Ok so this is my warning to you fellow people out there looking for a job. And trust me...I feel for you.
So I frequently use the internet to look for a job and this Monday when I was looking for a job in Houston was no exception as I perused the listings on craigslist. I came across an ad that sounded exciting. An established company needed 20-25 people to help them expand their business. Unlike other ads they didn't want you to send a resume, they just wanted you to call. So I called just to see what was up. They immediately scheduled me for an interview, knowing NOTHING about me except my name and phone number. Beware people: real jobs want to know more about you than this if they are going to interview you. This was my first red flag, but the woman said they were located on the 2nd floor of the Allstate building in Pasadena. I figured that if they had a legitimate office then it couldn't be a scam.
So I showed up early to my interview and found it without a problem (Allstate building on southmore street 2nd floor suite 206). As soon as I enter the door everything is very strange. Loud music is playing and there are 5-6 other people filling out applications. I thought it was very strange that an "established" business would be so rude as to schedule so many interviews at once. However I went ahead and sat down and began to fill out my application. After I finished filling out my application and am waiting for my interview I look around the room and really take in this "office" there is an empty bookcase along one wall, a desk with a filing stack on it...and that was about it. I remember thinking to myself that this looked like a very poor imitation of a fake office. After sitting there for about 10 minutes a cross eyed guy named Bryan came out and began to take interviewees back 3 at a time. Again...something a real business would NEVER do. At this point I am ready to get out of there...it was all so fishy and strange, unlike any interview I had ever been to, but I am also curious to find out how they were going to try and scam us. So I stuck around to see how this "interview" went.
Bryan finally takes me back with my group to my interview and starts telling us about this company. He does a pretty good job of going over the history of the company making it sound legitimate. He asks us if we've heard of a man named Larry Hahn...of course no one has, but he acts surprised by this. Larry Hahn started this company refrigerators, stoves, etc...but after a number of years decided to invest 10.7 million dollars into the fragrance industry. He goes on to explain that this has been a multi-million dollar corporation ever since. huh...if they have so much money what are they doing in this dinky little office? It's also interesting to see that not only are there no computers in the waiting area, but none in Bryan's office either. There are nothing but empty desks and chairs. They will try to ease your concerns about this by saying that they have just moved from California 2 months ago. So the interview continues on to him asking us if we were interested in the receptionist position or the management position and not to worry about not having experience for the management position because they train everyone from the ground up. I personally was only interested in the receptionist position. He then asks if I am not hired for the receptionist position would I be willing to try for a management position. hmmm...so I'm not qualified for a receptionist position, but they would hire me as a manager? Again...not really making much sense. He goes on to make the manager position sound so pretty and wonderful, how much money we were going to make, etc...and he continues on to say that the receptionist position will be minimum wage starting out. I'm sorry but a multi million dollar company doesn't pay their receptionist minimum wage!
At this point I didn't care if the position was real or fake...I knew there was no way I would take something for minimum wage. But Brian was still chattering on so I didn't interrupt. After this the "interview" portion of this process started and he asked me to rate myself from 1-10 on how I get along with others. I start to say something...and realize I don't want to try to sell myself to this guy when I don't want the "position" he's offering. So I stand up and tell him that I'm sorry I don't mean to be rude, but I won't work for minimum wage. That along with all the other red flags jumping out at me from every corner made me run for the hills.
I walked out of the office feeling like this had been a complete waste of time and also slightly wishing I had stuck around long enough to see what exactly was going on there. I get home later that day and after telling my fiancee what a weird interview it was and how I walked out mid-interview...we started to google OTB management to see what it was all about.
And now I can be glad I left when I did because I still got to find out that it was a scam. Apparently if you finish the first interview and get called for a second one (EVERYONE gets called to a second one) they will start you on your unpaid training as a group of 30 people. To "motivate" you they will have a selling contest of their perfumes and this is where the scam lies. There is no actual perfume, you can only sell to your friends and family because they don't have a selling permit and therefore it would be illegal to sell to anyone else. Also there is less chance of getting caught this way I imagine. Please DONT fall for this SCAM! It's really awful for these scammers to be taking advantage of job seekers in this tough economic time. And karma comes around so I'm sure they will eventually be getting what they deserve.
Just think...if something sounds too good to be true. It probably is. I know it's hard and people's heads get clouded when they are looking for work...but use your instincts and trust me. You can smell this scam from a mile away! Don't get sucked in!