Those god-awful ads for TheLadders

Just in case, you’re one of the fortunate few who haven’t yet seen TheLadders‘ latest ad, here it is for the sake of discussion:

Isn’t it the most off-putting, juvenile ad you’ve ever seen? How could a supposedly premium professional, executive job search site conceive of, or more likely approve of, something so crass and decidedly unprofessional? In the not so distant past they used a slightly different approach (“When you let everyone play…nobody wins.”). The tennis ad still wasn’t a work of genius but it communicated their unique value proposition none too subtly – a smaller playing field greatly improves your odds as a job seeker unlike what you’ll encounter on the free for all sites, Monster, Careerbuilder, etc.

Whereas the latest ad encourages the 6 figure+ crowd to thump their chests and applaud themselves for being “big talent.” I admit, I was probably the last of my circle of peers to join the 6 figure club (much to my chagrin) and if I saw this ad while still making under $99,999, I would be too put off to join once I crossed the threshold. Is anyone naive enough to equate big money with big talent anymore? Furthermore, is 6 figures really an appropriate demarcation by today’s standards, particularly in the large urban centers that are most likely the target market? It’s barely enough to eat in the NYC area; in fact it’s embarrassingly reminiscent of Dr. Evil’s misguided notion that $1,000,000 was still worth a lot of money in 1997.

They have a slightly less off putting ad out right now, “Chairs” which features game hunters bypassing those wobbly, wholesale swivel chairs in favor of a plump, leather executive chair. Never mind their ineffective advertising strategy, I started to question the value of their service altogether. Thus far, I’ve found employment a variety of ways:

•1st job at an international freight carrier – NY Times ad
•2nd job at an international freight consolidator – hired by a customer of company #1
•3rd job at a dotcom startup – Career Fair advertised in the NY Times
•4th job at a respectable textbook publisher – NY Times ad
•5th job at an equally respectable publisher – hired by the company that bought out company #4
•6th job at a Big 4 consultancy – ad
•7th job at a Pharmaceutical ad agency – Industry specific recruiter
•8th job at a large, North American retailer – ad
•9th job at an international ERP company – Recruiter’s ad on the DMA website

Notice that most of them were free, save for the Sunday Times which I would’ve bought regardless of whether I was job hunting or not. Now I’ve been a paying member of TheLadders since April 2008 at $30/month which brings my total investment (tongue planted firmly in cheek) to $300. To date, I’ve only gone a grand total of 1 (one) interview through the site. It was for a VP position where the interview lasted all of 30 minutes. I invite you to draw your own conclusions as to the caliber of companies using that site.

Now excuse me while I go unsubscribe, unless anyone out there can provide a single compelling reason to continue?


123… Soon to be extinct?

One of the first administrative tasks I take care of when I join a new organization is ordering business cards. With the proliferation of virtual jobs, this practice may seem increasingly retro but nothing screams official to me like business cards. That’s why I don’t let a minor setback like being unemployed (funemployed?) deny me the pleasure of handing out a card while interviewing or networking. So when my latest contract ended on December 31st, I set about to order a new set that would coordinate with my blue resume logo, something similar to what I had during my last job hunting stint:

Astute readers may notice that my blog name is actually, as personal branding maven extraordinaire, Rachael Ray would say a “wink and a nudge” to my last name. While it does not feature a watermark or even braised lettering a la the American Psycho* scene, it was a tasteful, attractive option at an affordable price from our friends at VistaPrint.

This time around, I had the brainchild to try a different vendor since I associated Vista with their ubiquitous free business card offer where they’d print their own logo on the back. Never mind that there is an option to remove their logo for a nominal fee, they just struck me as the Wal-mart of the print world. So I decided to take a chance on 123Print since it was the second choice to pop up in my google search for business cards. This simple design on their site appealed to me because it afforded me the space to list my specialties and who wouldn’t want to turn on an interviewer, metaphorically speaking?

Alas, what actually arrived in the mail 3 business days later was a complete turn off. What was touted as a member of the blue family above (and also on the PDF proof mind you) was actually a streaky, blotchy teal mess which wouldn’t coordinate with a tiki bar much less my resume! Never mind watermarks, the cards appeared to be marred by water stains. Did I mention the semi-gloss finish gave them the appearance of being fully shellacked in nail hardener?

This sad state of affairs has left me no alternative but to place another order with our trusty friends at VistaPrint, unless of course, anyone out there can offer a better suggestion?

*PS – Was it just me or did anyone else instinctively read BATMAN when Christian Bale’s Patrick BATEMAN character presented his business card?