Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Career Network

Career Network (career-network.com) is a Three Stars Inc company. The main idea with Career Network is to gather your personal details so they can forward it to their marketing partners. When applying for a job, you will be asked certain questions about education etc... which seem as though they would be part of the job application. They don't make it very clear on the same page that this is nothing but advertising.

The network goes under many names, in fact Career Network has thousands of sites, and has amassed a huge number of complaints due to their deceptive practices. Most notably, their BBB report has 50 complaints with more being added on a weekly basis. The company has so far been completely unresponsive to these, it seems they are unconcerned about their reputation.

And so on, any number of similar complaints can be found through a Google search. You might say that many of these people have simply misunderstood what they were really signing up for, and no doubt that's true in some cases. But it's still Three Stars Inc's fault for not explaining it.

Once you apply to a job on a Career Network website, you may receive messages about other possible job openings, such as this:
We are looking for a Copy Writer. He or she will write, proofread, and edit copy brochures/print and other forms of document, and may assist in estimating production costs, overseeing work done by external suppliers, and preparation of the marketing programs. This position offers competitive pay and includes full benefits, which we will discuss at the time of your interview.

***, to avoid being flooded with applications and responses, I have only extended this opportunity to a select number of qualified individuals. Your online resume caught my attention, and I would like to start the interview process as soon as I possibly can. I am looking forward to hearing from you today, if at all possible. By clicking the hyperlink below, you can view more information about the position, benefits offered, our company, and send in your application as an available candidate.

I would like to learn more about the Copy Writer opening.

I hope to hear back from you later today!
"Your online resume caught my attention"? The resume in question was for someone with barely any working experience and only a high school education. At age 20.

"Select number of qualified individuals" - the truth is they send such messages to anyone who signed up for a similar job. Doing a search on some of the text finds other people who have received the same message regarding other job positions and who were not too impressed either:

They ask you to submit another application with all your personal details, once again going through the various marketing offers, in order to apply for this new job. The employers in every case I've seen this were "confidential". Which means you have no idea who you are sending your personal details to, it could even be some other shady staffing company. Questions sent to Career Network by email are usually ignored.

Many complaints accuse Career Network of posting fake job offers, some claim to have signed up for dozens of jobs without any response from any company. It would be easy to blame the economy or lack of qualifications, however there are reasons to suspect there might be something to those accusations.
"Career-Network aggregates open employment opportunities from various employers and job boards, and posts them on Career-Network’s free Web sites..." [source]
In other words, they copy postings from other job boards and post them on their own site! The actual employer is not necessarily involved. They are not shy about this either. Previous versions of Career Network sites have phrased it differently:
"We aggregate jobs from public boards, and once we get approval from the employer, we repost those jobs on Career Network..." (used to be on careernetwork.us.com)
"When Career Network reposts a job from a public domain or other job board Career Network informs employer of the job being reposted and forwards applicants to the employer" (used to be on actioncareersonline.com)
And they also post those jobs they've copied back on other job boards, which is how most people come in contact with them:
"Thousands of resumes are posted on our network of job boards daily, cross-posted through multiple channels, portals and search engines." [source]
Here is one example, Action Marketing Team on Yahoo's job site. We can clearly see they have the exact same jobs reposted in every major city in the US. What do you think the chances are that any of this is real?

Then there is of course the fact that Three Stars Inc is in many respects the same company as Internet Solutions Corporation, who used to run similar job boards under names like Instant Human Resources, USA Voice and VeriResume. These were also accused of posting fake job offers among other things. More information can be found in this WFTV video and this Washington Post article.

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