***ATTENTION - Misleading Job advertisement***
So I sent a speculative email with my CV attached to a company I saw advertised online via TargetJobs a few months back and now hiring for Cardiff. I enquired as to whether they were still recruiting for London and within two days had received an invite to a preliminary interview. As one can imagine I was excited after two months of unsuccessful job searching. I spent the weekend preparing and came into the interview on Monday 24th July 2009 at 4pm raring to go.
The first thing I noticed was that the buzzer on the door of the building was labelled in what looked like hand-writing. On entering the building there were printed signs directing visitors downstairs to basement offices. The office itself was nice, with comfy leather chairs but the walls were painted one yellow, one red (the company branding as appears on the 'official' website is blue and white on black)...branding being one of the most important aspects of Marketing. The two South African receptionists were extremely pleasant and friendly but the room was packed with at least 15 other potential employees being interviewed at the same time as me...most suited and booted...others dressed more casually (hoodies and trainers anyone?? to a Marketing job interview NOT for Nike! another in a denim mini and flip flops).
I was interviewed by a pleasant and confident Scandanavian guy who basically explained the structure of the company in a general 'overview' without actually disclosing the entry-level duties, just saying that we have to be good with dealing with rejection and bouncing back. Some of the interviews were also conducted two at the time (strange in itself), but we were told because there were so many people being interviewed the session would just be an initial screening process. I thought it was just a strategy to see how we dealt with an unexpected situation.
Apparently I was right, it was their strategy but not for the reasons I thought. They didn't want us asking difficult questions in front of another person being interviewed and the funniest part was, it worked! Everybody knows that you don't ask what the salary is at the initial interview, and on speaking to the administrator I was informed 'generally between £250 and 400 pw, therefore I suspected it was a commission-based role. We were given no other indications at the interview and on leaving it the other guy said he'd gotten a job offer at a similar company the previous week 100% commission-based and no guarantees. I therefore decided to do more searching online regarding this company (there wasn't much to begin with).
But not before I got the callback at 5.30pm for the second stage 'interview' which was to take place the following day, observing the job role. I was told to wear comfortable shoes.
I found two blogs online which had been googled under 'London Marketing Services scam', and in it there were people who'd experienced the same deal, except some had gone back to the 'second interview' only to be taken an hour by bus across London to a housing estate, trying to obtain direct debit bank details for a charity door-to-door from 1pm-8pm. I figured this wasn't really for me and emailed the company back to say I would not be attending the next day as a commission-based salary with no basic is not something I'm keen on especially in this economic climate.
The problem I had with this whole thing was the misleading way with which it was all conducted, in what seems like an attempt to obtain a day's free labour. Sure, fewer people would have applied for it had they known the real deal but there are still many who would have gone for it as a stepping stone into a Sales career. It seems they are mainly out to lure: 1) fresh graduates desperate for work, and 2) newly arrived foreigners, under false pretences.
Before I emailed back I also consulted my other half and on being asked more questions (like, 'where was it based?) we figured it was the same place (albeit possibly under a different name) he'd gotten his first job on arrival to London from Johannesburg in the winter of 2003 (the company said they'd been around for seven years so I thought that was about right too). He did end up making £50 a day around Christmas time selling toys door to door, which would be a pretty good gig right now however in the current economic climate, I wouldn't bet on earning a good enough salary through commission.
I don't mean to be completely negative about the job itself, as I think its great for people looking to get their first sales role for their CV but personally, with five years of previous work experience and a 1st class degree I'm holding out for something with a basic salary. Good Luck to all who pursue it though! If I can just inform a few more people from this blog about the real nature of companies like this (no wage advertised for starters) then all the better. For now I will be looking for work experience in reputable companies which I'd really like to work for.