I am a former JobFox employee (although it was Market10) back then. Any company, and there seems to be many these days, who pray on people in need should be ashamed and I hope punished for their actions. I was recently updating my resume when I came across the JobFox section and decided to do a quick search to see how the company was doing. I have to admit (and it will be clear why later) that I was amused when I saw how many people think JobFox is made up of a bunch of crooks. When I worked there (I am a software developer), the model was different than it seems to be today. Immediately, when typed jobfox into google, the autocomplete wanted to fill in many terms such as "scam", "complaint", and "class action". When you type amazon, you don't see anything like that. Doesn't surprise me at all.
Our goal back then was to create a next generation of job matching, similar to eharmony where the applicant and employer would receive much better matches than the existing job sites CareerBuilder and Monster provide (which mainly find matches by keyword searches, at least they did then). It was also a way to prevent unqualified applicants from applying for the "CEO" opening as a selling point to employers. I was very skeptical that a candidate would really have the discipline required to spend 20 minutes or so categorizing his/her career so our match engine had the information to do its job. I would often tell my my bosses that I spent 5 minutes elsewhere and got a lot of hits whereas I haven't received one email from an actual employer via jobfox containing a matching job. Then they got pissy and told me to remove my resume from the real site. But, I trusted those with more experience in the field that we really could revolutionize job matching. After all, they were the people who started CareerBuilder and turned it into one of the 2 big players in the space and say what you want, that's a difficult accomplishment.
The development staff worked very hard to make the user's experience and match engine as strong as possible. The first year I worked there, it was a great place. I really felt we were going to make a difference. At parties, I would tell people what we were doing and people would call me for job search advice. The crash of the early 2000's wasn't far behind. On September 11th, 2001, as tower 2 fell, I was laid off from another company after working my butt off. And when I got settled, a lot of people sent me their resumes, good people who lost their jobs because others didn't do their job. And I really felt for them and wanted to help. And I was pretty good at identifying skills, talking to our hiring managers and recruiters to find openings and I helped get quite a few people jobs. So, I took pride that at jobfox we could make a difference and help people find better jobs faster. Even if I wasn't sure the idea would work, I hoped it would and tried to do whatever I could do as a developer to make it successful.
In that first year, I didn't really think about the other parts of the company such as marketing and the executive team although I sat very near them. But, everytime I dealt with them, I just had this suspicion that they were not very trustworthy and not to the level I expected from a staff of hand picked, startup employees (some of them, not all). These are the people who don't apply for their job but are recruited because they worked with each other. And I was one of those people and took pride that I was given a great opportunity, deserved or not. But, I didn't see them staying late every night like we did. And most of our VC money went to them and they burned thru it pretty quickly with very little to show for it. My team continued to work really hard, but one day I came in and they made some big changes to the development side. New people were brought in. And the people who brought me in and whom I believed in were set aside. Whereas, I happily worked a lot of hours and felt appreciated before (at least by the development team), we were told to work longer hours. The new CTO positioned his office so that you had to walk past him when you left the facility and he would give you a dirty look. Seriously, is this seventh grade? We were working hard, not smart and we just kept rewriting the application for the sake of changing it. I rarely thought the ideas we were implementing were good ones. We'd work past midnight to deliver a build ontime and the next day, we wouldn't be thanked or told to take a long weekend and see our family, we'd be told we were not working hard enough. And the new task would be to completely rip apart what we had just slaved over and completely redo the application to implement the next, great idea. One of these ideas was to create a bunch of emails designed to drive people to the site. I know this seems obvious now but at the time, most companies didn't have this feature in their email. These emails were signed by someone with a big title that didn't exist..."A phantom. An apparition. Second cousin to Harvey the Rabbit. I conjured him out of thin air. He doesn't exist... except on paper" to borrow a great quote. Something such as Thomas Cronkite, Vice President of Job Recruiting. The content didn't so much matter, it had to be really easy for the user to get to the site from these fabricated emails. They didn't contain the blatant lies that the emails people on this site are complaining about, but it was a step in that direction. I felt squirrely implementing them. They wouldn't have been as offensive to me if these form letters (with sections replaced with personalized content to seem legit) led to people getting jobs, but if the idea worked, I don't think they would be scamming people into paying $400 for a computer to analyze their resume. And I wasn't comfortable with this and just didn't trust the people I worked for, so I left. I think all the people I respected have since left also. I know, boo hoo me, there are much worse business practices in the world so grow up. I realize this but ultimately, I have to believe in the people I work for/with.
And a lot of the signs I saw along the way that made me wonder about the ethics of the marketing and executive team turned out to be real. I really think it's pathetic to ask someone to pay for a service, claim the service is an actual person and an expert (maybe a lawyer can prove nothing in the emails really says that but they seemed to intentionally fool people). And then parse the person's resume and reformat it as it sounds like they are doing and ask for more money to be put in the front of the queue for job openings. I can imagine the decisions people make in desperate times, hoping to catch a break. At the time, we didn't parse resume's and uploading a resume was not a big part of the application. It wasn't a person's resume that was important, it was the taxonomy of their work experience that was important. I tried to push parsing a person's resume to help them fill out their "match", help cut down that 20 minutes it took before you could view postings. The taxonomy and questions were complex and users had trouble doing it accurately as did the employers and if this information wasn't reliable, our match couldn't improve anything. You know what they say about garbage in.
Asking, presumably, an unemployed person to fork over $400 seems like a desperate act. Don't get me wrong, I realize that there are many experts who really do take poorly written resumes and improve them (I've had this done myself) and are likely an essential part of their clients' finding good jobs. But, this wasn't "the big idea" that we, or at least I tried to make come true. There was always talk that if the match engine doesn't work, there's another, almost fool proof idea we could develop. Perhaps this was their big idea all along. But, I never would have worked for them if I knew their plan was to take the last $400 from millions of people desperately seeking a job. And I really believe this is deliberate. The people who founded CareerBuilder had plenty of money when they were bought out, millions but not billions. The idea just doesn't seem "scalable" to me unless, as it appears, the expert is an automated engine, reformatting thousands of resume's a day or a minute or a second for $400 a pop rather than hiring a huge staff of experts to rewrite resumes and spend the time it takes to do it properly. I'm not trying to offend anyone because I think a person who spends his/her time really helping someone get a job is doing a great service. But, the people who founded CareerBuilder, in my opinion, want to build something that puts CareerBuilder and Monster out of business and I think they are arrogant enough to believe people are not smart enough to recognize a form letter. Or maybe they do and they just figured they'd lawyer up and still make billions. Those were our competitors at the time (although, I'm sure they were not scared of us). I didn't get the impression things ended well when CareerBuilder was bought out. The people there seemed to hate them. And there was certainly a competitive spirit that we could do a better job than the giants.
I really didn't want this to come off as a disgruntled employee trying to get revenge on a former employer. I almost never think about jobfox. I really wanted to say that as a former employee, I don't agree with the tactics they seem to use. And if they really do a good job and don't deliberately rip people off, it wouldn't be the first suggestion that pops up. And as a once insider, it doesn't surprise me they lowered themselves to praying on those in a bad situation, just hoping to catch a break. To all of you still looking for that special job, I really hope you find it. You spend almost half your conscious, adult life working and you should love what you do. It makes all the difference. Good luck on you complaints and your search.