How to Know if Your Job Interview is Actually for an Opening in a Pyramid Scheme

How to Know if Your Job Interview is Actually for an Opening in a Pyramid Scheme

The interviewer refers to his grandpa on two different occasions, with two different names. Normal interviews—say for a desk job answering phones at a law firm—won’t typically deter into long asides about what the interviewer’s grandfather taught him about work ethic. But when you’re trying to convince college kids to spend their summers shuffling door-to-door with vacuum parts or textbooks in tow, you gotta keep them distracted. So this guy will talk about his grandpa, Henry the Rancher, who was wildly rich and successful and didn’t care about what people said about him. Then, later, he’ll talk about the Rancher Grandpa again, only this time it’s Karl, and they raised sugar beets south of town. Yep, just sign right here.

The interviewer preps you for how to respond to your friends, parents, and professors when you tell them what kind of shitty job you’re thinking of doing for the summer. “Selling books. Door to door. All summer? And you just met some guy? Sounds cray-cray right?” Right. It doesn’t sound like the resume-builder you’re looking for. But, that’s okay, because the interviewer preps you. “Listen, girlfriends, parents, friends, they have limited knowledge,” He says, coldly, robotically even, crossing his be-suited pant legs. “You have about 50 percent knowledge. Even 75 percent knowledge. Keep focused on the long-term solutions.”

The crazy man with a shaved head, uneasy grin, and too-loose sitting next to you refers to “knowledge” on a percent basis. This shoudn’t happen. No one sane—outside of cults, back-state rural Michigan militias, and adolescent boy clubs—refers to having “50” or “75” percent knowledge. Serious. This happens in your interview at Wells Fargo? Run!

He makes obligatory (perhaps legally-required) reference to a website about his company, detailing their felonious activity. “Listen? Everything—even Christianity—you can find websites that say bad things about it, ya know? The Internet is big. So, if you wanna go read people talk some crap about us, here’s this website. We’re just two pals talking here, huh? Right? No secrets!”

You don’t find out what you’re selling till the very end. After telling you what island in the Pacific you can hit up for having “optimum sales,” how great the mansion in Nashville is where company parties are held, about the vaguely born-again Christian-principles undergirding the company’s philosophy (“discipline, renewal, enlightenment: those are the big three”), and all the wonderful internship credits you’ll pick up, he’ll reveal you’ll be hauling around a case of steak knives for three months in a Florida retirement community.

The follow-up interview can take place, “Really anytime…midnight, 7 a.m., at the coffee shop, in a parking lot, just give me 45 more minutes.” The brainwashing is not yet complete. Err…I mean, the recruitment process. Ha! Did I say brainwashing, I mean, this is a great opportunity. You just don’t get it. And they told me you’d say that! Ha! I feel like I’ve known Robert forever. And he believes in me. He’s a college kid, too. Even though he has crow’s feet around his eyes. And keeps checking his cellphone to see if his ex-wife texted him back. But he’s cool! He wants to toss the football around with me. We can go bungee-jumping on the weekends! And he says I can succeed. I have what it takes. I just need to sign some forms and promise to never, ever ask to use his last name. Or use the Internet till August. Do you want some energy drinks? I’ve got some in my car. Or even better, how ‘bout I give Robert your number?! Or was it Karl?

Dunstan McGill

Photo courtesy Victor1558