EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

In last night’s newsletter there was a job posting from a search firm requesting applications for a Vice President of Finance for a publicly traded healthcare organization.

One of our members who responded to this posting received a boilerplate letter back indicating that while he wasn’t a fit for this job, the recruiter was willing to take him on as a client and market him to companies that would value his “exceptional qualifications.”

If you received a letter of this nature, I would hope that your well-developed “BS detector” would already be going off.

The offering included: Career Planning, Resume Writing, Interviewing Skills Development, Developing 50+ Target Companies, Submitting Online Applications, Candidate Sales & Marketing Campaign, Negotiating Compensation and finally, Resigning Gracefully.

To begin the process, all you had to do was send said person a check for $500 and sign a contract agreeing to pay him 5% of your base salary if he found you a job with a firm with whom he did not have a search fee arrangement. He did offer to refund $250 of your fee if he didn’t get you at least one interview. (What a sport.) Should I even mention that this firm is so professional that they don’t have a website and that the materials they sent were not well formatted? (You can just imagine what a great job he would do marketing you, if this is what he has done for himself.)

Back in the “bad old days,” there was a firm by the name of Bernard Haldane Associates. I am not suggesting that this individual is as disreputable as these bad actors, but the “offering” in many respects is not all that different.

While there are many fine firms out there that provide outplacement services, their services offerings do not include finding you a job and earning a contingency fee for it. There is a good reason for that. No one can find you a job but you.

There are many corporations out in the world that decline to use search firms. Some of them have their own in house recruitment team. They post on various job boards and often work very hard at networking their way to the right candidates. To my knowledge (and I have only been running The FENG for the past 20 years), I am not aware of ANY firms that welcome resumes from search firms UNLESS they have a relationship with them that includes paying them a retainer or a contingency fee if they hire someone through them.

I have never heard of any corporation welcoming unsolicited resumes from a search firm where they knew the candidate was paying the fee.

There is probably nothing illegal or unethical in offering these kinds of services. That said, I would still strongly recommend no one sign up for an arrangement of this nature.

I am aware that there are unscrupulous individuals trolling LinkedIn as well making these kinds of offers, so be on your guard.

If you feel your job search is going nowhere and you need help, talk to your friends and get a personal recommendation on a career coach. There are lots of quality individuals out there who can teach you all the skills listed in his offering. You need to learn and master all of them.

As you know, all jobs are temporary. The skills required to work as long as you want to work are hard to master and require your dedication to educating yourself about the process.

If you think about, this is how you mastered all the skills that brought you to this point in your career.

Regards, Matt

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