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Schadenfreude

TheLadders Sued for ‘Breach of Contract’ and More

TheLadders.com, the formerly “Only $100k+ jobs” board, has been sued in U.S. District Court for breach of contract among other things, reports headhunter and career guru Nick Corcodilos.

The suit alleges:

Unlike other online job boards which are free to join, TheLadders charged a premium subscription fee to members for ‘hand-screen[ing] every job post and recruiter so you only see real, open $100k+ jobs in your area.’ In reality, however, its job postings were not hand-screened. They were ‘scraped’ from the Internet without authorization from employers or recruiters, and the employment opportunities were not for ‘real, open $100k+ jobs.’ Moreover, TheLadders had no process in place to ensure that these posted positions ever truly existed, remained open, or that they met its minimum advertised salary criteria of $100k+.

Corcodilos, who has covered TheLadders thoroughly for years (here about 1/3 down the page, for example, is an amazing transcript of a chat between a frustrated jobseeker and a TheLadders customer service rep), writes, “I’m laffing my ass off.”

TheLadders has had a long and schadenfreude-filled history for those of us who follow job board industry news. After a few years as the “only $100k+ jobs” job board, where members paid a premium subscription to access said jobs, it launched a Signature program that cost even more money but “guaranteed” each participant a job offer within six months. Around the same time, TheLadders held a blogger junket in which it paid a bunch of writers and bloggers to visit NYC and learn about the good parts of the company.

And then later in 2011, TheLadders decided that it was no longer an “only $100k+ jobs” service and opened membership up to everyone.

The suit has more than 100 class members and you can find out more by reading the law firm’s announcement.

ETA 3/14/13:
Lisa Hagendorf, VP of public relations for TheLadders, submitted this statement from TheLadders CEO and cofounder Alex Douzet:

We believe the allegations set forth in this complaint to be false. In fact, our employees review job listings before they are posted to our site, as has always been our protocol. Additionally, we have a team of specialists who review resumes and provide individualized critiques. This complaint lacks merit, and we fully intend to take the necessary legal steps to dispose of it quickly. In the interim, we remain steadfast in our commitment to providing the best job-matching experience for employers and job seekers, while serving as the fastest-growing source for career-driven professionals.

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How to (Not) Get Hired

We’ve seen these videos before, but a commenter recently reminded us of the existence of these four “How to Get Hired” videos that show jobseekers at their worst.

We’re a little put off by the technique the video creators used to get these clips—posting a fake job listing and filming applicants via hidden camera—but victims’ faces are blurred and no names are named, so they’re probably worth a watch anyway.

Here’s interview no-no #1:

And here’s something not to say when you’re asked for your proudest accomplishment:

Steinar Skipsnes, who created the videos, says he interviewed 20 people to get these clips. That means that 1/5 of his applicants said stunningly stupid things—or this whole thing is a fantastic hoax. Either way, it’s worth a look. There are two more videos for your viewing pleasure here.

MediaNews’ New CEO Drops Copyright Trolls Righthaven

Mr. Grumpy Potato
Dropped like a hot potato.

One of the first things John Paton has done since becoming CEO of Digital First, a new company that oversees newspaper companies MediaNews Group and Journal Register Company, is fire Righthaven.

Righthaven was formed last year to sue bloggers and others who infringed upon newspapers’ copyright. The deal was that newspapers, including those owned by MediaNews Group, would sell their copyrights to articles to Righthaven, which would then sue the pants off anyone.

Righthaven was later found to not actually be buying real copyrights, which would have included, say, the right to copy articles. Instead, the company was only purchasing the right to sue, and then transferring all rights back to the company.

Righthaven has not filed any lawsuits in two months, Wired reports. And now, John Paton has said signing up with Righthaven was “a dumb idea” and has ended Media News Group’s relationship with the company.

“The issues about copyright are real,” Paton told Wired.com in a telephone interview. “But the idea that you would hire someone on an — essentially — success fee to run around and sue people at will who may or may not have infringed as a way of protecting yourself … does not reflect how news is created and disseminated in the modern world.”

Righthaven still retains its first client, Stephens Media, which owns the Las Vegas Review-Journal. But again, no new lawsuits in two months, and the judge who has presided over most of the Stephens Media cases, Judge Hunt, has not been sympathetic to Righthaven’s arguments thus far.

