Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sign of the Economy

Yesterday I got a response from one of my many job applications. Good, right? Well, sort of.

On Craigslist they didn't identify the company or anything about what they do, but the job position and duties were right up my alley. Since most applications I send are completely ignored anyways, I decided to go for it. I applied and expected that "that was that," as it were.

Instead, the next morning, I get an email which asked if I do freelance work and my rate. The email indicated that the person had received my resume through my application on a Craigslist post and in the footer it gave the company name.

The company is one of those business lead generation places, apparently. I'm sure there is nothing wrong with this sort of thing, but I'm a bit wary of certain kinds of businesses after recent experiences.

You see, I'm applying for marketing positions, mostly, and I've had a few people contact me that turned out to be less than legit. The companies most likely to do this sort of thing: call centers, coupon door to door salesmen, and "lead generation" companies. They will advertise for a marketing or publicity person, giving a great job description which sounds interesting and legitimate. Once they get your resume, however, things will change.

In one case, I was told that I would interview (all day) for the company, partly by being taken on a tour and shadowing an employee. Before I agreed to it, I did some Googling on the name of the company listed at the bottom of this response. I found that a bunch of people were complaining that the job wasn't what was advertised--that they did this and then made you go around with a coupon salesman all day (refusing to let you leave) and basically holding you hostage for a day in order to get you to take a job which was far different than the one they advertised. I turned them down for their day-long interview.

Since then I had tried to apply only to businesses that identified themselves in the ad and which I could research beforehand. However, I let myself slip on this one and here I was with another potential problem.

I emailed back with caution, asking for more info. A few minutes later the phone rang. This was also a warning sign to me, since that is how the coupon person had worked too. I answered and the person wanted to talk to me about the position.

We talked for awhile and she seemed pleasant. The job was temporary and part-time (neither of which was clear from the ad) and wasn't really what I wanted, but when she said she'd like to interview me the next day, I decided that in this economy, I really couldn't afford to be picky and interviewing wouldn't do any real harm. I said yes.

This morning I receive an email canceling the interview because they've decided they can't actually afford to hire anyone after all.

I don't know whether to be pleased and relieved or disappointed.

This experience reminded me that the economy is not yet recovered. Three signs: the number of job ads which are really opportunists taking advantage of people's desperation, the fact that I was willing to apply and interview with a less than optimal position because I can't find work, and the number of jobs I've seen where people have posted jobs but then funding didn't come through (my husband has seen two of these positions, a friend recently had a company which wanted to hire her but waited 8 months after the interview because of funding problems--all the while, she was unemployed).

I can only hope that the experts are right and things will be turning around soon.

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