’ If you put enough monkeys in a room with keyboards eventually semblance of a word will be achieved. If this is how Americans get a decent job nowadays….OMG.”

And then it hits the fan.

H1-B Only: No Americans wanted

Employers operate in today’s “employment system” at arm’s length, enjoying seeming legal insulation by using “third-party” employers — known as consulting or contracting firms — to avoid violating labor laws. And these third-party firms in turn use services like ZipRecruiter to “recruit” at arm’s length while pretending they have no idea that the machine is cranking out Soylent Green.

Now here’s the backlash employers have exposed themselves to. My good buddy Suzanne Lucas, aka The EvilHRLady, just reported that the veil has been “accidentally” parted to reveal what’s really going on: legal violations.

What would you say to a job posting for a “Java Developer – H1-B Only?”

In her Inc. column last week, Iowa Company Accidentally Says No Americans Need Apply, Lucas turned up the heat on IT consulting firm American Technology Consulting, which posted the job. “In case you’re wondering what the problem is with the ad,” writes Lucas, “it’s that it violates one and possibly two laws.”

Lucas reported that Tara Jose, the president of ATC, said, “a third-party vendor recently used language when posting an advertisement on our behalf that was inappropriate and absolutely unacceptable to American Technology Consulting.”

Uh, “a third-party vendor?” (By press time Ms. Jose had not responded to an e-mail query for details.)


Jose told Lucas that her firm “did not write, condone, or authorize this language in the ad.”

So who wrote and authorized it? (An e-mail to Jose well before press time yielded no response.) More important, this ad is on ZipRecruiter. And as Lucas points out, it’s illegal. Possibly twice.

Was this an accident?

Is this accidentally at arm’s-length illegal?

When we were kids we’d walk up to a buddy, smack him, and chortle, “Sorry! I did it accidentally on purpose!” After we got smacked back a few times, we learned you can’t do that and get away with it. But in today’s employment industry, you can.

A company wants to hire Java developers on the cheap. As Lucas points out, it’s illegal to misuse the H1-B visa program to hire foreign labor cheaper than American labor.

But, can you “hire” a consultant from a “consulting” firm that in turn uses “a third-party vendor” that finds the Java developer by posting an illegal “H1-B Only” ad on ZipRecruiter — an ad that’s not written, condoned or authorized by the consulting firm? And besides, ZipRecruiter’s written policy says all ads must follow the law.

How many arm’s lengths from the l-o-n-g arm of the law are we now? Was that ad an accident? A one-off mistake?

Chatting with ZipRecruiter

I opened a chat with ZipRecruiter. Here’s what they told me.

The chat with Jason timed out. So I asked Taylor.

Is this accidentally on purpose?

I could have ended the chat there and we could have had an ad just like ATC had. But I kept asking the question in different ways. Finally, I was told it was up to me to make sure my job posting complied with “OFCCP and EEOC regulations.”

But here it was, three days after the Inc. article appeared, and on one screen I was chatting with ZipRecruiter and on another I was looking at that “H1-B Only” job posting — it was still there. The fastest way to hire H1-B Java Developers.

Sometimes Zip can also be the fastest way to scam people: Job seekers on ZipRecruiter being targeted by scams via email and text. Zip’s representatives blame it on “the front-end” and “the back-end.” But that’s just how the employment industry works — nobody’s fault. It’s all accidental: “No system is perfect, no matter how sophisticated or well intentioned,” says Zip.

Is this accidentally on purpose?

Are American employers using services that are largely unregulated to manipulate the job market? I don’t think there’s any doubt.

While state and federal legislatures feign interest in equal pay and equal opportunity, they condone a seemingly l-o-n-g arm’s-length chain of “contracting” relationships that seem to add no value to America’s employment system. How many middlemen can collect a fee to put you in a job working for someone other than who signs your paycheck?

This tawdry chain of consulting pimps seem to be sucking value out of the employment system and the economy — while government looks the other way. (See Consulting: Welcome to the cluster-f*ck economy.)

Notable companies that trade in profitable key words, profiles, resumes, and job postings are the front-facing businesses that are highly admired by a stock market that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about who’s getting a job, who they actually “work” for, where they came from, and who’s getting screwed by salaries that are manipulated in an international game of  “How low can you go?”

“All Candidates In One Place”

Joshua Brustein, writing for Bloomberg, exposes the state-of-the-art in the nebulous jobs cloud: The Secret Way Silicon Valley Uses the H-1B Program.

Far from some of the transparently political H1-B conspiracy mongering that’s become the click-bait of the blog world, Brustein takes us on a wild tour that exposes the systematic manipulation of the job market being practiced and vaunted as a laudable “industry.” These are the consulting and contacting companies, and the slimy job boards, that big tech firms hide behind.

“Contractors are also submitting many applications for foreign visas for work at other large American technology companies, according to a recent analysis of Department of Labor records covering eight major tech businesses between October 2015 and October 2016. Applications submitted by contractors accounted for half of the H-1B visa applications for jobs at PayPal Holdings Inc.’s headquarters, 43 percent of those on Microsoft Corp.’s campus, 29 percent at EBay Inc.’s headquarters, and about a quarter of those at the Googleplex.”

Brustein outlines the work of one researcher who “found that American tech companies are also utilizing large numbers of H-1B workers that are not highly skilled — they are just doing it through intermediaries.”

Do you need a pedestrian Java programmer — but prefer a lower-cost “H1-B Only” variety? Someone’s willing to write an “unauthorized” and illegal job ad for you under yet someone else’s name — but nobody knows who exactly we’re talking about. But we know where to find that ad — it’s posted on an intermediary. Or, as ZipRecruiter’s crack marketing team likes to say: “All candidates in one place.”

LinkedIn? Indeed? ZipRecruiter? The applicants just roll into your dashboard, and they answer your secret questions before you have to interview them. How’s that for arm’s-length?

No “docs” — no resumes, no application forms. No communications with applicants — “no e-mails, attachments… phone calls…” Nada. 100% keywords, no humans need apply. No need for HR.

And the candidates? Scrub ’em up and get ’em ready.

Nobody knows

ZipRecruiter says job postings must follow the law. ZipRecruiter says you can post jobs for foreign applicants only. An “H1-B Only” ad appeared for a reason — somebody approved it. Who? Nobody knows.

The impact on pay is dramatic. Bloomberg’s Brustein makes it clear. Businesses use H1-B to save money. Imagine you could tell your board of directors you’ve cut your costs by a third. Well, now you can.

“They paid an average of $88,500, which is about two-thirds the average salary for visa applications for jobs the companies submitted directly.”

“Hiring people is probably the worst part of my job. It’s such a hassle — the searching. The sorting through resumes. We started using ZipRecruiter about 3 months ago. Right from the start you could tell it was going to make hiring a lot easier. One click and my job was posted to 100+ job boards — all the top sites.”

Who needs more regulating?

When a privately held company like ZipRecruiter can knock the HR profession entirely out of the recruiting and hiring process, and HR both swallows the insult and relinquishes its job entirely, it’s game over for job seekers, employees, and managers who actually produce value to create profit. (Should HR get out of the hiring business?)

When HR funds the radio ads that reduce the profession’s most important functions to “a hassle,” and ZipRecruiter’s representatives tell you in a chat that you can post jobs for “foreign applicants only” and for “H1-B Only,” none of this is an accident.

What needs more regulating? Employers and HR execs who let an industry of digital job-board pimps sell out American job hunters? Or vendors that insult and abuse them all the way to the bank? How many arm’s lengths away from federal employment-law violations can employers get?

Are we all nuts, or what? There’s an emperor running around buck naked, and the hue and cry is that there’s a shortage of clothes. Or is that a talent shortage? One click, and it’s all going to be a lot easier. You’ll just roll right into the dashboard head-first, and it’ll be no accident. It’s one great big submission. What do you think? What do we need to do to fix this?

: :


  1. A good old fashioned economic crash can’t come soon enough. To purge these regressive employment practices out of the system. Too many lives destroyed through this nonsense. Too many highly talented people spend too much time trying to navigate the employment marketplace, than actually working. Too many job applications literally thrown into the garbage (or the electronic equivalent).

    The change required goes beyond just banning H-1B and the H-1BJr visa, the OPT visa for ‘internships’. Its societal in nature.

    • Economic crash isn’t the answer. That is when the scams and rip-offs proliferate.

    • @Mark: These employment practices are viewed as either innovative and new, or regressive. I don’t think they’re regressive. There’s no old system or method that was ever this bad. And there’s nothing new here — these new “employment tools” are database “solutions” that totally fail to address a need. Employers need to find and recruit the best talent. Turning on a vacuum hose that sucks up all the resumes from 100+ job boards isn’t how you find and recruit the best talent. It’s a brute-force attack with a database. It’s mindless. Ask any victim.

      • Oh believe me, I know all about it. I fell for the scam straight out of college back in 2002, and thousands of submissions later, still haven’t been able to find a job. I’ve had a much better response rate, when I see an ad, actually faxing my resume/submission in.

        Why do I do this? Faxes have to be reviewed by humans. They can’t be discarded unopened. This imposes a ‘cost’ upon the employer. Now I’ve had my fair share of irate HR staffers calling me up and complaining “how dare you fax us”, but at least someone is looking at my submissions, even if just to throw them out.

        • Hey, Mark — I love it! Faxing a resume! What a great way to break the sausage machine and get a human to have to fix it… and look at you. Can we call this “under-teching” the process? :-)

    • That’s nonsense. We’ve had several economic crashes and it just throws us highly paid American workers out of work, because we can’t compete (using salary as the only comparison) with less skilled, less well paid HIB workers or even with outsourced workers from overseas. I try to compete based on my superior skill set, but during a crash, it is really tough to do that. So wishing a crash is a wish to throw us highly skilled workers out of work.

  2. I remember an earlier ZipRecruiter radio ad that breathlessly talked about “200 job boards … All The Top Ones!!!”

    There are not 200 discrete job boards. There probably are not 100. There likely are less than 10, and you can’t hit “all the top ones” because none of them are any good. For candidates anyway.

    If the only effort you want to put into hiring is ” thumbs up if I like them – thumbs down if I don’t”, you have literally pulled the plug on your enterprise, and are waiting for the inevitable. Pardon me if I don’t feel the need to join you in the death watch.

    • There are easily more than 200 different job boards in existence. Many are a small business with a proprietor and (maybe) a handful of staff. These small job boards focus on cultivating an audience with very specific skills and are often started by someone who comes out of that particular industry or skillset themselves. I’ve met a number of them, they really care about their candidates and they are equally frustrated by how employers treat people.

