I never cease to be amazed at the scams sophisticated professionals fall prey to. But when you’re looking for a job, any help is welcome. People want to believe that if help costs a lot of money, it must be good help. Think again. I’d like to share some e-mails between a reader and me. (I’ve blocked out the names because, as you’ll see, the names don’t really matter.)

A reader asked: Do you have experiences with [XXX Enterprises] in Atlanta, GA? They are in the “executive marketing” business and say they can help me land a good job. They want $2,400 down and $2,400 in the next 6 months for a one year contract, with a guarantee. They claim to have their own list of people that they have placed inside of local companies, and that for the most part they use these to get recommendations and, of course, interviews. And, yes, they will re-write my resume, put me through interview rehearsals and use their skill at going through the Atlanta business databases for companies that would hire someone like me. Sounds good… but…

I responded: Get three references from them: people they have placed. Three more: managers who have hired their clients. Call them all. The firm’s claim implies the people they have placed hire multiple new clients from them. It’s a kind of a ponzi scheme. My bet: They will never give you references. It sounds good, yah. But, check the references before you give them a check. Is the guarantee of the “money back” variety?

The reader did what I suggested and wrote back: Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve asked for references and a copy of the contract with the guarantee. I am waiting for a reply. Meanwhile, I’m reading your advice online.

I offered a little more advice to this job hunter: It could be difficult to confirm that the references are legit. If the employer references are managers, talk to them, then call the HR dept at each company. Be frank with them. Ask HR to confirm the hires and their satisfaction. Sorry to be such a downer, but the career-management business has become a real racket. It costs little to start one of these outfits. It seems the courts can do little to stop them from shutting down one operation and re-opening under another name just down the street. So the obvious other step is to Google the owners, not just the firm name. You may find the owners started their racket elsewhere, with bad press in their wake.

It was that last bit of advice that saved this reader $4,800.

He sent me this final note: This was the reply I got from [XXX Enterprises]: “We will prepare an agreement for you to review tomorrow. Please take a look at the success stories on our website. Providing personal contact information would violate the rules of confidentiality and privacy which we provide our clients.”

The “success stories” are listed by client number (0020100 and so on), hardly legitimate references. And the corporate managers or companies they worked with? Nowhere. The Better Business Bureau notes the business was started in 1977. The website states 1986. There were four consumer cases against [XXX Enterprises] with the Atlanta BBB. Three were closed administratively, as the BBB felt the complaints could not be resolved through them or through mediation.

Although the [XXX Enterprises] website states the owner, [Mr. Z], has been interviewed by several national cable networks of note, I can’t find any references on Google or Yahoo. What did show up, interestingly enough, is that the address for [XXX Enterprises] is the same as a former business for one Bernard Haldane, with whom you are familiar. I then found an article that used a quote from “[Mr. Z], Atlanta-based regional President for Bernard Haldane Outplacement…” You’re right: They change the company name, keep the game going. Oh, well. Thanks again for walking through this with me.

I love it when the Executive Marketing Rackets lose a customer. Don’t get desperate in this lousy economy, and don’t get taken for thousands.

  1. This story was familiar.
    I was called downtown in Dallas for an interview from what I thought was a local headhunter. The offices were very grand in design. Turned out they wanted money up front and “Guaranteed” to place me in a job $20-40K more than I was expecting.

    Thanks to your earlier columns I didn’t bite, and the interviewer must havwe become aware of this. He gave me a folder with a questioneer I never bothered to fill out, but keep as a reminder.

  2. ever hear of a private company requiring you to buy shares in the company in order to get the job? i’m not talking about a small company either. on a pretax basis the amount they asked for was over 20% of the salary.

  3. Thanks for putting this blog up. I just came from an interview exactly at this place in Atlanta, Ga and they asked for $2400 upfront and $2400 later. I was wondering why they were asking so many personal questions it felt strange to me. My husband told me it’s a scam and he wanted to call and curse them out I told him, the guy thought I was young and stupid and born yesterday. I can’t believe there are crooks like this in this economy trying to take advantage of people. Thanks again :)

  4. @youme: You’re welcome.

