Vetting the Expert

The definition of an expert is any individual who is knowledgeable, proficient, qualified, professional, adept or experienced in a matter, profession or trade.  In today’s world of the citizen journalist or would-be expert who can be found throughout social media, it is imperative for all readers and participants in all communities to maintain the edict: Caveat Emptor. 

There are thousands upon thousands of self-proclaimed experts whose only claim to fame is that they had the initiative and the insight to be the first to a certain domain. Far be it from any of us not to allow individuals to monetize their talents, but the current onslaught of pseudo-experts in the employment field brings back distasteful memories of yesteryear.

Prior to the housing crash in 06 and 07, did we not see mortgage broker after mortgage broker providing the latest and greatest methods of getting you into that previously unaffordable house of your dreams?  We saw no money-down mortgages that astonished the mind and prompted people to ask How Could Such a System be Sustainable?  With some pundits now reporting that 30% of all mortgages or 40% of all second mortgages are now “under water,” I guess we doubters were not that far off base!  If you have any doubts of the harm such a greedy, “fast money scheme” bestowed upon America, you must see the exceptional HBO rendition of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big to Fail.

Once the Recession of 08 started, we then began to see “for profit” credit counselors who can make you solvent within 24 months.  Though no one would ever discount the desire to be successful in our Capitalist Society, charlatans who feed off of the suffering of the needy and the destitute with little or no results to show for it are the lowest of the low.

With unemployment rates at historic levels, job seekers must be careful not to fall into the latest and greatest service industry scheme – employment experts.  You see them everywhere on the internet.  These are the people who will assist you in finding a job in “record time.”  Career Coaches and Resume Authors have a viable service to provide and should not be tossed into the same conversation but it doesn’t take long for most job seekers to tire of the “added premium services” available on a multitude of web sites.

In a previous association gig where we maintained a job board for modestly compensated laborers, we heard time and time again of fraudulent approaches to get at your hard-earned money.  Our constant suggestion was that you should never have to pay for a job.  That approach continues to be my personal policy for those in higher-salaried searches as well.

As I approach nearly 100 job search and career transition blog postings, I have become quite knowledgeable and astute of the ways of the employment world.  Though I would never call myself an expert, comments provided me have done just that.  I have always given much more validity and credence to individuals who have “lived the life” and “walked the walk” than those who have written the book without experiencing the full “life-changing” tenure of a job seeker.  I guess that will always be the difference between empathy and sympathy.

My personal belief is that a consultant worth his weight is the individual who has been in the trenches and ultimately survived.  If you are going to be an advisor to a CEO, it would be much more valuable if you were once one.  Of course there are always exceptions to the rule and I have never bought into the old adage “those who can – do and those who can’t – teach”  but in today’s business world, even the Ivy League experts are putting their money where their mouths are.  You are seeing former business pros ending up in academia – on their own accord and not just because they can’t find a job.  These are the people who have experienced the world and have prospered and now want to repay the favor to the next generation!

When It comes to working with a Career Coach, a Resume Writer or others in the employment field – one of my first questions would be what is your success record?  How many of your clients have found employment and in what time frame?  I would also ask of their background – human resources or business or ever been out of work?  You need to vet your expert to determine if they are truly what they profess to be.  Think of it as an opportunity to practice your interviewing talents.

Job seekers are looking for every potential possible answer and approach, but it is vital to know what you are getting yourself into.  Before you pay for a “premium service,” make sure you know what you are getting and make sure that the service you are paying for is necessary for your ultimate goal of the appropriate place of employment at this time of your career.

Dan Borschke is a Certified Association Executive who has been a CEO for 3 distinct trade associations in his career.  He is one of only 230 Association Executives worldwide who has been granted the prestigious designation of Fellow by the American Society of Association Executives.  He currently is between positions and has written more than 50,000 words or 95 blog postings on the topics of job search and career transition.  He can be reached at: dborschke@yahoo.com

Copyright:  MMXI.  Reprint of this article is permitted if the above paragraph is included.

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