BEWARE: Scammers are trying to take advantage of the unemployed during this pandemic.

As many of you know, I am an unemployed Canadian citizen who has been applying for jobs on Indeed and LinkedIn for throughout 2020. I was worried that, when shit really hit the proverbial fan with respect to the Corona Virus, there would be scams coming out to take advantage of all of the people who’ve found themselves without work due to this pandemic. And, recent days have taught me that this is a rampant problem at the moment.

I received the above email this morning.

I did, in fact, apply for a data entry position on Indeed 48 hours ago. Since receiving this email, I have reported this job posting to Indeed as being fraudulent/misleading and left them a comment that I believe it to be a scam.

If you are unemployed, or have found your job temporarily suspended during this pandemic, it’s important to pay close attention to any communication that you might be getting. Being unemployed can bring on a lot of stress and often times it can be quite easy to see a promising email and not look closely at the details, thinking you need to jump on an opportunity, any opportunity right away.

Please don’t get scammed.

Using my email as an example, here are some things to look for:

  • Who is the email from? In the case of this email, who it’s from is a pretty big giveaway that it’s a scam. The sender’s name is Maggie Susan whilst the email address is MarcThomas055@hotmail.com. The job that I applied for was with what presented itself to be a legitimate Technology Company.
  • Who is the email to? This might seem like a stupid thing to check for, but in the case of this email, it’s not ‘To’ me. I am not ‘iooiioioo@gmail.com’. For privacy reasons, I am not sharing my personal gmail address. But, seeing as this was not addressed to me, and I was clearly BCC’ed, it leads me to believe this was likely sent in a group email to anyone who applied for the position, in their hopes that people would glance over who it was addressed to.
  • Who is the greeting too? A legitimate job prospect, whether with a company that has 3,000 employees or one that has 30 employees, will ALWAYS address the email to your first name. If you applied for a position, they already have your name and information. Any legitimate job seeker will say ‘Hi [Insert First Name Here]’. If they do not, it’s probably because the software they’re using to group send this scam isn’t advanced enough include your first name.
  • Who is it from? Did the sender sign their name? Is the company included? Is their a company signature linking to their website or online portfolios? A legitimate job seeker would NEVER leave their name off the end of an email.
  • Is there a sketchy looking link in the email? Of course there is. Please don’t click it. This is a bait tool to give hackers remote access to your desktop. In the case of this email, what are they asking me to register for? They have my information. If they were actually wanting to hire me, employment contracts need to be signed, and those cannot be done through sketchy links.
  • Do they name their company in their email? If they don’t, why wold a legitimate job seeker leave the name of their company off an email to prospective candidates? Perhaps because it’s not legitimate.
  • Does it make your spidey senses tingle? Because if it seems too good to be true, it is.

If you’ve found yourself without employment during this time, please know that you’re not alone. Please, please, please be diligent in where you respond to your emails. Pay attention to the small details. It might sound stupid when you read it, but A LOT of people fall for scams just like this one. With everyone in a hard enough situation already, I do not want you to get taken advantage further.

Thanks for reading.

Waiting for word.

Every time my phone beeps, buzzes or rings I think ‘this could be it, this could be the news I’ve been waiting for’.

Nope. Not yet.

Still waiting. Still applying for other positions. Still wishing, hoping and dreaming for something to go my way for a change. Still writing essays for ‘pre-interview questionnaires’. When did pre-interview questionnaires become a thing? Because they’re a giant waste of time.

You don’t realize how much your phone beeps until you’re waiting for news.

Come on universe.

I need this one.

I really need this one.

True story –> At my last place of employment, whenever they were hiring for a position with ‘Management’ in the title, they would automatically delete/throw away any resume of someone who’s name sounded like it could be female. My former boss was of the belief that females weren’t qualified to work in management. If he somehow selected someone to move further in the process who was female (for example if he selected a Jordan and Jordan turned out to be female) he’d simply ghost the candidates because (and he used to brag about this very openly) ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’.

I know that when I apply for a job it’s a number’s game. I know it’s not necessarily about what’s on your resume. Sometimes what’s on your resume matters and sometimes it really doesn’t. I’m just wishing, hoping, dreaming for the opportunity and hoping that this time around, what was on my resume really mattered.

Adventures in job hunting: they called the wrong candidate.

