Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Ladders Rejects Less-than-$100K Workers

I received the following email newsletter from Marc Cenedella, Founder & CEO,, an online job board for those who make $100,000 or more per year, which I wrote about in my post, Posting a Resume on The Ladders. In his email, dated May 12, 2008, Marc explains why The Ladders offers its service only to job seekers in that high earning bracket.

When we launched our new national ad campaign this year “When You Let Everyone Play, Nobody Wins”, we got a lot of positive feedback: from you, our subscribers; from the 50,000 recruiters that use, and, heck yes, we even felt pretty good about it ourselves.

But we did catch a lot of guff from others – bloggers, some ad critics, and some very nice people thought we were being elitist, exclusionary, or narrow–minded in focusing so much on the $100k+ market.

Now we always try to learn from feedback, and so I wanted to take this opportunity to explain to you, our loyal readers, why we view it as very terribly important that we stay true to our roots of being the place for only $100k+ jobs and $100k+ job seekers.

Why We Reject Under $100k Jobs
I started five years ago to focus just on jobs over $100,000 in earnings, and the job seekers looking for them. That ends up being about the top 10% of jobs in the nation.

And I started the company because in my days as an SVP at, I heard from recruiters and my b–school buddies alike that the generalist, “anybody can apply” model doesn’t work for experienced professionals.

Recruiters would find that their job postings were inundated with spam and inappropriate applicants, so they stopped using the general job boards for high–end positions.

And job–seekers found that they couldn’t even reach recruiters because all the noise meant that they couldn’t stand out from the crowd.

So we focused on just these $100,000 per year or more positions. And we decided that the only way to build a good, focused community was to build a wall. In our case, a wall that only let in $100k+ jobs and the people seeking them.

In order to have a community that was your place for finding great jobs, we had to make sure that it wasn’t everybody’s place.

So we have a team of experienced editors that review every job, every job–seeker, and every recruiter to make sure they’re appropriate for our $100k+ community.

And we turn away those jobs that don’t make sense – $60,000 a year jobs, or even $99,999 per year jobs.

Sales jobs with “$30k base and $200,000 earning potential!” go in the garbage.

Multi–level marketing schemes, work–at–home scams, generic postings that are fishing for resumes – we toss them all out.

And we accept only those good, bona fide, $100k+ positions that are right for you, and right for our community.

Because in order to have the community, you have to have a wall.

Or as our ads say “When you let everyone play, nobody wins.”

That’s our promise to you, and that’s why we are going to stick to our guns and make sure that is only for $100k+ jobs and $100k+ job–seekers.

Now, one final note before I go.

$100,000 is a monetary figure, and it measures the monetary value of the work that you do. I don’t think that somebody is a better person, a better father or mother, or a better citizen just because they earn $100,000 a year, any more than I think that Elvis is a better musician because he’s outsold Beethoven (or the Grateful Dead)! A monetary figure is just that – it measures the economic worth of something, not necessarily its true value. We are all equal in the eyes of whatever Divine Providence created us.

And what a world has been created! I hope you take this Monday morning to thank your lucky stars, and get on the road to your next, great role in life, Readers.

I’m rooting for you.

Warmest Regards,
Marc Cenedella
Founder & CEO, Inc.

This email is reprinted here with permission from the Community Manager at The


Vanessa said...

I can see why some people may think it is elitist, but at the same time, it just makes sense to provide job boards which fit a certain demographic. This website is not the only one to cater a specific audience.

One of the things I like of one of the job boards I use ( is that they are focused on professionals, and there are no ads between me and the job, no MLM jobs, nor suspicious work from home, nor jobs with low bases and promises of high commissions. All the jobs I have ever seen posted are appropriate, professional level jobs oriented to Hispanic and bilingual candidates.

When you provide a job board which caters to a certain group, it seems like everyone wins... we, the jobseekers, don't waste time wading through postings that are not relevant, and employers know that their job postings are reaching the right population as well.

Carlos said...

I don't care what anybody says. It is discriminatory no matter how you put it. It was obviously created by an elitist, for the elite.

Who are they to say whether or not I am qualified for a job just because I don't make 100k?

