Compensating A Consultant or Applicant as an Equity Issue?

I recently encountered the suggestion that consultants who interview with non profits for project work should be compensated for their time as a matter of equity if the interview process is extensive or requires more than one step. I'll assume this extends to applicants for jobs as well.

To clarify, in this case the interview process was a half hour phone call that ended with the invitation to submit a simple proposal, no more than two or three paragraphs. This was not a case, as I see it, of having the consultant provide actual work product for free under the guise of a selection process.

In my own life as a consultant I've always considered interviews and proposals to be just part of the cost of doing business. And I've sometimes had multiple meeting, totaling several hours, plus pretty full blown proposals.

I don't know why it's an equity issue, but we all have our own biases, blindspots and assumptions, so perhaps I'm missing something. So:

  1. Have you encountered the idea that applicants should be paid for their time as an equity issue?
  2. What makes it an equity issue, rather than simply compensation for time?
  3. If you have encountered the idea, was it as part of a growing trend or just a one-off?
submitted by /u/joemondo
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