(Welcome, Instapundit readers!)
JL Kirk is the kind of executive recruiting firm I would warn readers to avoid at any costs. Their operating procedure is to interview you and charge you thousands of dollars and help you write a resume and then hopefully place you. You pay first and then hope that they place you. Wow! Isn't that a great business model?
First of all, you should never, never pay for someone to place you in a paying job. Reputable recruiters are paid by the company that is looking for employees.
If you want to hire a firm to be your cheerleader and pay them to advise you on how to present yourself in the best light, by all means go ahead. Be aware that there are thousands of life coaches and career coaches who can do the same thing and I don't recall that you pay a flat fee up front. Usually life coaching is like any other consultation in that you pay by the hour.
JL Kirk has a website but they sure don't understand the blogosphere. When Katherine Coble wrote about her husband's experience with JL Kirk, she conveyed her upset at the hard-sell tactics used in an attempt to close her and her husband to pay $4420 on the spot for JL Kirk services.
They chose not to pay and Kat write a blog post about it. Other bloggers who had similar experiences chimed in and soon there was a lot of negative comment about JL Kirk. A JL Kirk employee responded to the original post and the discussion spread further.
Here is where JL Kirk became an instant overnight sensation on the blogosphere. They had the powerful union-busting law firm of King & Ballow threaten Kat Coble with a lawsuit for relating her experiences with JL Kirk.
JL Kirk could have approached Kat Coble and made an effort to heal the breach when she first started writing about her upsetting experience. Instead, law firm King & Ballow sent Coble a "demand letter" demanding she take down a post she published. This is so ignorant of the current mood of informed customers.
This renown law firm has demonstrated a total cluelessness of the dynamics of an informed marketplace. Threats to sue a complaining customer are like throwing gasoline on a fire. King & Ballow's action has generated incredibly bad publicity for JL Kirk Associates and for themselves.
The lesson here is that a complaint from a customer is an indication that something is wrong with your service. Fix the problem. Don't try to intimidate the customer, especially if the customer is a blogger!
The problem won't blow over and by the time all is said and done your organization's entire history will be public knowledge and the embarrassing details will be available on the Internet for years to come.
Now everyone knows there is a Better Business Bureau report on JL Kirk which states:
This company has a pattern [more than 2 complaints involving the same allegations usually within 12 months that are significant in relation to the company's size and volume of business] of complaint. Complaints allege the company offers career advancement services including marketing/resume writing, training for improved interview & negotiation skills, job leads/interviews and on-going support once a career has been obtained. Consumers state once they complete the marketing/resume writing and training for improved interview and negotiation skills, the company fails to follow up and provide assistance with job leads, interviews are not scheduled and careers are not obtained. All complainants request a refund to resolve the issues.
-- Hat tip to Andrew Cohill for the original link.
UPDATE: Aviator Mike at Lamplighter has some interesting background data on the union-busting firm of King & Ballow. It looks like this firm was trying to use their time-tested union-busting tactics on bloggers! Way to go, fellas! Hope you wear fire resistant suits!