Job Seeker SCAM ALERT. Job Seekers Are Getting Ripped Off.

I have written more articles than I care to count. All with the intent to help people with their job search.This is probably the most important article I have written or may write.

I have had so many candidates call me or email me asking about these, “candidate marketing services” or “resume marketing services” or whatever name they are going by now. Worse, I have too many candidates describe how they have paid thousands of dollars to these companies for little in return.

The safest advice I can give you is, “BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL” as the odds are high you will be ripped off.

Don’t confuse or mix these companies in with qualified and certified “career coaches” or “resume writers.” These people have gone through training, generally work off of referrals, have great references, and are often members of organizations that have ethical guidelines they agree to follow. These are professionals and provide a good service at a fair price.

I’m addressing the companies that promise you job leads, contacts, referrals to decision makers and lots of job openings. All they will do is take your money and deliver excuses, after you’ve paid them, about why they no longer have all of these valuable contacts. That is if they even take your call.

Some thoughts, ideas, questions, and what to listen for, before buying these services:

  1. Are they promising to find you a position? If they say or even imply “yes,” RUN and keep running.
  2. If they tell you they have a lot of job openings and positions, RUN and run really fast. In this economy nobody has that. All they have done is either made them up or downloaded them from the job boards.
  3. If they claim to have a job opening just right for your background, DON’T RUN. Fly out of there.
  4. If they claim to have lots of referrals and contacts for you, RUN.
  5. Ask what credentials does the consultant have, and who is the credentialing agency?
  6. Talk to at least three people currently employed that used them. Call them at their office through the switchboard (not a direct line) and talk with them. If they don’t willingly and joyfully give you these or delay, RUN.
  7. Make a very specific list of deliverables you want or need. Not what they promise you.
  8. Google the company name, the business owner’s name, the sales person’s name and the counselor’s name.
  9. Check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints on the company and the owner.
  10. If they contacted you first, RUN. Ask exactly how they got your name. If they don’t give a specific answer, RUN. It usually means they got your resume from mining the resume databases on job boards.
  11. Similar to number 2. What are their specific qualifications in the job search industry to help you or that makes them an expert.
  12. Does the contract offer a money back guarantee? If it does, ask to speak to a person that has actually gotten their money back. If they say they have never had to refund money, RUN. Any company in business dealing with the public will always have given refunds unless you are their first customer or they are lying. Either way, RUN.
  13. Try not to pay up front, but rather as they deliver the services.
  14. Pay on a credit card. Time the charge to give you the maximum amount of time to test what they promise. You can at least dispute the charge if they don’t deliver.

These companies are out there preying on those that need help. They give everyone a bad name.

Remember, no one but you can find you a job. All others can do is help guide you and facilitate you. If you need that, those services are available from professionals. Get a personal referral yourself. Don’t be sold by someone calling you.

Join our Job Search Networking Linkedin Group. There are over 2700 members and an extensive supply of resources for you to tap into. CLICK HERE to join. Membership is FREE.

Listen to our talk radio show interview with Marcia Bench, Founder of the Career Coach Institute. She has some great tips and ideas.

We have numerous free downloads on our Web site to help you in your search. Sample cover letters, audio downloads from past radio shows, a transferable skills list, Linkedin Profile Assessment Matrix and our Job Search Self-Assessment Scorecard. All can be downloaded from our home page.

I welcome your stories, comments and thoughts. Please share so we stop these practices.

Brad Remillard


About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.


  • By Michael, October 21, 2009 @ 11:59 am


    Slight veriation … I do not care what qualifications you claim to have in helping candidates out (not you specific) but in my 23 year career I do not not, nor will I ever pay for this type of service, regardless of who they claim to be, be employed by period!!

  • By Ray Salomon, October 21, 2009 @ 8:35 pm

    I would echo your comments. As a CFO, I have received several letters purportedly from job seekers asking for career advice. Personal letters from people living in California and Oregon, however, don’t come with a Denver, Colorado return addresses, nor in postage metered envelopes with a bar coded addresses. Also, letters from individuals differ in format, as do their resumes. (The six I received from the same firm, however, did not.)

    Networking is something one must do for oneself; it can’t be outsourced. Unfortunately, the people who tried to “outsource” the process both wasted their money and likely offended many potential contacts.

    People are willing to help other people — not form letters.

  • By Denise, October 21, 2009 @ 10:19 pm

    Thank you so much for your article. Everything you have said has confirmed that I am running from a company that contacted me.

  • By Michael McGuinness, October 21, 2009 @ 10:25 pm

    Brad, Your article is undoubtedly one of the most beneficial and resourceful for any new job seeker I have come across in a while. I say “new” job seeker because you would think an experienced individual would be hip to the scam side of things. You don’t even have to be a job seeker to see what is going on out there, but when you are a job seeker it is more important as not to be taken advantage of by weasels. Nonetheless, you are providing a nice touch for the innocent and clearly are right on target. You would think that with all of this technology around us, we would have some kind of system similar to our legal system that would protect the innocent. I’m not advocating Big Brother, but some balanced policeing type of methodology. For example, if you put something out there and it is obviously just plain unethical, harmful, destructive, or otherwise damaging, you would think there would be some kind of button that would be hit and the “mess” would be thrown into the county dump. In a perfect world, I surmise, this would be the case. For now anyway, we have Brad Remillard at our service while trying to help individuals and the like. Remember, what goes around comes around and you will be rewarded in some way for your righteous efforts. Thanks for the heads up and your humanitarian side will be rewarded.

  • By Mike Baumgartner, October 25, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

    I can not tell you how many calls and questions I get about this every week. It will be featured on my next broadcast. Lets talk interview.

  • By Maureen, October 29, 2009 @ 11:03 am


    Thanks for this article! If you don’t mind I’m going to share a link to the article on the site I administrate: Kansas City Metro Networking Job Club There are over 1,000 members currently on there.


  • bradremillard

    By bradremillard, October 29, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

    No problem sharing the link Maureen. I want people to share this as much as possible. I wish I could get it out to every person seeking a job, so we could put these unethical companies out of business.

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