People More Powerful Than Either Of Us Thought This Was Smart

Actually, we don’t know who you are, dear reader. But we assume, if you have time to read this blog, you’re at least slightly less powerful than the top dog at an ad agency.

So it might be kind of amusing for you to realize that those high-up people have OKed some pretty ridiculous things lately.

Exhibit A: Goodby’s new campaign for the California Milk Processor Board, which basically equates PMSing women with crazy psycho bitches. “We are very happy with the response to the campaign so far. We knew it was going to be a little controversial,” a Goodby rep told Adweek.

Exhibit B: Tide’s new commercials that, as Washington Post humor columnist Gene Weingarten said, “mistakenly declare their product incompatible with cleanliness:”

And that, readers, is your giggle for the day. Ta!

Content Farm Has Trouble Filling Its Positions

Life's Endeavor
Color us just “shocked,” really…freelance writer Oliver Pelling describes an experience he had with a company that offered him freelance writing work that turned out to be not exactly the glamorous life he’d envisioned.

It started when he received an email from a magazine he’d interned for the previous year, asking whether he’d be interested in writing freelance product reviews for £6.25 an hour.

That doesn’t sound like a lot, but Pelling says he was currently earning minimum wage, a little less than what the magazine was offering, so to him, it sounded like a great deal.

But then….

“I got another email….They wanted me to write about products I would never see, touch or feel, let alone test. I had no prior experience or expertise with any of the products and I was expected to research them on the fly. They would email me a list of product names every few days and that is all the information they would provide me with. They wanted me to lie…That’s not even the good bit: they wanted me to write an average of 30 reviews a day.”

Pelling inquired whether that number was a mistake (after all, that works out to 15 minutes per 300-word review, not including time to muck around with SEO) and was told that “the rate of pay and workload had been welcomed ‘with open arms’ by other writers…My email friend also felt it necessary to repeatedly tell me that this was a ‘great opportunity to get published’ and to develop my own writing style. I had never felt so patronised in my life.”

He turned the gig down.

But unlike most content farm stories, this one has a happy ending:

“A few weeks later, I checked the job section on the company’s website. They were seeking ‘writing interns’ to write 250-300 word product reviews with an immediate start. The internships were billed as: ‘A great way to get published and develop your own style of writing.’ I wondered where all the other writers that took on the job ‘with open arms’ went.”

Now you may color us quite pleased.

‘The Boss Had A Habit Of Taking His Pants Off’

About.com Job Search has compiled a list of 20 terrible interviews.

In one, for example, the interviewer was on his Blackberry, oblivious to what the candidate was saying. “At one point he asked me why I left my last job and I knew he wasn’t paying attention so I said the boss had a habit of taking his pants off every afternoon. The guy said “oh really?” and didn’t flinch. I knew then I could never work for him,” the interviewee says.

Another interviewee, a college student, drove three hours to be interviewed over lunch in a group setting. “I tried to make chit chat with the other interviewees, but they wouldn’t speak with me. Most of them seem to know each other so I felt very alienated and alone.” On the bright side, the company paid, in cash, for the student’s mileage, but she says it was still a blow. “This interview was with my #1 or #2 dream company to work for & my #1 job choice.”

Of course, not all the stories are about bad interviewers. One interviewee admits that she didn’t get enough sleep before the daylong interview, and actually fell asleep while a hiring manager was droning at her. Oops. Others seem indignant about not getting the jobs, but their submissions are riddled with spelling errors and typos. Hrmmmm.

Read more here.

Right-Wing Radio Host Too Right-Wing For Right-Wing Radio

Once, there was this radio host. His name was Bradlee Dean and he had a show called “Sons of Liberty” on AM1280 The Patriot, a talk radio station in Minneapolis.

But Dean got bumped after he said on air that “Osama Bin Laden is not the one that’s trying to disarm the American people — Obama is!”

They also “did a 6-minute-long spiel in which they mocked black people, which I took offense to,” Patriot GM Ron Stone told MinnPost. Dean’s show was canceled.

But the following Wednesday after being canceled, Dean had seemingly landed a bigger and better gig: a timeslot on KTLK, the higher-rated talk radio station that also airs Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

The first broadcast was set to run May 21, but on May 20, Dean, evidently deciding that he hadn’t learned his lesson about offending people (and advertisers), led a prayer in the Minnesota House of Representatives that ended with his claim that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Actually, technically, he said that Obama doesn’t believe in Jesus. But either way, it was not a wise thing to say (and he did it in a tracksuit, too!).

