Worm farmer, human scarecrow, pooper scooper. Ice cream taster, human statue, hot dog vendor.
This looks like a random grouping of jobs, but they actually have something in common: they all appear alongside “virtual headhunter" in a couple of articles listing obscure but well-paying jobs ... because there are weird jobs, and there are profitable jobs, and then there’s that small intersecting slice of jobs that are both weird and profitable. The first list I found is on Forbes, entitled “10 Unusual Jobs That Pay Surprisingly Well.” Then I found a similar grouping on Deseret News called "Worm farmer and 29 other odd jobs to earn more money.”
Maybe it’s just me – or the fact that I write for a staffing blog – but it doesn’t seem as if virtual recruitment should be tossed out in left field with worm farming.
It could be that the weird, obscure quality stems from the term “virtual,” which still seems to achieve a futuristic luster. But aren't we simply talking about independent recruiters who operate outside of a traditional firm and don’t meet candidates face to face? Therefore, couldn't you stick a "virtual" label on any telecommuting or online-based job? (Virtual graphic designer? Virtual editor?) Another interesting thing to note is that Deseret News titles its list "odd jobs," which of course has a connotation outside of "weird." They're not-so-subtly arguing that these jobs are "extras" -- tasks to "pick up" on the sidelines of a stable job.
Now let’s pick apart the “profitable” label. This might be closer to the truth, though of course pay scale depends on individual drive to meet sky-high expectations, as Staffing Talk reported in this post.
Perhaps a better title for the Forbes list would have been “10 Jobs For Which Pay Varies Wildly, Depending On Many Factors.” (Not to mention that fact that Forbes has no earthly idea of what pays surprisingly well or surprisingly poor). Hot dog vendors, for instance, can pull in $30,000 or $100,000 a year. A personal shopper’s compensation swings from $25,000 to $100,000+ a year. Depending. (Depending on the appetite of park-goers? The weather? The current reputation of the meat industry?) And so it is with “virtual head hunting,” which reportedly brings in $250 to $10,000 per referral. This says nothing to me about the investment of time or sanity required to hit these benchmarks. Any virtual recruiters out there want to set the record straight? Have you ever heard of a $10,000 referral?