When I answer the phone, if it’s a number that I do not recognize, I won’t identify myself upon answering, I’ll simply say ‘Hello’. There’s a lot of reasons for this, but bottom line is if I don’t know them and I don’t know how they get my number, I’m certainly not telling them who I am.

At 7:00 o clock this morning my phone started ringing. Typically, I’ll look before answering, but sometimes I make questionable decisions first thing in the morning.

‘Good Morning this is Jessica calling from ‘X Company’, I was hoping now was a good time to have a quick chat and ask you some questions about your application.’ The woman said.

Oh, yeah. Since I applied for a position with ‘X Company’ last week, I just assumed they were calling candidates with resumes they liked and asking a few questions.

Questions she asked were simple. Things along the lines of ‘So why did you apply for this position?’ and ‘What is your salary expecations for this position?’ and ‘What do you like about X Company?’

They were easily answered and we were about five minutes into the conversation when she said ‘So Holly, can you tell me a little about your experience with Y Company?’

I was confused.

Holly?

Y Company?

Huh?

She’d never actually acknowledged my name. She’d never actually said who she was calling for, or looking for. She simply just said ‘Hi I’m Jessica’ an then started into it.

‘I think there’s a mistake here’, I said.

‘Oh?’ She questioned.

‘I’ve never worked for Y Company’, I said.

‘Oh, Holly, it’s listed on your resume as experience for the past four years’. She started sounding suspicious.

‘My name isn’t Holly.’ I said.

‘What?’ She asked

‘My name’s not Holly and I’ve never worked at Y Company’ I said.

‘What?’ She asked again. ‘Am I speaking to Holly [Insert Last Name Here]?’

‘No. My name is Vee [Insert last name here]’ I responded.

The woman seem to become frantic and scared at this point. She began questioning me as to why I never told her my name. She didn’t take too kindly to my reminding her that she phoned me and she never acknowledged who she was calling so I just presumed in phoning my phone number she was looking to speak with me.

She then said ‘It’s really unprofessional to not acknowledge yourself when you answer the phone’.

I apologized for not acknowledging my name when I answered the phone and then I politely said that as it was my phone number, I again presumed that she was just calling for me. As I applied for this position she was speaking of, I had no reason to think she wasn’t calling for me.

She then, reluctantly, apologized for the confusion. I could tell that she didn’t really want to though.

I suggested that she could use my answers for my own application and that she must have my application there, in her candidates pool and that I hoped the phone call could bring value towards my application.

She said ‘Thanks for your time, we’ll be in touch in a few days with respect to your application’.

When she hung up I had an inkling that I was never going to hear from this company again. Just her tone and the way she spoke, I have a feeling that, though she was the one who messed up, this was counting as a strike against me.

Sure enough, about 30 minutes later I got generic rejection email that said ‘Thank you for your application. X Company has moved on to the next round of the application process and your application is not being considered at this time. Please feel free to apply for future positions on our website ———————.com.’

Welp.

Saw that one coming.

Onto the next, I guess.

Hey Universe, if you’re listening.

I have a phone interview tomorrow, for a really awesome position with a really awesome company, that starts in January. Universe, I don’t know if you’re listening or not, but if you are, how about you work some of your magic? I’ve seen you do it before and I could use some of it right about now.

It’d be awfully nice to have a new job to go to in 2020. Awfully nice indeed. Dare I go so far as to say it would make me have a very merry and happy Christmas? Because I really think this position could change things for me. I really think it could make me a better me, a new me, a happier me.

Is that selfish of me to ask for your help? I think that’s selfish of me to ask. I don’t care though. A girl’s gotta get her turn eventually, and this, this could be mine!

Universe, I would like this job. Not one three months from now, or six months from now, I want this one.

I would be so happy if they could like me enough to give me an in-person interview. I know once they met me they wouldn’t want to pass me up. I just need them to give me the in-person.

Goodness, I hope this goes well tomorrow.

Sincerely, A hopeful soul.

Salty rejection thoughts.

Photo from: Workdaily.com

The best part of today’s rejection was the last line:

P.s. Hope we will have the chance to consider you for another role in the future.

Yeah, because that’s sincere. (rolls eyes) Honestly, from my perspective it’d been better if they just wrote ‘P.S. Fuck You’. Perhaps if they write rejection emails like this, though, perhaps it’s better if they just don’t write rejections at all and just take to ghosting candidates like most companies do.

Why couldn’t they just stop at “Sincerely, Company Name”? Just end it there. Full stop. No more email.

