ShinyNeedle Asks Job Seekers To Work For Free While They Apply

Ok, it’s not time to cue the hysterics just yet. But there’s this new site out there for job seekers and employers called ShinyNeedle (as in, in a haystack, we presume). It’s a job board with a twist. In order to apply for any job on ShinyNeedle, you must complete a “challenge” associated with the job.

So for an interactive marketing manager position, the challenge is:

Demonstrate how you would most effectively use technology partners and vendors to drive the success of an interactive campaign targeting an early 20 year old demographic. For the purposes of this challenge consider the demographic both male and female and recent college graduates with new jobs.

For a social media manager position at ShinyNeedle itself, your scheduling capability will be challenged as you’re asked to “Demonstrate through a written statement and an example document that displays how you would improve and manage several channels.”

Applying without completing the challenge is forbidden. Posting a job without a challenge is (supposedly) forbidden (though we found a few that sneaked through). It’s an interesting idea, we admit. Giving a job applicant with an otherwise blah resume (perhaps because he is a new graduate or has been out of the workforce) a chance to prove himself is an appealing thought. And often, those who take the initiative to solve a company’s problem before being asked to in an application process end up being the ones who get jobs. But formalizing this process? Count us as undecided for now.

Besides, how would a jobseeker be assured that her brilliant idea wouldn’t just be stolen by the company? As ShinyNeedle’s FAQ says, “While there is some risk your idea might be shared in some way other than for the job post our website terms of use and privacy policy prohibit use of the responses for anything other than hiring. Anything written by an individual is also protected by US copyright law automatically.”

Doesn’t inspire exactly the most confidence. Hopefully Shinyneedle can figure out how to create trust between its employer clients and jobseeker users in order to create a product that really truly improves hiring.