Would you pay your way into a top tech company?

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Getting a job at a top tech company is no easy feat. For every one job vacancy at a tech giant, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of hopeful applicants. In turn, just to be considered, applicants need the following: a relevant degree and experience, a letter of recommendation from Her Majesty the Queen, four blades of grass from Narnia, and a sacrifice to the Gods.

However, if you don't know the Queen or don't have a magical wardrobe, not all is lost: you could always try the referral route to get to the top of the applicants pile.

Many tech companies offer employees incentives to refer job candidates. Businesses know that employee referrals are advantageous in terms of attracting like-minded people at a fraction of the recruitment agency cost – but don't worry if you don't have a cousin at Facebook. If you can't get an organic referral, you can just buy one!

Rooftop Slushie

Long gone are the days of having to schmooze up to Big Tech employees at events, or commenting on their every LinkedIn post with a "wow!". Thanks to Rooftop Slushie, you can now purchase a referral from employees at tech companies for as little as $20.

The platform was developed by Blind, an anonymous professional network on a mission towards transparency. In particular, the organisation hopes to break down professional barriers to empower informed decisions and inspire productive change. Members of Blind's online community include employees at some of the world's leading companies, including Google, Facebook, and Amazon. The site offers numerous services (some of which are paid) such as how to improve your resume or how to prepare for a job interview. The most popular of all, however, has been the job referral feature.

Since the advent of Rooftop Slushie, more than 11,000 job referrals have also been purchased through the platform. To do so is an easy process: candidates fill out a form and select the companies they would like to apply for, as well as the amount they are prepared to pay. Then, they just upload their resume for perusal by employees at tech companies.

The questions raised

Given the novelty of it all, Rooftop Slushie raises several questions.

Firstly, there is the question of employee loyalty. Let's be frank: high earners at Big Tech companies don't necessarily need the extra $20-50 (having said that, some companies do offer bonuses in the tens of thousands for hard-to-fill roles). In turn, their participation could be indicative of dissatisfaction at their job. In fact, while the aim of Blind's community is to promote transparency, some users can and do air dirty laundry on the site, which isn't a good look for their company.

What's more, some might argue that it is unethical to purchase referrals. Many candidates will have submitted genuine applications with no such 'cheating' of the system. There's a reason Rooftop Slushie operates so sneakily: because paying for referrals just doesn't sit well with people morally.

Then, there is the obvious concern that you may refer someone who turns out to be a terrible culture fit or is simply not good enough for the job. Of course, people don't get hired on recommendations alone, but referrals can carry a lot of weight in the recruitment process.

Furthermore, paid referrals totally undermine recruitment. As in-house recruiters or HR will attest, vacancy requirements are laid out for a reason. Therefore, if a job necessitates that someone is referred by an in-house employee, there is most likely a reason for that decision.

On the flip side, however, there are positives. For one, Rooftop Slushie could be a key way to level the playing field. Many Big Tech companies boast an air of exclusivity and "you can't sit with us"-ness, and Rooftop Slushie provides a way to widen the recruitment pool.

Above all, faith in the recruitment process will always prevail. The company will always hire who they believe to be the right fit, regardless of how they get there.

Next, find out why it's advantageous to bridge the gap between sales and marketing.