I wanted to preface by saying that these are all based on my personal experiences and research I've done myself. I don't doubt there will be individuals that may have differing opinions from me, but these are my opinions.
Not too long ago, I was contacted by someone (who will not be named) who I didn't know and that did not even have any affiliation with the school I attend through Facebook. He messaged me wondering if I was or knew anyone that was interested in having a job during the school semester. I, of course, thought it would be a great opportunity to make some money while being a student so I asked him what the job was all about. He told me that It would be a sales and marketing job where I present and sell products to customers under a company named Vector Marketing. I was told that no prior experience was needed because each new employee would be getting fully trained and that they offer extremely flexible schedules. Great! He sends me a link to the application and upon clicking it, I noticed that it only asked for my name, number, email, and my age. I didn't even have to send in my resume, which confused me a little bit at first but I overlooked it.
The next day, I received a call from the personnel manager of the person who reached out to me and wanted to schedule an "interview" with me. I couldn't receive it at the time, so the call was rescheduled to the following day and we planned the interview and everything. You're probably wondering why I put quotation marks around the interview. That's because when it was the day of the interview, it was completely different from what I was expecting. We were told to click on a link from an email sent to applicants. That link redirects me to, what was essential, a budget Zoom. The only person's camera I saw was mine, and a blank screen from the person I was expected to be "interviewed" by. After about 10 minutes, I finally see someone but not the person I was expecting. I was expecting to be interviewed by the same man who previously contacted me, but it turned out to be a young lady in a blazer located in what seemed to be a dorm room. With her roommate's legs dangling in the background of her screen, she started to introduce herself. She states that she's a freshman that attends the same school that I currently attend. This is the first thing that sort of made me shake my head. She's a freshman at my school, she said she started this job only four months ago, and she's already in a position to start interviewing new recruits? Anyways, after her own introduction, she told us that we would not be able to see anyone else's videos but ours and the interviewer and that we couldn't see anyone else's comments in the chatbox besides our own. Ummmm.... alright. For what felt like an eternity, all she did was explain to us her position, the history of the company, how it operates, and then we had to watch some (very obviously staged) video put up by current employees of Vector Marketing. After that whole interesting process, we were told that we would be contacted within the next day or two to know the final results of our acceptance into the company. I immediately told my friends about how "it was the weirdest interview of my life".
Something that stuck out to me from that video was their "payment plans". They mentioned how you can choose "base pay" or an "incentive-based pay". The base pay is just whatever is promoted in the flyers recruiters like to showcase on social media. Many people have mistaken this job as $17 per hour when it says $17 per appointment. In order to understand that a little more, here's some background information. Vector Marketing distributes Cutco knives, which is a well-known company for kitchen accessories. In the position that students are recruited for, they would be distributors for their products. Their job is to present to customers Cutco's products in a mix of door-to-door and virtual appointments and ultimately sell them. So for any appointment that you set up and complete, you would be making $17 regardless of if you end up selling anything. However, if you opt-in for the incentive-based pay, you'd be making more money depending on how much you end up selling. For certain thresholds you reach from successfully selling, you'd be earning increased pay in increments of five percent. They make it seem like a good idea because they love to emphasize that you'd be getting a full set of Cutco knives given to you to test out and use as a demo for customers. However, what they don't tell you is that you'd have to buy their products out of your own pocket so that you can have your own supply to sell to customers. You'd essentially have to work your ass off and commit so much time to this job to even make up for the cost of these sets because these knife sets are high quality (or they advertised them as so) and are not cheap. A set costs around $200-$300, and if you think about it, what person these days would gladly accept a random door-to-door offer of expensive kitchen knives from a random person? In a YouTube video posted by another individual who also went to a Vector Marketing interview, he mentions that he was told to put a "down payment" of $200 dollars before continuing his job which is what the price of a knife set is. Additionally, you will soon come to realize that when you search up "Vector Marketing online, the first thing that pops up is "scam" right after it and countless YouTube videos of people explaining their experiences and why you shouldn't trust this company.
Even when you search up Vector Marketing on Wikipedia, the description literally says that it is a "multi-level marketing" company or an "MLM scam." Essentially, MLM scams are pyramid schemes where these companies advertise working with them to come with so many amenities and benefits that seem too good to be true and they would make you believe that they would profit from the selling of their products. In reality, they actually make profits from branching out to other people. The whole purpose of a pyramid scheme or an MLM scam is to market themselves as something so amazing that really know how to lure in naive individuals. Once someone else gets hooked, then they tell their friends, and those friends will tell their other friends and it ends up creating a vast network (if executed ideally). In a half-hour long video from 2016 where John Oliver talks about MLM scams on his segment, "Last Week Tonight", he goes into more detail about what these kinds of companies are alike and it's quite hilarious and informative at the same time. (Yes, it was so interesting that I actually watched it in its entirety.) At one part of the video, it shows a meeting where previous employees of MLM company Herbalife cry while coherently trying to explain how these companies ruined their lives and caused them to spiral into debt. As I said before, joining these companies seems like such an amazing opportunity, but the products you sell will come at the expense of your own wallets, and it is not up to the company whether they get sold or not. Many previous employees in the video played during the John Oliver segment have mentioned how their garages ended up entirely filled with boxes of Herbalife because they couldn't sell more than they had to buy which caused them to lose money and force them to eventually quit. As I mentioned before, you would have to work your f**king ass off to even break even. Students want a side job, not a full-time commitment during school.
I was ignorant and in hindsight, everything adds up. For Vector Marketing, high school and college students are primarily preyed on because of how vulnerable we are, and let's face it, any student is willing to make easy money. Vector Marketing talks about how they work around your own schedules, you aren't pressured to sell anything, and everything about the job is at your own pace. That sounds muy bueno for any student, right? I didn't have to send in my resume, no prior experience was necessary, but they talked about how "competitive" these positions are. (Competitive my ass.) If you're trying to make some serious money from a job, you would definitely not be getting back as much as you put in for MLM companies. There is literally a student-run organization called "SAVE", which stands for Students Against Vector Exploitation. It works to "expose Vector's dishonesty" and mentions how students are hired as "independent contractors rather than employees". It all makes sense. Vector Marketing is a perfect example of how MLM scams work, and it's not just me that had my suspicions even before going into the damn interview. Here's another example on YouTube where someone went to an interview and talked about the very interesting experiences he had.
If you're a student desperate for some money, I highly suggest you look for opportunities with more reputable brands and organizations. If the company or organization you're interested in isn't well known, please do your research. Do not fall for the tactics companies like Vector Marketing use, and if you see similar tactics being used on you by other companies, it could be a very clear signs of a MLM scam. Don't fall for this and almost get yourself into a trap like I did and dig up more information. I know finding a good job opportunity is exciting and you would want to get started right away, but be cautious and patient with the time you use for research. It's always better to be safe than sorry.