Posted by Willy Franzen on May 23, 2008. Jobs updated daily.
UPDATE: Because of this post The Landers Group was forced out of business (or at least has changed names). Our original intent was to shed light on the practices that The Landers Group used, but this post has evolved into a fabulous resource for helping job seekers avoid hiring scams. The tactics that these Multi-Level Marketing companies use are typically the same, so read through the post and check the 200+ comments section to get the latest names these firms are using. This should help you determine whether the company that you’re about to interview with is a scam or not. And if you’re looking for legit entry level jobs, browse around the site—you’ve come to the right place.
One Day, One Job is about helping college students find great entry-level jobs. We’ve always taken this literally by featuring companies that look like great places to work (we can’t ever be 100% on this, but we do our best). Well, a big part of finding a great first job is avoiding the not so great (or really awful) jobs that are out there, so, today, we are going to look at a company called The Landers Group, which has been identified as a scam by people online and in the media. As it gets later in the post-graduation job hunting season, many new grads become desperate. It makes them easy prey for employment scams like those peddled by The Landers Group.
Yeah, that’s what suckers say. How do we know that smart people fall for these scams? We’ve seen it happen. One of my friends is a freshman at an Ivy League school. He was torn between getting a summer job or an internship, so he was looking at all kinds of options. He told me that he had landed an interview with a really cool sports marketing company. Being a reader of One Day, One Internship, he knew to contact us with questions on how to research a potential employer. He had already scheduled an interview with the company for when he returned home, but he sent us the name of the company (The Landers Group) so that we could tell him a little bit more about it. Within seconds we found a number of Google results that indicated he was in for a learning experience (but not the kind you want to get out of your internship). Our friend is a smart kid. He’s proactive and trying to get a Summer internship even though he’s only a freshman. He was about to get burned.
We’ve never had firsthand experience with The Landers Group or any other company that follows similar business practices, but we’ve found enough evidence through our research to indicate that any time spent in contact with one of these companies is wasted. You will usually find these jobs listed on major job boards with titles like “Sports and Entertainment Marketing – Entry Level Positions.” The job description will go into great detail about all of the wonderful things that await those who apply – excellent pay, travel opportunities, learning experiences, and quick advancement. Take a look at all of The Landers Group’s Job Postings on CareerBuilder. They’ll also brag about their amazing client list. From their website:
One by one The Landers Group has added every major sports team in Southern California to its portfolio. No other advertising and marketing firm in the area can make the same claim… Our unparalleled portfolio includes the Los Angeles Dodgers, the LA Clippers, the LA Kings, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, MLS’ Chivas USA, the UCLA Bruins, and also clients such as Crowne Plaza Resorts, Disneyland, and Sea World. Our unique grass-roots marketing approach has given our clients a valuable edge in the marketplace and it places them front and center in the public eye!
Since it seems that Sports and Entertainment Marketing are extremely popular fields with college students, these job listings must get viewed thousands of times. Many of those who read the job descriptions get excited and apply. We don’t have a reference to back this up, but we’re going to guess that everyone who applies gets an interview.
It’s relatively likely that your “interview” with The Landers Group might be your first ever job interview. Whether you realize that something’s fishy depends on how perceptive you are. We’ve heard that their secretary will not refer to the company by name, probably because they operate under multiple names and don’t want you to realize it. Your first interview will most likely be informational, where they’ll continue the pitch that they started in the job posting. Any questions about what the company actually does or what their entry-level jobs are like will probably get a vague response. You’re also likely to hear, “You’ll have to see it to believe it.” Since scammers usually don’t turn away people, we’re going to guess that you’ll get asked back for a second interview too.
The second interview is where you’ll really get to see The Landers Group in action. You will be tagging along with one of the company’s employees. The story usually goes that you end up in a sketchy car with a sketchy person going to a sketchy neighborhood. Once you get there, you find out what The Landers Group does. They sell coupons door to door. Remember that amazing client list? That’s whose coupons you will be selling. You’ll be given one side of the street, and the employee will take the other. You’ll essentially spend the day working for free. How do we know? We’ve found stories from people who have done it like this and this. If you’re lucky, you’ll just end up having wasted a day. If you’re not, you may end up stranded many miles from home or having had a gun pointed at you and with mud all over your only suit.
Now that you’ve read about The Landers Group, you will hopefully know to avoid these scams. If you’re not sure whether an employer is legitimate, use what we’ve taught you to do some employer research. Our articles How to Use Google to Find a Job and Turning the Tables: Digging Dirt on Employers are both excellent resources that will teach you what to need to know. And you can always trust us to help you fine real entry level opportunities in sports, entertainment, and marketing. Often, finding out the truth is as easy as doing a Google search with the company name and the word scam – here are the results for “The Landers Group scam.” Also, remember that these companies use major job boards as their main recruiting tool. Don’t think that because something is listed on Monster, Yahoo! HotJobs, or CareerBuilder it is legitimate – anyone can pay to post their jobs on these sites.
Don’t forget that The Landers Group operates under a variety of names. There are also many other companies that use similar business practices to recruit unsuspecting college students into bum jobs. The stories are often different, but the end result is usually the same. Although The Landers Group is focused quite heavily on selling an actual product, some of these companies are even skeezier. Instead of selling, you’ll be doing their bidding by recruiting more suckers to work for you recruiting more suckers. In general these types of operations are known as Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) operations, and they should be avoided unless you are completely comfortable with what you’re getting into. Here’s a post from the Consumerist on other operations that are using tactics similar to those of The Landers Group.
A List of Companies Known to Have Similar Practices
This is by no means a comprehensive list. If you know of other companies that should be added, please leave a comment with the company’s name and a reference or personal story telling us why they should be included.
Links to Help You Begin Your Research
This was obviously a different kind of post for us. What do you think? Leave a comment. We love to hear feedback.
If you’re still not sold on the fact that MLM “opportunities” aren’t worth your time, check out this in-depth article on how they work and why you’ll end up wasting time and losing money.
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