An exciting and suspicious summer job Companies targeting McMaster students are often too good to be true

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By: Owen Angus-Yamada

The time is coming for students to put down their books, close their laptops and stop biting their nails. Summer is a time for the beach, bike rides and of course, getting a job. For some students, a summer job is a stepping stone in gaining valuable work experience. For others, it’s about maximizing your earnings in the four-month window to pay for everything the school year entails.

A lengthy and gruelling interviewing process is an unfortunate necessity for many in the job search, and one I am not personally looking forward to. However, as I have experienced, far too many companies take advantage of students’ desire for an easy-to-get job that’s also high paying. The truth is that it’s hard getting a good summer job, and it’s easy to be tricked by these companies targeting students with big claims.

You’ve probably seen Property Stars in the Student Centre or have had a College Pro advocate come to one of your lectures telling you about an exciting opportunity for you to make more than $100 a day by working your own hours and being an entrepreneur. If you aren’t immediately suspicious of their claims, then just remember that if it’s too good to be true, then it probably isn’t true. I personally worked for a company like Property Stars a few summers ago, and I can say that while some of their claims can be achieved, the road leading to achievement is far from transparent. It’s easy to end up overwhelmed and at a loss.

The truth is that it’s hard getting a good summer job, and it’s easy to be tricked by these companies targeting students with big claims.

What these companies don’t say upfront is that the position is full commission and you aren’t guaranteed to earn a penny. They tantalize you with thoughts that you will be earning $100 to $400 a day. In the hiring stage, hiring managers embellish the positives and leave out all the negatives regarding the position. They want you on board because they get you to sign a contract, which means money in their own pockets. Other lines in the contract can force you to agree to being charged nonnegotiable amounts of money. The companies do a good job of making you feel like you will be earning so much that it won’t even matter. It’ll leave you wondering what you were thinking when you agreed.

These companies are also good at framing the difficult and stressful aspects of the job as something that is easy for anyone to solve. All you need to do is work harder. Unfortunately, not everyone can successfully go door-to-door looking for sales, and if you find out that you can’t, then working harder isn’t going do much. I’ve seen many students work long hours during the summer with companies like these and lose money.

These types of companies go after students because we are still naive and believe that a high-paying, experience-building summer job can land right in our laps. If you are applying to any sort of summer job, you must ask plenty of questions. A job where an employer gets you excited to start working and gives you the position without an interview deserves plenty of skepticism.

Unless you have that one friend or family member who “has connections” and can “pull some strings for you,” then you better put your nice suit on and prepare your best questions for the interviewer because no one eats for free.

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