Want a tech job? Try buying an employee referral

On Rooftop Slushie, $20 to $50 will get you an in with some of the biggest names in tech.

Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Want a tech job? Try buying an employee referral

These are dark days for those strange souls who actually enjoy networking. In just a few months, conferences, cocktail parties, and career fairs have all evaporated.

If you’re applying for a job, that means you’re going to have a tough time meeting someone who can vouch for you. 

Enter Rooftop Slushie, a marketplace where applicants can buy referrals to the likes of Amazon, Google, and Apple. For $20 to $50, tech workers will float your resume up the chain. So far, Rooftop Slushie has sold 11k+ referrals. 

Schmoozing for a job is so last year

Applicants upload their resumes, listing their price and their preferred companies. 

That info is sent off to Rooftop Slushie’s network of tech employees. They take a peek at your resume and decide whether to accept. Both parties are anonymous. 

It’s worth noting that employees don’t have to say yes: Rooftop Slushie asks that they only endorse truly qualified applicants. 

Uh, is this ethical? 

Wharton professor Peter Cappelli doesn’t think so. He compared it to “bribery,” telling OneZero, “The job seeker is paying to influence the action of an employee, who has a duty to be truthful to their employer.”

Amazon seems to agree. A spokesperson said the company is working to stop paid referrals. 

You can argue that this is sort of democratizing hiring. Plenty of nontraditional applicants might deserve a close look, but they don’t have the connections to get their resume read.

But the Rooftop Slushie phenomenon highlights an unfortunate truth of tech. If you want to be taken seriously, you better have connections.

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