Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Student Beware: Entry-Level PR and Marketing Job Scams

In researching job prospects here in Austin, I've come across several suspicious companies looking to hire for entry level PR/marketing positions. This post is to warn you of the biggest scam artists preying on the recently graduated here in town.

But Megan, what are the signs of a scam employer? Here are the warning signs I've caught onto:

  • Stupid headlines like "Entry Level PR!!" and "Entry Level Marketing - New Firm - WILL TRAIN!!!" should be your first red flag. Most of these are obviously scams, but some are cleverly disguised. My favorite dumb headline, courtesy Horizion Promotions: "Promo & Mkting Reps Needed! MUST Work Well With The Opposite Sex" sounds fun to me! :P
  • Poor job descriptions that don't tell you anything about the position. Either that or they make it sound too good to be true, which it obviously is. They also will probably not include contact information except maybe a link to their website. Which brings us to:
  • They have an ugly,crappy website. Some may be really jazzy, but you can tell the difference between a professionally-made website designed for a serious PR or marketing agency vs. those putting up the front. You'll also notice that there is a lot of homepage space dedicated to "careers" and "apply online now".
So who's promising careers as PR and marketing professionals but are just really wanting door-to-door salespeople to sell their discount cards? I'm naming names:
They only money you make is a small commission off of the cards you sell. That equals is about $15 bucks in your pocket for each $50-$40 card you sell. You will spend your own money on gas to drive your own car around town, lunch everyday, permits for solicitation($10-$75 a piece depending on neighborhood), and all other expenses needed to do your job. It all comes from your own pocket and the girl I shadowed sold 2 cards (so she only made $30) for the day despite the fact that we knocked on about 80 doors and hassled about 30-40 people at strip malls and office parks.
  • McLemore Advance Concepts, Inc.: "All in all, you end up working 6 days a week from 7:30am-6:30pm for what equates to about $1.00 per hour or less.... This company is not a scam, nor is it in any way illegal. However, unless you want to build your career in a business with absolutely no honesty or ethics, I would steer clear from them."
  • Competitive Consulting: This business came up with a long list of complaints. Apparently this company is also known to change their name frequently. They actually sell office supplies out of a catalog, when on their job posting they say they want "sports-minded" marketers.
  • Eventive Promotions
  • Premier HQ
Any other examples I missed? I'm sure this post could be a mile long just in Austin alone. A common theme in these stories is that they interview in a shady place, where the manager will say "we're in the process of moving," etc. Then for the second interview you are sent "in the field" to shadow another seller. At that point, it can't be any clearer.

If you're unsure about the honesty of a company's employment claims and suspect a pyramid scheme, look them up on Rip-off Report, where I found these testimonies. Also check with the Better Business Bureau if you'd like to file a complaint.


Benjamin said...

Some of those companies look so shady its suprising that they prey on college graduates- who are supposed to be intelligent and educated.

Ayysita said...


Megan said...

Competitive Marketing actually called me because they found my resume online. I laughed as I hung up the phone. Ayysita, it sounds like there's a story behind your comment.