Thursday 24 January 2013

Toronto Pathways Scam

I was recently the target of, what I would term a “clever scam” and, while, in the end, all that was lost was a little of my time and energy (and a slightly bruised ego for being led on at least part of the way), I thought I needed to share my experience.

I received a call from what a company named Pathways ("Pathways*" on a business card and Toronto Pathways on their website) inviting me for an "interview" in relation to potential career opportunities. Some recruitment agencies do hold in-person interviews so this wasn't a total surprise and I agreed. At the "interview", everything started off as one would normally expect, reviewing my resume, discussing past employment experience, etc. Maybe there were a few too many irrelevant personal questions being asked about my family situation, ages of my children, etc. but the agent and I seemed to have good rapport so I allowed it.

Things got exciting as claims started to pile up about the "agency" having access to an expansive listing of job postings from the "hidden" job market, direct interface with internal company job posting databases, two to three hundred new jobs every day, most of which are not publicly advertised, and even indications that they had several opportunities already for which they felt I was an excellent fit. There were assurances about the speed at which Pathways likes to operate, the expertise and efficiency with which they market their candidates and number-drops of lucrative salaries along with indications about their clients negotiating even better offers than the already excellent salaries mentioned and getting sign-up bonuses! I consider myself a rational person and not one to take bait readily but the approach was so slick that even I started to wonder what I had been missing in the way I handled my career progression all these years.

What really set the flags off, however, was when I was invited to a second interview and the agent slickly suggested that my wife be present as well to "bring her on board" with my career strategy, the specific "methodology" the agency was using, etc. This is when I started wondering just what bill of goods was I being sold. When I inquired on who covered the costs of all of the agency's efforts, I was told that “part” of the cost would be shouldered by me in the form of a "retainer" fee but my qualifications were so good and they had such a positive indication on how fast they could place me that, in my particular case, the "retainer" would be rather small - I would be an easy sell to potential employers. Requesting that I be given at least a range within which the "retainer" moved were deflected with explanations on how they did not want to mislead me with the wrong number until they had an opportunity to perform a thorough assessment of my profile against their job database. After all, I was lucky to have them do this as they only chose to represent about one out of seven people that they meet with.

I nodded my way through the rest of the meeting but, as soon as I got home, I reached out to Google and found multiple complaints about the fraudulent tactics employed by this "agency". In essence, they tend to target new Canadians in particular, taking advantage of their cursory knowledge of the mechanics of the job market. The goal is to make the potential client believe that imminent employment, with a much higher salary than you had expected up to this point, is just about guaranteed and it appeared that there would be little to no effort on your part as the deal was almost in the bag - just leave it to the "experts with all the diplomas on the wall". The end result of the smooth sales pitch is a fee in the $3,000 to $7,000 range although no numbers were quoted to me – I found that out by researching online after the “interview”. With a sale that sizable, I assume Pathways technique includes bringing in the spouse at the second interview to close the deal with both partners and offset buyer's remorse cancellations. Once the payment is made, you find that you have to take your chances like everyone else - they just help you improve your resume and train you on presenting yourself at potential employment interviews. The quality and value of those services is unknown as some of their clients never even get a job interview. All those imminent job opportunities seem to vanish!

The entire approach and pitch is very accurately exposed in this CBC Marketplace Investigative Report: "RecruitmentRip-Off". It was deja-vu watching this report as I heard the same agent in the report video utter the same words to the undercover CBC investigative reporter (with a hidden camera) that were said to me. So perfect was the match that you could tell the agent had it all memorized complete with an entire arsenal of buyer objection rebuttals.

Well, was I relieved to have found this out in time! Needless to say, I abandoned the entire thing but thought I should spread the word around as far as I could. Feel free to pass this on to family, friends and colleagues who may be out there, seeking that dream job. Pathways is not the place to find it!


  1. These rotten and immoral people are now operating as "YouFindWork".

  2. Scams are constantly going on within the Toronto Job market. Don't spend your money. Make your resume incredible, make sure your English is good and snag a job that matches your qualifications.

    Three sites in the Toronto area that are worth going to: Canada Jubs Toronto Jobs Canada Jobs

    Good luck to all