Smart Circle Directv

I suppose this post technically isn’t about scams. A scam, in its simplest form, is when someone takes your money without giving you anything in return. But what would you call a job that promises entry-level employment in the marketing or customer service sectors but is really about standing on your feet all day long selling Directv inside of retail stores? What would you call a job listing that misleads you about the nature of the position and comes from a company that dodges basic questions about salary, benefits even direct questions about the job itself?

I know what I’d call it……. a scam. Plain and simple.

These advertisements are found all over the Internet on every job search website. They’re aimed at recent college graduates but people from all walks of life fall for them. In the current economy, with unemployment running wild, many are applying to these positions.  Because their ads appear on Ziprecruiter, Careerbuilder, Monster and other online job portals, don’t assume that they are legitimate employers. They’ll argue that they provide jobs and advancement for people who can “take their unique sales training methods to the next level.” Is begging strangers to buy cable TV considered sales training that will propel your career to the next level? I’m thinking this isn’t the job you anticipated after earning that degree from the University of Florida or FSU and it’s certainly not what your professors, guidance counselors or parents envisioned.

I’ve heard from job seekers who are thrilled that they’ve been scheduled for an immediate interview after applying to “Entry-Level Marketing Jobs” or “Rookie Management Leaders Wanted”. Didn’t someone explain these employment scams to students when they were in school? Aren’t these offers so obviously preying on frustrated and desperate job hunters?

These sweatshops target overly eager and somewhat gullible college graduates who are feeling unsuccessful in the job marketplace and not getting responses to their resumes. All of a sudden, voila’, someone wants you to come in tomorrow for an interview! That’s like winning the lottery for an anxious job seeker and these scam marketing companies see you coming a mile away and are laughing the entire time.

Will you get hired? Absolutely, no references required. Will you be trained? Yes, in pencil pitching and in-store cold calling while interrupting irritated customers in the hope that they will change their cable provider. Is this the career you hoped for? These turn and burn operations know that college graduates bring a high level of dedication and are willing to go outside of their own commonsense comfort zone to get ahead. A perfect employee for these “employers” who use stock photographs to illustrate their websites. Real employers don’t offer up fuzzy details and vague promises of incredible entrepreneurial opportunities.

Here are more clues that these “entry-level and sports minded” jobs should be avoided:

WE ARE IMMEDIATELY HIRING FOR 7 JOBS. Know why? The last round of new hires walked off the job after three weeks hanging their heads in shame and embarrassed they said yes to the job offer in the first place.

“GREAT ATMOSPHERE WITH CAREER GROWTH ” as part of the title of the job being advertised. This isn’t a career to be proud of, so the job ads have to stretch to attract applicants luring you with “work hard play hard” copy. Does Motorola or Chase Bank need to use lines like that to fill their candidate pipeline? Gracious no!

THE OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT ARE ANONYMOUS. When you visit their cheaply made website, you’ll rarely find bios of the owners or a list of staff members. More proof these are shady operators.

EVERYONE IN THE COMPANY IS 25 YEARS OLD. The lack of senior executives is revealed if there are photos on a website and you’ll notice that everyone who works there is in their twenties. Reputable companies have experienced executives walking the halls with a track record of working for known employers that are easily verified.

VAGUE WEBSITES. The website talks about “setting the standard for bringing suppliers and customers together in an easy-going unobtrusive way”. Or “created to acquire and retain customers in a personalized manner for all types of companies”. Alarm bells should be ringing when a website is short on specifics about a product or a position.

The best defense is just to not answer these ads in the first place. Your other defense is to be informed. Do the following Google search: Smart Circle scam. You might find out everything you need to know with this one search. Trust your instincts, if something about a job offer or interview doesn’t seem quite right, it probably isn’t.

Is it a true scam? That’s for you to decide. It is a job and I suppose if you make plenty of sales and don’t ask too many questions, you might be able to make a few pennies.

Should you avoid it? ABSOLUTELY!


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