      • @Annette: I agree with you. Historically (er, ah, over the past 10-15 years), niche boards have way outperformed the big boards, for exactly the reasons you cite. They focus on a specific audience, and because the scope is small and intentionally limited, the audience’s attention insures the board is kept neat and up to date. Such boards are the closest things to the old newspaper job classifieds, which worked about 10X better than any big job board does today. The newspaper ads worked because they were costly. That kept the crud out.

        • Great point Nick. My wife is job hunting now and newspaper ads have been her best source for landing interviews.

    • Let me revise and extend my remarks:

      I was referring to general purpose boards, which I am pretty sure are what ZipRecruiter is using. While there may be over 100, maybe over 200 of these, after the big 10 or so in the field, most are just databasing the same information, stolen wholesale from someone else.

      I think that my statement may stand a while longer: 100 or 200 board are not “All The Top Ones!!” because it does a candidate no good to have his/her resume spread over so many boards on the off chance that some employer somewhere that they really want to work for may see it. Pointing a fire hose at a vacuum cleaner does neither party any good.

      The Big 10 or so are not “The Top Ones” Because the methodology of plucking a random candidate off a board who wants to work for a random company does neither party any good.

      Among the other things that cause me to stop listening to a recruiter I’ve added the phase “I found your resume on ZipRecruiter …” For one, it is likely several years old; secondly, I don’t want to work in a popularity driven environment. Lastly, I reiterate: “thumbs up thumbs down” recruiting indicates that the corporate death certificate is already signed, just not dated yet.

      • @L.T., in any case, your point is a good one. Zip did indeed (oops) crow about 200+ job boards. Now it’s 100. Why? Nice catch!

  3. The abuse of the H1B program continues at a feverish pace. The company where I contract is owned by the Carlyle Group and even the IT folks WANT to continue to work with companies like TATA, HCL, Infosys, et al, as well as INDIAN owned IT Staffing firms. However, when you say something about doing this, you are IMMEDIATELY BRANDED as a RACIST.

    When Indian staffing agencies contact me, I deliberately tell them I do NOT do business with INDIAN owned firms. Most times, the recruiters, often in India just cower at the other end of the phone. Occasionally, those domiciled here in the States or perhaps even born here have the cajones to write back and tell me how racist and unprofessional I am.

    Is it unprofessional or racist to want to speak to people who you can understand and know about the jobs they seek to fill? My guess is many of these same shitty recruiters are themselves here on H1B visas, which itself is a violation of the law.

    I believe we should find a way to PUBLICLY SHAME US and multi-national companies that do this.

    • Sara Blackwell is putting together a rally while the India Prime Minister is in town. This appears to all being done on a few days notice:

    • Publically shame them? Great idea so I did just that. Enjoy:

      • Rob, stunning analysis…but from an individual action POV, and from public policy, what to do?

        • From an individual view we advised our two daughters to not enter the software engineering field or computer science. We (my wife and I) have over our careers (including owning our own software company as well as working for MSFT and other major tech companies in the US and abroad) seen how the H1-B visa system has made it a poor economic investment and/or career choice in the long run. From a public policy perspective do what Australia appears to have done and shut down completely the H1-B visa system as it does not serve its original purpose (if it ever did). But I don’t believe this will happen.

          We have developed a business model that we think can help, but that is another story I will perhaps write about on my blog eventually.

    • Paul, the majority (if not all) the Indian recruiters contacting you to work for companies like HCL are not calling from the US (and they will lie to you and say they are if you ask) but from Indians working for what are called “recruiting process outsourcing” (RPO) services. These are outbound call centers that use tools like JobDiva to harvest your resume from the job boards and then use keyword searches to then call you up and run the same script aimed at feeding you as a W-2 employee into a transnational network of Indian IT body-shops that US corporations use for hiring a “flexible” contingent workforce (think easily hired and easily disposed at no cost). These body-shops then extract over 50-60% of the direct bill rate off the top and then pay peanuts for the long hours with little or no benefits.

      What if I told you I had an Outlook AddIn (it could be developed for any email client) that with the simple push of button tells you exactly who the caller is, where they are located in the world, and provide a report on the “staffing” company telling you if they are legitimate or an Indian (or other) body-shop wage scalping workers?

      Would that be worth anything to you?

      • @Rob: I’d be willing to put the add-in on Ask The Headhunter for download or for sale. This would be very cool.

    • I again have a list of companies asking for H1B visas or using them:

      I know it’s a blog, but it’s a convenient thing to link to as it’s often too big to post on FB, Twitter, or on forums where there’s a character limit.

      Believe me, I’ve got a list of companies asking for “immigration reform” for illegals and companies pushing for H2B visa increases too.

      If you are looking for the companies caught so far in the act directly abusing it or being part of the system, here they are:

      American Technology Consulting
      Wirelessbro (Possibly. Check the ad yourself, it looks like a job ad, yet only mentions H1B: )
      Toys R Us
      New York Life Insurance
      Disney World
      Abbot Labs
      Southern California Edison
      Northeast Utilities
      Emblem Health
      University of California
      Catelina Marketing
      Molina Healthcare Inc.
      Carnival Corporation
      Mass Mutual
      Harley Davidson

  4. H1B abuse? Gee, this has been talked about for over 15 years. Who knew?

    My last programming contract was at a health insurance company right up the block from a large university that churned out computer science grads every year. Yet a full 1/3 of the IT department at said company was H1B. Why? Beats me, but I think it may have had something to do with the VP in charge being from the same country as the H1B’s.

    I’m so glad to be done with programming as a career. I’m never going back, and won’t miss it at all.

    • STEM and IT workers have known all along. But for some reason journalists only listen to corporate propaganda instead of workers that actually know what is going on. Guest worker visa abuse was rampant long before the Indian body shops appeared. Its not a coincidence that half of STEM grads end up going into non-STEM careers. And after 10 years half of those that entered STEM have exited. Pretty high attrition rate for a supposedly glamorous career.

      • Stevie, have a friend who works as a grant writer for a urban campus of SUNY. She mentioned the STEM push a few years back and I looked at her with raised eyebrow, and remarked how they were bound for short careers due to the mass importation of H1Bs and offshoring of jobs by Accenture, IBM and the like especialmy in IT. She knows better now…as I think even skulls full of mush know, unless they go into really tough and specialized areas of engineering or life science.

        • It’s not just H1B’s that are a problem, it’s that a lot of the grunt work entry level folks cut their teeth on has been shipped overseas. Supposedly, it’s “cheaper” to hire 3 “senior” people overseas than a new grad stateside.

          Then you hear “there are no qualified people in the US.” What they generally mean is that there are no “senior” people that can be hired just-in-time for what the company is willing to pay. It doesn’t help that their interviewing/recruiting process sucks as well.

          • An experienced Romanian software engineer can be hired for $6.00 per hour (cheaper than India) and as we speak such is being done by big software companies. My source describes exactly how this is done. It is good economics (comparative advantage is a core economic theory) and everyone is better off, right?

            I would never advise my children to go into software engineering or computer science, at leas not if you are living in the US as you will find quickly your career is very a very short one.

      • Depends on what the field it is and where one is living. America is not the only place where world class education and research takes place and brain talent is in demand. In one case as told by a SPEEA friend US PhDs are put at a disadvantage by the US immigrant visa system for post docs. Someone coming from a country where the higher degrees (BA/MA) are subsidized so they come to the US with no debt, but their US peers are usually already heavily in debt to obtain the BA/MA and then must further fund the PhD, so many drop out and decide it just isn’t worth the cost.

        We (my wife and I) had to fund our own way and spent decades digging out of debt. We were not going to see our children face the same so we funded their degrees so they come out debt free. We are now sending our two daughters who are pursuing degrees in neurobiology/medicine/research(neurosurgery) abroad where countries are offering huge financial stipends to attract bright young scientists. We have lived abroad and experienced other healthcare systems. They work. They are fairer, and have better outcomes despite misguided and uninformed stereotypes held by many Americans. We are confident our girls have a bright career in STEAM and science ahead of them.

        I have over the years heard many trash the US public education system. What they never do is provide context, because the quality of public education depends on where one lives and who ones neighbors and peers are. Our girls have attended US public education (excellent overall plus Running Start), public education in Japan in a new language (excellent education in some ways, problematic in others), and international schools abroad in Nederland. In the US the quality largely depends on a healthy tax base, which we purposely chose when we purchased our home in the US. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to live where public education is respected, funded, and serving students needs.

        • We made sure they had the arts in steAm rather than only a narrow STEM education.

  5. Ziprecruiter = bottom of the barrel “job board” (I know, they’re all bottom of the barrel, but I actively avoid this one). A few times I got that dumb email saying, “You’re Heating Up! Your application was just viewed for a second time. Typically, only 17% of applications are viewed twice so congrats – you’re standing out!” Then one time I got a reply from what turned out to be another third party firm out of India (“Real Soft, Inc.”), he asked for my info along with a good time to call, I promptly replied, then didn’t hear back. I sent a follow up email a week later and he didn’t reply. After three weeks I emailed him saying that this job is clearly a fake job and to get lost. Here’s his reply:

    “I apologize for the delay.. I was in leave from last week Thursday.
    The job went on hold. The job has been filled with some other person.I will let you know one the new job open in the same location.”

    Regarding the discriminatory stuff…I dunno, I’d prefer to see them honestly admit what they’re looking for. Making them write a legal job description doesn’t mean they’re not gonna discriminate, if they want an H1B or an attractive 25yo girl then that’s who they’re gonna hire and there ain’t a damned thing you can do about it. I’d rather know this before handing over my personal info which no doubt they’ll later sell to a 3rd party. I could have been spared a lot of angst if the jobs to which I applied had honestly stated “no one over the age of 40 will be considered.”

    • @Sighmaster: Understood. But what Suzanne Lucas pointed out is that such ads are illegal. In some way, at some point, Zip and its ilk will have to face that. On the larger scale, we’re trying to speed that up.

  6. I just “unsubscribed” from zip-recruiter. “Phil the recruiter” was bad enough, what really got to me is the emails that proclaim 35 jobs for IT Asset Management near (my town). Open the thing up, not one of these has anything to do with IT Asset Management and not one is within 50 miles of my home town. I’ve systematically been unsubscribing to all of these job boards that looked so good, and it is a relief not to have to be confronted every morning with a deluge of this. I would prefer to work in a fertilizer mill. At least then, I know from the get-go what I’m shoveling.

