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I just had an initial informational interview with [url=http://www.rmcijobs.com/]RMC International[/url], a Denver-based career management company.

Basically, they're like personal trainers for job hunting. They assist you in identifying good places to apply, and have an established network to help get your foot in the door with senior management, so that you can skip the job ads/HR runaround. They also negotiate on your behalf once you get an offer, which for a higher-level position seems like a real benefit. (I'm always nervous about salary negotiations, because I'm afraid it will put me on a bad start-foot with my boss before the first day on the job.)

I've had a hard time sticking to my job search ever since my daughter was born, so I'm really considering hiring these folks to help keep me on task and take care of some of the work, so that I have more time available for the stuff that really matters.

Has anyone on these boards had successes/failures with these sorts of companies? RMC appears legitimate, and has a long history (they've been in business 50 years or so), but they aren't cheap, and I'd hate to hire someone who's just going to give me the same advice that in ever job hunting book. I'd like to hook up with someone who can really help push me in the right directly and who can really assist with my search.

Thoughts? Experiences? Advice?

AManagerTool's picture

I guess it depends on the level of job that you are going for, if you can afford the fees and the companies success rate in the industry you are going for. I have mixed feelings about job search firms. On one hand they can be a valuable asset in your job search. On the other, you have to really watch out for the scam artists...and there are plenty of those.

Mark's picture

I urge you to reconsider. This is NOT, as AManagerTool suggests, a "job search" firm, if the intent is to imply they are like other recruiting firms. While there are some (very few) shady recruiting firms that last, this is not one of those... and virtually ALL of the firms in RMC's business have a long history of VERY upset and frustrated clients.

They don't promise you anything, and tend to be light on referrals, heavy on coaching, and the coaching, in my experience, is atrocious. For instance: the reason they negotiate for you is NOT to get you more money, but rather to control the process at the end so you don't mess it up. That way, they can get paid on both sides of the equation... very unprofessional.

My recommendation: don't.

Mark

Nik's picture

Thanks for the heads-up, Mark!

To be clear, these folks did NOT represent themselves as a hiring firm. They are quite clearly consultants/trainers/coaches for job hunters. They have also told me that they do not get paid by the company that hires me, although I suppose they could be lying.

If I do feel I would benefit from coaching and assistance, can you refer me to anyone that could help? Is it worth going to a follow-up meeting with these folks to try to suss out whether they're as execrable as you suspect they are? (And, if so, what are the questions I should ask or stipulations I should request in a contract to help guide things?)

I did pick up a copy of "Rites of Passage," on this site's recommendation, and it's excellent but is not 100% applicable to my situation, given that I'm moving from an operations/IT type role and hoping to get a job in a more managerial/profit-side position, aided by my shiny new MBA. So I'm not in the $100K range (yet), nor am I entirely sure I'm shooting for that sort of salary.

It's this drastic change in role and strategy that has me feeling defensive about the job search, and looking for a bit of help.

Mark's picture

Nik-

I don't suppose a follow up meeting would hurt, but I wouldn't recommend it.

Since you asked, here are some things to query them on if you decide to take a flyer:

1. What's your SPECIFIC advice on how to answer behavioral interview questions?

- If they don't tell you to start with the goal you achieved, keep your answer to 3-4 minutes, expect interruptions, avoid chronological answers, and focus on concepts, finishing with specific results, they don't know what they're talking about.

2. What's your advice on how to handle the "Tell Me About Yourself" question?

- If they don't tell you you have 3-5 minutes, they're dead wrong. If they don't talk about goals and accomplishments, or if they say just to highlight your resume, they're wrong.

3. How do you recommend handling the "weakness" question?

- If they don't suggest the answer must have three parts, they don't know what they're talking about.

4. May I speak with 2-3 of your satisfied clients in the industry I want, or with backgrounds quite similar to mine, with whom you specifically worked?

And if they hesitate to tell you this stuff in advance, it means their advice would be so thin that they don't want to tell you all of this.. but this is only 1% of what you need.

If you're not in a terrible hurry, we'll be delivering our interviewing casts this year, I think...

Mark

MichaelJSwenson's picture

Nik,

I'd [i]strongly [/i]suggest listening to Mark's advice. I was laid off in 2001 during the .com and telcom bust. (Coincidently, I was living in Denver at the time.) The severence was starting to run out, mortgage was high, it seemed there were no jobs to be had...I couldn't even get an interview.

Then a got a call from a firm very similiar to the one you describe. Long established history...very professional...sounded great...and also was very expensive.

I called this former professional recruiter I know, who helped me in my transistion from the Army to Corporate America (I think you know him...his name is Mark Horstman) and I asked him what he thought. Like you, he strongly suggested to me that I NOT do this.

