I was recently at an “interview” for a turn-and-burn outfit in the financial services field. Below are the red flags. I am sharing these with you in the hopes that this information helps you make wise decisions.
1) They called me.
What reputable institution has to find candidates in this glut of available workers? I was leery and asked a lot of questions during the initial phone call. Of course, I like to be open to opportunities and there was no harm in checking them out. If nothing else, it was good practice.
2) Who is selling to whom?
Thanks to a marketing background, I recognize the tricks. I’ve avoided a lot of timeshare-like presentations. The whole thing felt like a sales pitch. This is when I got nervous and began to consider the experience a scam. Good companies know that hiring is what it is: paying someone to do a job. If someone wants to do the job, they will. If they don’t, you let them go. They don’t need to sell the process. It’s the core essence of business: give and take.
3) They take up a lot of your time.
Interested employers may keep you in for a long interview but their time is valuable and they will not waste yours. One of the shadier sales tricks is to run the clock out on an interested buyer. The more time one spends on an activity, the more that person feels subconsciously tied and indebted to it. This is how those timeshare investment sales pitches trick you, too.
4) They rush you.
I have never gotten a job in less than a week. I consider it a rule of thumb. Even when I worked at Target in high school, the process took about four weeks. Employers want to make sure you are a viable candidate and that it is a right fit. This takes time. If the employer rushes you to make a decision or sign paperwork, consider it a red flag.
5) They have a cult quality.
Shady business operations, pyramid schemes especially, have a way of making you feel like you’re part of an elite club but only if you give a lot of time, energy and money. They make you feel like you have bee specially selected. It’s a mind control tactic and if it does not give you an icky feeling, it should.
Sure, a lot of good companies require a lot of time and energy but they reward you for it. The schedule for this job was literally 12 hours a day of work and they spoke about being a family, while conveniently encouraging work-life balance. Honestly, work-life balance means having interests beyond work and coworkers. Like sleeping, exercising and seeing your family more than once a year.
6) Google says bad things about them.
I went home after I got the bad feelings and typed, “I hate [the company]” into the search engine. Things did not look good. This was a dealbreaker.
7) Noone knows who they are.
This is really a secondary red flag as a lot of small businesses are virtually unknown. Consider the nature of the service/product the company provides when addressing this concern. I was able to contact a former coworker in the financial services field and she confirmed my suspicions.
8) They ask for money up front.
I went along with the process to see what would happen. They continued to make it seem exclusive, even though I could clearly see the scam they were running. In my “final interview,” the woman did not really listen to me or care about my answers. She, crazy-eyes and all, was just working me through the process to ultimately ask the question: Do you have the money to pay for licensing? Good companies know they have to invest in their employees, to get the most out of them. This situation would place all the financial risk onto the so-called employee and leave the “employer” out very little cash in exchange for a wealth of money from your unsuspecting family and friends.
I lied (turnabout is fair play, after all) and said yes, then lied again when they asked, “If we call you tonight, what will your answer be?” When the call came, I sent it to voicemail. The man who had run the majority of the sales pitch -er- interview process left a message requesting I call him back. His voice sounded tired and burdened. Just as I suspected, he knows it’s a scam but he’s stuck in the cycle: making good money and completely indoctrinated in the belief that he is helping people.
Additionally, any job that is advertised on a freeway overpass, boasts lots of money with very little detail or advertises via flyers on your windshield is likely a scam.
Please be careful in your job hunt and know, without a trace of doubt, that good business practices are apparent in every aspect of the interview process. The only thing a respectable employer will ever require of you upon hire is an application, a resume and a commitment to be there bright and early Monday morning.
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