    • @Tom: When a “service” like Zip posts a job to 100+ boards, does an applicant get solicited for one job 100+ times? Or more, since multiple “recruiters” troll the system for each job?

      • I don’t get solicited to that extent. I do get my share of crazy emails and occasional calls, mostly from Indians who can’t speak English,(sorry if that sounds racist, but that’s how it is) for jobs I am just not qualified for. Not even close.

        I just get tired of the crap. I’ve gotten emails for jobs that are not even remotely related to anything I’ve done, you have to wonder what it is that would even make something as stupid as a computer “think” I have any qualification for. I’ve pretty much cancelled all of my so-called “job search” agents, because they are a waste of my time, and I just can’t stand it. They’ve got to throw something out there. The amount of stupidity one must endure, day after day, both from looking for jobs and from job interviews, is staggering, and that’s over and above the income loss, the impact on your family life and your own self worth, not to mention the overall uncertainty and anxiety that goes with this undeserved trip through hell that it just becomes one piece of crap too much.
        And by the way, as an aside, what’s up with CareerBuilder? I keep getting solicitations for franchises and insurance sales jobs.

  7. I was about to give Nick a hearty “atta boy” for shedding light on another one of the time wasting and utterly discouraging aspects of the whole job search dung heap. How we job seekers are reduced to the status of mere paperclips, utterly disposable and worth nothing.

    And then I saw the ad below. $37 – $47/hr working on line. How did this get here? “Ask the recruiter” is the last place I’d expect to see something like this.

    I am utterly dismayed that Nick would have an ad on his website for a too-good-to-be-true work from home scheme.

    • I don’t see the ad. It might be because I have an ad blocker on Chrome but let’s not bash a website for having a certain ad; ads revolve periodically.

      • Perhaps you are right. In coming back on the blog to respond to you, I see a different ad, this time, $97 per hour to work from home! Getting better and better. I think when it hits $250 per hour, I’m going to bite. :)

        What all of this comes down to is a misuse of technology, and when I say that, I’m not citing Nick or his website. Maybe he isn’t aware of it, maybe he can’t do anything about it, and maybe all these schemes are completely as advertised. I don’t know, and frankly don’t care enough to find out.

        I’m old enough to have gone through a job search in the late 80’s, before the explosion of technology. At that time, you bought the local Sunday paper (Chicago Tribune). Three sections of job ads. I am not saying there were no rip-offs or phony adds, there were, but the overall quality was hugely better. I think it is because a real live employer had to actually pick up a phone and call the paper, post the ad, and pay for it. And for the job seeker, you had the entire Chicago job market right there, in black and white. No keywords, no passwords, no websites. You used the computer located between your ears to evaluate, not some damn computer whose soul purpose is to supply you with garbage in order to make money for someone.

        You go through, select those that look like they are a reasonable fit for you, put your resumes in envelopes you had to address yourself, put stamps on them, drop them in the mailbox. And you are done. Maybe 5 hours total start to finish, and then you were done and could turn your attention elsewhere. Did you get calls on each one? Of course not. But you did get calls, and, if you kept at it, had an excellent chance of landing an acceptable job in a reasonable time. Not now where you are lost because you didn’t put in the right key word or are lost in the avalanche of applications coming in. The job seeker, unless highly specialized and visible, never had much clout in the job market. Now, they have about as much value as a paperclip.

        In the pre-information days, we undoubtedly made poor decisions out of ignorance caused by lack of information. Now, we make poor decisions out of confusion and frustration caused by too much information, most of which is useless.

        • I got the best job of my life 22 years ago from a classified ad. I called the company to find out who the hiring manager was and addressed the fax to him. He called me 20 minutes later. He hired me during the interview. Despite my relative lack of experience, he was smart enough to recognize people with aptitude can be quickly trained.

          It’s a good thing i got on it early, because this guy would take the first inch of faxes that came in and throw away everything that came later.

          In two years I had tripled my salary. I worked there 7 years before we were bought out. God I miss that job. Each subsequent job has been worse, until I finally got out of IT to save my sanity.

          • So did I, 26 years ago. Resulted in a nice promotion, a big increase in pay, and life was great. I wish that place was still around, but unfortunately, it was a state funded agency that got destroyed through political favors under the administration of a former Illinois governor who still has about 6 years to go on his prison term.

    • The algorithm did it! :-)

      Remember watching “The Jetsons” and how cool the future looked with all that neat stuff…I don’t recall seeing any algorithms on that show which IMO have for the most part contributed to a diminished quality of life for many of us (pretty sure Daddy Jetson wouldn’t even have a job as he appeared to be over the age of 30).

    • @Tom: That’s a fair complaint. I run Google Ads on this site. I plug in the Google Ad code, and Google serves ads on the pages. While I have set this up to block ads from specific advertisers to avoid just what you’re seeing, that’s like trying to swat all the mosquitoes in your backyard with a fly swatter. So I gave up. There’s really no way for me to control what ads Google serves up.

      Google Ad revenue covers the basic costs of maintaining this site. I couldn’t buy lunch with what is left each month.

      I figure my readers know that ads are ads, not my content, and can ignore them. I think they also know I don’t endorse advertisers any more than Time magazine endorses Cialis just because there’s a Cialis ad on page 32.

      I could take down all the Google Ads. Then a free website would be operating at a loss paid for out of my pocket.

      Is there an ethical problem here? Nope. It’s a choice I make. It’s a choice readers make when they read my content without paying for it while ads appear for stuff they don’t want to buy. While ads sometimes appear from companies whose products I like and use myself, I love it when other companies whose services I trash pay to underwrite my articles.

      • I hear ya. And no, I’d never assume Time endorses the use of Cialis just because there is a Cialis ad somewhere in the magazine. That’s not quite the same, however, since the ad does not run counter to the magazine’s intent.

        I definitely would not expect a Catholic publication to be running ads for Planned Parenthood. I would not expect the American Cancer Society to have ads on their site for cigarettes. I don’t claim to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, and may well be partially brain dead from the ordeals and stupidity of job search, but I didn’t make the distinction and was really rather surprised.

        I don’t mean to pick on you, I’ve enjoyed your column for years and look forward to seeing it. You seem very meticulous, and this just caught me off guard.

  8. ZipRecruiter is one many predatory middle-tier so-called “recruiting” companies that hires other Indian “recruiting process outsourcing” (RPO) companies (aka “sourcing” services”) that are in reality outbound Indian call centers using tools to harvest candidate resumes from the job boards. They are part of a transnational network of Indian IT firms that are nothing more than high-tech body-shops farming out H1-B visa holders and Americans foolish enough or desperate enough to deal with them and/or work for them. For a look behind their technological smoke screens and into the real nature of this predatory middle-tier see:

    • @Rob: Thanks for posting the link to your site.

      @All: Rob has done some stunning research on overseas “consulting” firms that solicit U.S.-based workers — from supposedly U.S.-based offices. Rob has shown conclusively that they’re lying through their teeth about where they’re located and calling from — overseas.

      • Thanks Nick! Good job on exposing ZipRecruiter. These Indian RPO “recruiters” (aka call center jockeys) will lie about everything and anything if they think it will get a job seeker to fall fro their well worn script. Take Anurag Singh for Simplion hired by Persistent Systems purportedly hired by Microsoft lying about who requires W-2 status:

        Third parties hired by third parties hired by Microsoft. How sick and twisted does it get? Well, much worse I am afraid. And if you perchance become a W-2 employee of one of these Indian transnational sweatshops it only becomes more abusive to the worker.

  9. The miracle of technology at work… As for foolish enough or desperate enough, what are you supposed to do? Some one calls me, even if they can barely speak English, I’m going to talk to them. For ten minutes of my time, it is a possible. Will it amount to anything? Probably not, but what’s the alternative? Someone must be getting placed somewhere, right?

    • There’s a film from last year called “San Francisco 2.0” (I think it’s available on Amazon), one guy made the following comment which observes that you can get away with loads of nonsense as long as it’s done under the guise of “the miracle of technology.”

      “If anyone else came along and said ‘I’m gonna create a new taxi service,’ the union would have been like ‘you cant do that…you want drivers that have never been tested and you don’t want insurance…no, you can’t, that’s not a good idea.’ But, as soon as you hold it up [holds up phone] and say “Look, it’s on an iPhone!’ ‘Oh, it’s on an iPhone? That’s amazing! We should absolutely have this! That’s awesome, what else can you do on iPhone, this stuff is amazing!’”

      • How true.

      • Sigh, this happened over the past 5 years in health tech (look, it is on a smartphone, tablet or wearable!) Except it all went bust when the consumer driven healthcare model was revealed to be a fraud.

        Talk about a rabbit hole where down is up….it’s healthcare and medicine.

        • The new healthcare fools’ gold is “Big Data.” The idea is, a computer somewhere spits out the names of people who will have expensive things happen to them, then someone they’ve never heard of will call them cold, change their life, and lower costs. And there’s a bridge in NY being sold for scrap- I can get it for you cheap…plus some oceanfront property in Arizona.

          Does this sound like the job board/resume/key word scanner scam?

    • I was once foolish (I don’t mean this in a negative way) and naïve and posted my resume on the job boards. My inbox and voice mail were flooded daily with all those great opportunities out there ;-) Over 90% were for W-2 positions with so-called “staffing” companies, not fulltime positions. These “staffing” companies are really just a predatory middle-tier body-shops that wage scalp highly skilled and highly educated workers.

      Add up five minutes here and ten minutes there and in due time you are wasting a huge amount of time dealing with some call center jockey from India that doesn’t give a rip about your real capabilities or whether they can get you a job. They are on a call tree and you are just a number on a dialing queue. They will lie to you not only about where they are calling from but about more substantive things as well.

      The job boards sell your resume to these Indian RPOs, proving the job boards are really not there to serve the job seeker, but rather to commoditize the information you give them for free.

      Many of these Indian RPO employees are working for body-shops (aka recruiting firms providing contingent workers for the MSFTs of the world). They will try to get the candidate to accept W-2 status with their clients who in turn extract over 50-60% or more of the direct bill rate and provide little or no benefits. I have spoken with many IT workers who have been sucked into this transnational network of body-shops and in many cases I hear the same story. They end up working next to a room full of Indian H1-Bs and being treated the same way: wage scalped and abused and lied to.

      In this flood of emails and cold calls the good recruiters frequently get drown out by the mirage of potential opportunities that are really nothing more than phishing for phools (again not meant to be negative by an actual economic term) using a well worn script.

