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Bernard Haldane: Busting the bad boys.
I get a lot of requests for information and advice about "job finding services" and "career management firms", and I've covered these rackets before. If you know Ask The Headhunter, you know my warnings about such services are strict: Stay away. But even when insiders expose the details, it's hard to convince people just how crooked some of the biggest names are.

Recruitment Rip-Off
Update (VIDEO)

Career scams are not old news. In fact, they're still a huge business.

In February, 2012, CBC TV asked me to review hidden-camera video of a recruitment rip-off in Canada.

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.

The entire story is on the blog:

Rip-Off Edition: Who's trying to sell you a job?

Includes the full, 22-minute expose, plus a special tutorial: "Top tips and red flags for job hunters" that reveals what you should look for to avoid getting scammed.

On October 7, 2003 Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit Court accusing Bernard Haldane & Associates of consumer fraud. This is not the first time Haldane has been called on the carpet. They've also been nailed in Virginia, California, Colorado and Kansas. The details of the Illinois case expose the fraud behind marketing verbiage you've seen used by countless crooks in the same business. So listen up if you want to learn how to recognize other scammers in the employment rackets, because the jargon is the same.

[UPDATE: The original link to the Kansas City Star has been removed because it is no longer active. A relevant article from the Star is archived here.]

Based in New York, Haldane touts its 100+ locations as the "nation's premier job career specialists." (Just what the heck is a "job career specialist", anyway?) The company -- whose various operations seem to be owned and operated independently -- will pitch its exclusivity by making you qualify to buy its services. After interviewing you at length, they let you join all the other suckers who qualfied.

The Chicago Tribune (10/9/03) quoted a Haldane client about the firm's sophisticated qualification testing: "They gave me a big spiel about how they don't just accept anybody and I was lucky enough to get picked," he said. "They said I had excellent credentials and that they would help me tap into the hidden job market and that life would be great."

The Chicago Sun-Times (10/9/03) explained Haldane's client selection policy in more detail: "The company targeted primarily middle- and upper-management job seekers, but clients with less formal education were told that wouldn't be an obstacle to their finding a high-paying job... The suit alleges the defendants took financial profiles of each applicant and charged clients fees based on their liquid assets. The fees ranged between $3,500 and $12,500. Customers were unfairly charged different fees for the same service, according to the suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court."

Every sucker gets a deal, each according to his means. But wait. This isn't just some hokey, low-class racket. It's got science behind it: "The attorney general's office said Bernard Haldane and Associates conducted psychological exams of the clients but had no one qualified to analyze the results of the tests." Ooops.

It seems just about anyone can walk up and pay through the nose for Haldane's exclusive services, eh? Just wait'll you find out what those services are. Chicago's CBS-2 quoted Illinois A.G. Madigan on Haldane's top-secret proprietary offerings. "One of the misleading statements is that they have access to a secret job market. Job offers that nobody else knows about,” said Madigan. “Well, in fact the victims in these cases have looked and found that the information is available on the internet so they are lying about that, that is misleading and a violation of the consumer fraud act."

[UPDATE: Links to some of the news stories cited in this article are no longer active. Illinois A.G. Madigan is quoted in a more recent 2009 CBS News article.]

And you thought everything on the Internet was free. Hey, who can knock some clever guys for trying to make a buck? Let's show them we value their special, insider contributions. If you'd like to add some new, high-level personal contacts to your Rolodex, consider these insiders, who have all been qualified in the Illinois suit: President Jerold P. Weinger, all the good folks at Haldane's Illinois subsidiary Career Management Inc., the crack team at California-based DRB Ltd., four Illinois salespeople (you'll have to dig their names out of the complaint for yourself), and Barry A. Layne, president of Career Management.

See? There's value at Haldane for those who look for it. Take it from the unnamed spokeswoman at Haldane who responded to queries from the press: "Bernard Haldane Associates has successfully helped thousands of clients during its more than 20 years in Chicago. We remain deeply committed to assisting every client in achieving their career goals." So give those good folks named in the complaint a call. They want to help. (Of course, Haldane wasn't able to keep these particular insiders' names secret. But then again, they're not charging you for them, and you may not even be qualified to use them.)

The Trib says that the charges against Haldane, including violations of the Consumer Fraud Act, could carry penalties of $50,000 for each violation. A.G. Madigan also seeks a permanent injunction against the defendants and restitution for the victims. Good for her. Trouble is, many racketeers in this business just turn up somewhere else operating under other names. You will know them by their jargon.

Nick Corcodilos
Ask The Headhunter®

It's Got Teeth
It Bites!

 

 

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