How do they know I am not underpaid for my duties and qualifications in my current position? Who are they to deny people that may be more qualified than somebody else already making 100K from applying for the job?

This gross example of elitism is an outrage for anybody in this country seeking to better themselves and chasing the American Dream. is Un-American. Period.

This should be a class action suit in the making. Not just against Ladders, but any company that uses them.

Anonymous said...

Carlos is right.

While Mr. Cenedella takes pains to not sound "elitist" in his email, it bleeds through ("B-School buddies").

The 100k figure doesn't take into account the differences in wages that occur by region (e.g. my friend at Goldman Sachs makes 65K a year plus a huge bonus that puts him over 100k because he lives in NY, but I do practically the same job, but for different company, and make only 66k).

Everyone has the right to aim high and apply for any job. It's one of the burdens of being fortunate enough to be an HR/boss guy.

Everyone born in the US has the
right to work, therefore it is the duty of any hiring manager to look through resumes, no matter how many there are. If it takes too long, don't be cheap, hire more HR staff.

The huge irony is that the people who earn the most money actually do least work in a company.

The real work is done by the white collar person at the bottom ("low level work").

All executives do is send emails, have meetings, look at charts and dashboards provided to them by underlings.

This is basically an executive's job"

info. from _____
underling====>| |===>decision
|exec | that cuts
|_____| jobs

I could write a computer program that does an executive's job!

Case in point, imagine all the people in corporation are represented by a pyramid, with the ceo at the top, and the regular worker at the bottom, and the middle managers in the middle.

Cut off the top of the pyramid. Now imagine the top portion is the only part that remains of the corporation that just fired the entire...say bottom 80%.

What the top 20% perform the function and duties that the other 80% were, they can't, because all they know how to do it boss and take home huge paychecks.

Frankie B said...

Nobody gets paid more money because they are a buddy (at least not in a competitive successful business). People get paid more because they have already produced results. There are no entry level 100k jobs. You get that because you did the 80k job well, and before that the 55k job etc. It just takes time. Also you might find that if you can inspire and help the people around you management will notice and you will get picked for the next big opportunity. Its not about just doing one thing but looking past your job description and exceeding the expected. The rewards will come. Or you can simply become an entrepreneur and skip the routine entirely. Don't let your anger hold you back.

Anonymous said...

People who earn such exorbitant amounts ($100,000 plus) tend to regard other people as "untermenschen", and want to shut such lesser people from associating with them. Hence this "Ladders" site.

Arnav said...

I think the comments objecting to the perceived elitism of TheLadders are evidence for why a walled garden is needed for those recruiters.

First off, someone earning $100k+ is more competitive than someone making $66k, bottom line. It may soothe your ego to think you're doing the same jobs, but the deals you work on aren't bulge bracket material.

Second, no, one doesn't have a right to a job. And just like a credit check, another company's payment of $100k or more to an employee is a stamp of approval.

And if you think that all executives do is mine their underlings, then please explain why you haven't gone out and started a company. The reason is it is difficult, stressful, time-consuming and predicated upon a huge amount of experience and intellect.

If anything, TheLadders makes the recruiting process more democratic by bringing qualified candidates in touch with recruiters through methods other than personal introduction.

Anonymous said...

I think it makes a lot of sense to have targeted job/career sites that are specific to both recruiter and job seeker needs. The main reason being that it would save both sides wasted time & effort. As far as restrictions go, I see nothing wrong with a salary restriction. Why not when both recruiter & job seeker know the value a position & experience is worth? Personally, I'm still searching for a site targeting Executive Assistants that is professional & doesn't waste my time with outdated and simplistic information or advice.

Anonymous said...

If you have ever been rejected for a job because your resume just didnt get through the clutter, you would not "hate" .

An airplane has a First Class, your car company also brings out a Deluxe version of your car.

Nobody is stopping you from flying first class or getting a better car, you just have to earn it.

Its only discriminatory if you have no way of achieving that status! But here you have. Just work harder and you are in!

And I think its great if I can apply for a job.

Discrimination is only valid if you are being discriminated because you belong to a certain sex, or race or disability.

Almost everything else can be changed by hard work and a little luck.