This spring, as a college grad and career-changer, I applied for several jobs on Monster in "entry-level sales." I had avoided several ads that didn't specify a salary (I had one bad experience with Primerica and XTreme Promotions--a cydcor cronie--so I knew to seek out ads with base pay). This looked like the cat's meow. The ad read as follows:
Company: Midtown Promotions Location: US-NY-New York City
Salary/Wage: 400.00 - 600.00 USD /week Status: Full Time, Employee
Job Category: Advertising/Marketing/Public Relations Career Level: Entry Level
Based in New York City, MIDTOWN PROMOTIONS partnered up with F & F Telecommunications, is an authorized Sales Agent for Verizon, which is our primary client and is the largest telecommunication company in the East Coast. In addition we also have the pleasure of work with other telecommunication companies and financial institutions. This year our success with our clients has led us to increase our marketing & management team.
We are looking to fill positions Full time in ENTRY-LEVEL Sales & Marketing immediately. Although the positions are Entry-Level, we are seeking to cross-train individuals in various areas of our company such as:
SALES & MARKETING: Our approach is very unique. Since we deal with corporate accounts, we strongly believe that meeting face-to-face with our customers is better than conducting business over the phone and never having the personal relationship with the clients.
We are willing to cross-train people in all aspects of our sales and marketing, interpersonal communications skills and management. Rapid advancement for qualified applicants
No experience is necessary.
The salary looked like a base pay, and they said no experience necessary, so I called to request an interview. I got it. I was determined that this time it would work--that I would not be scammed. Put on my spanking clean suit and went to the interview.
When I got there, I was interviewed by a lady named Fadia. She wanted to know how my psychology background related to the job, and loved my answer that I loved working with people and was also hoping to expand my own horizons via a sales job. She said today's interview would be very short, but that I'd find out more details during the second interview. She explained it as an outside sales position where you go around to different businesses selling Verizon upgrades. In order to avoid the "soliciting" impression, she said, they only go to compannies that already have Verizon, and try to convince them to get this particular plan. I thought, okay.
Fadia interviewed me for about 5 minutes, and said that she had tons of other people to interview and that the position was highly competitive. She said she'd call me back by 6 p.m. that night, but that if I didn't hear from her, I should call her.
Fadia also mentioned that training others was important to the job. AFter you train x numbe of people, you get to management. (Sounded pyramid-ish to me, but I didn't have to bother my family or friends, so I was fine with it).
The office had me a bit suspicious. It was tiny; was mostly a reception area with a small hallway, much like a converted 2-bedroom apartment. The office area was nice though; nicer than the other Cydcor office I'd been to--very newage with polished wood floors. It seemed that the only places to sit down were about three office desks, and one standing room. But it made some sense considering that the position was outside sales.
I hadn't heard from her by the next morning, so I called her. Sure enough, I'd been invited back for another interview. This was sounding highly fishy already, i mean if it was so "highly competitive," then why did they jump on an inexperienced psych major when Im' sure many marketing majors applied too? But I thought oh well, I need the money and they do pay, so I'll go for the second interview.
For the second interview, Fadia said to wear comfortable shoes because the 2nd interview would be a day to observe and train with another staff member (much like the "day of O" described in other posts here).
When I got in for the second interview, the atmosphere was just spooky. There were about 20-30 people cramming the small reception area. People were being called one by one to this back room, but while I was waiting, I could see people in suits and ties sitting around drinking water in this back room. It looked suspiciously like the Primerica meetings i'd been to. Everyone was meeting, shaking hands, talking, etc, and people were just *too* nice to those of us "interviewing."
My name was called. I had to sign a paper saying that I acknowledged I was not employed by the company, and that I could not expect compensation for my time there and would be responsible for my own lunch. Okay then, no problem. I was then taken back to the same room I'd interviewed in the last time. I met a guy named Mike, who would be taking me on my tour. Spooky though was the fact that standing before me were about 12 people, lined up in group-photo style, and Mike told me I'd be "talking to these people later on." Right now I was just to say hi. O-kay then. Mike asked if I was ready to go on the training, and I said yes.
As we were leaving, Mike explained that the job involved going from business to business, and that thye do not 'cold call' in advance. This shocked me, because my husband is in sales and highly experienced, and he had talked about how calling in advance was common courtesy. You don't just walk into someone's business and solicit, especially in security-laden New York. But at Midtown Promotions, you do, apparently. Mike asked me what my experience was, and I said I'd mainly been a counselor before. he gave me a weird look; not sure why, because the job said no experience required.
Mike said that his territories sometimes changed, and that sometimes he would have to go all the way out to Brooklyn or Queens for the day, while other times he'd be right there in midtown Manhattan. I asked him how many "yes's" he usually got from companies considering he did not cold-call. He said "it takes a certain technique," but that he got yes's.
The first three places we went into, Mike was turned away by security on the grounds that he couldn't solicit. He petitioned with the desk people, saying that it wasn't a "sales call." (Then what the hell was it? It's 'outside sales' according to you). Mike's answer was that it's a "courtesy call," because since the companies already have Verizon, it's not soliciting. BUT YOU ARE STILL GOING UNINVITED. Another "oh-kay then."
The next couple places we went, people weren't in yet. But the receptionists who were in gave Mike some really strange, irritated responses because they had no clue what he was there for. He had this pushy way of trying to get names and times out of the secretaries for who was in charge, and what time they'd get in. He got annoyed when the secretaries either didn't know, or didn't want to say.
Several times Mike was asked for a business card. He said he didn't have one; that his company didn't give them out (RED FLAG). He also wondered why he needed one, considering that it was "not a sales call." This did not sit well with anyone.
After watching Mike get all these "no's," I finally asked him how much commission is attainable in addition to the $400-600/week. He said, "Well, if you consider that you make about $60 each time you sign up an account, then 10 yes's a week is about $600." I said "No, I was asking about how much COMMISSION is attainable." Mike looked at me, confused. He said, "Well, some weeks you might have to go to 70-80 places a day to make money, but the statistics will be in your favor."
Finally I came right out and asked him, "Is there a base pay in addition to the commission?" Sheepishly, he replied "no."
I told him that in that case, I found the ad rather deceptive, because it named a salary. He said yes, that's true, but that they believe paying associates base pay makes them "not work as hard." (Actually bozo, it makes them eat and pay rent, which could tend to make folks work harder, I'd say).
Finally I told him that I had just gotten married and graduated, and that I could not afford to play roulette with a commission-only job. He cynically told me, "Well, I just got married too, and we pay the bills just fine." (What, by bartending, probably?). Fortunately though, he did not push, and respected my choice to end the interview there and go home. He said that the purpose of the 2nd interview was to decide if the job was for me or not, and if it's not, then I was free to go. Phew!
After reading other reports on here, I feel lucky that Mike was so nice, and also that I didn't stay long enough to attend an "atmosphere" meeting or anything like that. But since other reports on here sound identical to this, I wouldn't be surprised.
shady, shady people. Always ask about base pay from the get-go.
Hoboken, New Jersey