I’ve been getting more queries than usual lately about “executive career management” firms. No surprise. There are lots more executives out of work.
These are the firms that offer to provide top-level consulting to top-level executives who need professional help finding a job. One of these outfits quotes Tiger Woods to make its pitch: “Professionals hire a manager to increase their chances of winning, amateurs don’t.”
In the career world, we can put it more accurately this way: “Professionals use their skills to get hired. Amateurs get scammed.”
The psychological underpinnings of the Tiger Woods pitch are classic. The message is, if you’re not paying for help, you’re an amateur. You’re not an amateur, are you? Of course not. Pay up.
This racket has not changed a bit. In The Executive Marketing Racket: How I dropped ten grand down a hole, a CFO tells how he got burned when he signed up with one of these outfits. Since I published this expose written by someone who lived it, Ask The Headhunter has turned into the place “the burned” turn to tell their tales. Executives and their spouses have shared demoralizing and depressing stories of getting taken for tens of thousands of dollars — at a time in their lives when they need that money to survive while they get re-situated.
There are good career counselors and coaches out there. But none of them go by the moniker “Executive Career Manager.” It’s the first sign of a crook. Another sign: The “firm” in question claims that it is an executive search firm and a career management firm. In other words, companies pay them to fill positions, and people like you pay them for jobs. Come on. No self-respecting headhunting firm does that. The ones who turn to selling “executive career management” are failed headhunters.
There is no one out there that you can hire to get you a job. Headhunters don’t do it; career counselors don’t do it; and career coaches don’t do it. Best case, you’ll get advice. The honest practitioners don’t promise a job. You will find the honest practitioners through their satisfied clients. And I don’t mean you ought to ask a coach or counselor for references you can call. I mean, find people who got good help from good practitioners — and ask them who they used. That’s who to go to, if you really want someone to advise you.
But job hunting is something you should do for yourself. If you can’t, you probably don’t deserve to be hired. Think about it: What good are you to a company that needs a job done, if you can’t do this job for yourself? That’s what Ask The Headhunter is all about. Try it before you relinquish your future to someone else. (No, I’m not trying to sell you a book. You can get the book for free at your library. And virtually everything else on Ask The Headhunter is free, too.)
Sorry if you’ve been job hunting a long time or if you’re very down on your luck. But paying someone to find you a job is not the answer. Because no one can guarantee you a job. Unless you believe what you read in an advertisement.