      What if all these Indian/RPO so-called “recruiters” could be immediately filtered out? Well with technology and public education they can be. The same technologies they use to create technological smoke screens to hide their manipulation and deception can be used to uncover, document, and expose these scammers and their predatory middle-tier of wage scalping body-shops.

      I have been prototyping these very technologies (same ones used to catch them) and brainstorming alternative business models so my children and grandchildren don’t have to become victims to this predatory middle-tier of so-called “recruiting/staffing” companies.

      But the real problem is when it comes to the increasing number of US workers forced into the “contingent” market (and therefore forced to work for “staffing” companies) the overwhelming majority wage scalp their W-2 employees simply because they can. Few tell their employees the direct bill rate; they view it as “proprietary” information, which is another way of saying, “We don’t want you know we are treating you the worker like a cash cow.”

      Many of those forced into the “contingent” market are older US workers laid off (and sometimes then rehired through a “staffing” company) but too young to retire. It is a real national tragedy in my view and truly a waste of human talent and brain power.

      • Couldn’t agree with you more. But job leads have to come from somewhere. My skills are something of a “niche”, I specialize in Vendor and Software Asset Mgmt. Not a tremendous amount of opportunities out there in these areas. I am fortunate enough to have connected with 2 excellent recruiters who are working with me, in that I hear from them, one I meet with every two weeks, but if the jobs aren’t there, they aren’t there. Simple as that. And I can’t be sure that when that once in a month opportunity surfaces, that won’t be the day they were tied up on something else. No one is going to tend my business better than me, but if there is something better than the job boards, I’m all ears.

        Networking? Sounds good. After having spent the last 10 years at a company working on internal assignments, my contacts are within the organization. After I got my notice I reached out to everyone, got nowhere, don’t even get calls or emails returned. Where am I supposed to do all this networking?

        I spent 4 years and $20k out of my own pocket at my last job pursuing an MBA. What did I get for it? A nice piece of paper in an attractive folder that now occupies the bottom of my underwear drawer. Nothing else. Certifications, PMP, CSAM, ad nauseum, for what?

        What else? You tell me, because I don’t know. Target a company? Already tried that, with the company I just got laid off from, see where that got me. And besides, as long as it is a legitimate, solvent company within a reasonable (1.5 hour one way) commute from my home, I’m interested.

        Thing is, at age 62, I do not want to retire. I actually like working. It helps keep you in shape, both mentally and physically. Gives you a reason to get up in the morning, and a sense of accomplishment that you did your day’s work. What am I supposed to do? Financially we are okay, could be better, could be a lot worse, but the extra money certainly would help. How do I spend my time? Where do I get a sense of accomplishment from? Cutting the grass? Where do I look?

        So, off to the job boards we go. Got to do something.

        • Tom, I am touched and saddened by your words. Something is so broken in our society that we discard experience (and more importantly experiential wisdom) due to prejudice and age discrimination. I fully understand and feel much as you do. I just keep thinking, what are we doing wasting such experience and talent when we could be teaming up older and younger workers and getting the best of both.

          Microsoft’s “chief people person” recently posted on LinkedIn how Microsoft was going to “hire in” rather than “hiring out,” by which she meant finding what the job seeker and hiring team had in common rather than weeding people out. Nice sounding, and they are now hiring people with Autism, but are they hiring older folks who need jobs and have so much to offer?

          Seems like such a cultural waste of human experience and talent. It just makes me sad.

          • The manager who hired me at my last job, and for whom I worked for 8.5 years, was a brilliant man. Very capable, and very reasonable. Pleasure to work for. Two years ago, he retired, couldn’t take another day of the bullshit. So now, this man with his common sense, great mind, and 40+ years of experience, spends his days walking his dog. It is a waste. There’s so much waste.

            When I was working, on my lunch break, I would walk. Trying to keep fit. In my walks, I’d often pass by a building where I spent 8 years working, early in my career, and I couldn’t help but reflect how much my view of the working world has changed since then, and not for the better. Then, I and my peers believed that if you worked hard, and did extra to improve yourself, you would rise and good things would come your way. You had control over your destiny. I don’t believe that anymore. Yes, you do have some control over what happens to you, but not much. And most of it makes no sense at all, and if you try and make sense of it, you only confuse yourself further.

            I knew my position was vulnerable in my last job. I knew when the boss I mentioned above retired, it would be a risky game. I did everything I could, over those years, grabbed every opportunity for training. MBA. Certifications. Tried to be innovative, suggesting better ways of doing things. Didn’t change a thing, I might as well go out and tell it to stop raining.

            But what’s the answer? Guarantee everyone a job? Then you have socialism, and history has proven that doesn’t work either. Guarantee everyone a job? A promotion? No. “Buy American”? No. Not going to happen. Or vote for a candidate who is going to “Make America Great Again”? Sounds good, but what the hell does that even mean?

            I wish I knew what the answer was, and how to successfully adapt to it. But I don’t. So, it’s trial and error, stumble and bumble, one day at a time. Keep pounding the virtual pavement until you either find something acceptable or give up and become the Walmart greeter, if you can even get that. And try and keep your spirits up as best you can. No sense in getting down about things bigger than you.

        • @Tom Canning: “But job leads have to come from somewhere.”

          That’s where I disagree with you and it’s why I publish Ask The Headhunter. I think the problem lies with viewing work (and pay) through the lens of job leads. Why do talented people think they have to press a lever to get food (jobs)?

          “from somewhere”

          That’s lock, stock and barrel the “external locus of control” problem. Basic definition:

          (Warning: I didn’t read that entire article so I can’t endorse anything in it – I provide the link just for the basic definition)

          Why wait for jobs “from somewhere?” Why not carefully select the companies you want to work for? Pick them. Pursue them. Don’t take what comes along, because that’s a forced choice — not a real choice.

          I’m not knocking how you live your work life. I’m just trying to point out what this approach suggests and that it’s not the only (or best) way to find work.

          Consider the model good headhunters use. A client gives us an assignment. We don’t scour databases or solicit mass-submission of resumes so we can turn an algorithm loose to “decide” which key words we should then read with our own eyes.

          We stop and think. Who are the opinion-makers and experts in the field who can introduce us to a handful of the best, hand-selected people who do this kind of work very well? Then we go to those people and give them good reasons to meet with our clients.

          It’s easy to see that any job seeker can use the same model to find a good job with a good company working with good people.

          There’s no “job leads have to come from somewhere.” Somewhere is a dark, unknown, risky place. Read Rob’s comments about overseas RPOs — the worst of the ilk.

          Try the “pick your own” model.

          • Nick,

            I really had to think about how to respond to you on this. I think what it boils down to is this. Yes, you and your successful peers follow the model you describe. You are good at it. You do it everyday, and have for many years. You know the ins and outs, what to say, what to expect, and are prepared during the work day to handle the responses. You no doubt have a personality that is comfortable with this line of work, and indeed, enjoys it,or you’d have dropped out of it long ago. And because you do, you are an expert and very successful.

            That isn’t me. I have no clue how to locate these experts, and no reason to expect them to return my call, and no reason to expect their assistance. This is not what I do, just like I don’t perform surgery, fly commercial jet liners, or operate nuclear power plants. I don’t want to become a job search expert, I just want to land a job and get back to what I do.

            I don’t disagree with you that your model isn’t an excellent approach. It is. From all appearances, you’ve built a very successful and rewarding career out of it, and I respect you for that. It is just a skill set I don’t have. And won’t have, because to succeed in the selling game, which is what recruiting is, you got to love the game, and I don’t. I do not want to be in the game, and want out of the game as quickly as possible. And I can’t change that attitude any more readily than I can change my sexual orientation. I’m not going to pretend otherwise. People who go into any selling game with my mindset won’t last long. I have tried.

            I would love to locate a recruiter who would bring these skills and knowledge to work for me. For a fee, of course. I’d be willing to go 20 to 30% of my first year’s pretax salary, and sign an exclusive with them. But not one dime for effort, only results. After all, I hire a realtor to sell my house, a tax specialist to do my taxes, a lawyer if I have a legal problem, a mechanic to fix my car, a doctor to fix my body, all sorts of specialists who have the specific tools and techniques to do what I need done.

            Why not here? Thoughts?

            • @Tom: I hope my advice does not sound dismissive. I don’t intend it to. Nor am I trying to belittle anyone’s frustrations with the job market. On Ask The Headhunter I try to teach and explain the methods I’ve used as a headhunter.

              But the methods are not anything special. They’re common sense. Like anything else in business and work, they require practice. This is not a game. If it’s selling to any extent, it’s selling in the same way talking to a friend about where you’re going for dinner. This is not the place for this discussion, but I’ll recommend a book: Robert Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”

              We persuade people every day. It’s important to understand what this really means. It’s far more fundamental than sales. Cialdini explains the paramaters of compliance very well.

              Putting that aside, I think the brainwashing that the employment industry (including employers) has inflicted on the public is what frustrates and terrifies people. But it is brainwashing. There is no real “system” for finding and applying for jobs. It’s a massive rat trap. It doesn’t work. It’s fake. Diddling databases doesn’t yield hires or jobs.

              So no matter how much you think you can’t do it another way, you must. Please believe me: It’s not awkward or difficult. It’s actually fun and satisfying because you make friends in the process.

              The tip I give people about sales and icky networking is this: If it feels icky or wrong to you, DON’T DO IT. Learn enough about someone that you can approach them sincerely to discuss or ask about the work they do and you do.

              Don’t sell. Talk shop.

              “I would love to locate a recruiter who would bring these skills and knowledge to work for me. For a fee, of course.”

              There is no such thing. For a reason. No one can find you a job but you.

              So here’s my main suggestion to you. Sign up for a Toastmasters program in your area. Even a Dale Carnegie course. Learn how to talk to people about what you want in a way that makes them want to have the discussion. You can’t hire someone to get a job or a date. Ask Myles Standish. John Alden ran away with the girl. You must learn to court the girl (or guy) and the hiring manager.

              There is no “I can’t.” You must. There’s help for that. Please find it and try it.

            • Oh Nick, God love ya. I did Toastmasters. Waste of frigging time. You don’t know who you are talking to. I once peddled pots and pans door to door. I Know. I’ve sold real estate, and cars. I’ve been through it all, been around more blocks times than I can shake a stick at.

              If you ever get to Chicago, my friend, look me up. I’d love to buy you a drink and really talk. I’m just too old and too tired to buy the bullshit much more. I’m serious. look me up.


          • “Consider the model good headhunters use. A client gives us an assignment. We don’t scour databases or solicit mass-submission of resumes so we can turn an algorithm loose to “decide” which key words we should then read with our own eyes. We stop and think.”