Perhaps they could use someone like me in their office because I could teach them that writing “P.S.” statements in nameless, no-response rejection emails is patronizing, and makes them look stupid.

Am I salty? Sure am. I won’t hide that. I’ve spent three weeks jumping through fiery hoops for this company and was told I was one of the final three candidates. Then I got a nameless, donotrespond@ rejection email with an idiotic PS statement on the end? Again, it might have just been smarter on their part to ghost me.

I should write back and CC all of them. Reminder:

Dear donotrespond@, For the record, after three phone/skype interviews and umpteen emails back and forth between myself and your office discussing everything from my first year on the job to when I can travel out and see your workspace, I’m not sure why you felt a need to write your rejection email from a donotrespond@ email address. It’s not as if I don’t have ALL of your names and contact information at this point. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Vee. P.S. I hope that I have time to jump through more fiery, patronizing hoops for your consideration in the future.

Anyways, I haven’t responded. And I’m not going to. Though I WANT TO.

Perhaps the donotrespond@ email was an effort to remove themselves from the situation of having to reject me, whilst simultaneously trying to ‘lessen the blow’ with the P.S. statement? Who knows.

I do know that they have four other openings in their company right now, so perhaps I should apply to all four to take them up on their PS statement?

I’m not qualified to work at Wal-Mart.

That’s right. Sounds a little ridiculous, no? It’s Wal-Mart. How hard could it possibly be? What exactly are the skills required of working at Wal-Mart that I am lacking? Or am I just a really shitty person and that’s why they won’t hire me?

Throughout this job-hunting process, one of the things that I wanted to do was apply for a cashier/retail position. I wanted something that I could work in the mean-time, until I find my next career position. And, I thought if I were so lucky enough, this mean-time job – being a cashier in a store, might be able to be my ‘side-hustle’ so to speak… once I landed my 9-5 again.

I thought this plan might have been coming to fruition when I landed an interview for a role as a cashier at Wal-Mart. I thought ‘This will be perfect. I can work it full-time now (or part time, whatever hours they provide me) and then when I land my full-time job I can scale back to part time’. I thought being a part-time employee at Wal-Mart was a good thing. After all, don’t they like that? They don’t have to pay employees as much, or offer as many breaks, etc… if they’re part-time.

I’m somewhat-not-stupid in the intelligence department. I can count. I can multiply large numbers in my head and would absolutely be able to complete my job even if the power went out and the register was not working. I can scan products through the till. I have a pretty solid memory, for the most part, so remembering things like produce or bulk food codes won’t be hard for me. I tend to work well under chaos and am used to people yelling at me. My mom tells me that I have a nice smile… how could I possibly fail at this role?

Well, apparently Wal-Mart didn’t think I was the right fit for their store.

I went to the job interview – which turned into a group interview… that they did not tell any of us about ahead of time. During the hour in which the interview occurred, the only actual question the manager asked me about myself was what my name was. We proceeded to spend the next hour running through ‘what would you do if…’ scenarios with respect to the store.

I completed each of these scenarios and, after going in order of left-to-right for each candidate to present their completed findings/suggestions, myself and one other girl were quickly cut off and not provided the opportunity to present ours as the one hour of allotted time for the interview was up and they were done interviewing candidates.

The manager promptly let each of us know that he would tell us within 72 hours whether or not we were selected to work for Wal-Mart via email.

Within one hour of leaving my group interview at Wal-Mart, to which the only question I was asked about myself was what my name was, I was sent an email that read the following:

Dear Miss [Insert Last Name Here]

At Wal-Mart we receive many applications from people on a daily basis who wish to work in our store and we have to do our very best to select the most qualified candidates who will be the best additions to our team.

At this time we have found qualified, suitable candidates and will not be hiring you for the position of cashier.

Please do not get discouraged. There are still plenty of career opportunities to work with Wal-Mart, so we do recommend that you keep your account active, remember your username and password, and apply for any future positions to which you may be interested in.

Sincerely,

The Hiring Team at Wal Mart Store [Insert Wal Mart Store Location here]

Since, at this time, they’ve found qualified and suitable candidates for the role of cashier, does that mean that I am not qualified? Or does that mean that I am not suitable? Either way, what is it about my telling you my name that makes me not qualified or not suitable for your team?

