Startup Idea: Job Board With Minimum Salaries

Many people are not actively looking for a job, but would consider it if it paid significantly higher than what they make now.

In fact, the best people already have a job. By definition. So if you want the best people for your startup, as everyone claims, you should go after people who have a job, not those who don’t.

Unfortunately, from an individual’s point of view, it takes too much time even to find out that the company is not paying enough. Sometimes you go through the whole interview process, only to find out at the end that they don’t pay enough. Even if you find that out at the end of the first call, 45 minutes is too much time wasted, not even counting the time and overhead of scheduling a call. No wonder many people don’t even talk to companies when they’re not looking for a job. It’s too much of a time waste and a distraction unless you’re actively looking for a job.

This is a problem with the job market. As in any market, high friction (transaction cost) prevents transactions from occurring that would benefit both parties.

This problem can be solved via a startup that operates in a completely different way from existing job boards. The target market is individuals not looking for a job, which is the opposite market as the one every other job board serves.

The pitch is: Get a job paying a salary you want, without wasting hours talking to umpteen companies that won’t pay what you want.

This board works as follows. As an individual (as opposed to a company), you log in via LinkedIn, import your data to create your profile, and enter just one piece of information — the minimum salary you want in your next job.

When creating a profile, you don’t need to enter your current salary. That is irrelevant. All that matters is the minimum salary you want for your next job.

Your minimum salary is not part of your public profile and is not revealed to any company.

Let’s assume you enter ₹7 lakh as your minimum salary.

When a company finds your profile interesting and wants to contact you, a box pops up where they have to type a salary they’re committing to. Say they enter ₹ 9 lakh. The platform then checks if it’s greater than your minimum salary, and since it is in this case, sends an email to you saying:

We’re contacting you from <company> for an opportunity with a guaranteed salary of ₹9 lakh if we end up hiring you. This is just the salary part, excluding variable pay like bonuses and equity. If you’re interested, please reply to this email and we’ll take it forward.

Since this will be in writing, it forces the company to be sure, rather than promising something dishonestly [1], making you go through the entire interview process, and then offering you less.

And if they do give an offer later for less than the promised amount, they will be blacklisted from the platform. And this will be told to companies: when they’re typing a salary, a big red message will appear saying, “If you’re not sure about this salary, enter a lower salary, which you are sure about. Once you commit, you can’t go back. We blacklist companies that do.”

One objection to this is that the salary depends on the person’s skills, which will be known only after the interview process. In that case, companies will be told to enter the lower end of the range for that job, assuming the candidate barely gets through. If he’s really good, the company can always increase their offer later on, as part of the negotiation between the parties.

Another objection is that a company can’t promise a job without interviewing. But the promise is not of a job; it’s of a guaranteed salary if they hire.

When a company proposes a salary less than what the candidate wants, the candidate is not spammed. The company is not told that their message wasn’t delivered, because that reveals information about the candidate’s minimum salary to the company.

It’s only companies that can message individuals, not the other way around. Because if some individuals do that, it puts pressure on others to do it lest they be left behind. Which takes away from the whole point of the service. Besides, if you want to message companies, there are many other job boards that let you do that.

The majority of people would be open to a job if it paid high enough. If they’re saying they’re not interested, it’s usually because the overhead is too much to find out. A job board like this one will reduce the overhead, helping both sides: people will find higher-paying jobs, and companies will fill positions easier.

[1] Some people are dishonest, deliberately putting a high amount just to attract jobseeker, with no intention of honoring it. Others are unsure, and may put up a high number, go through the process with you, and in the meanwhile make up their mind and settle for a lower number. As an individual, you don’t want to waste your time with either kind of company.