Dean’s May 21 broadcast on KTLK never happened, reports MinnPost’s David Brauer.

“I’ve learned a lot,” Stone told Brauer. “When the ‘Sons of Liberty’ show first developed, I truly believed it was a conservative radio show in the right spirit. I don’t have an issue with him debating the marriage amendment, photo ID, Obamacare, things that deserve to be debated. What I do have issues with is the divisive tone — we’re not bigots, we’re not racists. Even though we don’t agreed with the president on policy, I don’t think he should be likened to a terrorist. Given what happened at the Capitol, I’m so happy with the decision I made.”

Too right-wing for the station that airs Beck and Limbaugh? Now we’ve seen everything.

Oh, The Irony: Facebook Hired PR Firm To Spread Negative Stories About Google’s Privacy Problems

You have probably already heard by now that Facebook had hired renowned PR firm Burson-Marsteller to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers and blogs. The gist of the stories: Google’s new social products are an invasion of privacy. (Facebook has since admitted that Google’s use of Facebook data in its new social product is at least part of what’s bothering the social giant.)

Both PR reps assigned to the account were former reporters: Jim Goldman is a former CNBC tech reporter and John Mercurio was a former political reporter, so you think they would have known better.

Burson-Marsteller has issued a statement more or less throwing Facebook under the bus, saying that keeping the client’s name secret “was not at all standard operating procedure and is against our policies, and the assignment on those terms should have been declined.”

There will doubtless be other bus-throwings before this is done: someone at Facebook will blame a junior exec for having this idea and there will be a resignation. Someone at Burson-Marsteller will probably lose his job.

Quite honestly, we don’t know how anyone thought this was a good idea.

Especially when you think about the topic: Facebook is trying to talk about other companies’ privacy problems?

We attach as evidence a completely undoctored screenshot of an e-mail newsletter we got not ten minutes ago. Click to enlarge.



Nuff said.

Another Millennial Implodes

Hey, the more people who commit career suicide on the internet mean more jobs for the rest of us, right?

Via Deadspin, a former assistant manager at a pool wrote a letter to his former boss when she offered him not the assistant managerial position he’d held last summer but a lifeguarding job. We’re excerpting the best bits below.

This semester I am employed by BMW as a co-op/intern, handling operations and performing various functions related to test car builds and the testing and eventual release/implementation of new content in upcoming series releases. This is a highly coveted internship that, due to my business prowess, especially that concerning the analysis of different hypotheticals, financial situations, and if-then relationships hinging on international investments, I was able to easily secure without having to bat even a single eye lash.

I have been offered a second internship with BMW, a profoundly respected world leader in luxury automobile manufacturing, for this upcoming summer and fall semesters. Obviously, looking to significantly enhance my resume to a level enabling me to one day run corporate America, I will be returning to this prestigious multinational corporation. Therefore, returning to the pool for another summer would be like Apple CEO Steve Jobs returning to Foot Locker for summer employment, especially seeing as that returning to the pool would mean being a subordinate to a woman of below average intelligence with the responsibility of teaching “ghetto” school children various topics and subjects that they couldn’t care less about. This would be the equivalent of Bill Gates (Microsoft CEO, in case you were unaware) applying to work as a personal computer salesperson in a local Best Buy retail store.

….

I understand you are a school teacher and not a professor or employed in a position that requires significant knowledge in any particular field of study, so maybe my criticism is unfair. Nonetheless, I still provided much guidance and support as you learned the ropes of managing at the pooll at the rate of a snail in the Indy 500. Did I ever complain? No. Why? Due to the fact that I am a professional and, given my advanced knowledge of operations at the pool, I wanted to bestow certain bits of my wealth of knowledge upon you.

Do I need a summer job at a local neighborhood pool? No, as I continue my employment as a respected intern/co-op for a dominant player in the international luxury automotive industry.

I look forward to a summer of continued professional development and resume building, as I add invaluable work experience to a resume already including a highly sought after education at a business school with the #1 International Business program in the entire nation. On that note, I encourage you to do the same with respect to a job coveted only by high school and college students. I implore you to enjoy making a salary that barely exceeds the poverty line and garnering the respect of professionals, I mean 3rd grade students, in your “profession.”

Yep, kid, you win.