Career Marketing & Outplacement
May 18, 2005 8:36 AM   Subscribe

I am job hunting for an executive position after over 15 years as a self-employed consultant. Has anyone had experience with a Career Marketing & Outplacement service such as Allen and Associates? They claim to help you get directly to the decision-makers, and get you interviews and offers quicker. Is it worth the price?
posted by bobduckles to Work & Money (10 answers total)
I went through a "head hunter" (forget the company's name now, but I might be able to find it if you want it. They were very helpful in landing a job. They have on-going relationships with their (employer) clients and do, in fact, have connections.
posted by Doohickie at 8:49 AM on May 18, 2005

Be careful. I remember years back going to a similar company called Bernard Haldane that used to advertise in the NY Times each week. Essentially all they do is work with you on your resume and try to encourage you to network (i.e. their way of "helping you find the hidden jobs"). That is, they are a coaching service.

When I went it all seemed like a big act. They pretend to size you up when you come in to determine whether they "want to work with you". After they agreed that I was suitable and gave me the whole spiel, they said they wanted me to come back with my wife and checkbook, presumably so they could go to work on her at the same time to convince her what a great opportunity this was. Cost was 5 grand. I got home, did a web search on them, saw they were a racket and never called them back.
posted by gfrobe at 8:58 AM on May 18, 2005

Drake Beam Morin is a company in this field that is helpful and honorable. Sure, a lot of what they do is resume building and coaching, but sometimes that can be very helpful in getting a job.
posted by gokart4xmas at 9:58 AM on May 18, 2005

You should never be paying for a headhunter. Headhunters get paid by the companies that they find employees for. Any place that is asking for money up front is a place you do not want to deal with.

If they are selling you services such as consulting for your resume, etc. that's a different story, but overall, you should not be paying for any interviews.
posted by gen at 10:00 AM on May 18, 2005

I agree with gen. Forget paying the headhunters. Good companies pay headhunters to find good people, not the other way around. Any headhunter who asks you to pay something upfront is probably not worth their salt at best, a scam at worst.
posted by nyterrant at 10:18 AM on May 18, 2005

What gen said.

The firm I used was awarded a fee by the employer company (something like 25% or 33% of my first-year's salary).
posted by Doohickie at 10:19 AM on May 18, 2005

Allen & Associates offers a bundle of services. The "headhunting part" may not be what you want:

The company has a huge database of employers and contact people, and says Together, we'll target the businesses that match your criteria, while providing you with an accurate list of key decision makers. We will also package and send your materials directly to these contacts.

In other words, they don't claim to actually know about job vacancies, just relevant companies that might be hiring.

My sense is that you might get a headhunter to put your resume on file (or at least to say they will), but, as others have noted, you really can't hire such a firm (wikipedia).
posted by WestCoaster at 10:31 AM on May 18, 2005

Also, be careful of headhunters who send your resume without your knowledge or approval. You might find yourself in a situation where you are bidding against yourself (thanks to the headhunter applying on your behalf) and turned down as a result. Employers are wary of these headhunter fees, and will do a lot of searching on their own to avoid them.

A good headhunter will not only present your resume to the firm of your choice, but will also coach you before and after the initial interview with the company. They will provide you information about the people that you meet, the culture in the company, the personality of the person/people that you would work with.

re Haldane - I went to a meeting with them, long ago. They would not allow me to take home any brochures, didn't want me taking notes during the conversation (just try and stop me - it's my time too) and quoted me a rate in the tens of thousands. I too returned home and checked them on the internet - there were as many complaint sites as city offices for these guys. Be careful out there!
posted by seawallrunner at 11:01 AM on May 18, 2005

I wouldn't be quite as doctrinaire about not paying for career services. Transitioning after 15 years as an independent won't be easy, and paid-by-the-employer recruiting firms tend to be strongly oriented towards candidates who hold, or recently have held, coporate positions very similar to the ones being sought.

A career consultant paid by you might help you in terms of focusing your objectives and creating a marketing plan. However, in choosing a paid-by you career consultant, you need to check their references EXHAUSTIVELY before signing a contract or writing a check. At a minimum, you need to speak to at least three candidates whom they've placed.

You also should have a contract with them which is structured to provide incentives. Paying a large fee up front should be out of the question. While a reasonable retainer is appropriate, the lion's share of the fees should be billed monthly (which give you the ability to refuse the invoices if you feel they're not honoring the contract) , or, if possible, should be put into a contingent arrangement -- they get paid if you get hired.
posted by MattD at 1:19 PM on May 18, 2005

Good comments and advice, thanks! Allen and Associates basically promised a revised resume and 125 carefully targeted letters, plus advice on interviewing. The letters are expected to result in 6-8 calls from which 3-4 interviews will result. (It's no longer a promise here). The small print includes a charge for "additional letters." They claim that they are very successful in getting you in front of people who make decisions before an advertisement is even started. The price tag is $1500 for private. They also provide a corporate service for companies that are downsizing.
posted by bobduckles at 7:19 PM on May 18, 2005

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