Emily Lewis is a genuine Trade Show Model who wants to get you great deals on designer shoes. Ummm….no. Crystal Jennings is a working Hollywood Actress who can guarantee you work if you buy her online training classes. Nope…. Paula Sharp lost 75 pounds in one month by taking a diet pill which you can get for ¼ the price if you send your credit card info right now. Calling BS on that one too.
So why do you believe Jenna Johnston when she says she has a great job for you at CES for $400 a day?? Do you KNOW Jenna Johnston? Probably as much as you know Emily, Crystal or Paula. If you can see those three are scamming you, why can you not see through Jenna’s bologna?
This is not one of my usual blogs. This is hardcore. This is truth. And this may save your job, ass, or even your life. Pay attention.
Do you know what email harvesting is? Companies pay a good sum of money for a grouping of thousands of new emails, especially within a specific demographic. On a Facebook page with thousands of members who all want to work, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. All someone has to do is pretend to be a recruiter, post some great job and rate that no one can resist, and wait for the emails and resumes to come in. Next thing you know, you are getting ten times the spam that you are used to, and why? Because you sent your information to someone when you didn’t know who was on the other end. It’s a great way to make a few extra hundred bucks in the slow seasons. All you need is a Facebook page or five, some sappy get-rich-quick story, and people will hand you money. Oh, and don’t click on that link that Jenna the Recruiter sent you or you will get a virus or get hacked.
If this was a dating site and not a job page, would you send your personal info to some potential mate that you could not find a little background information on? If he refused to tell you where he lived, or where he worked, but said he was a really nice guy, would you just say, “Well, he said he is nice, so let me just send him everything about myself anyways…” NO!! You wouldn’t. You would delete him from whatever files you had and tell all your girlfriends that he was a psycho.
So why do you do it here on Facebook? Are you so desperate for work that you are willing to sacrifice your own safety sending out personal and sensitive information to complete strangers—all for the CHANCE to get a gig? Where the hell is your common sense?
Seriously. When you send your information to some Yahoo or Gmail address, who are you sending it to, and what are you sending?? Your full name, location, pictures, physical description, and job history. If your address is on your resume, get if OFF of there right now. Stop reading this blog, and go fix your resume. This is dangerous.
Oh, then the “recruiter” might write you back and ask how old you are. So you give up your birthday. If she didn’t get your address before, she might send you a generic form, asking you for your address, birthday, Social Security, signature…etc. Oh, and since many of the young BA’s and TS Models aren’t married yet, your emergency contact is usually your mother. Pretty easy to find her maiden name. Bingo. You just got your identity stolen.
And you had better hope that the only thing the person on the other end of that Gmail wanted to do was steal your identity. Because now he or she knows where you live, work, your Social Media habits—because you probably added Jenna as a “friend” on Facebook without knowing if she was even a real person—so he or she knows your everyday habits like who you hang out with, where you work out, where you shop, where your family lives, etc. Jenna might have something else in mind to take from you than your credit. Jenna might meet you outside your house one night and take your life.
This is worst case scenario, but one that you need to be aware of and have drilled into your head on a regular basis. If you haven’t been watching the news lately, there are some seriously crazy people out there who will do horrible things to each other for no apparent reason and involve YOU whether you asked for it or not. So STOP doing things to set yourself up!! I've been in the middle of one psycho shooting this month, I’m pretty much done for…well…the rest of my life, thankyouverymuch.
OK, the “Mom” part of me is done with the lecture. Now let’s move to Business Jen.
So let’s say that these people who you are sending your personal information to aren’t psycho killers, identity stealers, crazed exes looking for revenge, etc. Let’s say they really do work in the Promo Industry.
OK. Where? And for whom?
Anyone who refuses to state who he or she works for has an agenda—one that does not have your best interest at heart.
Sure, you may get a job, you may make some money, but who was this person really who got your information? I call them Resume Pimps. They pose as Recruiters, tell you that they are helping a friend staff a show, or work for an agency, but never tell you who they really work for. Why? Because they are getting a cut of your money, just like a pimp. These Resume Pimps package the girls together and sell it to an agency for a fee—a fee that gets taken out of your pay should you get booked. If they weren't taking a cut, they would gladly release the name of their employer so that you could verify employment. Yup. That’s a pimp. Of course, they might be a real agency trying to land a contract and say that you have worked for them on jobs in the past. When they can present 25+ of the top talent in the country as their own, chances are they will catch a Client’s eye and possibly get the gig—event though NONE of those 25 have ever worked for the agency. Doesn't seem fair, does it?
Want to know where your money goes? Let’s do the math…
Let’s say an agency bills a client $400-$500/day for a Crowd Gatherer. That’s a pretty fair rate. So a true agency will take their 20-25% or so cut and you get $300-$400 depending on how much effort that agency had to put into securing the gig. That is totally fair, and you should expect to pay that much to a good agency who has you working constantly.
Now let’s say that there are several hands in the cookie jar. Some of the larger corporations out there will hire a “Experiential Marketing” conglomeration to produce their entire event. They still get billed the $500 per Crowd Gatherer. EXCEPT…that EM company then hires a Staffing Agency to find CGs for them. Subtract another 25% because the Staffing Agency has to make their cut right? We’re down to $280 and change. Now, Jenna the Pimp—I mean Recruiter—is out there “helping a friend find girls for a gig” who is also going to take another 25% off of your pay for a commission. Now we’re looking at $210. Let’s round it off to $200, because it’s a nice, even number. That’s 60% of the money that the Client paid for you gone already.
The more fingers that touch your resume, the more money will be taken out of your pay. And YOU are the one doing the work, while they sit there on their computers and farm out your resume.
Oh, then let’s throw in my favorite: Well, you are new with our agency, so we start our new employees at $200/day, and after a few shows, you can be making $250!! Seriously? My friend is doing the exact same gig as I am, has only done five shows total, but me, with 100 shows on my resume is making less? For the same job. For the same Client. For the same hours. Sorry. I don’t think so. I keep getting flashbacks of fighting for Women’s Rights in the Corporate World and the whole getting paid 72% of what a man makes. For the same job. For the same Company. For the same hours. Tell me how this is justified again?? And we women are doing it to each other?
If you are OK with 60% of your money going to other people, then by all means, send your resume out to everyone and anyone. But if you aren’t, then play it smart.
Do some research. Look up that person’s Facebook page. Are their “friends” people you know personally, or just other agencies? If you do have mutual friends, write them and ask for a reference. If no one that you know personally can verify of this person’s existence, then DO NOT SEND YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION to that person. And I mean really KNOW, not just are Facebook friends. From recent personal experience, some of these people are completely psycho and have multiple Facebook accounts even though it is the same person. It makes Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction look appealing. Every time I expose one of these frauds, I expect to come home from Vegas and find a bunny on my stove.
Google the agency’s website. Look for Client Testimonials, not just a page of shows or big names. Browse through their talent. If you have been in the Trade Show business for a few years and don’t know anyone on their pages, chances are that company is a fake. Even I can design a halfway decent website and capture some pictures of good looking people. If you do know one or two people, write them and ask for a reference. I make no secret of what agencies are out there that I like working for, and anyone who wants to know what I think just has to ask.
I know this blog has been a little harsh, but it is so easy to get caught up in Cyberworld and the presumed safety that you are among nothing but friends. I wish that was so. You are not. There are people out there who do not have your best interests in mind, and on one level or another, they will take advantage of you. But, you can take precautions to protect yourself, and it starts with knowing exactly who is at the other end of an email you send when looking for a job.
Life is Good. Make the most out of it.