Who doesn't like a money-back guarantee? That's why executive job search brand TheLadders has introduced its "Signature" service, with an unusual promise to jobseekers — "you'll get a job offer within six months. Guaranteed. Or your money back."
On the surface it's a bold move for the search service, a "putting the money where the mouth is" moment.
But it's also a very logical step in an increasingly zero-sum marketplace in which TheLadders doesn't have much to lose.
When we last covered TheLadders, the brand was exercising its sense of humor with a provocative campaign, which we said was "great to see a campaign have some fun with the (some might say) grim fact that its product is people."
Now, TheLadders describes its Signature guarantee:
"When you sign up for Signature, you are assigned a dedicated Career Advisor. The Signature program is a two-way partnership in which you'll be working closely with your Career Advisor over the phone and over the internet to land your job offer. You'll be speaking with her or him weekly for the first couple months and then every other week after that…
With your commitment, and our Signature Program, you'll get a job offer within six months. Guaranteed. Or your money back."
For six months, the program costs $2,495. The brand claims a success rate of 90%.
There does not appear to be much downside here for TheLadders, unless it reneges on its promise.
While doomsday reports on employment figures roll out every day, the market for professionals and executives is not really that bad. Finding a job for a skilled, experienced executive earning $100K or more is far from finding a comparable-paying job for, say, an out of work roofer. (One reason you don't see Monster.com — which today launched a social network for job seekers, BeKnown, on Facebook — making a similar offer.)
It's noteworthy that there is a rider on The Ladders' release about this guarantee:
"If you're looking to retire from your current field or start over in a new one, Signature is not the right solution for you. So if you've been a corporate attorney for a decade and want to try your hand at film-making, or you've been in pharma sales and are interested in moving into research, or you're looking to check-out of the rat race altogether and become a cowboy on a dude ranch or a burger flipper in Maui, Signature is not right for you. The good news is we'll tell you that right up front and won't take your dough."
Simply put, this offer is only for those looking to go from A to B, not A to 2.
As a customer acquisition tool, the claim will certainly be attractive to certain executives who will see the guarantee and figure "what do I have to lose?" Indeed, there is a reason the exact same offer is used by online dating services.
And this likeness should raise (at least a minor) concern for the brand. While, functionally, a guarantee is extremely attractive to a consumer, the language "Guaranteed. Or your money back" (as TheLadders is using) puts the brand in the company of marketing offers that are less than, say, "$100K+"