indeed was NOT Good for My Small Business

Recently I’ve seen advertisements for Indeed saying that Indeed was good for small businesses. That was not my experience. My bottom line for Indeed is that I paid $1,233 in Indeed fees for 27 candidates for a part-time, weekend employee that was paid less than $500 last year. Indeed fees were more than twice what I paid the employee that I hired. I do NOT recommend using Indeed for your small business.

My small business is providing art classes to afterschool programs and community centers. One of our offerings was to provide an art project for birthday parties. When we received several requests for weekend parties, I posted a job on Indeed for a part-time, weekend position in the greater Boston area. I had used Indeed before and did not have any problems.

Apparently, this time I set up the posting differently and incurred charges for each applicant. Indeed charged my credit card $731. I was surprised by the amount of the charge and by the time I figured out what was happening and paused the job posting, I had incurred another $502 in charges. So the total charges for Indeed were $1,233 for 27 candidates or about $45 per candidate.

And some of the candidates were not remotely appropriate. This was a part-time weekend position the greater Boston area and I received candidates from North Carolina, Oklahoma and California. I contacted the candidate from North Carolina who said that it “ was a mistake – for some reason your post came up on my list.” Why would Indeed have my posting for a job in Boston appear on the list of a candidate in North Carolina? Oklahoma? California?

Indeed’s response was “you have 48 hours to reject candidates before being charged.” Seriously??? First of all, I wasn’t aware that I had 48 hours to reject a candidate before being charged. I only found out about this option after I complained. Secondly, every time a candidate applied for my job, I got an email alert with a whole list of next steps, but noticeably absent from those emails was any mention of the fact that I could reject a candidate without being charged.

Moreover, why does Indeed shift the burden to me for an obviously unqualified candidate? There is no chance the candidate from North Carolina was going to fill the position and yet Indeed included my job posting in her list. Indeed shows her the job posting, she applies, and now it’s up to me to reject an obviously unqualified candidate or be charged $45. As a small business, I have better things to do with my time that review and reject obviously unqualified candidates.

Indeed’s position is that this service is entirely self-serve and that I signed up for it. I’m sure that they are right. I did not read the fine print and I should have. If you are going to use Indeed, I highly recommend that you spend whatever time necessary to read the fine print for whatever service you use.

In my opinion, this is not a good service for small businesses. If I was able to sign up for a service and am then surprised by $1,233 in fees, then the sign-up process is lacking. I just signed up for a service for another company the other day and it had a screen pop up with a reminder of what the fees were going to be and I had to confirm before I continued.

In the past six months, Indeed sent me over a thousand emails from Indeed. Indeed sent an email each time a candidate responded to a job posting. Indeed sent an email with job openings. I didn’t’ receive any emails with information about fees or the ability to reject candidates without being charged.

I’m sure that Indeed provides a valuable service for some businesses. For my time and money, I stay away from services when I’m surprised by the fees. My recommendation is that if you are a small business and need help hiring, do not use Indeed or, if you have to, spend plenty of time reading the fine print.

Nathan S. Gibson is an independent worker compliance business partner who provides expertise and creative solutions to enhance workforce flexibility and maintain compliance. He helps mitigate the risks associated with the misclassification of self-employed consultants, freelancers and independent contractors.