            “THINK” being one of the keys here.

            See my other relevant posts and replys related to Nick’s point on “headhunters” and “algorithms” (Chris S 12:49 pm on June 23, 2017; Chris S 1:03 pm on June 23, 2017).

            People submitting to “push-a-button-find-a-candidate” propaganda are just adding fuel to the problem while actually promoting and proving the worth of a headhunters fee without even knowing it.

            It’s not that complicated folks…

            Back in kindergarten I learned the stop-drop-and roll method of dealing with a specific, urgent problem (being on fire). You know, a practical approach to an immediate need. A true headhunter would be like a concerned bystander who takes action to assist you in this emergency situation – without the fee, at least we’d hope.

            Today, people are likely to frantically search their cell phones for an app (job board, data base, etc.) to “help” them as the flames (open position) intensify, inflicting 3rd degree burns (lost profits due to open position) – or even kill (high turnover, bankruptcy, etc.) them. Talk about “burning down the house” due to incompetence.

            Little too graphic?

            Not at all. That ashes-to-ashes behavior seems to be the mentality of employers today.

      • We’re conflating two separate, bad issues here: ZipDiluter (and its cousins) and the H1-B system. Nick has thoroughly roasted the former, but I’d like to weigh in on the latter.

        I was taken in by one of those Indian body shops and didn’t think the contract house was significantly worse than most of the U.S. “consulting” houses I’ve worked for. It’s true: there were zero bennies, but I knew that before I signed on. The wages were low but livable; again, I knew that before I signed on. My handler had a challenging accent, and I knew that before I signed on.

        What surprised me, and ultimately drove me out of their clutches, was how poorly the client company treated these disposable engineers.
        It is with mixed rue and pride that I claim to have once been an ‘honorary foreign national’.

        We worked with other “consultants” that were represented by U.S. companies, doing the same work. They worked at desks in a carpeted cube farm like all the other prairie dogs; we ‘foreign nationals’ worked on crowded lab benches, co-located with the noisy lab equipment. They walked in and out of the building like people; we checked in and out with security like parolees. They parked anywhere but named slots; we parked by the loading docks.

        The true foreign nationals knew they were being treated like poor cousins, but they didn’t know how badly, and their skin color made it difficult for them to bluff. They lacked the confidence that familiarity brings, and wouldn’t even avail themselves of things they were technically welcome to, but not told about.

        Personally, I’d be happy to compete with a foreign national as long as he didn’t have to petition the Feds to change jobs. The hold their sponsors have on them forces them to put up with uncompetitive wages, non-existent benefits, poor working conditions, and intolerable condescension from U.S. workers. It’s the equivalent of indentured servitude. If they could just say “F@$k this! I’m taking that offer from your competitor!”, the client companies couldn’t keep ’em long enough to take advantage of ’em and we’d all be better off.

        Because I could, and I knew I could, I cleaned my bit of lab bench and checked out for the last time as soon as I got a decent offer elsewhere. Like Basic Training, I learned a lot there, but not what I thought I would, and I’ve no desire to repeat it.

        On behalf of my fellow foreign nationals, I advocate total elimination of H1-B visas (and anything like them) and relaxation of limits on green cards.

        • “On behalf of my fellow foreign nationals, I advocate total elimination of H1-B visas (and anything like them) and relaxation of limits on green cards.”

          I agree with everything you say. A while back I meet with the head of SPEEA here in the NW. We discussed many things one of which was he current state of the H1-B system and how it was being abused. He said essentially what you are saying above with anecdotal examples and that is what I have seen myself as well although from a different position (internal MSFT).

          If the H1-B visa holders were free agents (green card holders) they could compete at market rates and that would eliminate a large part of the market distorting effect of the H1-B system as well as stop the treatment of foreign nationals as indentured servants. Internal MSFT people see a lot of abuse, but in 99% of the cases never say or do anything. One Chinese company I will leave unnamed literally didn’t pay anything to their H1-Bs working literally like slaves right here in the Seattle area.

          There are other issues we are not mentioning here, but I leave them for another time and place.

        • Just curious Itinerant Engineer,

          Have you ever worked for a “consulting” (or “staffing”) firm that was transparent about the direct bill rate?

          Not long ago I developed a business plan based on real market rates using real (actual data) historical direct bill rates and what a representative group of “consulting” companies were actually paying their employees (with little or no benefits). We have these numbers because we have extensive contacts inside the major players and have seen people go from being laid off to being re-employed by a “consulting” company and farmed right back out to the big IT company doing the exact same job. We have this information for a wide range of job profiles in IT.

          Here is what we found. First, the big IT client is paying a direct bill rate that could cover not only a competitive wage but good benefits as well. But because the “staffing/consulting” company could get away with it (and because it is “standard industry practice” as one CEO told me) they basically extract 50-60% directly off the top of the direct bill rate and provide little or no benefits.

          When we ran the pro forma five year financials on this data we found that we could not only pay for health care at prevailing rates (Seattle area) with no group discount, but provide vacation, sick days, 401K, and profit sharing and/or ESOP operating at a 70% pass-through of the direct bill rate and still be a million dollar company at the end of the five years. Mind you now I used very, very conservative numbers and five year plan rather than a four year plan so I erred on the conservative side.

          We know friends (former MSFT employees) that are now working for some of the best “consulting” firms and these firms are transparent with the direct bill rate. But such companies can be counted on one hand. All the others are out to wage scalp the IT worker for as much as they can make.

          Our business model is based on Shared Capitalism ( ), which in a nutshell is geared toward making every employee a mini-capitalist by allowing them to become owners in the company. Corporate charter (if we ever executed the plan) includes the policy that the highest paid worker can make no more than 10 times the lowest paid worker in the company. Transparency is built into the business model. The goal is to use human creativity and technological expertise and innovation to continually strive to drive the pass through rate from 70% to up as far as we can reasonably go and still maintain a viable model.

          That might give some idea of the extent of the wealth being extracted by this predatory middle-tier of “staffing/consulting” companies. The numbers don’t lie.

          • @Rob:
            Not only have I never been so fortunate as to work for a staffing agency that was transparent about its billing rate, but I have never gotten a straight answer as to whether they bill as cost-plus-a-fixed-amount, cost-plus-a-fixed-percentage, or fixed-rate-and-we-keep-whatever-we-don’t-give-the-consultant.

            At least there is some honor among thieves, in that they don’t tattle on each other, either. Even my “friends” in the business, whose companies have never submitted my resume, won’t break the code of silence.

            On the other hand, these shops have been very forthcoming about what they’re willing to pay. First, they ask if I’m stupid by saying “I’ve got a job [maybe telling me the city], it looks like a good fit for you; what is your rate?” I reply that this isn’t my first rodeo by saying “that depends on the duties, both technical and administrative, and the cost of living there; what rate are ‘they’ offering?” And they have all told me, without hedging. In those instances where it clearly wasn’t enough, they have occasionally said they might be able to go as much as 50 cents per hour more, but most sick to their guns.

            In the past, I’ve always referred to what “they”, meaning the client, are offering so that the caller can maintain the illusion that he’s not responsible for low-balling me. I think I’ll stop indulging them and ask what are you offering in the future.

            To ensure he knows I know his motivation, I always end each call with a cheery “I hope we can make each other some money!”

            As for the Shared Capitalism plan you describe, I would love to see it work. Because it would be the ‘devil-you-don’t’ know, I would investigate you carefully if you brought me an offer, but it sounds promising, and definitely game-changing.

            As a professional pessimist, I’d guess there are regulations, reporting requirements, and tax considerations that *protect* the status quo. Have you factored these into your plan? You say your projection is “very conservative”; do you believe in Murphy, or just laugh at his jokes? Smith’s Law: “Murphy was an optimist.”

            FWIW, the skill set I bring to the table is software development for commercial avionics. Everyone wants me to be a pessimist but the bean counters.

            • I have a bit of that professional pessimist in me too ;-) In answer to your question about “regulations, reporting requirements, and tax considerations …” Yes, I have extensive background. Before moving into software engineering and eventually creating my own technology corporation I was a corporate tax accountant and used to eat and sleep the tax code. Running a small closely held corporation I handled all the taxes, payroll etc. (international as well as our corp. took our family to several different countries). All those costs are included in the business plan.

              I like Mr. Murphy; best be to be an eternal pessimist when it comes to pro forma financials. Devil is in the details and the devil and Mr. Murphy get along real well ;-)

              Good niche – commercial avionics – I would think?

        • Thanks for reminding us of the ugly flip side of the H1-B and other guest worker visa abuse. I agree guest worker visas should be abolished in favor of straight up immigration. At least that puts all workers on a more level playing field. So much of the visa abuse is due to the chains tying guest workers to their employers.

          The other reason I advocate eliminating H1-B et al is that they were never justified in the first place. A corporate propaganda campaign decrying a mythical shortage was used to create a visa program based on a false narrative. So hardly surprising it was subject to abuse almost from day one. I remind you the program started in 1990, and by end of decade abuse was well established. But instead of fixing it, Congress loosened the (already widely evaded) rules even more. System is too easy to game, yet another reason for elimination.

  10. The H1-B is a great example of how this company does not provide an actual service, but is not the only one! I’m sure some folks have found jobs using it, but I’ve found it a total disaster–just a slightly more modern, with all the same problems of that behemoth. Its beatific Silicon Valley bluster covers the fact that it’s pure snake oil, in my opinion.

    • @Ian: The big job boards are not in the business of matching workers to jobs. They make money when employers and workers keep looking for jobs.

      Thus the business model is simple: Create a faux job-matching service with loads of bells, whistles, options and — most of all — seemingly cool tech. (I’ll never forget the guy from Monster who was a guest on a radio show I was on. He “announced” that Monster had new “cognitive matching” software.) Sell the sizzle to personnel jockeys with huge recruiting budgets. Teach those jockeys to require that job applicants use the faux tech to apply for jobs. When the job seekers are sufficiently brainwashed, the faux system supplants any real system for recruiting and hiring.

      As long as HR keeps funding all this, it doesn’t matter whether workers and jobs are matched. “The talent shortage” is rolled out to explain the failure. The big bucks keep rolling in.

      Economists see that workers and jobs aren’t being matched and they conjure “science” to support the excuse that there’s a “talent shortage.” Everybody buys it because who wants to experience the pain and agony of actually looking for the right job or recruiting the best workers?

      The successful faux job matching service is sold to Microsoft.