This whole process was a bit of a let-down. To not even really be given the time of day in an interview was frustrating, especially considering I sat on my computer one night and completed their 30 minute personality assessment test, to which they reassured me at several points throughout the test that there were no wrong answers. Did I actually get the answers wrong?

What was it about my interview that lead you to believe I am a bad fit for your team? I wore dress clothes – it wasn’t as though I came looking like a slob. I’m an educated woman, it wasn’t as though I couldn’t string sentences together… not that I even got the opportunity to do so anyways.

I can’t be the first person in the world who’s been through the process of changing careers. And I know that I’m definitely not the first person in the world who’s considered the option of a cashier role as a ‘side-hustle’ to make money. Maybe that just doesn’t work for them. Or maybe the manager who interviewed us is telepathic so he knew what I was thinking with respect to the scenarios we were supposed to present and that’s why he didn’t provide me the opportunity to present. Yeah, that’s it. He already knew my answers.

Here’s to being unqualified, or unsuitable, or whatever… (I’m not really sure what they were thinking) to work at Wal-Mart. I’ll drink to that.

Adventures in job hunting (the saga continues)

If there’s one thing that I absolutely hate in life, it’s being lied to. Just be honest. There’s no reason not to. If you’re trying to hide something then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

This morning, I went to a job interview at ‘Company X’. Company X advertised a marketing position on their website, that, when I read the description, I thought I could do well at. My degree is in Marketing with a Minor in Economics. I’ve been working Public Relations for the past decade, so when it comes to skills, I’ve got the vast majority of the Marketing/Communications sector covered.

What a fucking waste of time this morning was for me.

Flash back to last week – When I applied for the position, I noticed that the job description was incredibly vague. That being said, I applied for it anyway, excited of the prospect of landing a marketing role.

The position title: “Marketing Executive”

The position description:

  • Work with local businesses to understand their business cycle and their advertising needs 
  • Work with local businesses and non-profits to design an advertising campaign to meet targets 
  • Provide on-going support to ensure optimal client service 
  • Ongoing awareness of our clients’ day to day challenges 
  • Receivables control 

Vague, right? But, I thought that in my current state I should apply and see what happened. A marketing role could be good for me right now, and if they selected me for an interview, I could ask them the questions I wanted at the interview to learn more about the job.

There’s one GIANT bullet point missing from the job description. The actual position description should be:

  • We are looking for a Sales Representative. This position is 100% sales based.

That’s right. The actual position has nothing to do with marketing. The actual position doesn’t have to do with businesses marketing or advertising needs. They have a team for that. They just want someone to sell companies – and bring in revenue.

The interviewer asks “What experience do yo have in sales?” None. I have no experience in sales. You know this. Why? Because you read my resume. You knew this when you called me last week and requested an interview. Why would I think I need sales experience… it’s listed nowhere in the job description or title.

Working with local business to determine advertising needs, to me, means that you sit down with the boss and find out what he/she wants their brand to be portrayed as. Working with local business to determine advertising needs does not mean cold calling all over town to beg people to purchase advertising. You know this, and you purposely left it off of the job description because you know if people knew the full truth about this position whilst it was posted online, no one would apply.

Furthermore, what I learned today: the position has no salary, it’s 100% sales commission paid. Therefore, if you sell something you get 10% of whatever sold. He says “To put that in perspective, if you sell $300,000 in revenue in a year, you’re going to make about $30,000.”

Are you fucking kidding me? Who is going to sell $300,000 in revenue in this industry… in this town? We’re not in Vancouver or Toronto. We’re in a town in the middle of nowhere with a limited customer base and even more limited audience.

You’re required to work 8-5 Monday to Friday, but you don’t get paid unless you make sales. That’s fine – then advertise this as a fucking sales position, not as a marketing position.

One other thing I learned was that they have teams to put together advertising needs and desires for clients. Yeah, all those bullet points up there about working with clients to determine their needs… they have a team for that. They literally just want someone to go out and do the sales.

My final question for them this morning was if they have a database to work off of for potential customers/people to start with. No. They don’t. Whomever takes on this role has to create the database of potential customers through cold calling. They quite literally have NOTHING set up for this position.

Why would I waste my time with this?

If you can’t even be honest on your job description you post online, why do you think anyone would want to work for you? You know you’re creating a ridiculous ask of any incumbent and that’s why you lied about the position in the job description you posted.

I won’t be speaking to Company X ever again.

In the words of Ariana Grande… thank u, next.