VisualCV is Pitching BlueStep and I’m Not Buyin’ It.

A few months ago, I created a bogus career profile and signed up for VisualCV in order to review their services for you. Since then, every now and again, I get a variety of emails from them in which they basically encourage me to keep their services top-of-mind.   Yesterday, however,  I received a full-on sales pitch from them telling me that, based on my executive -level profile, I’m eligible  to join BlueStep — an “exclusive” opportunity. Here’s how the pitch read:

BlueSteps is a service provided by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), the worldwide professional association for retained executive search firms and a recommended partner of VisualCV. Membership provides you with a unique connection to the most exclusive executive search firms worldwide – over 300 firms in 70 countries. These search firms handle over 50,000 senior level recruitment assignments each year for leading organizations, and these firms use BlueSteps as a key source for candidates. No other career management service can give you a more effective and efficient presence in the databases searched by these firms and BlueSteps is uniquely focused on the needs of senior talent like yourself.

Membership to BlueSteps allows you to:

  • Securely upload your resume and confidentially expose your career details to over 6,000 global executive search professionals
  • Learn how executive search consultants work and how you can best work with them to enhance your career
  • Build working relationships with executive search consultants by researching and targeting retained search firms by industry, job function, or region
  • Stay informed of executive job market trends, news and research via the BlueSteps Career Channel
  • Receive the acclaimed ‘BlueSteps Executive’ newsletter for career guidance and insight into the executive search community.

After some additional digging, I found that to join, you pay either $269 or $399, depending on the level of service you choose.  One of the supposed “bonuses” of the $399 package is you receive a guide to understanding executive recruiting.  I can’t really understand why anyone would really want or need this.  But, more important the premise of this service is seriously flawed.  First of all — how can they say that, if you sign up your resume will be confidentially sent to over 6,000 executive recruiters in 300 firms? Doesn’t the fact that it’s going out to 6000 people make it inherently not confidential?  I also don’t see the value in sending my resume to recruiters in 70 countries.  When it comes to working with recruiters, less is definitely more.  Choose a few recruiters that are in your field, meet with them and decide whether they are the kind of people you want to work with and can trust.  This service is not about helping you, it’s about making a buck.  Buyer beware.

Carpe diem…

10 Responses

  1. Hello Jane,

    Exactly the information I was looking for. Thanks. I googled “is BlueSteps worth the money?” and mostly got hits of pre-written “testimonials” from BlueSteps itself. Thanks, but I can make this stuff up also.

    Thanks not only for the criticism of the site, but also the tip on how to proceed. Very constructive of you.

    Yours,

    Leo

  2. Thanks Jane,

    Was looking for some background on bluesteps and how this service could possibly justify the $329 price tag. I was directed there from an executive search company nearby, whom I found from reading an article where one of their recruiters was quoted (I liked what he said).

    Anyway, looks like a big waste of time and money. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. I am very very disappointed in Bluesteps. I’ve been a member for about 6 months and I’ve heard NOTHING from ANYONE. I am a senior level executive who matched their profile to a “T”. Amazing that I’ve not heard one thing except everywhere OUTSIDE of Bluesteps.

  4. Thanks Jane!

    Just saved some people additional headaches in their search.

    is any executive search firm worth the money?

  5. I have recently jump with my feets first without having done my due diligence! I am an executive-level marketing professional. I have reviewed the databased of retained search firms and identified 6 headhunters in the UK which could be useful out of hundreds.Could I have been able to identify them without the BlueSteps database? I don’t know. I am now going to begin my outreach campaign by asking them to meet me. I will start to say “Well, you name is on the list, you and I should talk”. I will keep you posted.

    • Patricia,
      Please do let me know how it goes. I’d be interested to see if they get back in touch with you. You may give me fodder for a second blog on this.

  6. I have recently jumped with my feets first without having done my due diligence! I am an executive-level marketing professional. I have reviewed the databased of retained search firms and identified 6 headhunters in the UK which could be useful out of hundreds.Could I have been able to identify them without the BlueSteps database? I don’t know. I am now going to begin my outreach campaign by asking them to meet me. I will start to say “Well, you name is on the list, you and I should talk”. I will keep you posted.

  7. Thanks for the information I needed about this. My first clue was the fact that the BlueSteps website refuses to say how much this “valuable service” is worth until you signed up and gone through everything (i.e., when they’re ready for your credit card). Thanks for answering that question and saving me the trouble.

  8. I’m evaluating BlueSteps now, and thanks for the original post and comments. It seems to me that BlueSteps acts as a gatekeeper for the AESC members. High-level firms must be inundated by people who want to be considered for C-level jobs.

    So the search firms divert the flow of candidates to a service that does two things:
    1) Limits candidates to only those earning the equivalent of US$100K/year;
    2) Limits candidates to “serious” ones willing and able to pay the initial $329.
    Then the AESC database becomes a resource for the AESC members, already filtered by these two criteria.

    I do not see it as a service for candidates, rather it is a service for AESC members which is paid for by candidates.

    This service probably makes sense if you believe the higher end (e.g. Heidrick & Struggles) firms would be interested in you. If you barely meet the BlueSteps requirements, you probably won’t get much value from this service.

    In other words, the people more likely to need help to get to a senior exec job are going to be least helped by BlueSteps and will have the hardest time meeting those two criteria–and vice versa. Just my $0.02.

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