Having Initially been contacted originally by Phoenix Executive Group, I was initially under the impression that this was a high level placement firm. Nothing that was communicated over the phone indicated that this firm was on a level with Bernard Haldane or any of those other companies where you had to "pay to play" so to speak.
After a phone call and an email or two between a couple different counselors and them playing hardball with me by informing them that they were busy and would have to come in, I finally called and came in. I met with a man by the name of Thomas Virzi who has a PhD in some field. He basically said, when we met that he was heading up this White Plains office but that he was moving down to New Jersey. I should have wondered right then and there, why someone would be relocating but I didn't.
I had been told that Phoenix Executive Group had an established pattern of starting so that a "group of us" would be able to graduate and be ready to hit the market at the same time that the clients budgets became open and available.
I was verbally assured that the kind of contacts that the Phoenix Executive Group had, would make short work of my being out of work. At the very least, I was informed that they had a temporary division where they would find me part-time work until a full time job came about. Then I was informed that the average length of time to get a job averaged somewhere between 4-9 months, especially given the market today, but told not to worry.
I came away from the meeting not feeling all that convinced, but wondering what my prospects were out in the real world. So I decided to forget about them and didn't bother returning Dr. Virzi's calls.
I had received a call/email from my original "counselor" as they like to be labeled and was told that if we wanted to proceed that my wife would need to be present. I was like "wow" they really want both people to commit to this, so how bad can they be as far as rip off artists are concerned?
I was in time to learn a lesson about what it meant to be a client of Phoenix Executive's Group and how low the word ripoff artists could be used in a phrase describing them.
I had spoken to the big cheese, the big boss and he was coming up to close the deal on me but before it could even be done my wife would have to come along as well and have to hear the whole sales pitch.
Basically the very bright, silver tongued individual name Joseph K. told me that I would never be a CIO, that I didn't have that type of background and that the best I could expect if I was lucky was a job as a VP down the road. However with my skillset I was very placeable and once I went through the program I would have no problems.
I was told that in almost all cases, that the fee is reimbursed to the new employee (me) so that really whatever I was shelling out right now, would in essence be refunded to me. It made me believe that their skull and crossbone networking list was so extensive that I was guaranteed a position in short order. Well, I get a cover letter in which I am to be charged an "initial retainer" of $5,310 which had to be put on a credit card because I didn't have the money in the bank, plain and simple. At about this point, I was nervous and pacing outside of the room by myself. Unsure if I did the right thing or not.
On the "Three Year Career Advancement Program with Performance Guarantee" sheet was an additional item that stated that if I were to receive a position and salary of X then I would have to owe them an additional $2,655 dollars. However I would be guaranteed a hiring bonus of $10,000 at the very least. After walking away I thought how excellent I did and what a superb place I am going to be working with and their network of behind the scenes contacts.
So I was to begin. The money was paid to them via credit card and I was assigned a counselor who was most impressive with a Masters Level Degree. I was like "wow". Impressive.
First things first was a redo of my resume which the counselor performed and as a first go round thought it was okay. Needless to say, I posted to all of the job boards by myself, and in a conversation with one of the job boards (totally unaffiliated with PEG) said "your resume tells me nothing" "What dates and times did you do this and for how long". "I can't use this resume like this, click then dead air".
Well that was when the bubble started bursting around PEG. Not only was my resume useless, but what happened is that they fired my initial counselor with whom I had agreed to work with, and was replaced by this very nice older gentleman named Bart. When I called up PEG, I was very concerned about the lack of continuity that would occur but I was told to be assured that nothing was to occur haphazardly. Only later did I find out from working with Bart, that my initial mailling of letters to companies was NEVER sent out. Months had passed by and I was unaware that those companies that I had selected with SIC codes were never sent out. Again, more time was wasted.
They had lied about there being temporary jobs as well as their industry contacts because in all of my dealings with Phoenix Executive Group never did I receive a phone call or letter from a prospective employee indicating that they were recommended or had spoken to anyone from Phoenix Executive Group. This has been since July 9, 2002 and it stands to this day.
The video interviewing technique consisted of nothing more than a camera in my counselor's office and us critiquing my interviewing style. Never was there a certified media coach or was there ever anyone to do my resumes.
I had received countless dropoffs (which I was never made aware of at the initial meeting with joseph k.) that contained spelling errors and just a whole bunch of errors that indicated that they were not hiring people of quality to produce thses documents.
In the small print it says that Phoenix Executive Group is responsible for Career contacts and consulting. There is no wording whatsoever that deals with resume and cover letter preparation and I was aghast at how many times I had to go back and complain to the management about how poorly my cover letters and resumes were being handled. Nobody had been working on either my cover letter or resume who was a certified resume writer or cover letter writer. In fact, I found out that my counselor wrote my resume and to re-iterate his qualifications and statements "I'm not an expert at resume writing and Phoenix has never had so many IT people to deal with at one time" indicating that the IT market was in a state of flux.
Each and every resume and cover letter I had to pay to be sent out. However while this appears trivial and minor, it was not verbally brought up in my meeting with Joseph K. prior to the contract being signed. Little did I realize that if your sending out 250 cover letters with resumes, you can be looking at a nice piece of change. This would have been nice to know up front and not in small print glossed over. Joseph makes you concentrate on the party after the game, so to speak that you wind up becoming completely enamored of his sheer capacity to size a person up. I mean if he's this good at sizing me up, he must be this good to get me a job! And then all I have to do is think about the good times.
Well the good times never appeared. I stayed with the same counselor and while I never stopped going judiciously, the appointments with my counsellor started to be further and further apart so that there was more room in his schedule for newer clients. Soon they were every month, and as of this day, I have never heard from Phoenix Executive Group to reschedule a session.
I submit that they misrepresented themselves in the following areas.
Their temporary division is small to non-existant for IT.
They have nobody on staff who is a certified resume writer and cover letter specialist. They give you samples to start with but then you hand them in for finalizing, only to realize that their work is hit or miss and that trying to get them to redo resumes is very difficult.
I never received any special contacts other than those provided by a list database such as Dun & Bradstreet.
When I complained that I wanted to go over and review my interviewing style I was yessed to death but never did Phoenix Executive Group pick up the pace and concentrate on what I wanted.
I would hear, "I've never seen such a bad market" or "you may have to switch to a different career" if we can't get you something soon.
Don't get me wrong. I personally liked my counselor Bart very much, but his hands were tied in my opinion and it seems that if they are unable to place you quickly you get assigned a 2nd tier, then 3rd tier place at their priority list.
As far as the BBB reports, I had seen one that was from June of 2002, leading me to believe that their reputation and honesty were above criticism. Only did I learn later what a farce BBB is as long as your a member in good standing.
I would truly enjoy a media company going undercover to expose them for what they are. Scam artists that take people's money and create mailing lists for you.
Had I known that all I would be getting for my money, I would have purchased my own lists and have gotten my resume professionally done by certified individuals and I could have saved thousands of dollars. My counselor sympathesized but couldn't do a thing about my situation. I truly feel that an expose on Phoenix Executive Group as well as the Bernard Haldanes of this world needs to be done and presented to the general public so they are aware of what goes on in this world of smoke and mirrors.
Suffern,, New York
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Phoenix Executive Group