About the Author: Anna Beyder is a young professional with almost two years of real world experience under her belt. After a year of working at a medical billing job that she detested, she ditched her cubicle and began writing a blog about her search for the perfect career. Like most women dream of finding a perfect man, she dreamt of finding that perfect career. After months of interviews, research, and self-reflection, Anna began pursuing a future in public relations. Connect with Anna on LinkedIn andTwitter.
It is no surprise to most that Los Angeles has a reputation for being fake. If you live in Los Angeles you know if a man tells you he is a producer, truth is, he probably works in the produce department. Whether it is a fake guy, fake nose or a Fucci bag there is an abundance of misrepresentation out here. But much to my dismay, this trend is not exclusive to hair and handbags. Many job listings that I have come across have been misleading, to say the least.
The most common hoax that I have come across has been intrusive sales jobs masquerading as “marketing positions.” For example, one company I applied to offered a position labeled “Marketing Associate” with the potential to grow into a “Marketing Manager.” I made it past the interview and the next step of the process was a full-day of shadowing an employee already working for the company. When I arrived, myself and two other young and eager applicants were waiting to see what was in store for us. The office manager told me I would be going out and “seeing businesses” with one of their most successful marketing associates. I was excited until I got into what might have been the first Honda ever invented. Everything from the seatbelt to the windshield wipers was broken. Now, I am not judgmental or even one to talk, I’m not a Rockefeller or anything, but this was alarming. Fast forward a couple of hours to me walking in my high heels and business dress pushing various coupons in a dangerous neighborhood of Los Angeles. Traumatizing. Meeting with businesses actually meant soliciting. And after a few months of solicitation you get to train other unsuspecting job-seekers on how to solicit. Your goal in all of this is to last long enough to run your own office of solicitors who will then train and manage their own batch of solicitors. Basically the Ponzi scheme of marketing jobs.
So here are my tips of things to keep your eyes open for when job hunting. If they say that they are hiring for a number of positions (three or more) I would be wary. Great careers in high-demand fields like marketing, public relations and business development are generally rare. So if they are advertising twelve openings for marketing associates and they will train all of them, that is a red flag!
Something else to look out for are jobs that offer base pay plus commission. It may not necessarily be a scam, but from what I have noticed base + commission means cold calling or soliciting and if you reach a certain quota you will make commission.
Other, more obvious signs include jobs that don’t require any experience, yet have amazing salary opportunities, or a crazy range of earning potential ($30,000-$75,000/yr.) Often times, these jobs will use a bunch of exclamation points and say they are in desperate need of employees. With a salary like that, they should have their positions filled before they even get posted.
Also something you may have seen on sites like Craigslist is the same post over and over again, for days straight. If they are constantly hiring and their turnover rate is that high, it is probably not for a favorable position. And the most basic indication that a company may be a fraud is not listing their name in the job description. There are so many job postings out there that give you the information necessary to research their company, so don’t waste your time on a company that doesn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, there will be times you need to do work that you dislike to get where you want to be in your career. This could be an assistant position or an internship involving daily Starbucks runs. Just make sure wherever you find yourself, there is opportunity for growth or to gain valuable experience. The best way to find out if a company is what it says it is—Google! There are also great websites like www.scamfraudalerts.com that offer information on fake employers. They also give you information on legitimate employers that have gotten hacked, or any foul play that may be involved.
I will also stress the importance of being inquisitive when someone calls to schedule an interview. It is true that as a job-seeker you are most likely the one in pursuit rather than being pursued. However, you do have the right to ask questions and find out if the job you will be interviewing for is compatible with your background. So before you drive out an hour and get sucked into a day of being thrown out of businesses with your sad little pizza coupons… Ask questions!!