Applicants Beware!

I hope in sharing my story, some of you will avoid the same situation.

Like lots of recent graduates, by July 2005, I was freaking out and applying for any position that I was even remotely interested in. Unfortunately, using Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and a few others meant, I was also unwittingly applying for job scams.

Below is a word for word email I received from “Grey Marketing Team” (to my knowledge, they are no longer in existence).

Dear Aurora,
I have recently viewed your resume online and feel you may be qualified for our Advertising Department Assistant position. We are Grey Marketing Team, a national management and marketing firm. We assist companies in maximizing their marketing dollars by developing advertising, sales, and marketing campaigns.
We are currently seeking an Assistant to our Advertising Department to help our Creative Team develop print, internet, radio and television ads for our clients. An Advertising Department Assistant’s responsibilities would include the following:
Working with in house creative team
Assisting on sets and shoots
Acting as a liaison with production companies, photographers, etc
This position offers direct hands on experience working with clients. We offer the following:

Starting Salary of $41,600
Quarterly and annual bonuses
Top benefits package including medical, dental, 401k, tuition re-imbursement, paid vacation and holidays, and paid holidays
Rapid advancement opportunities

The person we are seeking must fit the following description of the five “B’s”
Be a self starter
Be motivated to succeed
Be willing to travel occasionally
Be a team player
Be willing to learn and educate himself or herself

If you feel this position is for you please apply online at: www.greymarketingteam.com

Go to the “employment” section

Select the “Advertising Department Assistant” position

Fill out the application.

Once you have filled out the application completely I will contact you for an interview.

Vonda Dixon
Director
Human Resources
Grey Marketing Team

Surprise, surprise, I applied and was granted an interview. When the HR Director I spoke with sounded really young and told me the dress was business professional, I got an uneasy feeling. But I brushed it aside. I arrived for my interview at a nondescript building in St. Louis. As I found the suite, I noticed a lot of people wearing backpacks and business suits, which I thought was odd. The suite looked like any other office suite, only everyone in the office was young, really young. I interviewed with three people who couldn’t have been older than 25.

They asked the standard interview questions and others that were really off the wall. Like super powers and wishes. The entire process lasted about an hour and a half. At no point did we discuss what I would actually be doing for the “company.” The interviewers talked about a second interview, which would be going out with one of their employees “in the field” for a day and that I would be hearing from them soon.

When I got home, I researched the company and realized it was more door-to-door sales and less actual advertising or marketing work. I decided I would not be going into “the field” with one of their employees for any amount of money. Apparently, soon meant less than 24 hours later. I got a call from the woman I interviewed with. I politely turned down the second interview and was barraged with “you’ll regret not taking this opportunity.”

The more I’ve talked to recent graduates in the last seven years, the more I’ve heard about these kinds of job scams. Positions likes these are preying on the eagerness of young graduates and unfortunately, seem to be becoming more and more popular.

You can avoid job scams by throughly researching the company you are applying to, which you should be doing for your cover letter anyway! This includes a standard Google search, verifying phone numbers, addresses and general details. You should also check out the scam websites and search the key words used in the ad. Also, misspelled words and bad grammar are dead give aways that something isn’t right.

Similar scams include: Steel Town Promotions

Have you encountered a job scam of your own?

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Resource: For Women Only in the Workplace

Disclaimer: While the title states women, this advice is just as important for men.

I have some bad news. More than likely, your job existed before you and, just as likely, it will exist after you.

As author, Shaunti Feldhahn explains in her book, For Women Only in the Workplace: What You Need to Know About How Men Think at Work, a job holder is the temporary holder and custodian of a position.

The job, position, title and everything that goes along with it, “exists independent of the person and will be there after they leave,” she writes.

That’s a pretty heavy statement. You know you are more than just a cog or a square peg and that you bring certain talents, perspectives and qualities to a position that are exclusively unique to you, but none of that matters to the company as an entity.

Think of it this way, separate the people you work with from the company. The company is cold and only cares about the bottom line. The company sees things in black and white. You are helping the company or hurting the company. The company expects you to do what is best for the company and not for yourself. Your job is to make money for the company.

“If you’ve got a role [position, title], you’ve got to play the role, like a doctor has to remove a tumor or a dentist has to pull a tooth,” explains one of Feldhahn’s interview subjects. “The dentist undoubtedly cares about the person whose tooth is failing. The doctor cares about the person whose tumor needs to be removed. But they do not let their concern for the person overshadow their responsibility.”

Feldhahn uses this example in the book (on page 35), it typically took 25 hours to investigate and file a report.  At company A where she was a salary employee, that didn’t matter. At company B where she was an hourly employee, her new boss told her she needed to cut down on her hours. To which she replied, “If I am going to do it right, it will take at least 25 hours.”

Finally her new boss at Company B explained, I’ve bid 17 hours for this project. That is all the client will pay me, no matter how much time you take. I’m going to lose money employing you. You might think what you’re doing can’t be done in under 25 hours, but I’m asking you to do a different kind of report, the 17 hour version.

The take away? If your consistently cost your company money (remember time also is money) your job will go to someone else.