Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Who’s trying to sell you a job? Thanks to Nick Corcodilos

Ask The Headhunter® | Nick Corcodilos – Rip-Off Edition: Who’s trying to sell you a job? (video)

February 20, 2012

Rip-Off Edition: Who’s trying to sell you a job? (video)

Filed under: Job scams, Video
The February 21, 2012 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter is a special edition about career rip-offs. (You don’t subscribe to the weekly newsletter? It’s free! Subscribe now!. Don’t miss another edition!) As the regulars know, we flow the newsletter into the blog every week — and this is where we churn up ideas and comments to blow topics like this wide open.

CBC TV: Top Tips and Red Flags For Job Hunters

While taping a recent CBC TV Marketplace program about career rip-offs, host Tom Harrington and I did another segment (7 minutes) that’s our consumer education offering. Tom and I discuss tips and red flags that smart consumers should look for when job hunting — to avoid getting scammed. (When you’re job hunting, not all those requests you get for “interviews” are for jobs you want. They may be interviewing for victims.)
You’ll have far more tips and warnings of your own to share than Tom and I discuss — and I’d like to ask you to post them in the comments section below. Check out the video for some of the basics. (Tom is the bigger guy on the left.)

Career rip-offs are everywhere

They seem to proliferate when jobs are hard to come by, and that’s when job hunters seem to get suckered more easily by rip-off artists who try to sell them jobs — or the promise of jobs.
We’ve covered TheLadders rip-off again and again, and though it costs only around $30/month, the opportunity cost can be huge. (Just ask Mike, the executive who wasted 22 months before he pulled the plug on TheLadders and shared his story.)
Then there are the “executive career management” scams that promise databases of hidden jobs, inside contacts, and exclusive access to employers. They target high-income folks — who seem altogether too willing to spend $5,000, $10,000, $20,000 or more for “expert help” that delivers nothing more than a contract worth less than the paper it’s printed on.
Take it from this Ask The Headhunter reader who lost $12,000 to a “career management firm”:
“PLEASE don’t use my name, because I am horribly embarrassed to admit that I forked over $12 large to a bunch of scum bags in Denver. They’ve changed their name twice since they cashed my check three years ago. I didn’t receive a single — no, not one — interview as a result of their lightening of my retirement fund. They have no secret sauce, they did nothing that I couldn’t have done much better reading Nick’s website and e-books. Damn.” – R.B. [name withheld]
In between are the offers of “free resume critiques.” These rip-offs deliver boiler-plate “reviews” warning that your resume is no good, and then pressure you to buy a $1,200 re-write — even when the resume submitted for a free critique was originally written by the same firm!
What prompted me to do a rip-off edition?

CBC TV: Recruitment Rip-Off

In early February, Canada’s CBC TV flew me to Toronto for a hidden-camera expose of a “job search marketing” racket. CBC’s Marketplace program is the longest-running consumer watchdog show in the world. Its target: A Canadian firm called Toronto Pathways that “recruits” job hunters via their online resumes — but doesn’t hire anyone. Pathways sells $5,000 “job search marketing” services and “absolutely” promises a job. In my opinion, Pathways’ services are absolutely worthless. The same business has operated under five different names in the past seven years. The CEO calls this name game “brand marketing” that “allows a fresh approach.” I call it “hide and seek” played with angry customers.
Whether or not you’ve ever gotten suckered like this, you’ll gag when you see a salesman promise a job to a prospect (“Absolutely!”) in exchange for thousands of dollars. Then the CEO of the firm denies that they promise jobs to anyone.
But the program is more than a rip-off story. It will save a lot of consumers from the fate suffered by the victims whose experiences are profiled. Don’t miss the entire 22-minute news-magazine segment: Recruitment Rip-Off.
Host Tom Harrington and I spend a lot of time on camera reviewing the hidden camera videos, pointing out the tip-offs that reveal something is very wrong. Key among these tip-offs is a full copy of the contract Pathways foists on its victims. Note the “Client Satisfaction Guarantee” that guarantees no satisfaction or refund. Take notes — How many signs of rip-off can you count?

Rip-Off Resources

I call this the Rip-Off Edition because I’ve been wanting to provide a reference list to help you avoid rip-offs and career scams. Here are some of the best columns on this topic that have appeared on Ask The Headhunter:

An educated consumer is the rip-off artist’s worst enemy

I love it when Ask The Headhunter sends a reader to bed with $7,000 in his pocket:
“I just wanted to write and let you know that your Web site saved me from making a grave error. I went to a career marketing company (Global Career Management in Colorado Springs) last week [October 2006], and they wanted $7,000 up front to get me ‘in front of decision makers.’ When I dug a little deeper, I came across your site and decided to use some of the advice to find out if they were for real. I simply asked for references in two telephone voicemail messages and one email message. I followed up 48 hours later to find out why they didn’t get back to me, and the pitchman responded with a ‘we have decided not to move forward at this time’ email. Of course, they figured out I was on to their scam and decided to cut and run to the next ‘client.’ A half hour on your site was worth more than $7,000 in my pocket.” — Jim Myers
If just one tip-off in the above collection saves anyone money or heartache, then I’m happy. Just remember: No one can promise to deliver a job except an employer, and anyone who makes such a promise while demanding money up front is probably trying to rip you off.

