I Interviewed for a Fake Job

Monday, 26 June 2017

I Interviewed for a Fake Job
As you may or may not know I am currently on the look out for some summer work, I plan on returning to university after summer to undertake my masters degree so over summer I want to get some experience in my field. My field is media specifically PR and marketing so I have been searching high and low to find a summer internship, applying for them all, I got an email inviting me to an interview for a junior marketing assistant and of course I agreed and off I went to the interview. I was a little bit apprehensive about the interview to begin, it wasn't a company I'd ever really heard of, the website was pretty vague and their Glassdoor account had one, maybe two reviews, but I went along anyway thinking I was just being paranoid. 

On the day of the interview all seemed well, I showed up and the office was nice, the people were nice and a bunch of other people were there for interviews too, all seemed well. I was interviewed by a member of their HR department who asked me about my skills, what I wanted from the job and where I saw myself in the future, pretty normal questions if you ask me. He told me how this company was new and they were looking for loads of people, they wanted to expand throughout the entirety of the UK and so on, again all seemed pretty normal. I went home telling my mum I was silly for being paranoid, this company is very real, they're just new and I think I stand a good chance of getting the job, they really seemed to like me, yeah, they really seemed to like everyone that walks through the door apparently. 

I was invited back the following week, not much information was giving out other than it was a "training day", what I assumed would be me possibly shadowing someone, maybe getting introduced to the staff and so on, totally not what it was. I showed up on the day all enthusiastic only to be told I was going out into the street to heckle people into signing up for one of their clients. Was this in the job description? No. Was this the type of job I wanted? No. Was I told this was what the job entailed? Not at all. I was a little confused and massively annoyed I had woken up at 6 am for this, I mean I didn't apply to be a sales representative, so why on Earth would I be going out to do this? 

I decided to follow through with it, maybe I was just shadowing different members of the team, maybe I'd get to do actual marketing work later in the day. So off I went with some of the workers, who I just want to mention were absolutely lovely people, they truly were, but it's the company they work for that this post is about. They workers told me all about the company how one guy had started it all after he had a really bad low point in his life, y'know, the stuff you read on the internet, but my gut was telling me "this isn't true". They told me how there was a morning ritual where the workers would do group building activities to make them stronger and more trusting, they explained that the full workplace was close and like one big family, but something was just off for me, I couldn't quite describe it, but from the first second I just felt in my gut that this wasn't right. 

They explained the way the job worked to me, that everyone in the business is motivated by money and I must be too, which personally I am not really, money comes second to my happiness for me, but that's a whole other subject. Everyone in the company is motivated by money, they are dedicated to the job and work on commission and as self-employed individuals, hmm, that doesn't seem right now does it? So the way the business works is everyone has a team and you begin at level one, after you make x amount of sales for x amount of days you move up to level two, at level two you can start to grow your team which is basically what this employee was trying to do while attempting to recruit me. Does this seem familiar to you? If you have ever heard of a pyramid scheme your head is probably making pinball machine noises around about now, mine sure was. 

This wasn't what the job description was, how on Earth was this being advertised as a junior marketing assistant role online? I mean this is a pyramid scheme under the guise of sales representatives. At this point I was actually quite annoyed my time was being wasted, I want to work in PR and marketing, I don't want to be a sales representative out in the street getting people to sign up for things while I work my way up a pyramid scheme. I decided I wasn't going to waste my time anymore and I walked away from the job, my whole train ride home I was on the phone to my mum ranting and raving to her; did they think I was going to fall for it? How dare they false advertise their roles online? How do they get away with it? I was so angry that my time was wasted that when I went home I decided to do some research, who else had been through this now? How many people's times have been wasted by this company? 

My research was very very interesting as it turned out many people had been fooled by this "company" only they were under another name at the time, very similar to their current one, but different. At this point, I fell down a bit of a hole as far as my research went, I found myself searching different names this company have used and read about how groups like this work. I went from Glassdoor to Reddit and Reddit to blogs and blogs to articles and before I knew it my anger level had hit an all time high for all the people who had fallen for the absolute drivel this company was telling them. These people believed that they were going to be millionaires and own their own companies, that they are entrepreneurs and giving the middle finger to those climbing the corporate ladder when really they were in a pyramid scheme.

From my research, I found out a great deal about "businesses" like this one and how there are hundreds of them up and down Britain advertising job vacancies that don't exist from marketing intern to events coordinator. Businesses like this one tend to change their names regularly because they get caught out and get bad reviews online so people stop applying for the fake jobs and the group activities they do each morning are said to be cult-like group building, I'm not too sure about that one, but I have read that most businesses like this one do the same activities daily. I have been complaining to everyone about this job interview now for weeks so it only made sense to come on here and complain about it too, plus I think it's important to know that there are places like this one out there taking advantage of people by promising large sums of money and not really telling them the full truth about the position they are applying for.

HOW TO AVOID INTERVIEWING FOR 
ONE OF THESE GROUPS
- Always research the organisation first, this didn't really work so much for me as I didn't think of searching "pyramid scheme" behind the name like I did afterwards, 
- Screenshot job descriptions of jobs you apply for and read them over before the interview, make sure everything adds up and even ask questions, 
- Avoid organisations that have loads of different job vacancies at once and who are consistently popping up on job sites over long periods of time,
- Check their website, I noticed their website was very vague and so I went into the interview suspicious, 
- Check their social media accounts, is there actual information about what they do?

Like me, your pre-interview research may just not be enough, so just be wary of places like this. I am appalled by how many people are going online daily to complain about this place I interviewed for or very similar places and I am shocked they haven't been caught out yet as these companies are illegal. My main reason for wanting to share this post is to help others avoid interviewing or even working for groups like this one, it's not worth it. 

Have you ever been in a similar situation? What happened at your worst interview? Tell me below in the comments, I would love to hear. 

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