  5. Does anyone have any experience with Resume Not Required in Vienna, Va?

  6. I applied for a job some time ago with abovementioned company. After some time they again asked for my cv, which I sent. They recruited Safe tour Travels in China to prepare my Work permit, Resident Permit, Clearance permit and service fee for a total of USD 720. I Paid in good faith, having studdied Delmar Construction Job offer. Now they want a futher payment of USD 1480.00 for Visa approval endorsement, Work/resident/apporval endorsement, clearance approval endorsement,job warrant approval endorsement. Can it cost so much for working in China?

  7. @Theuns: I am not an expert in the China job market or in business practices there. But it seems fishy to me when an employer dangles a job offer and expects the job candidate to pay the fees necessary to work in the country. I’ve placed foreign nationals in other countries – and in every case, the employer process and pays all costs related to relocation and work permits.

  8. I have been contacted by The Voyager Group after posting my resume on-line. They ask for $4,500 up-front…They look legit but it is a lot of money! Anyone had any experience with them?

  9. @Pascale: I don’t know that firm and I have no comments about them.

    But I don’t believe in paying anyone to find you a job. Check this before you spend your money:


  10. Have you heard of a company in Dallas called The Wellington Group? They, like so many above, call themselves an “executive marketing firm.” They wanted 8-12% of my target salary with 60% of that due up front.

  11. @Leah: Never heard of them, but I don’t usually comment on specific firms. My rule of thumb is, if a firm wants lots of $$ up front, offer to pay them by the hour. Then smile and tell them to go find a real sucker.

  12. By Michelle
    January 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm
    Does anyone have any experience with Resume Not Required in Vienna, Va?

    Michelle, Yes, and it has been a nightmare.

    One of the most difficult people to work with. Six months of back and forth with nothing to show for it but lost time and thousands of dollars.

  13. Robert,

    I concur. They brought me in under the false pretenses of 10% once I got the job and then they made it seem like they had business clients they would connect you to and help you get in. Of course then they had a “deal” where it would be less to pay in advance. Instead of known inside contacts they googled for me (and my results were better) and they had me cold email sr. Execs. I got a few phone calls but they never helped me beyond that. And it was my email (not their edit of my email or anything) that got me the phone call. The “did you get this” idea did work but they never helped me beyond that. No one could tell me what to do once I connected. Don took great pride in being an SOB (his words not mine). Worst experience of my life. Stay away.

  14. Resume not required is a scam, they promise over the phone that no fee is charged the client, they get all their fees from the employer. Then during the conversation I heard the girl mention a fee. During the interview I mentioned the fee and asked if there was one, the girl on the phone mentioned a fee. He (the interviewer) Vienna, VA, got all up in arms, called the girl and forcefully demanded if she told me there was a fee, “NO!” she exclaimed and recounted exactly what she said. He looked at me and said satisfied. I said, “Well no, is there a fee yes or no.” He said, “Yes, $3,000.” I finished the interview called the Attorney General and went on with my life.

  15. RUN!!! Worst experience of my life. This is a SCAM! It is disgusting that people like this “prey” on the unemployed who are in a vulnerable position. Don Garrett should be ashamed of himself.

  16. Regarding Resume Not Required; seems they’ve been sued a couple of times, and most recently lost in Fairfax County District Court. Check out the following url:


    It’s a shame these people prey on people who are desperately looking for a job in this difficult job market!

  17. I would like to believe that “Nick the Head Hunter” for whom I have never met or spoken with means well with his life’s work as I do. Not sure how much time he has taken to investigate thoroughly the random people who have so easily been allowed to share false accusations regarding my company- http://www.resumenotrequired.com

    We are a small company that takes great pride in the impact we are able to achieve in our selected/accepted customer’s careers. I am sure that if you wanted to you would find much more positive than negative about the work we do for our clients as well as the small to medium sized company business owners that we support.

    As for the “bogus remarks” collected in this particular deceptive blog post you will notice that there are no last names associated with the comments made on this website. You will notice that there is actually nothing that truly mentions anything regarding what service’s we do or do not promise to provide.

