Hi all. I’ve been busy, busy busy. With my son graduating High School two weeks ago and my workload, I’m swamped. But I have some down time and wanted to share a story with you. A cautionary tale if you would, from the perspective of a Mom and Recruiter.

As I mentioned, my son graduated from high school recently. He’s 18 and “free” (yeah whatever that means) and ready to take on the world. He has some time before he reports for college this fall, so he decided to look for a part time job in addition to his side business. I have no problem with that. Hey, I was 18, and I know what it’s like to be “free” but broke.  So as his RecruiterMom, I sat him down to give him some job search advice. I mean I’ve only been a Recruiter for 16 years and his Mom for 18. I think I know a little something. Well the young man stopped me a quarter of the way through the conversation to tell me “it’s OK Mom. I got this. I know enough to find a job. You already taught me how to present myself and all that good stuff. Trust me to do this on my own”.

Well as a Mom, it was tough. He’s been under my watch for the last 18 years. My husband tells me it’s time to let the baby bird fly. As a Recruiter, I respected that some of my words have sunken into his head and he felt ready to do this alone. So I stepped back and let him do what he needed to do.  He had received a letter in the mail from Vector Marketing. Yes, I’m naming names, as I am very upset by the whole incident.  They apparently bought mailing lists of graduating seniors and college students, because I know he didn’t reach out to them. As a Recruiter, that’s a proactive move and I can’t be mad at them. But when I saw the letter, my red flags went up. I talked to my husband and he said to let the child..excuse me, young man..work it out.  So I sat back.

My son got up early on Wednesday morning and got dressed to the nines. He had a suit and tie, his best shoes, a leather portfolio I had lent him, copies of his resume and a gold pen of mine that he borrowed. He was intent on making a good impression on the recruiter. So off he goes. About three hours later, I get a call from my very excited son “Mom, I got the job!” I think, wow that’s great! He promised to share the details when he got home. I had a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. I went to my trusty friend Google and looked up this company. I realized my son got involved in Network Marketing/MLM/whatever you want to call it, and called my husband immediately. Again, I was told to let him find his way. So he comes home with the information and says he has to attend training Thursday, Friday & Saturday. I thought OK, fine. When he hears what he needs to do he’ll quit. They told him they’d pay him $16 per APPOINTMENT, not per hour as he thought. There would be no hourly rate. Off he went the first day of training. He comes home and tells me about the “Cutco Way” and asks about scheduling appointments to sell me knives. WHAT!? My spidey sense was tingling..scratch that, it was hollaring! I asked him again if he was ok with this “job”. He said sure, I’ll give it a try. It seems easy enough.

So off he goes the second day. He comes home last night and says hey Mom, I need $140 for a deposit to buy the items to sell.  WHAT!! So I asked him to tell me about the interview process. He said “you know mom, they didn’t ask for my resume at all. I gave it to him and he was shocked. They didn’t take any ID. They had us go to individual and group “interviews” then told me I was hired”. I asked did they at least have him fill out an application or ask for references and he said no.  At this moment I asked him, “did you really think this through?”.  He told me he was starting to feel funny about this “job”. Every ten minutes, he’d come back in my office with another “AHA moment” about something that should have tipped him off.  So I sat him down and we surfed the internet.

There were TONS of reports about this company and they weren’t very pretty. Well my son decided that since he hadn’t signed anything he would not be returning.  Ordinarily I would advise him to handle it differently, but in this case, I couldn’t blame him. I told him he could find a REAL job.  Here’s my issue. On their website, they talk about the process and mention that they tell applicants at the interview that there is an “investment”.  They NEVER disclosed that to my son or any of the others. The so called “recruiter” should have explained to those kids (because that’s what they are) everything about the position AND the policies of the company.

Now, I don’t begrudge anyone a chance to make money. But don’t prey on kids who don’t know any better.  We all know that as Recruiters, you have to disclose certain information to candidates when hiring.  We also know that references, background checks, W4s and I9s are all part of the process. They did NONE of this with my son or anyone else.  In this tight economy, I find it reprehensible that companies like this are allowed to prey (yes I used the word again) on young kids.  My son was lucky. He figured it all out before he got in too deep. Plus he has me as his Recruiter/Mom to minimize the damage. But what about those who aren’t as lucky?  And what kind of so-called “recruiters” are these?  They didn’t do their “job” as recruiters, they did a job as a salesperson.  They suckered these kids into thinking that they had these wonderful jobs when all they did was suck them into their pyramid schemes.  I am disgusted that companies like this are allowed to advertise along side legitimate companies and legitimate jobs.

I will be placing two calls on Monday. One to the high school for selling this information without permission, and Vector Marketing for being so disgusting. I don’t generally disparage any company. When I have an issue, I may allude to it without mentioning names. But this economy is not the right time to have people get taken.  I know I’ll get hate mail from the MLM crowd, but I don’t care. I’m not putting down that line of work. Only the unscrupulous ways some of them use to “recruit”. I for one don’t want my title/job/reputation as a Recruiter to be confused with theirs. There are ways for teens and college students to make money. Let’s take the time to properly educate them so they can make the best decisions for themselves.

Til next time. Watch your back people!

Adrienne Graham