A and I recently moved back home to our shared hometown. In a lot of ways it has been like starting over with new jobs, new banks, building a new house, etc. I expected a lot of things when we left our sleepy beach town, but what I didn't expect was the time it would take to establish a new routine, more specifically, land a new job.
When we moved to the coast we were warned that it would be hard to find work (we moved for A's job, so this advice applied specifically to me), but were shocked and thankful when I landed my first job within a week of moving. I began working immediately and stayed with the same employer for the two years we lived there. My logic on our move was "if I can find a job in Beaufort I can definitely find a job in Winston, no sweat."
I'll admit it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I started applying, calling and combing LinkedIn for jobs. I went on lots of interviews, met with lots of people and spent oodles of mornings praying (read: whining) to God about where I was supposed to be, and why I wasn't there yet. Ironically one of the first interviews I had ended up being the place I accepted employment, but I didn't get to that point without a little frustration, and sometimes all you can do is laugh.
Somewhere in the middle of all the dress pants and resume covers I ended up applying for a job with Provincial Events. The job was listed as advertising executive with a company that planned and hosted corporate events. Sounds fun, right?
After a whirlwind of a first interview (I listened to a 10 minute sales pitch, answered that I was a leader, not a follower, and was dismissed for the next applicant), I was shocked to hear that I was selected for a second interview. I was told to report to Sam's Club with a notebook to observe and participate in a corporate event. Sam's Club? That's odd. A red flag waved in my mind, but seeing as how I was still unemployed I figured I had nothing to lose.
I show up at Sam's and I am directed to the sitting area (you know, right next to where your order a corn dog and XL slice of pizza to go with your big gulp) where I hear another rather lengthy sales pitch and am asked a few more marketing questions. Finally the "event" takes place.
Yall. The event is literally a card table, set up in the aisle at Sams, covered with bed sheets. The interviewer tells me to stand in the corner and take notes. Then she disappears. A few minutes later I see her pacing the aisles, approaching customers and asking them to feel the sheet, asking them what size their bed is and trying to pitch these bed sheets. After about five minutes she comes over.
"how many pages of notes do you have?"
Um, almost 2
"OH! Well. I will certainly keep going. You need to take tons of notes."
Oh, ok. So, am I supposed to be following you?
I start thinking, If I walk out right now will she chase me? After about 2 more minutes of the same thing she comes back and promptly collects my notes and escorts me back to the hotdog stand. We sit down and she starts telling me about the levels of leadership and the executive program that they have condensed from 12 years down to 1. We talk for a minute about what the "event" was like and what I observed before I broke the golden rule of interviewing: Fake it til you make it.
"Tell me why you think you would make a good account executive with us?"
I don't think I would.
I'm not sure who was more shocked by my response, her or me. She fumbled around a bit as I fought every urge to get up and flee the scene. She asked me a few more questions about what led me to my decision before we agreed to end the interview process and shook hands. I answered respectfully, but honestly about the way they handled applicants and interviews with sweaty hands and a shaky voice. Afterward, I immediately texted A and said, I just ended the interview. Whole thing was a scam.
Afterward I did a little more research and read that several other applicants had a similar experience, finding a listing for marketing/advertising/brand management positions that were actually a ploy to hire salesmen. Lesson here? Read Glassdoor before you go in for an interview!