A Startup Is Selling Referrals for Jobs at Facebook, Google, and Amazon
Blind’s sister site, Rooftop Slushie, has built a marketplace for job referrals
If you’re looking for a job at a tech company like Facebook, Amazon, or Google, you’re probably also looking for a referral. Top tech companies make it extremely easy for their employees to refer job candidates — usually it’s just a matter of uploading the candidate’s resume — and offer incentives for doing so. Motivated candidates often ask friends of friends to refer them or even cold-message random employees in hopes that the connection will boost their chances of getting an interview. But for the last several months, there’s been another option for landing a referral: Just buy one.
Rooftop Slushie, a website created by the makers of the anonymous tech forum Blind, has facilitated more than 11,000 referral purchases since launching last year, Daniel Kim, the site’s product manager, told OneZero.
Candidates fill out a form listing their desired companies and the amount they are willing to pay per referral — usually between $20 and $50, according to Kim — and upload their resume. Verified employees at the listed companies, known as “vendors” on Rooftop Slushie, can view their resume and asking price, then decide whether or not to accept their offer. Facebook and Google referrals, according to Kim, are the biggest sellers.
As he sees it, Rooftop Slushie is helping to even the playing field. “At the end of the day, as long as the best candidate is hired, how the talent came to the company doesn’t matter — as long as they have the skills,” says Kim.
But some say buying and selling referrals to jobs is unethical. Peter Cappelli, the director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School, told OneZero that “those employees who take this up to appear to be violating their duty of loyalty to the employer, which is a legal obligation that the employees have to not put their own interests in conflict with the employer’s,” he said.
“It smells like bribery, too,” Cappelli added. “The job seeker is paying to influence the action of an employee, who has a duty to be truthful to their employer, and the quid pro quo is clear.”