    I couldn’t know if these unidentified people were even clients. – In my opinion this is the real scam.

    Every person’s journey in a job search is unique and our company was founded to give executives who have earned the right an opportunity to choose organizations they actually would want to make an impact as oppose to maybe getting tapped on the shoulder one day by a recruiter who knows nothing about you other than what you have done in the past. Why let a recruiter or headhunter or anyone other than “YOU” determine what you are capable of?

    When a headline reads “pay for a job” Why would anyone believe that is possible? If you want, Read our mission statement, compare with an alternative perspective from our blogs & website. I challenge & invite any reader of these disgusting accusations made on this site to spend 90 minutes with anyone in our company and make up their own minds who should be ashamed.

    If a professional is brave enough to take on the risk of challenging the status quo by providing an alternative method in business, you must be prepared to come across a few nincompoops along the way who feel a need to tarnish the “good work” that the others believe is right.

    Anyways, Let’s get back to work!


    – Tom Alexander / Don Garrett

    [Promotional quotes attributed to third-party, named individuals DELETED.]

  18. RE: Post from Tom Alexander/Don Garrett

    Garrett requested removal of comments posted above by readers that are critical of RESUMENOTREQUIRED. I suggested that he post his own comment. It is published above.

    (Promotional quotes Garrett and Alexander included from third parties have been removed. We don’t publish promotional advertising, especially when it’s attributed to third parties.)

    Alexander and Garrett refer to “bogus remarks” and question whether “unidentified people were even clients” of their firm and say “this is the real scam.” In an e-mail he sent me, Garrett himself claimed they were his clients and he made personally disparaging remarks about them. (In his comments above, he again refers to “a few nincompoops.”)

    I checked with the individuals cited by Garrett, and at least one has a judgment in his favor dated 12/1/11 from Fairfax County Court in Virginia, case GV11017856-00, rendered against “RESUME NOT REQUIRED” in “RESTON VA” in the amount of $5,000.

    The individual claims that as of this time the defendant has not paid the judgment and says the matter is back in court, this time to enforce collection.

    The court document is available via search at http://epwsgdp1.courts.state.va.us/gdcourts/nameSearch.do

    A copy of the judgment, which is a public document, is here:

    According to a Google search, comments about RESUMENOTREQUIRED also appear on LinkedIn and ExecuNet:

    The original column in this blog posting does not refer to any firm by name, and the opinions of individuals commenting are their own.

  19. Nick,

    You should be ashamed of yourself; dragging companies names through the mud with little disregard to their livelihood. Why don’t you do some research on the companies you “consulted” to like Merrill Lynch and Procter and Gamble, there are hundreds of complaints about them, and lawsuits too! Didn’t seem to stop you from doing business with them. My point is, anyone can say just about anything about any company on the web, and there is no recourse against the slander. I have always been of the believe that you don’t need to bury the competition if you have a superior product. I would hope you felt more confident in your books and seminar series than to allow negative comments about your competitors be published in your blog, both by yourself and your readership. It really is a low blow in my opinion.

  20. I just noticed that ResumeNotRequired’s BBB rating in now an F. They seem to be going from bad to worse.

  21. Discovered today that ResumeNotRequired (RNR) is going out of business. Mr. Garrett advised he is no longer CEO, is currently only consulting to the company to help with the shutdown.

    It has also been identified that RNR had been operating fraudulently the past few years. They have not been operating as a corporation, they have no corporate officers, no registered agent, and is not registered with the VA State Corporation Commission to conduct business.

    It’ll be interesting to see if they set up shop somewhere else shortly … with the same fraudulently story, same scammers, different company name (though only in name).

  22. Bob, I met with Don Garrett yesterday (4 Dec) — hadn’t heard of the company before and so I went to see what he and RNR had to offer. I have mixed feelings about my meeting, but nothing I saw indicated the company was going out of business. What is your history with this outfit and on what announcement (?) do you base your assertion?

