Get Paid to Interview -The New Way to Recruit Millennials

So, I ran into a young guy who I haven’t t seen for quite a while.  I gave him career advice a few years ago, and today he’s an Auditor for one of the National accounting firms.  During our “how’s the job going” conversation, I suggested that he should always keep an open mind in terms of exploring other opportunities.

In a defensive tone, he said that he doesn’t return phone calls from headhunters and he doesn’t believe in applying to jobs that are advertised on-line.

When I asked the reason why?

He said that he really hates interviewing.  And the whole process is a total waste of time if you already have a job!

After I pressed him to elaborate, he said something that most employers need to start thinking about in regards to how they recruit talent.

Interviewing for a job requires a huge time commitment.

It requires a lot of time to do research on an organization and to prepare for the interviews.  He went into details that he is putting in a lot of hours at work, so time away from work has to be made-up.  More importantly, he’s on a tight budget; he doesn’t have the extra money to spend for travel, dry cleaners and haircuts which are requirements, if you want to have a real chance of getting the job offer.

After thinking about some of the challenges his millennials counterparts are facing, an idea came to mind that will not only motivate more top talent (including millennials) to return headhunter calls, it will motivate them to apply for job advertisements.

Here’s the idea: why not pay the top talent to interview for your hard-to-fill job vacancies?

Wait, paying someone to interview?

It may seem like a crazy idea, but before you dismiss it-let me first explain how it will work, and then I’ll demonstrate why this concept makes a lot of sense, especially today.


  1. Employer negotiates a lower price for-let’s say for a $150 gift certificate.
  2. Employer asks headhunters to invite top caliber candidates to an exploratory, no commitment, off-site job interview.
  3. Headhunter emails invitations to candidates (ones they believe might be a good match)
  4. Interested candidates forward the invite back to employer
  5. Employer schedules the interview
  6. Candidate prepares for interview
  7. Employer learns more about candidate and Candidate learns about employer during the interview
  8. After the interview, candidate receives $150 gift certificate to the restaurant of choice.
  9. Headhunter is paid $150 referral fee.
  10. Candidate enjoy the unique dining experience and pays restaurant with the gift certificate.

The obvious question is how will paying job applicants to interview benefit the employer, the applicant, the restaurant owner and the headhunter?

Let’s take a look from the perspective of each.


  1. It will save time by speeding-up the interview process. (we will interview only finalist caliber applicants)
  2. It will generate more quality job applicants from referrals (from viral conversations about the unique experience of this new concept)
  3. It will enable us to assemble a pipe line of qualified applicants (we can build relationships and nurture them for future hiring)
  4. It will lower our recruitment cost (less headhunter fees or salaries for internal recruiters)
  5. It will strengthen our employer brand (sends a strong message which demonstrates our seriousness of recruiting only the best talent)


  1. We are living on a tight budget-we have very high student loan payments. And you may not know this, but impressing someone we meet on-line is very expensive in-real-life. This is a smart way to fund our online dating.
  2. It will prevent premature career burn-out. By continually learning about other career opportunities and other working environments, we will have clarity about where we are-compared to the market and where we are going in our careers.
  3. This will motivate us to become better a networking and at selling our skills in the interviewing game. Being able to sell yourself, open doors to the higher paying job opportunities.


  1. This is creative marketing ingenuity for attracting a wider diverse clientele and a tool bringing in more customers on slow days.
  2. Opportunity to delight new customers with a great dining experience, which will turn them into repeat customers; who will refer more customers to us.
  3. More referral customers will reduce advertising cost.


  1. We can earn extra cash just for sending an email.
  2. It will provide us with more reasons to stay in touch with the ones we hope to place.
  3. It will provide us with more opportunities to build our brand with hiring managers.
  4. We will get more traditional recruitment opportunities. This will come from an increased demand for talent, created from the high level of expected job changes.

Nothing in life is perfect, and I’m quite sure there are some negatives that are associated with this particular concept.  I cannot think of any, maybe you can.  But, why not start with the number of people who cannot find jobs and the number of jobs that remain unfilled.

Given all the benefits outlined, aren’t you convinced that paying top talent to interview for your hard-to-fill job vacancies is a concept that requires serious consideration?