Now There's a Way to "Buy" a Personal Contact at Your Dream Company

As a job seeker, how many times have you heard, "It's all about who you know"? While there is some truth to it, this belief is totally disheartening for those job seekers who don't know anyone "on the inside" at the company where they're applying. So if you're an applicant without any contacts at your dream company, are you simply out of luck?

Not according to Purple Squirrel, a service that allows you to purchase time with a dedicated "advocate" at a company and pick their brain about the role, work culture, your résumé, and anything else that might give you the leg up. The advocate may end up recommending you for the role or not — either way, you'll gain some insight into the company, its employees, and what they might be looking for in a candidate.

The range of participating companies is interesting, as you can buy time with advocates at places like NBC, Simon & Schuster, Google, Madewell, Hasbro, Netflix, Stone Brewing Company, and nearly a thousand others. There is a monetary investment involved (for example, a 30-minute chat with someone in software engineering at Airbnb will cost you $50), though the Purple Squirrel website makes a point of claiming that the average base salary for those who utilize Purple Squirrel as a way "in" is $112,000. So it may be worth the spend, depending on how determined you are to end up at a particular company.

The service can also benefit companies, as they might find enthusiastic candidates who would have otherwise fallen through the cracks of the recruiting process. In fact, the term "purple squirrel" refers to the perfect job candidate, a mystical creature that hiring managers wish they could find. As a job seeker, purchasing business contacts might be one way to show that you are that mystical creature and you'll use all available means to prove it.