      The HR execs who paid for it all start another cool online jobs service that makes money when other HR execs keep paying to play while jobs remain unfilled and the talent keeps diddling the keyboard to play the game.

      Welcome to the cluster-f*ck economy.

  11. As several above have said–we have a misuse of technology. In my opinion, anything Big Data has become toxic: search engines give you what you already have looked at (and those paying $$ to be at the top); what used to be common sense is now a big data app that is fed with toxic data producing an incompetent response.

    We are spending $$$ to create outdoor wireless networks–why? So we can get more toxic information? The information age used to be good–now it’s either streaming entertainment or just toxic BS crap. Sites like asktheheadhunter with actual commonsense are rare and hard to find.

    I’m old school and long for the days of the newspaper classifieds…those WORKED, and were authentic.

    PLUS: our woes in America are largely = to the Free Trade Acts that could be ended with a stroke of a pen–and they should. They only benefit OFFSHORE people $$$, period.

    But hey…I’m crazy.

  12. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this article. My blood boils every time I hear that idiotic commercial. It’s the worst part of my day. It’s such a hassle – the searching for intelligence. The sorting through his weird cadence.

    It’s everything that’s wrong with the world of work in America right now. Some clueless idiot who’s half-assing his way through the job looking for unicorns.

    My wife just went through this before being hired by a good company where the hiring manager actually found her resume without a recruiter and hired her because she had she had the framework of the job and the APTITUDE to learn the rest instead of a copy-and-paste skill set resume and a silver-tongued line of BS.

    Before she got this job she was constantly being pursued by three or four recruiters from foreign lands making her jump through hoops for THE SAME POSITION, then being rejected because she only had 90% of the relevant experience and wasn’t willing to work for 60% of what the job is worth.

    • “…looking for unicorns.”

      Otherwise known as Purple Squirrel Syndrome.

      “…90% of the relevant experience and wasn’t willing to work for 60% of what the job is worth.”

      Yep, many employers still think we’re in the depths of the Great Recession. What an insult and slap in the face to motivated, talented professionals. ‘We like you and want you on board…but you’ll have to work for peanuts.’

  13. I just looked at Ian Siegel, the founder. He wants ZipRecruiter to evolve into a one-stop HR service for small and mid-sized companies. This article, along with Nick’s information on scams coming through the site and the Federal violations, remind me of the free-wheeling nastiness of Uber. As a Californian (now living out of state), I’m comfortable saying start-up venture capitalists in California may be creating a new economic system: “Kick-Ass, In-Your-Face Drop-Dead Idiotism.”

  14. Well Nick it is June 20th. I went on Ziprecruiter and used the Boolean search term “only H1-B” adding the quote marks to lock in the entire term. There are 3 jobs in the USA that still have that requirement. Probably more if I revised the search term, adding or deleting specific requirements.
    One of them is through Fidelis Partners in LA looking for a Family Practice Physician!!

    Check it out.

    I wish I could have added the screenshot to this message, but it is easy to find.

    BTW – I found a position at a company that I would like. But you can only apply through ZipRecruiter. I went to the companies website and the position was not listed, so I assume they want ZipRecruiter to filter out applicants.

    • @Joseph: Thanks for the tip-off. Nice work. I found them.

    • “I went to the companies website and the position was not listed, so I assume they want ZipRecruiter to filter out applicants.”

      I tried the same experiment with other companies and found the exact same results.

      Looks like even HR gets outsourced for a more pathetic paper shuffle “solution.” Trying to find a quality hire off resume keyword skimming alone is a fools errand. There are plenty of great DIY resume writing passive professionals that are “looking” and resume writing services that just won’t make it past ever changing resume scanning software algorithms.

      Too bad.

  15. I’ve heard that ad on the Bay Area news station, and had the same reaction – as a hiring manager, why would I want my inbox to be flooded with crap? But it sounds even worse than I thought.
    Don’t expect them to clean up their act any time soon. I bet they filtered out H1B Only from submissions, but truly checking for legality of posts would take people, which costs money, and they clearly work on volume. That’s also the reason they’ll never filter out fraudulent posts. Sounds like a good chunk of their customers are ripoff artists, so why spend money to hurt the bottom line?

  16. Great people are not fast hires. Besides, no human need apply.

  17. Some years ago, I stopped applying to any company that used the idiocy called Taleo. I find that product so annoying as an applicant that it tells me that the company and I share irreconcilable opinions about the universe. My career is doing fine.

    I think the solution is for good companies to *not* use HR crap like ZipRecruiter. Similarly, good people should not apply for jobs with companies that use crap like ZipRecruiter.

  18. @Tom Channing
    I was fortunate to find a 30-year gig through the newspaper ads you so well describe. As hiring manager, I used the same ads to recruit a superlative crew. The crew was not superlative in the beginning. It took ten years, for both the warehouse and the office.
    When the company was bought and I was bumped out, not only did it take the Borg less than 5 years to destroy both crews, but about the same time to lose the customer base we spent thirty years building.
    Five years.
    I lost my job at the worst time in recent history that one could lose a job. It took nearly two years to find a survival job.
    (I was on meds and in therapy for the first six of those months because of the changing landscape of job hunting.)
    I found my survival job the same way I found my fab job–in the Sunday Paper.
    My networking “Yoda” was disappointed that I found a job the old-fashioned way. I still owe this guy a lot for the free weekly workshops he ran for the nearly two years I was out of work, so I’m not angry, but when a clinically depressed guy finally finds a job . . .
    Now for you subsequent comment on being 62.
    I was 58 when I got tossed out.
    I have double major curve scoliosis. My body objects strenuously to extensive time on my feet.
    I turned 66 in February and fully retired March 10. Family drama has not allowed me to feel retired (death, dementia, entitled siblings, no will left by dead dad).
    A friend of mine the same age works part-time and loves it. I worked part-time for the last year of my six years at the survival job. My body still objected, but I had a marvelous time.
    When my body recovers, and the drama subsides, I may look for work again.
    You are totally right about wanting to keep working–all the data coming in from research on aging confirms that the longer one works, the longer one lives.
    Plus, dementia hates people involved with interesting and complex problems. It goes after people who don’t read and watch too much TV.
    If all else fails, move to Grand Rapids Michigan. You can’t walk 20 feet down the street without tripping over at least 3 help-wanted signs that fell out of the windows.

  19. This video clearly shows organizations conspiring to not hire locals (Americans):

  20. Nick, if you published a digest form of this article on StinkedIn and linked it here, I believe you’d create a sensation as you rip the scab off three festering wounds on the workforce…boards like Zip, lazy HRers, and the abuse of H1B.

    Everyone here can also publish this as an update.

    Hard for SI to censor a slam at a competitor.

  21. Unless I am missing something here which is entirely possible it seems like this article is just one big complaint. As far as the H1B visa issues in the tech industry it looks like the bubble is about to pop. America is not immune to globalization – why would I pay an American 6 figures when I can get someone from overseas to do the same job for $30k less. Life is not fair and its the American tech industry’s own fault for pricing themselves out of a job…I think thats apart of a thing called Capitalism. As far as putting H1B in a title okay there was an over-site error – that can easily be fixed.

    Nick you come across angry at ziprecruiter and online data bases because it does directly compete with the headhunting business. Ziprecruiter, Indeed, and all those job boards are tools, use them as such and enjoy the low hanging fruit they offer you. Keywords are important – why would you higher someone for a JAVA job when they do not have JAVA anywhere in their resume.. Headhunters will not go away we are going to be here forever – good help even with these databases is still hard to find.

    I have used those online data bases to find candidates; never to find a job however my advice to anyone who does use those sites is setup a separate email for the job boards because guess what they will spam you with things you could potentially be qualified for. We have a saying in the industry I work in “square pins round holes, beat them to fit, paint them to match.” Its not about finding an exact fit, its about finding someone who can do the job.

    • @Bobby:

      “why would I pay an American 6 figures when I can get someone from overseas to do the same job for $30k less”

      Because it’s illegal as it was being done in this example.

      “Life is not fair”

      That’s the perennial cheap rationalization for screwing someone else.

      “I think thats apart [sic] of a thing called Capitalism.”

      No, screwing others is not a part of capitalism.

      “As far as putting H1B in a title okay there was an over-site [sic] error – that can easily be fixed.”

      Nah, that’s just crooked advertising. It was no oversight.

      “Nick you come across angry at ziprecruiter and online data bases because it does directly compete with the headhunting business.”

      I criticize the headhunting business more than I criticize job boards. Round holes? Square pegs? Paint them to match? Geez — you’re just as unfair as life, eh?

      “Its [ran out of sics] not about finding an exact fit, its about finding someone who can do the job.”

      It seems what you mean is, whatever it takes to get the fee, fair or unfair, round peg or square hole, “paint them to match.”

      • @Nick: Just displaying the number of sics required with the subject post says A LOT . . .doncha know :(

    • “Nick you come across angry at ziprecruiter and online data bases because it does directly compete with the headhunting business.”

      I don’t think Nick has ever said this or even implied this. All he’s said is that “we have a databases of n (where n is sufficiently large) people and we can’t get anyone qualified.”

    • Folks, Bobby is parroting a one eyed fools view of capitalism. For a _real_ look at how the market works see Nobel Prize-winning economists George Akerlof and Robert Shiller’s “Phishing for Phools”:

      I prefer to not be an intellectual parrot and regurgitate platitudes about capitalism but to understand how it really works for the man in the street so to speak.

      • “…parroting a one eyed fools view of capitalism.”

        Great summary.

        “…intellectual parrot and regurgitate platitudes…”

        Yes indeed, the ivory tower gets more crowded year after year. All they want to do is control the “…man in the street…”

    • “…just one big complaint.”

      Hmmm…Nick provides screenshots, data, facts, quotes, etc. Seems like a lot of work to be casually cast off and classified as a “complaint.”

      “…it does directly compete with the headhunting business.”


      You compare paper mill job boards to true headhunters (not HR jockey or dime-a-dozen recruiter)? There is NO direct competition in this realm. Job boards are where leftovers go to spoil. Passive candidates are where you find the gold. Headhunters have virtually zero competition in this arena.

      “…beat them to fit, paint them to match.”

      Wow, what a robotic “solution.” This type of philosophy is extremely sub-par to a true headhunter’s skill set.

      “Its not about finding an exact fit, its about finding someone who can do the job.”

      Then why, as many of Nick’s blogs point out, does HR continue to cry “lack of talent?” Gee, could it be because they continue to INSIST on a “perfect purple squirrel” candidate while throwing resumes of those “…who can do the job” in file 13 all the while trying to find a way to abuse H1-B?! Ya, thought so.