This was one of the few times I choose not listen to Mark.

It was a VERY expensive lesson...and I join in Mark's recommendation by saying: DON'T DO IT.

Mark once told me that when there's a distance between where you are, and where you want to be, there can be pain...pain because you're not were you want to be, or think you should be. Generally there's two options in this scenario: You change your mind on where you want to be (decrease the distance by changing the goal...in essence, bringing it closer), or you can get busy doing the hard work to achieve your goal (decrease the distance by moving yourself closer to the goal.)

"Paying the Man" to help you get to your goal can be an acceptable solution...we do it all the time (building a house, for instance). But in this case, you'd be "Paying the Man" to tell you what you need to do. They're not going to do it for you...and as you've already guessed, it's going to be similiar advice you can get elsewhere, for much less money, and unfortunately, in some cases, it may even be [i]bad [/i]advice.

Lastly, if you think "investing" in this option might by its very nature be motivating, because you spent so much, and you would therefore do more work in your search than your would otherwise (to rationalize to yourself that the cost was worth it), I have a suggestion: Give the money to me instead, and when you reach your goal, I'll give it back to you. :-)

Seriously...you just need to know what you want, know what you're willing to give up to get what you want, surround yourself with good people (and as you know, Mark and Mike are great people), and have a plan, and work the plan.

Ultimately, in my case, it wasn't until I got off my rusty-dusty, and started to execute what I knew I needed to do, that I found a job that I really liked.

Good luck, Nik.

Michael

Nik's picture

Thanks Michael, Mark for the excellent insights. I did send an email to the president of the company and hit him up with a few questions and I got, at best, evasive responses. While the first meeting felt a bit like a hard-sell, this email made me feel like I was talking to a used car dealer.

So thanks a bunch for saving me some cash and helping me steer clear of more time wasters.

However, my desire for some coaching and assistance is unabated, so I think I'll hit up the career services department at Colorado State University and see if they can provide some help in this regard. It's free, the drive to their office is shorter, and they hardly have a vested interest in steering me wrong.

coloradolungman's picture

May I ask did you ever go back for the second meeting? What was the cost of the service they provided?

Nik's picture

Nope, never went back. He never answered a straightforward question on pricing over email, so I didn't see any benefit in continuing the relationship.

coloradolungman's picture
jclishe's picture

Is RMC International any relation to Right Management Consultants? (http://www.right.com/) They are also a career management firm and carry the same acronym (RMC)

Nik's picture

These are the people I spoke with:

http://www.rmcijobs.com/

bug_girl's picture

Nik: one thing you might look for more locally is someone that holds "Job and Career Transition coach" [b]certification[/b].

Often these folks are in career centers, state job centers, or have *small* independent offices. (Good idea with the visit to the university!) They are typically cheaper, and may be able to provide what you wanted--someone to keep you on task.

It's the same reason I have a personal trainer. Left to my own devices, I will not do 30+ situps. :lol:

Folks that hold that certification have been trained to help identify what you want for your next step, what's holding you back, and to try to keep you on task.

Going with your gut instinct is still key--if they don't seem sincere, dump them!

Nik's picture

My father-in-law used a career coach to help him in his job hunt. I don't know if she was/is certified, but he found her useful both for keeping him on track and also for her know-how in regards to resume prep, etc. Plus she was paid by the hour, so he wasn't going in for more $$$ than he felt was worthwhile.

kklogic's picture

Nik,

Do you already listen to the podcasts on this site? Frankly, if I were you - I'd buy the interviewing series ($150, IIRC) and put the 'casts on constantly. I think you're going to get more concrete, actionable advice that way.

If you're looking for accountability, perhaps we can have a "job hunt accountability" thread here --- and all of those in this situation can help each other?

P.S. Michael - GREAT to see you posting!

HMac's picture

[quote="kklogic"]... perhaps we can have a "job hunt accountability" thread here --- and all of those in this situation can help each other?[/quote]

Count me in, Kat.

By the way, I have the benefit of an outplacement service. And due to an unusual set of circumstances, I'm working with TWO of them, and have been exposed to TWO OTHERS. I'd be happy to share observations, answer questions, provide more detail to anyone who wants to PM me.

Here are a couple of general thoughts:

[b]If you have the benefit of outplacement, USE IT![/b] You don't have to do everything they say or take all of their recommendations (especially about resumes :wink: ), but why wouldn't you use them for everything you can get?

[b]Having a "transition coach" has been immensely helpful to me.[/b] Not for pyschological discussions or helping me "grieve" of anything like that - just to have somebody to TALK JOB SEARCH TACTICS with. Having somebody ask: "Have you tried this?" "What about this?" "If they don't call you back, try this" is HUGE help.

