After one week I landed my first interview. I was excited to have at least one hit on an application and spoke with HR to set up a time and date to interview.
Before I responded to the offer, I looked them up online and did some research. I suggest all future applicants of any kind check out the magic world of Google and Glassdoor. I inspected its website and social media pages as well. It seemed legit. I even dug further to make sure I wasn’t pulling just the top posts that made them look reputable.
The only issue I found was nowhere did it explain exactly what the company’s function was and what brands it collaborated with. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to at least go through the interview process to see what came out of it, plus, there’s no harm in practicing your interview skills.
I booked the interview.
A few hours later the pit of my stomach told me to continue searching, because there wouldn’t be any harm in being more informed. And I’m glad I did.
The company has affiliates all over the country, so the reviews I had read and dug through weren’t for the specific location I had landed. When I noticed my error I Glassdoor-ed its specific location in Orange County and realized far more negative reviews than positive.
“They promise you a chance to move up in position, but instead keep you in a low hourly wage position. They have a high turnover rate.”
“I was hired as the marketing coordinator under the impression I would be working on campaigns, but I ended up selling products in Costco at a booth.”
“It’s all a lie.”
“If you want to work in grocery stores at a booth all over Orange County and never get reimbursed for gas, this is the job for you.”
Needless to say my heart sank well into my stomach.
I had already agreed to come in for an interview and kept in mind, if anything this would be for practice.
I spoke to family, explained the situation and how it angered me a company thought it was ethical to imply it was a marketing job, when actually it seemed like a sales position. I went over questions I would ask to see if the reviews had been true, and told the Hubs numerous times I wouldn’t be suckered in, I wouldn’t take another waitressing job with a different title.
My mother-in-law scouted the Internet for additional job listings and emailed links to apply. I spent the next two-isn hours applying to as many jobs my fingers would allow before cramping. I will find an honest job.
I got to the offices an hour early. I wasn’t too nervous, but more anxious to see what would be said about the company. When I walked into the lobby it was filled with older men wearing suits, all filling out an application on a standard clipboard. This could be a good sign, right?
I figured I would be waiting for quite some time because of the number of people ahead of me in the waiting area, and was surprised to hear my name called 10 minutes later.
A lady escorted me to her office and closed the door, and with any conversation it started out with regular chitchat. I explained what type of position I was looking for, why I was interested in communication and how I ended up in California. I mentioned I wasn’t too sure what the company provided for its clients and if she could elaborate both the position I was interviewing for, and the company’s mission.
This is where it went wonky.
She explained because of weird California laws she wasn’t permitted to discuss the business aspect of the company on its website. I think because she knew I was new to the area, this would make sense to me, because what would I know about California?
They worked for small brands trying to make an impact in the consumer world and promoted products at different events. She continued the conversation about what her job description was and her daily roles. That she needed help managing the 40+ events she manages daily.
I was taught to listen and observe while attending journalism school, and I noticed she never actually answered my question. So I asked again, using different terminology. And again, she circled back to what is expected of her in the business, this time including “big marketing words” to sell the company’s mission. She was trying to sell me the job.
After she finished, I asked again what exactly my daily function would be in this office. And again, she circled back to her job description and the company’s mission.
By this point I was almost certain I would end up at a booth in Costco selling vegan corn chips to busy shoppers who didn’t want to be bothered.*
I finally asked, “Would you be putting me in a Costco to sell these products on a regular basis. I have read some reviews about this company and would like to know if these are true, because that isn’t something I would be interested in.”
She didn’t appreciate my question.
“Well, I can’t just hire you into an executive role without proper training. We can discuss your role further at another time.”
And with that she stood up, extended her hand, thanked me for coming in and showed me the door. I held in my fits of giggle until I had left the lobby doors. I wasn’t even upset; I was liberated.
I almost wet myself replaying the interview in my head and especially enjoyed the executive position remark. I mean, when did I imply I wanted to be hired as a top dog? I asked multiple times what my daily duties were, and she couldn’t give me an answer without patting herself on the back, or speaking about how wonderful of a service they do for their brands and business partners.
I was polite, I let her finish her rambles, I smiled and asked questions (which heads-up, you’re allowed to do!). She realized she wasn’t the smartest person in the room, and I wasn’t falling for her sale’s pitch, so she dismissed me. I cried laughing the entire drive home.
After I got home, I called immediate family and relived the bazaar interview over and over again. I was pleased I hadn’t allowed her to distract or circle talk me away from my original, perfectly understandable, questions. And I felt validated everyone agreed.
I didn’t barge in to the interview demanding high wages. I didn’t feel I acted like I was above any job because I had my bachelors. And most importantly, I didn’t imply I was desperate for employment. Plus, I learned a little something to watch out for in future interviews.
It took about two hours to inform my family before I sat down at the computer to check out more job listings. I wanted to check my emails first, not that I was expecting a second interview. Sitting at the top of my inbox was an offer from a nonprofit to schedule an interview.
I responded quickly and crossed my fingers it wold be better than the last.