      Bobby, there’s a reason you’ve “…never…” found a job via online data bases.

      Nonetheless and with all due respect, you appear to be the type that idols profiteering job boards. Do you own stock or have any capital in any of these organizations?

  22. Since first hearing the Zip Recruiter ads endlessly on radio, I have found the opening line extremely appalling. And what’s worse about it? It actually resonates with the feelings a sad significant number of employers have towards hiring. They really do view hiring as a chore, a burden, an unenjoyable activity.

    Ads many times are carefully studied and crafted. The opening line of an ad is specifically designed to build curiosity, to get you to listen to the rest of the ad. If you’re one of those employers who views the whole hiring process with disdain yet something you have to do, you will stay tuned to see what someone is recommending you buy.

    I’ve noticed that the opening line has changed recently. The transition has been from extreme disgust to mild displeasure, somewhat analogous to “Hiring people is the worst part of my job” to “Hiring people is not something I look forward to.” Maybe someone in their marketing department told them to tone it down a bit. Still, it’s so off putting.

    Yet it does reflect quite a contradiction employers have towards hiring. On the one hand enough employers aren’t excited about hiring so the product has its audience. Yet when asked what makes them successful, you hear companies of all kinds from startups to corporate conglomerates proclaim that they are where they are only because of their people. Well, wouldn’t it be more attractive to create ad copy that says that hiring is something you look forward to, especially with tools that are your catalysts?

    The Zip Recruiter ads exacerbate the depressed attitude and sentiment several employers and applicants have towards hiring. I find that opening line such a turnoff that I have no interest in neither buying nor recommending the product.

    • @Glenn: Ads are designed to appeal first to emotion, and the truth is that most HR people find recruiting and hiring painful and distasteful. Why is that? I think largely because it’s so automated that it’s stupid and depressing — and it doesn’t work well at all — so they shun it understandably.

      When something comes along that promises relief from pain, they forget about whether it’s real or phony. They buy it. And the cycle continues.

      HR is also responsible for leading the charge to change how this kind of work is done.

      This doesn’t excuse ZipRecruiter or LinkedIn or Indeed. They will all argue that they merely fill a need.

  23. “ZipRecruiter says job postings must follow the law. ZipRecruiter says you can post jobs for Americans only.”

    Um, Nick, your photos of the conversation up there said that they said that you could post “H1B only” and that they recommended that you not put it in the title though.

    You’re contradicting yourself. Was that a typo in the quoted part?

    • @Paul A: Nice catch. That was an error on my part. I just corrected it to read:

      “ZipRecruiter says you can post jobs for foreign applicants only.”

      The screen shot of the chat shows that Taylor says ads can be posted with “H1-B Only” in the title, and that ads can say “foreign applicants only.”

      Thanks for pointing it out. Sorry for the error.

  24. BTW, it’s not just Americans who hate H1B visas. Indians hate them too. Those that want to come here via green cards get a 70 (you heard that right) year backlog yet H1Bs come pretty easily. Yet they can’t switch jobs, which makes them basically an indentured servant.

    And L1 is even worse as it’s not even regulated. So between H1B and L1, about 100K foreigners are being hired a year instead of Americans.

    BTW, I found out this info from an Indian who wants to come on a green card. He says that they use body shops like Tata, etc to get around this mess and that those guys are like the Mafia and even chase out American firms.

    It’s not just lower pay that could be the issue. They might pay the same but they might make the H1B put up with no raises, 80+ hours, etc, because if they complain, they can’t leave to go to another company, but must put up with it or go back to India.

    That’s why companies hire them instead and have even greedily used the body shops to do the dirty deed of firing Americans and making them train their foreign replacements as a loophole in the labor laws. That’s what Disney and others did and are doing.

    L1 and H1B need to be ABOLISHED. Not limited, ABOLISHED.

    They don’t help either the American or foreign workers, only the body shops and the greedy “American” corporate executives.

    • @Paul A: The H1-B issue is used to advance political agendas so much that reasonable discourse gets drowned out. There are good and bad things about H1-B that have nothing to do with racist or isolationist agendas, or with greed. The system is widely abused, and if it’s going to remain in place to encourage the movement of talent into the U.S., it needs to be overhauled.

      I’ve heard from many foreign nationals (not just people from India) that H1-B is a form of indentured servitude. An H1-B employee can easily be abused and controlled by the sponsor. And there’s no doubt that H1-B is used to depress salaries for both visa holders and U.S. citizens.

      What’s become evident is that there’s a lot of chicanery. “American” companies that are really overseas companies. Recruiters who say they’re in the U.S. who are actually in India or elsewhere. Ridiculous arm’s-length “employer” relationships designed to hide misuse of H1-B.

      It’s all a mess. And it’s good we’re talking about it. Now, where’s the U.S. legislature?

    • L1…please explain

      • L1 Visas are like H1B visas except that they don’t have a cap. They’re even MORE abused than H1B visas yet not as many people are talking about them.

  25. “…hapless mark helping to feed the Monster.”

    See the end of this post to uncover the real “monster.”

    “…part of a giant ruse…”

    Yes indeed, and on average only about 2% of jobs are filled via these “job” boards.

    Bogus job boards and corrupt H1-Bs?

    It gets worse, much worse…

    Did you realize that for years on end Tysons and other U.S. companies are using YOUR tax dollars to ship in “immigrants” (specifically Muslims) to fill jobs? Yep, and just like in some European countries these foreigners are also give preferential treatment when it comes to housing allowances. These are NOT H1-Bs either, they are generally unskilled individuals shipped to the U.S. under a government “diversity” program and instantly inserted into a job – and YOU pay for it.

    Even more appauling…

    Ungrateful Muslim “immigrants” even filed a lawsuit at another company demanding extensive break time for their “mandatory” 5x a day prayer sessions which would stop the assembly line at their employer.

    Welcome to the NWO where being a hard working citizen makes you “intolerant” of these newcomers.

    Will things get worse?

    Possibly, since the U.S. just had a popular and proud socialist on the Democrat ticket. Gee, can’t wait to see if a communist preacher runs in 2020, wins, then dictates that all jobs will be assigned (no free market) by big government.

    Although a problem, profiteering job boards just scratch the surface. The growing socialist-minded culture in the U.S. is the real job killing “monster.”

    • I do know about these companies and the “refugees” and refugee resettlement. Also we know about Starbucks too of course.

      Accenture, Airbnb, Chobani, Coursera, Goldman Sachs, Google, HP, IBM, JPMorgan Chase & Co., LinkedIn, Microsoft, Mastercard, UPS, TripAdvisor, and Western Union.

    • What is killing jobs is a combination of Right Wing corporatism/fascism and Left Wing Socialism/Communism.

      These systems favor labor bosses, corporate leaders, politicians, journalists, academics, etc and screws most of the rest of us while trying to get us to fight each other and take our focus off of them.

      Since the majority of both parties in DC are infected by at least one of the problem above, it would seem that we’d have to rely on the Article V state convention process to bypass Congress and amend the Constitution to fix this mess.

  26. Nick – This topic has obviously hit one of the major sore points in our society. Just from the responses over the past few days to 1 article, it is obvious that this discussion needs to be broadcast to the national audience and needs to become a national discussion.

    Most of the time on-topic, but it has become a forum to vent. If so many of us are disgusted and frustrated with the system, and the fact that companies are hiring desperate foreign workers to come over and become indentured servants, we have to address the issue.

    BTW, why are H1-B employees always referred to as coming from India? Don’t we have them from other countries like Indonesia, China, Mexico, Canada, et al?

    I can see what the responses have been, but I am not convinced that there is a nefarious plan among all CEO’s to hire only cheap offshore labor. I doubt that you can find an MBA course that promotes that ideal.

    Yep, I have been in meetings where corporate level staff members push to move production offshore (because they “can never make enough money”) that statement stunned the room! Just look at Travis Kalanick. Money at all costs, even friendships. I don’t have to say anything else, he nuked himself. I guess he couldn’t make enough money (again)!

    As you stated, HR departments have become lazy. It is easier to let a company like ZipRecruiter take the ball, run with it. Then they can take a long lunch. By the end of the day they can forward 1-2 resumes from the robo HR group to the hiring manager for consideration.

    We can talk about STEM in another blog. Another subject that is 35 years overdue.

    • @Joseph Fabian: H1-B workers come from many countries. And lots of H1-B hires are legit. The problem is not Indians or Muslims or any other specific group, as some imply. It’s stupid to blame a group of people for a mismanaged U.S. visa program. Opportunists exist everywhere and they surface when opportunities turn up. Our challenge is to point out the problem and to make noise about it. It’s to get the problem fixed, not to hang one group or another. The group we need to address is the U.S. Congress — our legislators.

      As I suggested in another comment above, the H1-B topic is often commandeered by bigots and isolationists to advance jingoism. It’s why I hesitate to even use “H1-B” in an article — the comments sometimes attract purely political commentary, if not outright racist and paranoid comments.

      I don’t think it takes an MBA course or a nefarious plan to lead us where we are — with a real H1-B problem. Like many business concepts (and H1-B is a business concept), H1-B has been figured out. Companies have developed often complex ways to game this kind of visa. But it’s hardly the only manipulation some companies will practice out of sheer greed. And healthy capitalism is not founded — as many offhandedly claim — on greed.

      I like your example of Kalanick and Uber. Bad actors nuke themselves and their companies. It’s nature’s way of taking care of bad actors — but nature isn’t enough. Public discourse is critical, as is shining the bright light of public scrutiny. When a company like ZipRecruiter makes a mess, it’s interesting to see the outcome.

      I think most HR departments are passive culprits who go along with what’s easy. Now they’re causing a very public mess while playing coy.

    • “BTW, why are H1-B employees always referred to as coming from India? Don’t we have them from other countries like Indonesia, China, Mexico, Canada, et al?”

      You are correct Joseph it is not just Indians, but they make up the majority of this type of H1-B visa applicant and for a very good reason. Historically, India has been in this industry longer than the others (large English speaking population with state subsidized education) and has made this industry (first BPO and now RPO) part of its national economic development policy. Corporate lobbyists don’t just exist in Washington D.C.

      India has a large diaspora of immigrants that have settled in the US which makes it very easy for them to setup IT body-shops and become part of the global supply chain of migrant IT workers. And there are other reasons to many to cite here. There is a lot of professional literature on this issue that explains the nature of this evolution in outsourcing.

