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scamjobWhen applying for jobs on-line, no doubt you’ve run across a few questionable job postings in the last few years.  Job postings that promise the world, with lots of money, if only you will contact them.

Time is limited in experiential marketing.  When looking for a job, you want to find the best possible job in the shortest amount of time.  You want to waste as little time as you can sending out resumes, contacting recruiters, and responding to job posts that never deliver on their empty promises.

There are a plethora of scams on-line, inputted daily onto on-line job boards  from sources unknown.  There are, however, a few ways to detect a scam or, at the very least, to be suspicious about the job posting and its true intentions.

Below is a list of some of the ‘Alerts’ you should be aware of when searching for work in experiential marketing.  Knowing what phrases, words, and statements to watch out for can help you navigate more smoothly through the jungle of internet job sites.


Scam Alert 1 – The Question

Any posting that starts off with a question is usually a scam.  Such questions are:

Do you like making money?

Do you have what it takes to be the best of the best?

Are you a high energy, over achiever?

Do you want a job where you can make a difference and have fun at the same time?

Any posting that opens up with a question should set off the ‘scam alert’ bells in your head.  Why the heck is the job posting asking you a question?  It sounds more like advertising – which is what it usually is.  Spammers, scammers, bloggers and liars use Craigslist relentlessly to gather e-mail addresses, contact information, or to garner hits to their websites.  They are basically looking for as many hits as possible.  Would anybody say ‘no’ to the questions above?


Scam Alert 2 – Job posting length

Too much or too little should give you an indication of whether or not it is a scam.  Very short job postings (2 or 3 lines of text) show that the poster just doesn’t care.  This is the age of the Internet.  You can write as much as you want to get your point across.  Why only state the job in 3 lines?  Can you give me a little more info?

Then there are the job postings that go on forever; paragraph after paragraph of job description shows that the poster cares too much – and is probably looking for something other than your employment.  Job postings should be concise and to the point.  Too much writing is overkill and gives every indication of a poster that might be trying a little too hard to get you to join their organization.


Scam Alert 3 – Response time

The quick call back.

Mind you, if the job is a one day gig, and you are needed tomorrow, you can and should expect a quick call back.  However, the majority of jobs posted will have at least a two week window for job postings.

Fast response times are often automated by computer, leaving little to no chance of ever receiving human contact.  Fast response times by individuals should also be brought into question.  If the human resource person is receiving a bush load of e-mails containing resumes, how fast do you think their response time would be?

People who are working won’t have the time to answer your job inquiries ASAP.  If they do, you have to ask yourself:  ‘How do they have the time to answer my job inquiry so quickly?’

This is especially true if they ask you to come in for an interview the following day (I’ve even had responses to ‘come in for training’ within minutes of sending the e-mail).  No company would, could, or should be bringing in potential recruits the following day….unless it isn’t a legitimate job, and the real job is to bring in as many people as possible.  The more people respond, the more potential suckers…. I mean potential candidates they have for jobs that might not be as legitimate as their posting describes.


Are there any ‘key words’ that indicate if it’s a scam?

There are a few key words that seem to pop up often when seeking for experiential, event and field marketing positions.  Below are the words and their ‘real life’ translations


“Entry Level” = Scam

“Entry Level” means that they will pay little to no money for labor that should, at a minimum, be paying $15 an hour.  “Entry Level” job postings are meant for some of the biggest and most naïve job seekers out there:  recent high school and college graduates.  The company is looking for ‘educated’ workers that will work for free or minimum wage at jobs that can exceed 40 hours a week and consist of work that would normally cost the company a fortune.

By stating “Entry Level,” many young and naïve job seekers will ‘think’ that they are starting off at the bottom rung of a ladder where they can only move up.  This is a falsehood, and companies that post “Entry Level” know this.

There is no ladder.  There are no steps to climb.  Yes, the company will tell you:  “Stick with us kid, and within three months you’ll be a manager.”

Yeah.  Sure.

Once you’ve worked two months you’ll question why you have never been paid. You’ll be fired for your ‘insubordination,’ and it’s on to the next sucker of the scam.


“Internship” = Slave labor

“Internship” might as well state:  Who wants to work for free?

There are no internships in event marketing.  None.  There may be an internship in an office, but there is not (or shouldn’t be) internships for in-field marketing work.  Work that takes place in the field should be paid.

Keep in mind that the majority of marketing agencies are small companies.  Some of them are mom-and-pop style agencies, run by only a handful of employees.  They have as difficult a time securing clients as event workers do securing jobs.  When they secure the rights to a promotion, the last thing they want to do is part with that client’s promotional money.  If they pay you, that means less for them.

“Why should I pay my workers for working the promotion?,” some small agencies will think to themselves.  “I’m the one who did all the work contacting the client and securing the rights to this promotion.”

As a result, some of the more unscrupulous agencies will post jobs stating:  ‘Looking for interns for in-field product sampling.  Valuable work experience! Will sign any college form we receive so you can get school credit.’

Wow!  What a deal.  I can get the same ‘experience’ sampling juice at supermarkets on the weekend as I could working in the fast food industry – the only difference is that I would be PAID in the latter.

Don’t let people take advantage of you in event marketing.  There is no future employment after you’ve completed an ‘internship’ in event marketing.  None.  It doesn’t exist.  The jobs are too short, the clients turn over too quickly, and the employers themselves won’t stick around forever.  It’s just a fact of the industry.


“Open Minded” = Porn

Need I say more?

“Open Minded” is usually a statement you will find in job postings seeking ‘models’, ‘event models’,’ show room girls’, or ’ female staff.’

No poster has the guts to say:  “Who wants to take their clothes off for money?,” so instead they use the phrase “Open Minded” to make it seem a little less dirty and a little more conservative.  Surely, open-minded people are the most free-thinking, thoughtful and wisest people around.  Aren’t they?

Don’t be fooled.  It’s just porn.   Don’t send them any photos, any e-mails, or any resumes.  You don’t know who (or what) is on the other end of the job posting.


Unfortunately, the internet is a perfect breeding ground for scams.  There is never a shortage of people who posts the jobs, and there is never a shortage of suckers who will fall for the scam.  Don’t let yourself be one of those ‘suckers.’  Know what to look out for when searching the internet job boards.  Know how to avoid potential scams by being knowledgeable about how they operate.

Yes, even the most experienced job searchers fall for a scam on occasion.  Still, knowing the scammers and spammers tactics, words, and statements will help you be less fearful of applying to that market manager position and less weary of submitting your promotional photos to an experiential agency.

Be safe.  Be careful.  And if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

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John Diego Hernandez

John has been working in event and experiential marketing for over 11 years and has toured nationally throughout the US working with a multitude of agencies for a variety of clients. John's interests include travel, writing, screenwriting, hiking, and a good movie!