When you interview job candidates, you're paid for your time, either as part of your salaried duties or an actual hourly rate. Job candidates not only do it for free, but they also take time off work (often unpaid), hire babysitters, pay for transportation, and maybe even buy a new interview suit. Paul Taylor, executive director at Food Share in Toronto, announced that his company would pay candidates $75 for an interview for their time.

This is not traditional at all, but it's a brilliant move that you might want to consider--especially if you're struggling to get candidates. Here's why:

You show respect for candidates

Interviewing for a job isn't easy, and paying for a candidate's time shows that the hiring company respects the candidate's time and effort. Especially if you require some project that can cut into a candidate's time. 

Paying for their time tells candidates that you understand this is hard work, and you respect them. It starts the relationship on a positive note.

It makes you competitive in a tight market.

Some jobs are tough to fill, but imagine how you could increase your candidates if you paid for their time. Granted, this won't attract your next senior vice president (possibly), but it could have a tangible impact on your entry and midcareer level positions. 

While paying for an interview is lovely, paying for the sample project really makes you an employer of choice. People do walk away from positions when companies are too demanding, but they'd probably be less likely to if you paid them for the work. And a bonus, if you pay them, you can ensure that it's work-for-hire, which allows you to use it. If you don't pay people for sample work, you can't legally use it without their permission.

It demonstrates your company's values.

Taylor told Toronto's City News, "From an equity perspective, folks who have already been made vulnerable by systems and public policies, this is going to help advantage those folks a little better, at least eliminate and challenge some of the disadvantages by recognizing there are costs."

Food Share's Twitter account describes itself as "Advocating for the right to food, and challenging the barriers to food justice." Paying their job candidates demonstrates that their advocacy isn't limited to food, but shows their advocacy for people in all areas of their lives.

If your job interviews don't reflect your company's values, ask yourself why. If you say you treat your employees well, but then bring people in for five or six rounds of interviews, you don't respect their time. On the flip side, many companies lie about their values to persuade people to work for them and leave the dark side for post-new hire orientation.

Paying people for interviews probably won't become the norm--at least not in the near future--but think about it as a way to show respect for candidates and increase your candidate pool. It just may work, and it never hurts to pay people what their time is worth.

One final note--if you decide to go this route, double check with your local employment attorney to ensure you pay people legally and correctly. The last thing you want to do is try to do a nice thing and get the IRS coming after you.