So today, I’m going to talk to you about a really frustrating experience that happened this week with my second interview I had on Wednesday. I wonder how many people could relate.
On Wednesday, my Mum drove me up to the office where I was due my second interview. The job was for a sales or marketing representative and no experience was needed, as the role involved on-the-job training. Amazing, I thought, a job that could cater for the skills in my degree alongside being trained up to, what was pitched to me as a ‘marketing expert’. Awesome.
Let it be repeated that, in one of my previous posts this week, I had already stated that I was taking this job opportunity with a pinch of salt, something that probably was too good to be true.
And it was.
I got to the office with another 12 candidates from a variety of ages and with different ideas of what constituted as ‘work attire’, sitting around waiting to be called in. It should be noted that this reception room was small and had Radio 1 blasting out of its speakers; the same as the first interview, but I assumed that the loud music had been used so that no one else could hear the interview being taken place through the thin walls and gaps in the old wooden doors. Alarm bells probably should have gone off way before I even reached the second interview.
Anyway. After waiting around for about 15 minutes, my first interviewer walked through with a “What’s up, guys?” and strode into the other room where the first interview had been conducted. Another five minutes and he waltzed out, calling us in one at a time. Apart from me, who was called in with another lady, around my age. After the interviewer telling us that we will be ‘out in the field’ today, which is essentially Stage One of the Marketing Expert programme, we followed this young lady out into the High Street and were told that we would be getting an hour long bus journey to ‘the field’. Okay, I thought, a minibus for an hour’s commute is fine.
Wrong. Went to the bus station and waited for around about half an hour for the bus to arrive before the interviewer paid our bus fare and we went to the outskirts of Essex. Sign number two that the alarm signals should have gone off. Don’t get me wrong, I take public transport as much as the next person, but I don’t necessarily think that that’s the most professional way to get potential employees around. I could’ve easily driven to where we headed out.
The conversations on the bus were what put me off the most. The interviewer was cursing every other sentence, talking about drinking and crazy nights out that she’d had. Again, probably not the most professional way of selling a job to a candidate. She had outlined what was going to happen today and that we were going to observe her and another interviewer, who was given a younger 17 year old lady to interview, in the field for Stage One and in the meantime, they were to ask us questions with regards to marketing and interview questions (like what are your strengths and weaknesses).
So we got to where we needed to be, found a place to stand for a brief chat. Basically, Stage One of the job was door to door marketing. Knocking on people’s doors and saying,
“Good afternoon – don’t worry, we’re not as frightening as we look! We’re from Company XYZ, have you heard of us before? Don’t worry, no one has! We do ABC and were wondering if you had any money to give to us via direct debit.”
I felt like the position was completely falsely advertised to me. I had assumed (and very wrongly to do so) that this would be a more higher ended marketing job and that I’d sit in on campaigns, learning and gaining experience as I went. So here I was, in the middle of somewhere that was an hour’s bus journey away from where I thought I was going to be, watching two women knock on doors that were mostly shut in their faces, whilst being asked the occasional relevant question. At one point, the interviewers wandered into a block of flats and left me and the two other candidates outside to ourselves. I probably should’ve ran for it then.
So we watched them knock on doors for about three hours. And we sat down, so that our interviewer (who had clearly been there longer and had taken the lead of the other interview as well) could break down the Marketing Expert programme, outline how much you could be making (as, when we were waiting outside the flats, all of us had admitted that we hadn’t been told that vital piece of information!) and the stages of the programme as well. The job worked out to be 60 hours a week, 100% commission based (with no holiday or sick pay) and worked out that you’d only be earning £200-£300 per week if you met your targets. Insane.
After that brief break, which took about half an hour, we continued following these two around, now fully aware that they had to reach their target for the day as they were completely on commission. We nearly missed our bus, because one of them had decided to ‘hit’ one more block of flats before leaving and one of the interviewees needed to be back in time to save her car from being locked in a car park. Again, that’s not particularly professional, especially when the lady had told her on the way there. On the way back, we were told that there would be a questionnaire when we get back into the office, so that they could check that we absorbed all of the information that they had given to us, even if it was brief, but by that time I had made up my mind that I was no longer interested in what they were offering. So we got off the bus, I spoke to my interviewer and told her that I didn’t think this role was for me, we shook hands and I got onto the train to go home. And I got on the wrong train and it took me well over an hour, but that’s a different story entirely.
When I did get home, I felt completely angry that I’d wasted a day doing something that I had no interest in doing. I could’ve applied for jobs all day and found my ideal position, instead of getting sunburn, going hungry – they hadn’t told us to provide lunch – and completely dehydrating myself, with some blisters around my feet for good measure. Luckily, D was at home, ordered me a massive Domino’s and bought me some cider!