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September 30, 2009 / Toby Dayton

Job Board Industry Should Have Stopped Barry Trimble Before Minnesota Had To Sue Him

Just over a month ago, the New York Times ran a story about a job scam in Minneapolis and yesterday, the State of Minnesota sued the firm and its CEO Barry Trimble for scamming hundreds and perhaps thousands of job seekers. The firm, The Arthur Group, posted ads on Careerbuilder and other job boards and searched online resumes in order to bait job seekers into coming into the office for a mock interview and a free review of their resume. After thrashing the unsuspecting job seeker, The Arthur Group would try to sell a range services to help the job seeker ‘gain a competitive edge in a difficult job market.’ After shelling out thousands of dollars, job seekers received no job offers, interviews, or assistance of any kind. The state is suing Trimble and The Arthur Group for consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices and the Attorney General hopes that victims will see some sort of restitution as a result of the suit.

I do, too. An even better outcome would be that Trimble and others like him get thrown in jail. There are job scams all over the place, and they’ve gotten much worse in the current economy. Crooks like Trimble are going to continue to rip people off and steal their money until there are real consequences for their actions. Almost as important, the job classified industry has to do a better job of policing itself and calling others out when they witness behavior that helps perpetuate consumer fraud.

When a free weekly jobs newspaper runs postal job scam ads in every single one of its weekly papers every single week of the year for a decade, there should be an industry-wide tarring and feathering that shames them into stopping the ads. When job sites charge job seekers for access to job listings that are free elsewhere on the web, they should be called out so forcefully and vocally that their businesses are forced to deliver real value or shut down. And job boards that run ads for career-related services should do a better job of screening their advertisers, removing ads when consumers complain about scam ads, and making sure that everyone in and around the industry is aware of and can specifically ban those advertisers. Similarly, job aggregation sites that pool job listings from other job boards need to do a better job of filtering out job scam ads.

Employers, too, need to pay closer attention to and be more discriminating about the kinds of publications and sites in which they run their recruitment ads. If employer advertisers showed more concern and were more willing to use the weight of their ad dollars, behavior in the industry would change very quickly.  And finally, the media needs to continue highlighting these kinds of deceptive, fraudulent practices so that consumers are aware of the risks that are inherent in posting their resumes to job boards and using pay-to-post job boards, job board aggregators, and the services that are advertised on them.

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous / Sep 30 2009 6:57 pm

    I agree. It is a shame that the job board industry allows scams to continue even after complaints. I am trying to build-a-better-job-board focused specifically on work/life balance and know it will be tough to separate fact from PR from fiction.

    I am going to rely on the community I am building to police it…but if I don’t do it well. I expect to be called on it. Here is my take on posting jobs: http://www.careerlifeconnection.com/standards-and-practices/

  2. leanneclc / Sep 30 2009 1:57 pm

    I agree. It is a shame that the job board industry allows scams to continue even after complaints. I am trying to build-a-better-job-board focused specifically on work/life balance and know it will be tough to separate fact from PR from fiction.

    I am going to rely on the community I am building to police it…but if I don't do it well. I expect to be called on it. Here is my take on posting jobs: http://www.careerlifeconnection.com/standards-a

  3. leanneclc / Sep 30 2009 6:57 pm

    I agree. It is a shame that the job board industry allows scams to continue even after complaints. I am trying to build-a-better-job-board focused specifically on work/life balance and know it will be tough to separate fact from PR from fiction.

    I am going to rely on the community I am building to police it…but if I don't do it well. I expect to be called on it. Here is my take on posting jobs: http://www.careerlifeconnection.com/standards-a

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