      Many companies are using a profit maximizing strategy of turning certain groups of employees into “contingent” staff which can be easily hired and fired. Some MSFT groups are now 50% contingent staff. Why? Well, simple, these are what one might call a “flexible” workforce ;-)

      • BTW, in MSFT’s case the direct bill rate includes employee benefits, but because MSFT treats its “third party vendors” pretty much like a black box they may or may not be aware the “third party” so-called “staffing” company rather than paying the employee benefits is stealing them. Typically employee benefits are around 30% of employee costs. What this predatory middle tier of body-shops has figured out is that there is an “opportunity to exploit” this by extracting the 30% for their own predatory profits.

      • Because I choose not to uproot my family from a family farm, and will not consider work outside daily or weekly commuting range from it, I have greatly limited the pool of jobs from which I can select. This is my choice and my consequence.

        That said, a green horse is a green horse, even if I’m only studying horses in Montana.

        It takes considerable effort to refer to myself as a “disposable engineer” only in jest; it makes the directs uncomfortable. First, in the backs of their minds, they know it’s true. Second, they know that if I do a good job, they can be replaced by, or converted into, a disposable engineer, and if I do a poor job, they’ll be forced to effect my disposal.

        Beware the fool, what he says in jest often contains a nugget of hard truth.

  27. If you must know, things get even worse. I’ve been chasing Common Core (which has been shown to HURT education, not help it). Found that loads of companies are getting rich off the data mining of kids even though it’s not really seemingly profitable long term (Sound familiar?)

    Even worse still, they are trying to make this Fed Ed workforce thing that has 13 federal agencies involved (at least, if there are more, I can’t find them yet.) What it seems they are doing is trying to create a planned economy where companies and the government pick where people get trained to go and where there is a “need” or a “shortage”. One of the justifications for this fed ed stuff is…you guessed it, the “skills shortage”.

    The whole system is crooked from schooling to the workforce and the politicians in DC are in on it.

    Also, I’ve found that the colleges are pushing for H1B visas, Dream Act, DAPA, etc undercutting Americans further. (And some want “refugees” too.) Meanwhile, thanks to DC subsidizing student loans, more people are going to college than normally would. Thus they raise tuition rates due to laws of supply and demand. Then, people get all this debt only to find the jobs aren’t there or don’t pay enough. Then many go back to school and spend more to try and get more education. Who gets rich: the colleges! And Common Core, Every Student Succeeds Act, etc, are all pushing everyone to be “college and career ready”.

    Meanwhile, some of the trades, etc, are being decimated by H2Bs and illegals. Construction used to be respectable but now is poor paying thanks to infestation of illegals.

    Meanwhile, since people are getting less employed, some of the entry level jobs are being filled, if not by foreigners, then by more experienced workers who can’t get hired in their skillset and have to settle for lower. This cuts out recent graduates. Now the loan debt is about twice the amount of the TARP debt.

    And OPT is bringing in about 400K more foreigners to compete with American students, etc.

    So that’s even more less jobs. And, when we complain, they tell us that we’re “entitled” or “racist” and keep repeating the “skills shortage” mantra.

    Also, I might add that this Fed Ed workforce thing will basically have taxpayers paying for the training for students to do X, Y, and Z only so they can meet the needs of companies so that, like Zip Recruiter says, they don’t have to train anymore. That excuses them for their Taleo and other HR stuff that’s keeping them from getting talent.

    I also believe that they are keeping hidden the under-employment numbers and those who dropped out of the labor force so they can claim the phony unemployment numbers (perhaps they plan to unveil them eventually now that Trump is President to try and make him look bad.).
    I believe that that is another reason for fake job postings. If they let us believe that things really were as bad as they were, there would be hell to pay.

    BTW, if you don’t believe that there are ties between Common Core and Fed Ed and this other stuff, then at least recall that the Common Core testing, much like Taleo and other HR horrors, can find talent or ability about as well as each other and always leave the tester miserable and the test makers rich.

    • @Paul A

      Your comment is filled with facts that most in America either ignore or outright deny.

      “…when we complain, they tell us that we’re “entitled” or “racist” and keep repeating the ‘skills shortage’ mantra.”


      “…this Fed Ed workforce thing will basically have taxpayers paying for the training for students to do X, Y, and Z only so they can meet the needs of companies so that, like Zip Recruiter says, they don’t have to train anymore.”

      Right on point, again. As I mentioned in a prior post, taxpayers are already paying for someone else (“migrants, immigrants, illegals”, etc.) to fill jobs openings in a direct reverse discrimination manner. On some occasions, it’s all planned BEFORE these foreigners step foot in the U.S. As such, they “skip over” U.S. citizens who are both qualified and motivated to work.

      “…fake job postings”

      Too many to count.

      The ironic thing is, the very “progressives” who wanted this garbage are feeling the effects. This is most prominent amongst high college debt Millennials living in their parent’s basement. Despite these facts, didn’t NY just declare “free” college? “Free”???? “Free” for whom?

      • Not just the Progressives. The “Republican” Establishment too. Loads of them are for Export-Import bank, Common Core, H1B visas, H2B visas, Amnesty for illegals, etc. And they don’t want to repeal Obamacare either. I know Cruz, Lee, and Paul are pushing for a better bill but they’re getting trashed for it, sadly.

        And George W did this crap too with open borders and his Amnesty attempt and with No Child Left Behind and all of that.

        BTW, Durbin’s a fake on H1B. He supported that awful Gang of Eight bill, which, in addition to Amnesty, had an increase in H1B visas.

    • “And some want “refugees” too.”

      The employers who can’t find any local Americans who are not drug addicts and can pass a drug test are finding refugees to be model citizens and good workers.

      Trump promised to help with drug treatment, instead he is cutting funding. Opioid addicts have little hope of recovering without treatment. Of course, many are from areas of the American rust belt hit so hard by the Great Recession after decades of exporting manufacturing jobs overseas.

      Modern economics as taught in the American business schools and MBA courses teaches that everyone (on average) is better off with free trade but never really examines the winners and losers and the social cost of disenfranchising economically entire communities and creating economically depressed rust belts. These communities and their human collateral damage are the cost of progress (so-called by the 1% getting very rich). Real economic outcomes are not part of the economic calculation.

      And it is the same economic theory that has created the predatory middle tier of staffing companies that consist of a global supply chain of a transnational network of Indian IT sweatshops and “third party” fly-by-night “recruiters” and H1-B visa pipelines consisting of thousands of companies just like ATC. And up to this point Trump is doing little or nothing about it and I bet he will not really do anything about it either, but time will reveal all (its called history) in the end.

      • “Trump promised…Trump is doing little or nothing…”

        You really want to go down that political pothole infested road?

        Gee whiz Rob, who was it that told us “You can keep your health plan/doctor”?????? LOL.

        Trump is about 12.5% into his fist term and here you are demanding the after effects of The Great Recession (presided over by obama) be reversed at the snap of your fingers. Wonderful.

        Focus. Stay on topic…

        I learned back in the mid-90s to stay away from any career that had a high likely hood of suffering stiff international competition. Soon after that I learned to engage in proactive job hunting. Then, I perfected that strategy with one of Nick’s books that explained how to ‘do the job at the interview’ so they can’t help but hire you.

        Complaining about politicians, job boards, H1B, etc., changes nothing. Showing HA/HM’s how I can cut costs, bring in revenue or improve a process is worth gold and puts me miles ahead of all the finger pointers. Create your own “history” or stay home.

      • Folks: I’d like to suggest that we leave national politics out of this. We all do a pretty good job of avoiding spin-offs into that.

        There’s plenty of national policy we can talk about as it relates to the matters at hand, though I know it’s hard to not cross the line into politics.

        Let’s please try, okay? (It’s hard enough for me, too, so I understand the inclination!)


  28. The H1B issue is actually the converse of “You aren’t owed a job”. If the government doesn’t owe people jobs, one could argue that the government doesn’t owe employers workers that will work for peanuts and have years of experience and take horrible abuse. Thus, if you should have to tighten your belt if you may not be able to get the job you feel you deserve, then employers should have to do the same with looking for employees rather than demanding that Congress use some bastardized version of the education system or the immigration system to get them a purple squirrel.

    If a system where both above are true is called free market capitalism and the system where the government owes you a job is called socialism, then the system where the government owes employers workers could be called, depending on what system it is: feudalism, crony capitalism, corporatism, or fascism.

    You see, therein lies the danger. Societies can exist with economic freedom but not political freedom (like Singapore for instance). But I can’t think of a society that has political freedom that doesn’t have economic freedom. And so, I think that if our economic freedom is lost, our political freedom will be lost along with it.

  29. Looks like Dice may be in on this too. Note, it doesn’t say H1B only, but it appears to be an H1B position.

    I didn’t know enough to be for sure on this one. However, they seem to be hiring H1B for java a lot.

    • Actually, these *could* be good guys: their description is targeted to folks already here on H1-B visas who’ve discovered what a pot of swill they’ve signed up for. If they deliver on all the promises and implied promises they make, they’re an answer to the “indentured servitude” problem.

      The question is, when the target audience is desperate, how often has the speaker got the *hearers’* interests at heart?

      Is anyone familiar with this Centizen company? Are they just hooking ’em out of the pot and into the fire?

  30. Wow…lots of comments. I read through the question and Nick’s answer twice, and yes, I think it is not only deliberate (only cheap-to-hire H1-B visa holders need apply) but these companies AND ZipRecruiter don’t care. It is all about greed (the cheapest employees are the best because it means more profits for the shareholders, and that is the bottom line). I don’t think they care about any legal violations. I imagine the shareholders and CEOs don’t care either. They probably won’t be sued, and if they are sued, they’ll probably win, especially if these companies have paid off enough Congressmen and have lobbyists in Washington to ensure that all future legislation is written to favor them and whatever “hiring practices and preferences” they want to have. Several years ago I was watching C-Span. Congressmen on both sides were trying to get a bill before the House that would have greatly expanded the number H1-B visa holders allowed to come to this country. This was a year or maybe a little more after the crash, so there were tons of unemployed people, yet these Congressmen were pushing to allow MORE foreigners in to work. The reason? They claimed that businesses were telling them that they can’t find good workers, that there’s a STEM shortage, a talent shortage. And that’s the power of big money and lobbyists at work.

  31. Gee, it seems that the hiring, etc, system is SO dysfunctional that it would, if you can do it, be better to work for yourself so you could avoid this house of horrors that is Corporate America.

  32. While I agree with some of the earlier posters that the H1-B Visa program has been subject to abuse IMHO that there is a much larger issue with the L1/L2 Visa program. Here is a link that compares the two.