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Special: An insider's revelations about "Executive Career Counselors, Inc."

An addendum to Mr. CFO's story

Dear Headhunter,

Mr. CFO is absolutely correct. About six years ago, I went to work for one of these firms. I had done some real counseling on a volunteer basis during the recession of '91-'92 and had developed an extensive job-hunting strategy that I presented in a three day course -- for free. I actually wanted to help people and had done so successfully.

Can we help you? (Indeed.)
But, the firm in question did not want me to start as a counselor, they wanted me to start as a screener. That is, I was scheduled to conduct the first interview and to determine if we could "help" the people who contacted us. That merely translated to being a very high-pressure salesperson.

After two days of interviewing people who could not possibly afford our fees, I realized what a scam this was. On the morning of the third day, I walked into the president's office and informed him that this was not the kind of business that I wanted to be associated with and left.

How much you got? (We'll take it.)
Mr. CFO might not want to know how flexible those big fees are. The fee that my firm charged was strictly based upon how much they thought a possible client could afford. The services rendered did not differ regardless of whether a client paid $5,000 or $20,000. It would have been my job, had I stayed, to determine what a person could afford and then convince them that we could definitely provide them with everything they needed to land that $750,000 job. Yes, we could have provided them with everything they needed, but anyone who is capable of filling a $750,000 job is perfectly capable of doing it him or herself.

The Sunday scam.
What has never ceased to amaze me is that many of these firms, with well-known names, remain in business year after year after year. My firm had a very well-known name with franchised or licensed offices throughout the nation. You will see their large ads prominently displayed in the employment section of every large newspaper every Sunday.

It is too bad that Mr. CFO had to learn this lesson the hard way. He is to be commended for sharing his story as a warning to others.

Ask The Headhunter provides everything that a person needs to know to conduct a successful job search. Sometimes the advice is not for the fainthearted, but it is right on target.

Please keep up the good work. I recommend your column to everyone I know who might be thinking about searching for a new position.

Feel free to share my comments with your readers, and to use my name.

Henry Matthew

Many thanks to Mr. Matthew for sharing his insider's experience in "the rackets". Please tell us what you think of this article.

Note: "Executive Career Counselors, Inc." is a fictitious name. The story behind it is true.

To learn more about the counseling rackets, please see Career Counselors Are Not Headhunters and this expose article from The Kansas City Star.


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