[b]Don't get bogged down in the "preparation" stage [/b](you know: resume, marketing plan, elevator speech, business cards, cover letters, etc.). It's a way to hide from doing the actual job search (contacting people!).

[b]Do not confuse these services with "employment services." [/b]They're NOT going to find a job for you (and if they say they are, be VERY, VERY wary). They're going to help you put together the tools and plan and advice to help YOU find the job. Bottom Line: the responsibility is YOURS. They're not gonna do it for you.

[b]Don't kid yourself.[/b] What do they ACTUALLY SAY they're going to do for you? Be honest with yourself, don't convince yourself that a "promise of performance" menas they're going find you a job.

All honest and reputable service providers have their place in the job-change universe, whether they're resume services, outplacement shops, recruiters, whatever.

Just because they have a role doesn't mean that YOU need them. Like in everything else, become an educated consumer.

That's my two cents.

-Hugh

lazerus's picture

I'd love to see a forum with job hunt accountability.

I need some sort of coaching. As an M-T manager, I make measurable goals, but the job search does not seem to fit this kind of goal setting. "I will get 3 offers by Aug. 1" is more of a wish than anything else, for me right now... without MT, I would be relatively lost. I have a follow-up problem when I do a job search. In the job search, especially online, sometimes I don't even know who to call if I wanted to. I've found several jobs on the boards that are really appropriate for me, have applied for, then they dissapear. ANY feedback from the HR people would help: am I over reaching? Am I totally unqualified? Is my resume coming out garbled when it gets to you? Is the job posting a formality so that you can hire your cousin? :twisted:

HMac's picture

[quote="lazerus"]As an M-T manager, I make measurable goals, but the job search does not seem to fit this kind of goal setting. "I will get 3 offers by Aug. 1" is more of a wish than anything else, for me right now[/quote]

Jeff: If I could provide one observation about the goal setting. It comes from my time as a sales manager.

You just gave an example of what I call an "[b]outcome goal[/b]" - it's an outcome (3 offers) that's not within your control. Control is in the hands of other people.

My salespeople would approach me with their goal "I'm going to sell 10 units this month." My response was "That's great. I hope you do. But that's up to the buyers. What are you going To DO in the meantime?"

You're looking for appropriate and reasonable "[b]activity goals[/b]" - things that are more within your control (eg, answer ads, call companies that you've answered ads, ask for HR and ask status of your submission, contact recruiters, make X# networking contacts).

That doesn't answer your rant (a very reasonable rant, IMO :lol: ). But it's a more actionable way to think about goals to set for yourself today.

-Hugh

kklogic's picture

What Hugh said.

As a direct marketer, I'd back into the part you can control. Based on historical data, how many interviews did you have to get to get an offer? How many calls did you have to make to get that many interviews?

So, your goal is: I will make X number of calls to companies I want to work for by 7/30/08.

I challenge one of you to start a job hunt accountablity thread within the next 24 hours. :) If it were me, I think I'd start with people posting their circumstances (a little history) and listing their goals. Then, people have to post their progress or action they've taken to get to their goal.

Mark's picture

I support this idea completely. BRILLIANT.

Mark

HMac's picture

Done. Look for the thread:
http://www.manager-tools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3286&highlight=

Job Hunt Accountability: What Will YOU do this week?

Nice job, kat. :lol:

lazerus's picture

Thanks Hugh and Kat! (Coincidence that we all are in Marketing? :shock: )

I want to break it down, and I'll come up with actionable goals. See you on the other thread!

asteriskrntt1's picture

Jeff,

Have you listened to the podcast on goal setting? If you have not, I think you will find it helpful.

As for sending in blind resumes, I suggest you hone up on your market research skills and building your network.

Almost all libraries have Dun and Bradstreet or Scott's directories or other such tools, which lay out a lot of people working in companies. Or you can do searches on www.LinkedIn.com or other such sites to find people and their contact info. And there is this cool thing called Google... I think it might be taking off :wink:

Digging around most websites, you can often find some sort of valid email format ([email protected] or whatever) and email people in the company.

It is pretty flattering to many people to receive a call or email from someone saying "Hey, I spent some time researching your company and found your contact info. I found a posting that looks like a great fit for me. Would you have a few minutes to speak with me or be able to direct me to the hiring manager?"

And lastly, keep a log. who you applied to and when and a series of follow up dates.... I use an excel spread sheet and put the follow ups into my outlook calendar. Good luck.

*RNTT

snitz's picture

I recently had a meeting with RMC. The office manager seems like a very competent, professional guy, but as I did more homework on the whole career management space his pitch mirrored a lot of the one's I heard from other firms that have very bad reviews.

