Last year I met a guy at a business mixer who chatted with me for a minute or two and then immediately asked me if i was looking for work and wanted to come to an interview with his company tomorrow. I'm a young kid fresh out of college, so right away I was interested. It struck me as totally bizarre that his company would hold an interview on a Saturday. What kind of company makes their employees work the weekends? A little red flag flew up in my head, but i ignored it. I was desperate for more work. I mean, who isn't these days?
So I wake up early on a Saturday and get all dressed up for this big new interview I thought i was about to have. I printed up my resume, practiced talking in front of the mirror, all the good stuff to prepare myself for this big new "opportunity" I thought was coming.
I drive all the way over to the "office" and a guy in a really nice suit meets me in the lobby of the building. "Are you here for the Investment Advisers International meeting?" He asked me. I confirmed, and then he looks past me in a straining way and then says "Oh. You didn't bring anybody with you?" and I could see the disappointment in his face. Why would a "financial investment" company want (much less actually expect) me to bring somebody else along to my job interview? Red flag #2
While i ponder this question, he shoves a clipboard in front of my face and asks me to write down my name, phone number, email, and then says "If you know the contact information of anybody else who might be interested in financial investments go ahead and write their information down too." Um, excuse me? First of all, i'm not sure it's even legal for me to give you the contact information of somebody else who is not me. Second of all, what kind of company is looking to hire just anybody off the street? What company is this desperate to hire people, that they are willing to just call any warm blooded person they can get their hands on and bring them in for an "interview?" Red flag #3.
I take the elevator up with this guy, and we walk into the "office." It's totally barren. No desks, no chairs, no computers, no paintings or pictures on the walls, no tables. Nothing except for a few fold-up plastic chairs in a room off to the side that also has a projector. The office lacked any of the tell-tale signs that it was a real office that people worked in. "Wow, looks like you guys just moved in, huh?" I commented. He avoided the question and quickly began introducing me to his "colleagues." Red flag #4.
They ask me about my background, i tell them about graduating college and my dreams of one day working for a US Embassy abroad. They seem impressed by this, and then quickly re-assure me that IAI can help me reach that goal. I stop the conversation as I start to process this. If they are a financial company, aren't they going to want to hire people who have like, EXPERIENCE in the finance industry? People who have studied the stock market? My degree and education have nothing to do with business, finance, or the stock market, and yet this doesn't seem to bother them AT ALL. If I were running a finance company, i'd want to hire people who actually knew something about the industry. They didn't even ask to look at my resume. It was almost like the less I knew about their company and finance, the more excited they became and the more they began to treat me like I was the perfect guy for them. Red Flag #5.
They then brought me into the room with the fold up chairs and projector, and they had me take a seat. I took a look around, and I was the only one who showed up to this "interview." They all seemed very dismayed by this. Red Flag #6.
The presentation on the company and how it works begins, and I start taking notes. The guy sitting next to me looks intensely interested, and he is taking notes as well. Why would somebody who works at this place, need to take notes on how the company works? Red flag #7.
The presentation finally gets to the part where it explains that I have three ways of making money with IAI/WFG/Transmerica...whatever the *** you want to call this ***... and the third way is listed as "finding new associates." Wait, what? A finance company that makes money by...hiring new people? That's a *** pyramid scheme. How can a company make money by bringing in new employees? Hiring and training new employees is an EXPENSE for a company, not a source of income. Anybody who has taken economics 101 could tell you that. Red flag #8.
At this point i'm getting angry. How dumb do they think I am? I'm almost embarrassed and mad at myself for being suckered into this "interview." I'm about ready to leave, and the guy who I met at the business mixer the day before comes up to me and hands me a form to fill out. He is super pushy about getting me to come in for another meeting. I tell him "I'll think about it." I look him in the eyes, and I can't help but feel bad for him. I literally feel bad that he has been suckered into this thing. I wonder how much money he has lost to this "company."
He tries to introduce me to more people, but I have to visibly fake my interest in meeting them. He walks me into an office to meet his "boss." He tells me that IAI doesn't hire people, they give people the "opportunity" to become "associates." So, if he is just an "associate" of the company, then why does he refer to her as his boss? Isn't he technically a free-lance agent or whatever? How can he have a boss if he's just a franchisee? At this point i'm not even counting the red flags anymore.
His "boss" is in an empty room devoid of any desk, chair, or computer. Her husband is with her, and they are both wearing t-shirts and jeans. They have an 8 month old baby laying in a carrier in the middle of the room. She tries to act enthusiastic about getting to meet me, but I can see the strain in her face and the fatigue in her eyes. I start to wonder how much debt she has, and how much she must be kicking herself for becoming trapped in this pyramid scheme.
Before I leave, the guy stops me and says "Now look, if you go on the internet and look us up, you're going to read a lot of bad stuff about us. None of it is true. After all, people say bad things about GOD all the time on the internet." He emphasis the last part about god, and the room grows quiet as he stares me in the eyes for dramatic effect. At this point i'm pretty pissed off. I don't say anything and I only narrow my eyes at him.
I walked out and threw the packet they gave me (which was poorly stapled together) right in the trash where it belonged. Don't EVER get involved with this "company."
Monetary Loss: $2.