  23. Dave, Interesting. I am a former client. Don really knows what he’s doing.
    Two concerns are the BBB rating of F (as compared to a B- less than a year ago … much negative activity the last few months) and the fact that ResumeNotRequired is no longer a registered corporation, licensed to practice in Va.
    Good luck.

  24. If Resume not Required was going out of business no one told Don Garrett. i ‘interviewed’ with him Feb 8. His break-you-down sales pitched lasted 90 minutes without my getting even a dozen words in. He would make a great Sham Wow salesman.

    The end was the most ridiculous. He asked if I would promise not to contact anyone else about looking for a job — companies or people to network with. When I asked if there was a fee he put me off and changed the subject.

    Don’t go anywhere near them.

  25. Smart move Claire!

    A few observations …

    – They’ve let their incorporation registration with the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) expire.

    – As such, they are no longer an incorporated company, illegally doing business … with the perception that they are incorporated. It seems odd given the little cost associated.

    – Some of their information includes the Inc., some do not.

    – If they are not incorporated, who’s accountable … one falls and injures themself in the RNR office. Who’s responsible?

    – Liability Insurance is not significant. You would think they wouldn’t be so careless.

  26. They are still actively populating Ladders with CEO and COO “jobs.” Interesting.

  27. They are advertising for positions that don’t exist, they do not have … only swear they will help you get an equivalent job.

    Not surprising … How earnest are they when they haven’t even bothered to register as a company?

    Because they are not a registered company they can do things without reproach because there’s no one accountable; they don’t exist.

    The cost to register is trivial, yet so important … makes one wonder why wouldn’t they register? What do they have to hide?

  28. Interesting. Makes you wonder how a company that is so devoid of integrity can stay in business … or at least give the perception that they are a business, in full standing.

  29. Any other feedback on The Wellington Group in Dallas? I understand what services they offer, but do they deliver? They are also known as NRA. I read on another website they have been listed under another name in the past. Thanks.
    Curious, Ft. Worth, Tx.

  30. An update on the other names The Wellington Group may be listed under:

    NRA- I have seen the following:

    -National Recruiters of America
    -National Recruiters Associates
    -NRA Networks


    American Search Partners

    Some of these names seem to be related. Not sure what is accurate. Others I am not certain….

    Checking out the DFW area in Texas.

    Thank You.

  31. @Lily: A quick search for these companies yields these results. The common threads among the complaints are interesting:




    It all sounds very familiar. Be careful.

  32. Hi-
    I am seeking info on the Daniel Henry Group–Columbus Ohio. They are looking for 4500 USD up front and have a one year guarantee. I have been able to get copies of the contract– but i have not been able to check references as of yet. Any help would be appreciated.

  33. Thank you so much for your quick response.

    Unfortunate for those who “bought in” without doing research.

    It makes me wonder how these kinds of businesses stay afloat?

  34. @MICHAEL PATRICK: I don’t know that firm, but I suggest you read the “guarantee” carefully. What does it give you if you are not satisfied? My guess: You don’t get your money back. I’m not a fan of any career service that wants thousands up front for an on-going service. Why don’t “career management firms” bill by the hour? My guess: Because nobody would keep working with them by the hour after trying 2-3 hours.

    @Lily: Crooked “career management” firms are regularly shut down by attorneys general. They close shop and re-open down the street under a different name. Here’s the tip-off: The “principals” keep turning up like bad pennies, again and again, under new business names. Eventually, their names are so besmirched that angry customers start writing about them online.

  35. Thank you
    what is your suggestion for the most cost effective head hunter service?

  36. @MICHAEL: First thing you need to keep in mind is that headhunters don’t find jobs for people. No one really does. Headhunters are paid by their clients (companies) to find the right person for a job. Anyone that tells you they’re going to shop your resume around for you is wasting your time. See this article:


    If you’re going to work with headhunters, you should learn how the good ones operate, what they do, what they don’t do, and how to hook up with the best before the lousy ones find you:


  37. Thank you Nick
    I appreciate your insight. I seem to struggle speaking about my accomplishments. Do you have suggestions on a resume writing service?

  38. Has anyone heard of ETG Search. States they focus on PE positions and fee is reasonable. But leery of anyone I can’t meet and wants funds up front. I cannot find any filings anywhere on the company.


