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Rooftop Slushie sells employee referrals (aka bribes), and we hate it

At last, the sharing economy is addressing the issue of nepotistic hiring practices in tech… by making it worse. And adding a bit of immorality. We suspect that Rooftop Slushie is a fast way for you to land in hot water.

rooftop slushie

Introducing Rooftop Slushie, a website that emerged last year and has gained popularity in the absence of face-to-face networking events brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company sells recommendations on behalf of those seeking jobs at major tech companies, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft. As of now, Rooftop Slushie proudly claims on their website to have referred over 13,000 candidates.

Here’s how it works: users pay between $20-$50 to upload resumes and indicate their desired position. Anonymous tech employees evaluate them, then decide whether or not to refer candidates based on their listed credentials. They also offer resume reviews and career advice.

It is a recent venture from the enigmatic creators of Blind, an anonymous online forum of vaguely described “verified professionals.” (How someone can be both verified and anonymous is beyond me, but I digress.)

While Rooftop Slushie asks their employee network to only recommend candidates who are genuinely qualified for their desired positions, the site has no apparent measures to ensure that this happens, other than there being no guarantee that any given applicant will succeed.

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It is true that Rooftop is providing a unique service. Nobody else is doing what they do, because what they do is wrong. It would be questionable even if there was no money exchanged. As it is, this is akin to bribery.

The keyholders of these prestigious tech job references are taking advantage of their status within large companies for profit, as well as any additional incentives to refer candidates that their employer may offer. It’s friggin’ corrupt, plain and simple.

Now, I’d like to address those who would consider using this service to land their dream job.

I understand that impulse, especially in this economically desperate moment. But ethics aside, think about the personal consequences you could face.

What if word gets out that you bought your way into your coveted new position?

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You and your reference would probably be canned immediately. You could lose trust with your friends and associates, business or otherwise, who hear the news as well.

This is not a hypothetical question. Amazon has already started cracking down on paid referrals, and others are sure to follow suit. Good luck explaining that at your next interview.

It is also incredibly unfair to those of us who can’t gamble 50 bucks to get a foot in the door with Google.

We have to do it the old fashioned way (like some kind of peasant, I suppose). And look, the ”old fashioned way” is obviously flawed. There is a LOT to criticize about preferential and biased hiring practices in the tech industry. This attempt to solve it is still very misguided.

Blind claims to be a “platform for change,” and suggests that Rooftop opens up opportunities to people who don’t have insider connections, thus (supposedly) leveling the playing field.

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But cheating only worsens the problems they describe. The hiring process should not be pay-to-win. Jobs aren’t commodities.

Whether or not the act of selling professional recommendations breaks an employee’s contract, it’s certainly a gross violation of the social contract.

If you believe you’re qualified for a particular position, but the company won’t give you the time of day, don’t cheat. Be persistent. Or, better yet, why not seek out an employer who recognizes your talents?

And if you can’t manage to do that… maybe it’s time to reevaluate your actual level of expertise.

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Desmond Meagley is an award-winning writer, graphic artist and cultural commentator in D.C. A proud YR Media alumn, Desmond's writing and illustrations have been featured in the SF Chronicle, HuffPost, Teen Vogue, The Daily Cal, and NPR among others. In their spare time, Desmond enjoys vegetarian cooking and vigorous bike rides.

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  1. Pingback: A review of Rooftop Slushie as a career advancement tool - 2021 update - Pathrise Resources

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