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Lessons Learned: The Very, Very Odd Interview

Lessons Learned: The Very, Very Odd Interview

I was offered a job. (Oh! It felt good to hear to hear those words!) They told me I could start on Monday.

I told them I would need time to think. As soon as I got home, I wrote an email, saying I could not take the job. I did not even give them an explanation, and weakly thanked them for their interest.

A lesson learned

It is not in my nature to look down on job opportunities. A job is a job is a job. However, I was trying my best to find something that would give me some footing in a solid career. From the job listing, to the interviews and the time spent with Janice, they steadfastly insisted this was an incredible opportunity to break into the marketing world. The degree of deception was horrifying. Hardly a marketing firm, but an agency that outsourced door-to-door sales teams.

Knowing that many job-hungry college graduates had likely fallen for similar promises, I did some cursory research online. There were message boards packed with anecdotes from people who had interviewed with SF Marketing Group, to people who had actually worked with them for a time. Former employees issued dire warnings about the cult-like atmosphere that dominated the hundreds of similar offices around the country. The company is (rather ominously) Cydcor and provides the largest face-to-face customer acquisition company in North America and around the world."

I learned there was no basic salary, and earnings were entirely-commission based. Employees are forced to use their own phones for calls, cars and pay for their own gas and lunches. Bosses are trained to instill an intensely competitive, almost militaristic atmosphere their offices, by insisting that promotion (and a commission increase) is around the corner, and there are no opportunities outside the company—not unlike brainwashing. Knowing this, I reflected on my talks with Janice: she deeply, sincerely believed that her job was far more meaningful than any sort of media marketing.

I discovered their terrible recruitment strategies and treatment of their employees with just a cursory Google-glance. I have little doubt this company is a festering can of worms in other ways.

This was a major detour, in which I was sucked deep into a bizarre, terrible company that functioned mainly by way of deception and manipulation of its employees. Even as I played along, half-desperate for a job, convincing myself that I would be the best door-to-door salesperson of telecom services ever, I knew deep, deep down there was something wrong here, and I could not sign up with them. I was right in the end. It may be very, very hard to turn down a job, but I know saved myself from a horribly demeaning experience that would have set me further back than I had started.

Instincts are everything.

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