Thanks to CBC TV Marketplace

Many thanks to all at CBC TV’s Marketplace for a jam-packed Saturday in the studio, and for the chance to work on this project: host Tom Harrington, producers Virginia Smart and Marlene McArdle, and the entire Marketplace crew. This program should be required viewing for all job hunters. Which leaves me wondering: The exact same recruitment rip-offs are happening across the United States. But which TV networks are deploying their hidden cameras to warn consumers on this side of Lake Ontario?
Stay tuned. Meanwhile, score one for the Canadians.
(Special thanks to Rodney’s By Bay for the fine Toronto hospitality and the best plate of oysters I’ve ever downed.)
Have you encountered a career rip-off? Maybe you worked for such a firm and have an insider’s story to tell. Most important, please help us assemble the Intenet’s best list of tip-offs to career rip-offs.
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8 Comments on “Rip-Off Edition: Who’s trying to sell you a job? (video)”
By Kathy
February 21, 2012 at 10:53 am
Ummm. At the bottom of your blog is a Google (?) ad for one of these exec job search companies. LOL Bad timing Google
$225K+ Executive Jobs TX
Need a New Executive Position? FEE Based Exec Search 512-501-2033
By Dave
February 21, 2012 at 11:06 am
Just goes to show… If something seems too good to be true… It probably is…
By Nick Corcodilos
February 21, 2012 at 12:40 pm
@Kathy: Nice catch! I block GoogleAds from a named list of “offenders” but I can’t block all because I don’t always know who they are or even when they show up. GoogleAds helps pay to keep this blog running. The way I look at it, ATH readers know ads from ATH content, and they know what’s worth clicking on and what’s not. We could spend all day critiquing Google’s algorithms for matching ads to “context” — they’re not very good. No better than HR’s “keyword matching” algorithms!
By Carrie K.
February 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm
Thanks for revealing something I find absolutely sickening. Particularly disturbing was the racist attempt to scam immigrants. When the guy essentially said “buy our service or spend your life working at 7-11 and driving a cab,” my jaw dropped.
This video should be required viewing for every frustrated job hunter. Keep up the great work. If your insights save just one person from feeding the coffers of these lowlifes, it will have been well worth the effort.
By Don Harkness
February 21, 2012 at 2:03 pm
You mentioned targeting high income people for 5, 10, 20 K. It’s not just high income. When I was an agency recruiter I was shocked when interviewing a candidate, a network engineer, who had paid 6K for a service to find him a job. It was history by the time I met him and already figured out what I’d routinely tell candidates to not pay someone to find them a job. this is a guy who probably was in the 60K area per year, so they hit him for about 10% of his annual worth.
Then around the same time I headed off a laid off friend who was on the front end of going down town for one of these interviews until I threw a body block on him.
Every now & then I run across someone who’s done this.
It truly boggles the mind
By Jane Atkinson
February 21, 2012 at 2:22 pm
Perhaps the real problem is the underlying presupposition: “This process [getting a job] is largely out of your control.”
And why wouldn’t people believe that, when they, or people they know, have sent out bulk quantities of resumes and got nowhere? I suspect that these scammers are appealing to the idea that they can put some control back into the process, which must seem very attractive.
If you think you are drowning, you’ll do all sorts of things that you wouldn’t do normally. I can understand that part.
The bit that gets me is what happens when I tell people that there’s an alternative that gives them more control. They don’t want to believe it and give all sorts of reasons (excuses?) why it can’t work.
As I’ve said before, they largely seem to come down to the fact that it requires a degree of self-confidence and belief in yourself to get the other methods to work.
But doesn’t that apply even to the “conventional” ways of doing interviews? Or am I missing something?
By Nick Corcodilos
February 21, 2012 at 3:06 pm
@Jane: Bingo all around. You’ve hit many key points.
1. People believe it’s out of their control because the manager who wants to hire you isn’t involved in hiring. HR handles that. Boom, you lose and you know it. People come to believe that’s just how it is. At live presentations that I do, people refer to how they “got in touch with HR” as if that’s what they must do. They rarely say, “I got in touch with a hiring manager.” When you put a middleman in there, people naturally feel they’ve lost control. And they’re right. The joke is, they can wrest control easily.
2. People would like more control, but they won’t take it when it’s offered because they don’t understand how to then exercise the control themselves. “What should I do? I sent in my resume. I asked someone to pass it along to HR. I’m waiting. What else can I do?” There’s a block: No one else is using the alternative you’re proposing, so they’re afraid to try it. It’s like offering a job to a gambling addict, as a way to make money. They look at you like you’re crazy — their number is GOING to come up. They just need to roll again.
2. It’s all about self-confidence: Knowing that the skills you use at work are the skills you must use to get a job. Nobody hires you for your interviewing skills. They hire you because you write efficient Java code that works (for example). “Huh? How’s that gonna get me in front of HR?” THAT is the problem. They really believe they must stand in line to talk to the hall monitor (personnel jockey) before they’re allowed to go to the lavatory.
People are SO brainwashed that they literally don’t think straight. I’ve met top execs who manage operations worth billions. They think a resume is their marketing piece and that it will get them in the door. They really believe it.
The good news is, ANYONE who takes control and confidently applies their work skills has virtually NO competition when pursuing a job IF they chose the job thoughtfully.
By Dave
February 21, 2012 at 3:45 pm
@Jane and @Nick
It may be a painful process requiring a lot of hard work. I have generally had better experiences when getting ahold of the hiring manager. Even if I don’t get the interview/job, I at least know why.
Ask The Headhunter® | Nick Corcodilos – Rip-Off Edition: Who’s trying to sell you a job? (video)

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