I got an email trying to close me and I asked for a few simple references and other things and never heard back from him.

What got my me suspicious about this group is that they were in a building that was very empty, when I went to the office there was no activity, and you meet the pitch guy and then get handed off to someone you haven't met.

In theory I think it can be a useful process if you don't have the time to get your act together yourself. I am guessing that there are better pay by the hour options that can help with resumes and the like.

tomw's picture

Are there any firms like this that anyone does recommend? I've started looking again (new firm not exactly what I had hoped...), and I've spoken to one outplacement firm (ITS) who quoted me $6700. That's not a typo.

It seemed like a huge amount of money to just help me write cover letters and find leads. Obviously, it's the "generating leads" part that I'm much more interested in.

bug_girl's picture

I tend to see these companies as a scam for anyone looking for a job that isn't in 6 figures. The ROI just isn't there unless you are making the big bucks.

Additionally, the big firms (as opposed to the individual counselors I mentioned earlier in the thread) aren't good at giving individual assistance on refining goals and figuring out who you are and what you want.

IMHO.

HMac's picture

[quote="TomW"] it's the "generating leads" part that I'm much more interested in.[/quote]

Tom - My opinion, that's where firms are [i]most [/i]suspect. There's no "generating leads" beyond what we learn by carefully reading and putting the program in Lucht's book into practice.

And with what you already know about resume and interviewing from M-T, I bet there's nothing more these firms offer, other than individualized coaching.

Just my take on it...

-Hugh

tomw's picture

[quote="HMac"][quote="TomW"] it's the "generating leads" part that I'm much more interested in.[/quote]

Tom - My opinion, that's where firms are [i]most [/i]suspect. There's no "generating leads" beyond what we learn by carefully reading and putting the program in Lucht's book into practice.

And with what you already know about resume and interviewing from M-T, I bet there's nothing more these firms offer, other than individualized coaching.

Just my take on it...

-Hugh[/quote]

I have to say, the more I speak to them the less I see value that meets the costs.

HMac's picture

..and the more you listen to Manager Tools, the more value you see, right? :lol:

I think the really pernicious part of these firms is that their "promises" are often very carefully crafted - to help the candidate [i]believe [/i]there's more than meets the eye....

And I'm not knocking them, as much as I'm thinking their place in the market is shrinking - thanks especially to the internet....

-Hugh

lazerus's picture

YES!

This company called me the other day, and made it sound like they wanted to talk to me about positions (like a recruiter). So I set up an appointment, then said to myself:[quote]RMC International, that sounds familiar...[/quote]
Remembered this thread, and saved myself a bunch of time.

In my job search, it seems there are a lot of predators who are more than willing to take some of your money in exchange for [b]NOTHING[/b] except the opportunity to screw up your resume! I am in agreement with Hugh, totally, do the John Lucht plan, reach out to your network, get the MT interview series and follow it, and you'll get good results without paying someone who does not have your and your family's best interest as their motivation.
A service like that might be useful as an outplacement after layoffs. Asking job seekers to give you money feels a little shady.

snitz's picture

Just wanted to post a follow up about my experience with RMC in Denver. After I got the "close" from their front man I asked what I thought was a pretty simple request. I wanted to speak with 2-3 people who he felt were a lot like my profile to see how similar we were and how it went from them, I asked to meet my coach before I signed anything, and I said that I preferred to pay as I go as opposed to a large retainer.

Never did hear back from him and think that speaks volumes about the organization.

DAnthone's picture

Thanks, all. You just saved me one unnecessary hour. I had a meeting set up with these people, and after reading the posts on this forum, I called and politely informed my contact that I did some research and that I was not willing to spend thousands of dollars at this point in my career search. Since I have outplacement services available through my current employer and will leverage the employer provided services first. She did not disagree with my decision nor deny that the costs would be in the thousands. She kindly reminded me that they were also a career management firm, and simply asked that I keep the option in my back pocket, which I agreed to.

I now also have found a new resource (M-T) in my quest for new challenging, exciting and rewarding opportunities since our parent company has decided to wind down our subsidiary. Unfortunately, the option to transfer to the parent firm does not exist. Just reading this thread helped me to decide not only what not to do, but more importantly some things that I will do in my search.

Back to work now to successfully complete this wind down, I have 3 more weeks. I will be returning here soon. Thanks again, all.

asteriskrntt1's picture

All these companies (I think their version in Canada was Bernard Haldane) do is give you vague coaching for a fee. You can get the same coaching through local job finding clubs or M&M's interview series (a great investment).

The bottom line (not the BLUF) is that you can get all the coaching you want; however, it is up to you to do the heavy lifting, which is working your network, making the calls, doing the followup etc. It isn't sexy but it does work.

*RNTT