As many of my readers and professional contacts know, I’m a stickler for ethics and a big supporter of entrepreneurial ideas (both locally and globally.) I also have a pretty intensive background in using new ideas in the recruiting space… and yet I’m going to step out on a limb and stir the pot a little.
A little background story: Several of my professional contacts are out of work and have asked me to for professional insight and assistance landing a good home. In this personal venture I turned to various job tools ranging from recruiter blogs, twitter headhunters, and the traditional job board. In my exploration I wandered across a new recruiting pitch from Marchex that I hadn’t seen before.
The idea is listed through the job application portion of the site under the savvy title “Business Challenges” (source here)
“So you think you’ve got the business savvy and vision to lead a project, do you? Well, let’s find out! Submit your entry to one of the two challenges below, and we’ll find out if your ideas earn you an iPad (Apple® iPad 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G (US$629 value))!”
Sounds pretty good huh? Submit your ideas for a chance to win an iPad and hopefully increase your chances of being hired.
But stop… before running to submit your best ideas, you better read the official rules.
By submitting an entry to any of the Challenges, Contestant (i) represents and warrants that Contestant is the sole author, designer, creator, and owner of the submission or has valid permission to use the submitted materials, and further represents and warrants that the entry does not contain information considered by any third party to be proprietary or confidential; and (ii) grants to Sponsor a non-exclusive, royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, have made, copy, modify, make derivative works of, use, sell and otherwise fully exploit winner’s entry, for the purposes of development and distribution of Sponsor’s products and services.
Wait a minute… I thought I wanted a job?
Guess what? If you just threw out your best detailed thoughts and signed away your rights to them, they don’t need to hire you. In fact, why would they hire you? They already have a team of employees who like your idea, are going to develop it, and are buried under dozens of other great ideas that they didn’t have to pay for.
The detail of the rules are simple “Your submission must be 1500 words or less and may contain images or diagrams to help convey your ideas.”
Of course they want images and diagrams. LoL! As a start-up and entrepreneurial advisor, I can only say this: this is one of the most abusive employment ideas / contensts I have ever seen. It is akin to straight intellectual property theft and predatory hopes of employment, targeting entrepreneurial minds that won’t click-through to the official rules, read, and fully understand them.
Marchex, what are you thinking?
In the local Seattle community, this is just wrong. I hope that there is an immediate retraction of the contest and an apology to the start-up / entrepreneurial community. I know some eager minds will think that Marchex is just offering up iPads for ideas, but in today’s marketplace no one should be giving away great ideas for a chance to win an iPad (or fractions of a penny on the dollar.)
Entrepreneurs and job seekers, what are you thinking?
If you think your best personal ideas and solutions to these challenges are worth any salt, drop me a line.
I will do my best to coordinate and match-make you with other bright minds, put you in touch with groups ranging from local entrepreneurs, SMC Seattle, WTIA, MBA, UW, Angel and VC investors and more. I won’t ask you to give anything away for free, but if you “have something good” I would be more than happy to talk about doing honest business.
If you think I’m wrong, go ahead and tell me… but first you need to apply to the contest with a 1-3 page description, images, and diagrams… so that I can say “I told you so” in a six months.
What is your take on it?