Thursday, November 04, 2010

Fake Companies Are All Over the Place

When I was finishing up my Masters studies, I scoured, Careerbuilder and Craigslist to see who would hire me. I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do (I still don't know), but at the time I was just looking for something that sounded fun and exciting. So when I saw an advertisement for a sports marketing firm that was hiring for an executive training program, I was very excited. I was even more excited when I got a call about setting up an interview at the office in New Jersey. I had no clue what I was in store for, though.

I completed my 45 minute commute to the company's offices in an office park and since I was early, I camped out for a little while in my car and read up on what I knew about the company. From their website they seemed to be a large sports marketing company that worked with the New York Yankees--among other accounts. As I was sitting in the car, I saw many young people leaving the building in suits and thought that this seemed like a cool work environment.

I decided to enter the office 15 minutes early and was surprised to find that the area I was ushered into seemed to be a single office. In the waiting room were a ton of other young people like me in suits and looked much like the people I'd seen leaving the building. I checked in and sat in the large waiting area. Someone came out of the office and a name was called and they went in to interview. Seeing about 10 people in front of me, I wondered how I was going to get interviewed any time soon.

My answer came when the door opened 5 minutes later and the person in there left. I thought this was odd, but figured maybe the interview didn't go well and they were just cutting it short. Except the next person had the same time limit--and the next person as well.

I realized there was another room to the right when the receptionist walked over to a door and opened it quickly but she closed it just as quickly as myself and a female candidate tried to look in. When she came out of the room, I got a quick glance inside the room to find out all that was in there was a copy machine. I started to have some alarm bells go off.

My thoughts were quickly interrupted by the hiring manager and the candidate getting into a screaming match in the room. We all turned as the door opened and the hiring manager literally threw the guy out of the office, screaming at him that he "could not believe someone would have so many problems with such a great opportunity" and that the candidate "was an idiot for asking so many stupid questions."

Alarm bells ringing loudly at this point, I realized I was two away from having to go in to interview. The hiring manager finally calmed down when he saw all the scared faces in the room and walked over in his fancy suit to the television and put on the volume for the Yankees game saying "we really should be supporting our client."

Finally it was my turn as I entered the room. A single office, on desk, one picture on the desk (which I figured out was a picture of a car), no computer, no books...really, nothing. We got into the interview and he asked me basically 2 questions, all the while showing no signs he was listening to me. After I finished my second answer, he put a big star on my resume and let me know that I was exactly what they were looking for and he was going to be excited to have me back for a second interview. He said that I looked like someone who would appreciate this position more than that "other idiot who asked so many stupid questions." He then asked me if I had any questions and I of course said no.

On my way out I asked the receptionist where the rest of the office was. She asked "excuse me?" and I quickly decided to thank her and leave. I walked down the hall and checked out the rest of the offices around there was not a single occupied office. It was all empty, Boiler Room-type offices behind every door. I left the building with another candidate and he seemed to think we got duped into interviewing for a fake company.

I went home and Googled the company name and after scrolling through the results, realized he was right. There were a ton of negative reports on this company and it ends up that the company had three different names in three years because negative reports kept on being written about them. There are a ton of these companies out there. They either run like a pyramid scheme where they tell you that it's an executive management training position and the sole goal is to work you like a dog in menial tasks and then train you to start your own and share your profits with the other company. Or they bait-and-switch telling you that you're working for a prestigious sales or marketing company only to have you go out and sell something like Verizon Fios door-to-door. Most of them require employees to give them cult-like devotion and cover all expenses including any car costs and gas expenses. All of them fall under a category of companies called "Mutli-Level Marketing companies". While multi-level marketing companies could be legit, these companies are far from it.

These are shameful people who prey on those who are young and inexperienced in the job world (they won't interview you if you have more than a year of experience) and try to exploit their eagerness to make an impression in the job world. When I got a call back from this company, I politely declined the second interview--and then was called again a week later to find out why. I wasn't exactly truthful, but then again, I know they hadn't been either.

I am reminded of that today because someone I know was contacted by one as well. I knew right away to search their name on Ripoff Report, a great resource for figuring out if the company is legitimate or not. There are also many guides on the internet to figure out if any type of multi-level company is right for you. Hopefully these companies continue to be given a bad name because it hurts real companies who try to recruit out in the market. The burden of proof for some companies is becoming higher after fakes like these continually pop up. But hopefully that just creates more honesty out there in the market so that people don't have to make the same mistake I made.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah I ended up going on an interview for one of these companies. It was right after I graduated from college and was looking for a job. I was so excited to get an interivew so quickly, but after a very simialr experience, I learned my lesson to research companies before accepting an interview!


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