The Rip Off Report confirmed my suspicions of Bernard Haldane & Associates (BHA). I responded to their advertisement in the front page of Sunday's Washington Post's Employment Classifieds. The advertisement stated that some of the best career jobs are never advertised. And that if you have made over $45,000 over 'x' number of years they would like to meet with you. I e-mailed my resume and a week later received a call from Rose Marie at the New Jersey office. She asked what my income was last year and how much I was on schedule to make this year. She then scheduled an appointment for me to meet with Erv Ambrose in their Arlington, VA office.
I arrived to an empty office and was greeted by no one. I sat in a chair for nearly ten minutes before someone peaked their head out of an office and asked if they could help me. The office had dingy white walls with a large photograph of Dr. Bernard Haldane on one wall. The other walls contained articles that made reference to BHA.
I filled out a questionnaire asking questions such as; my Social Security number, the type of car I drive, if I own a home, its worth, mortgage payment amount, my income, my wife's income, how much our liquid assets are, and how long could we survive if I lost my job.
After turning in the questionnaire I was brought to the VPs office a while later. Mr. Ambrose was surprised to hear I never heard of BHA. He proceeded to mention Dr. Haldane's long list of accomplishments including his 30 published books. He mentioned that Dr. Haldane was kicked out of Harvard because of his "radical ideas" in the 1940s. However, once he was successful he was asked to come back to consult at Harvard.
He made it a point that I understood that their program was selective. He said nearly 100 people come through their office each week and that they choose to help approximately 25% of the people they interview.
Mr. Ambrose seemed genuine. He related well and searched for similarities in our background. In fact he found similarities I thought too coincidental. My immediate thought was that he was a salesman who did some homework before we met. At this point a red flag went up. I proceeded cautiously throughout the rest of the interview.
After giving valid criticism in my resume, asking what my goals are, my strengths, weaknesses, etc., he left the office to meet with a career counselor. He said he would check their job bank and see if the career counselor also felt I would be a good fit in their program. Meanwhile I filled out another questionnaire, which included listing my career goals over next 10 years.
When he returned the office he said he would like to schedule another appointment with me. There would be no fee or obligation. He went on to mention that BHA had thousands of business contacts including an extensive job database. I asked what the cost to me would be if I decided to join the program. He said it would be minimal. I asked how much that meant, he said between $5,000 - $8000.
He went on to give an example of the type of career counseling BHA had to offer. He asked a mock interview question. I answered - he critiqued my answer. He gave good solid advice. Advice I will find useful in future interviews. But I told him I would be able to find the same type of advice in books. Why would I pay $5,000-8,000 when I can read about improving my interview skills? His response was that their career counselors would work with me personally. They will "guarantee" me job satisfaction and will work with me for three years from the day I pay. Even if I leave a job that they helped me to find. They would still work with me until the end of that 3-year period.
I thanked him for his time and told him I wanted to some research regarding BHA.
I'm glad I did some research. When searching for information about BHA on the Internet I found a lot of testimonials from dissatisfied clients. Testimonials from people who did pay the money and felt they were scammed. Common complaints included; discriminatory fees, outdated databases, overworked career counselors, and an apathetic staff. The most interesting thing I learned while researching complaints was in relation to BHA's claim that many career opportunities are not advertised. I was under the impression that this meant BHA had access to those opportunities. In reality BHA teaches you that these opportunities are found through networking on your own.
Thanks Rip Off Report! You have a very informative site. I will continue to support your efforts. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Bernard Haldane Associates CLICK HERE, You must read this!! ..Financial Post Article LINK - Haldane not up to the job ..exposing this company for what it really is - a huge scam