Fortunately for me, I only let these people waste about 4 hours of my time, but I know that not everyone who was in that room with me today will be as lucky.
It started when I emailed an ad posted to craigslist titled "NEW OFFICE NEEDS PEOPLE." It went on to say they were hiring 18-20 people for entry level management positions, no experience necessary, they would do all the training.
I'd been avoiding responding to this ad for a long time over the course of my job search, but it is safe to say that the ad had been popping up, brand new and nearly identical to the one before it about once a week for the past several months.
In retrospect, this alone should have been enough to signal to me that something was wrong.
Anyway, I emailed them, and they called me the following day to have me in for an interview later that day. I got lost, came in about 15 minutes late. Nobody cared.
This place was out in the boonies, too. East Oakland, in the middle of a bunch of truck stops and auto part stores, factories and freeway exits as far as the eye could see. A really strange place to run a business selling.... what were they selling? I still didn't know.
I go into the building, and it looked as though the place was made out of drywall. They literally put as little effort into the office as they could, while still trying to look at least a little bit legit. In the entry way there were at least some pictures on the wall.
But when I went into Brandon's office there was nothing. No credentials, no pictures on the walls, just a desk. Again, this should have tipped me off to something being wrong. Even brand new start-ups don't look like they're ready to dismantle at the first sign of the cops. I swear, these walls could come down any second and nobody --NOBODY-- would ever know or remember they had ever been there.
In the interview this theatrical fellow who won't let me get a word in edge wise tells me that I am applying to work at a perfume wholesaler, and I don't quite catch the name of the founder. He talks fast, and it's hard to ask questions. I'm sure this is intentional.
He tells me the pay is $30k a year after training, and I'd get my own office and a small staff of 6 to 8 people. The only question he asks me the entire "screening process" is "What's your best quality?"
I left the office somewhat bewildered, and mentioned to my boyfriend that evening that the whole opportunity seemed "too good to be true." But when I got a call a few hours later from someone who, if I recall, said his name was Rick, telling me I got into the final interview. "I don't know what you said in there," he said, "But you must have really impressed Brandon. Because he wants you back for sure." I was to come in the day after tomorrow for a group interview. I decided I would approach this opportunity with a new resolve.
The next day I googled the company's address, the name Trilogy Expansion, their phone numbers, everything I could think of, in hopes of finding out more about them to prepare myself for the interview the next day. A website? Some reviews? Anything? All I found was a yellowpages.com page with their name and address. No information whatsoever. All but the fact that the same unit I interviewed at was also listed under the name A.I. Management. I googled them and still found nothing.
By now I was more than a little suspicious, but decided that I ought to proceed with the second interview, at least to see if I was being hasty in my judgement. After all, if it was real, then I'd be the dumb one for passing up such a great opportunity, right? I resolved to be on the lookout for anything suspicious during the second interview. If they asked for money, or weren't planning to pay me during training, or if it was a pyramid scheme, then I would be out the door in a flash.
So, I went to the interview, noon to 2:30. There were 20 or 30 other people in the room with me for the "interview." Orientation? I don't know, it wasn't an interview. I'm going to stop calling it that now. All young people, aged between 19 to 30, maybe. Everyone was dressed up so nice. Notebooks in their hands, ready to learn all about this great new opportunity. "No experience? GREAT! I've been working at applebee's and I can't stand my boss, it's time for a change! I'll show them I can do it!" Or, "I've been unemployed for a year and I really hope this works out!" Or worst of all... worst of all... somebody who's new to the job market... 19 or 20? In school? What must they be thinking? They wouldn't even know if something was wrong or not in the first place. Hope blinds us all. This proves it.
I went to use the bathroom right before the orientation thing. The rest of the place is just some scummy warehouse. I wondered if their neighbors even knew they were there (a furniture wholesaler, and some other industrial business). This bathroom is nasty too. Just so you know. It seemed kind of off that a successful new business would share it's bathroom with a bunch of truckers or something. Anyway. Also, when I asked to use the restroom, the woman pretending to be a secretary looked momentarily upset. I don't know why. Maybe that's where they hide the alter they use to do goat sacrifices to Baphomet, so he will let them continue to get away with whatever sh* they're trying to pull.
This orientation was long. He tells us about the history of the company, he tells us about the perfume industry, he tells us how the training will work, he tells us how our offices will run.
Except... not really... The only part that MIGHT have been SORT OF TRUE was the bit about the perfume industry. But at this point, I can't even be sure.
Larry Hahn worked his way up from nothing. Everybody loves a good rags to riches story. So applicable to the scam they're running. Stuck in a dead end job? Work with us.
Training involves 4 phases, and you earn badges for passing each phase. The badge = money. He never said how much, but at one point he INSINUATES that a badge is worth as much as $600. With 4 phases, and a 2 month training period, that's $1200 a month!
Finally you get your own office, you send people out to work on selling this knock off perfume to vendors and distributors, you handle the money, the bookkeeping, the databases, all the clerical stuff. You manage 6-8 people, you're very own employees.
If anybody wants to see my notes, hit me up. I'm going to have them scanned for posterity.
Around now the woman next to me got up and left. I guess she was sick of having her time wasted. I stuck it out.
Now he goes through our resumes and asks us a bunch of questions, "can we handle speaking to groups?" "Can we handle dealing with introverts or stubborn people?" He asked about our references, how we felt about the pay... Man... None of the answers even mattered.
Then for some reason, at the end, he sends us out in groups of 3 where the secretary tells each group they're in and to come back on monday.
I got home and looked them up. This website is the first thing that popped up. Run people. This sh* is a joke.