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Job seekers should negotiate with paid search firms

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CHANDLER, AZ (CBS5) -

A Chandler man says he paid an executive search firm big bucks to find him a job, and seven months later they've only gotten him one interview. This case brings to light why job seekers may want to try and negotiate services with executive placement firms.

It can be a mixed bag with executive search firms. One person might say it's the best thing they ever did to find a job; another might say it didn't help much.

Michael LaMonica says the problem for him was signing a contract with one of these companies that was too broad and vague in the scope of services to be provided.

"I had to get ahead of the game," LaMonica said.

LaMonica is an 11-year video production professional. He's got a solid resume, but like a lot of people, he can't find work. He contracted with an executive search company called Career Solutions for help. LaMonica says he was very impressed, especially when Career Solutions mentioned its wealth of Phoenix-area contacts.

"They said they could go and bypass the job boards, they were unpublished jobs, they could create interviews for me, to go in there and sell myself to these companies," LaMonica said.

LaMonica paid Career Solutions about $1,700. Now, seven months later, he says all he has to show for his money is one interview. LaMonica says he partnered with Career Solutions because he felt they could increase his chances of finding a job appropriate to his skill level. He says that hasn't happened. He says whenever he asks about the lack of interviews, he gets no answers.

"So far, the relationship with Career Solutions has been very one sided. I gave them money, and I've had nothing in return," LaMonica said.

He's asked Career Solutions to refund most of his $1,700.

"They wouldn't even discuss any refund whatsoever," LaMonica said.

LaMonica says he should have negotiated different language into his contract.

"By a certain time period, I expect you to meet these milestones, and if you haven't met these milestones, then lets discuss how we can end this. I'd like them to refund or rebate the rest of the money I paid them, so I can move on and they can move on," LaMonica said.

After CBS 5 reached out to Career Solutions, the company and LaMonica agreed to a meeting. Both sides decided the relationship was worth salvaging and they would continue working together toward the mutual goal of finding LaMonica a job. So, the contract remains in force.

In a letter to CBS 5, the attorney for Career Solutions points to language in their client contract that says, "No promise or guarantee of any job interview, personal contact, salary or employment is made or implied under the terms of this contract. The client agrees that the Career Solutions fee covered by this agreement is for consulting services only."

CBS 5 has advice for any job seeker considering a paid search firm: Try to negotiate into your contract language that addresses the number of interviews the company must set up for you within a certain time frame. Requiring the company to achieve a reasonable goal could make for a much more beneficial experience.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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