  39. I wish I would have found this website earlier. Is there anything one can do to recover fees once they have signed the contract? It has been 5 months.

    I have expressed to them on a number of occasions that I am not satisfied and feel mislead.

    I am still searching for a position and fear filing a complaint will come back to bite me. Of course I paid thousands up front with thousands due after I gain employment.

    I would like to believe I can work it out with them, but after reading so many posts about these kinds of companies I am seriously doubting they are going to really help me. I will believe it when I see it.

    I have kept extensive documentation of all of the work I have been doing in my job search so it is not like I have been kicking back waiting for these guys to get it together.

    What is crazy is that I checked their BBB rating before signing a contract and it was an A-. I have since come to realize they have gone by several names. That is how I found this website by searching the companies names.

    I have read posts that sometimes people do not file complaints with the BBB because of the additional hassle and stress it causes while they are still looking for a job.

    The above posts sound all too familiar.

    Unfortunately, I was not aware of the fact that companies like this existed…

    Duped in DALLAS…

    Would appreciate any advice you have.

  40. Looks like I will not be able to recover anything because of the contract I signed.

    For anyone considering this type of service in the DFW area PLEASE do your homework. Do not just trust the companies BBB rating!

    Happy there are forums out here who warn others of this type of business practice.

  41. Almost got sucked into a similar scheme from a company based out of NYC – Resolve executive recruitment After couple of fairly convincing calls, I was about 90% convinced and about to do it. But at the 3rd call with the “SVP”, who believes “internet is useless and is your enemy”, I pressed for references before I hand out the first of 2 payments ($3200), I hit a wall – “Why do you need references?”, “Didn’t you do your homework already, we have already spent so much time with you etc…You are beyond help”. I had to abort the conversation at that point…phew…it was a close call..

  42. @Chiburb: The story is always so similar. They’re very “professional” until you start looking under the hood and find the rubber band propelling the “business.” Then they turn nasty and act like they’re “firing” you as a customer. I’m glad to hear you caught on before you paid.

  43. Don Garrett and “Resume Not Required” are back in Northern Virginia!

    I received an email yesterday from a Stephanie Robinson with the email signature indicating that she is the Managing Partner at Resume Not Required. She claims that they received a copy of my credentials through “an affiliate in the employment industry”.

  44. I received an email last week from a Stephanie Robinson with the email signature indicating that she is the Managing Partner at Resume Not Required. She claims that they received a copy of my credentials through “an affiliate in the employment industry”. Identical to what RRz posted on August 20, 2014 at 3:01 PM.

    After reading these posts I’m not sure if I would want to follow through with a meeting.

  45. I just received an email stating a referral from Stephanie Robinson. Anyone can give me some inputs. Reading all story and comments i do not feel comfortable in starting anything, for the moment. It is true that anyone can get involved in legal issues but in this HR business reliability is essential. You are playing with people’s dreams and future. For the moment i am just doing research to confirm contact. Thank you very much.

  46. Luis,

    I also was contacted by Ms Robinson in response to an employment add for a VP of Operations job they posted … which turned out to be a farce.

    Long story short … they didn’t honor most of their contractual commitments. When I raised this as an issue, Mr Garrett became belligerent.
    I offered to settle out of court, for some of the money I gave them, but they ignored me. After many months of jerking me around, I sued and won in Fairfax County Court. However, I am dealing with their deceptions trying to collect. At the time they let their corporate registration expire which meant they didn’t have any corporate officers, any one to represent the company. Mr Garrett told the court that he was just a consultant to the company helping them close their business.
    I understand that they registered recently with the State of VA, which meant that they were operating many years as an unlicensed company!?

  47. I met Mr. Garrett in late 2012. I was lured in under the pretense of no fees. During our conversation that tune changed. I got a case of “stranger danger” and shied away from RNR. Don tossed me a few insults in subsequent calls and emails but at least he disappeared. I have received an email from Stephanie Robinson @RNR. Now they’re in Reston vs. Vienna. Caveat Emptor.