On July 18, 2006, I entered into a sales agreement with Cornerstone Career Partners in which I paid them a refundable retainer fee of $3,289.40 to help me find and land a new job using their career management services that they claimed used a "unique combination of traditional search methods and state of the art business intelligence" to provide me with advanced career search methods. They claimed that their service would enable me to access hiring decision makers in the hidden job market as no other candidate would be able to do on his/her own. Sounds great doesn't it. I agreed to pay a further balance of $2,000.00 three months after their service helped me land a job or I would be refunded my paid retainer fee after one year if they did not directly help me land a new job.
I faithfully revamped my resume according to my assigned career advisor's instructions (Lori Delbo) and was very optimistic about my job search but I slowly became disillusioned with the Cornerstones process after several frustrating months of fruitless and ineffective meetings with my career advisor. In fact, since I retained Cornerstone to help me find a new job I did not even received one prescreening call or interview from a Cornerstone referred employer let alone a job offer.
After several attempts to schedule a meeting with the owner John Gardiner, we finally met on Monday October 16, 2006 to discuss the progress of my job search and I suggested that remedial action needed to be taken to start producing some tangible results for me. I plainly complained to him at this time that I was very disappointed with the current process and I believed that some changes needed to be instituted. His response to me at this time was that no change to the current process was needed and I left the meeting feeling dejected and discouraged.
I continued to regularly meet with my career advisor as required by our contract, when on December 6, 2006 I received an unsolicited email from their licensed third-party Internet job search system provider called CareerAIM (http://www.careeraim.com) informing me that my access to this service (job listing) would be summarily discontinued on December 8, 2006 because Cornerstone had not paid them for several months despite their many attempts to contact them. I called the CareerAIM business manager who confirmed the problem and I naturally became alarmed that Cornerstone was on the brink of insolvency. I followed up with an email to John on December 7, 2006 and blind Cc'd some of the other Cornerstone clients asking him for an explanation of this unexpected development. I was taken aback by the many disgruntled replies I received back from the other Cornerstone clients that I blind Cc'd who also expressed their concern over the job search system service disruption and their general disenchantment with Cornerstone's service.
John's response to my email on December 7, 2006 stated that he had come to an amicable arrangement with CareerAIM so that no service disruption would occur but then stated in a separate correspondence that he had begun legal action against me personally and CareerAIM for breaching the privacy of his clients and for causing malicious harm to his business. I was truly shocked and disappointed with his openly hostile rebuttal.
With respect to his allegation that I had somehow invaded the privacy of his clients and I had thereby damaged your business, I pointed out: (1) that the information concerning Cornerstone's present and former clients was readily and publicly available to me and (2) that my simply discovering the true facts of his business does not damage that business, but that the manner in which he is conducting his business is the real source of any harm to his business.
In conclusion, I have totally lost faith in the business relationship I forged with Cornerstone and their ability to help me land a new job. It is clear that they have knowingly misrepresented to me their ability, experience and business connections to assist me in obtaining employment and that this is not a situation that is unique to myself. I entered into the contract with Cornerstone in complete reliance on their representations. I have been advised by my lawyer that John and his firm are therefore liable for such misrepresentation and that, in addition, he and his firm have unilaterally breached the contract that I had entered into in good faith with Cornerstone Career Partners.
I went onto to advise John, on a without prejudice basis, that if I received payment of the sum of $ 3,289.40 no later than Friday, January 19, 2007, I would consider this matter as settled and I would agree to release him and Cornerstone from any further claims in regard to my contract with his firm. I also warned him that if I did not receive repayment of the sum of $ 3,289.40 by Friday, January 19, 2007, then I would take all legal actions available to me; these including filing a formal consumer protection complaint with the appropriate regulatory and provincial authorities and also, commencing a lawsuit against him personally and Cornerstone Career Partners for the above-mentioned principal amount, for general damages resulting from lost time and opportunities, for interest and for all my legal fees and expenses.
John has completely ignored my letter and has ceased all contact with me as is his usual practice with disgruntled clients (and there are many). My only hope of recovering my lost money is through small claims court. So learn from my bad judgement, naivety and inexperience in this regard, when I say buyer beware and never, ever pay money up front to a head hunter.
I welcome your own experiences with this questionalable organization. See other comments posted on this website regarding Cornerstone Career Partners.