Until recently, only organized crime witnesses with a price on their head could obtain falsified job histories. But no more.
Thousands–if not millions–of job-seeking Americans are now able to obtain stellar job references to impress potential employer. And they’re doing it the old-fashioned way: They’re hiring companies to create them.
One such company is CareerExcuse.
CareerExcuse runs 200 fictional companies that don’t exist, have staffs or make money.
But for a fee, you can say you worked at one of them, and they’ll confirm you were an outstanding employee.
For between $100 and $200, you’ll get:
- One to three false–and positive–references from a company or companies you’ve never worked for.
- A fake company address.
- Local phone numbers to give to prospective employers.
- A guarantee that those employers will receive positive vouchers for you.
- “Instant” degrees.
- Landlord reference
- A “completely legitimate” resume-writing service.
Unlike the Federal Witness Security Program (WITSEC) the clients of CareerExcuse aren’t hardened criminals.
They are legitimate citizens trying to erase gaps in their resumes. Or they have worked for a long series of short-term employers and want to appear a stable employee.
Or they’ve acquired–deservedly or not–a series of bad job references
“Some people see it as unethical,” Jennifer Hatton, senior partner at CareerExcuse, said in a 2015 interview with Business Insider.
But, said Hatten, “I don’t see why you shouldn’t deserve a shot, just like the next person” if you do have the skills and experience required.
“There are many things that happen in people’s lives, with [employers] going out of business, being laid off, managers just unrightfully firing you, sexual harassment suits–you name it, it happens in the workforce.”
And it’s true.
An article in the March, 2011 issue of Reader’s Digest gives the lie to the excuses so many employers use for refusing to hire.
Entitled “22 Secrets HR Won’t Tell You About Getting a Job,” it reveals such truths as:
- After you’re unemployed more than six months, employers consider you unemployable–no matter your skills/experience.
- It’s not what but who you know that counts.
- Cover letters are often ignored, going directly into “the round file.”
- Many employers illegally try to screen out parents–such as by checking cars for child safety seats.
- You’re not protected against age discrimination. Many employers regularly ignore the law. If you are in your 50s or 60s, leave your year of graduation off your resume.
And in its June 8, 2011 cover-story on “What U.S. Economic Recovery? Five Destructive Myths,” Time magazine warned that profit-seeking corporations can’t be relied on to ”make it all better.”
Wrote Rana Foroohar, Time‘s assistant managing editor in charge of economics and business:
“There may be $2 trillion sitting on the balance sheets of American corporations globally, but firms show no signs of wanting to spend it in order to hire workers at home.”
Meanwhile, CareerExcuse claims to have more than 2,000 job-seeking clients.
“Our main clientele right now is IT executives, and they’re pretty high-level,” Hatton claimed. The average customer seeks a salary of $60,000 to $80,000.
There are areas of employment that CareerExcuse refuses to fill–medicine, government, law enforcement or government. Jobs where your employment would “put other people in danger,” said Hatten.
Hatton claimed that during the almost two years she had been with CareerExcuse, no one had ever discovered a faked background.
But William Schmidt, who founded the company, admitted to Motherboard that a fake reference could easily be punctured: “All it would take is one person to drive to that address and go to that office.”
And the inevitable result would be immediate termination.
For some users of CareerExcuse, the company has proven an infuriating disappointment.
Like many clients of the Federal Witness Security Program, they complain of promises not kept. Among their complaints on Pissed Consumer, a consumer-complaint website:
- “When a serious job opportunity came recently, I realized alot of loop holes in their services, address of company on the website was different, email addresses weren’t valid or active.”
- “They took my $ and never returned my calls or emails.What a joke!”
- “Their phone go to voice mail and they dont reply back to calls after a voice mail is left for them to reply …It is easy for the employer to know that the reference is fake.”
- “When the prospective employers called, Career excuse answered the phone with ‘Career Excuse, how can I help you.’ They were supposed to answer the phone in the name of the fake company they put together.”
- “They only gave me a cheap looking web page and they don’t even answer the phones to GIVE the service I payed for. They are a scam and complete rip-off.”
Throughout the United States, countless numbers of lazy, greedy, arrogant and/or incompetent employers are refusing to hire. And millions of willing-to-work Americans remain trapped in unemployment or under-employment as a result.
Until this situation changes, companies like CareerExcuse will continue to function–and proliferate.
Such a change isn’t going to happen tomorrow.