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School of Business and Leadership Blog

Student Internship Blog - Christopher Lynch

Posted by Giselle.Torres on Thursday February 28, 2013

HOOK, LINE, AND SINKER VIA THE "BAIT AND SWITCH" SCHEME

(“TO BE FOREWARNED IS TO BE FOREARMED!”)

By Christopher Lynch

“Bait-and-switch” marketing is a simple, yet old sales tactic about which we should all be aware….

Here’s how it works:

The Salesperson promises a “good deal” to the customer in order to promote the sale of a specific item, Then, once the customer reaches a “READY TO BUY” decision, the salesperson often will say something like “We’re very sorry, but, we don’t have any more of that item, but we do have a product which is equal to what you’re looking for.”    The pressure is then on the customer to buy either a less, or more expensive item, probably generating more profit for the company while making a commissionable “quick sale” for the Salesperson. 

Various legislation has been passed to outlaw such “bait-and-switch” product offers, for this practice has been equated to a form of false marketing.

Unfortunately, this ban would not include the “sale” of “offers of employment!” 

I was involved in such a sale of an “Offer of Employment” situation. After reading a newspaper listing advertising a full-time marketing position including “Benefits and Advancement”, I eagerly jumped at the opportunity to apply, assuming I would receive a decent starting salary, plus health insurance, and a 401k.  Having been impressed by the company website, I sent in a cover letter and resume, excited to the possibility of starting a new job with a growing company.

When I arrived at the interview, I followed the rules of a first interview… I arrived early, carried a formal, optimistic voice, wore business professional attire, and did not discuss the position’s salary details. During the interview, I was given an outline of the job as a traditional marketing position, which included market research, personnel management, processing sales confirmations, etc.   After seemingly proving my abilities and knowledge of the company to the recruiter, he said my resume was impressive and that I would be invited to a second interview.

I was in for a shocking and educational surprise!

A few days later, the second interview included a peer-review of my day’s work in the company. I soon discovered that the position I had applied for was nothing more than a job requiring continuous “Cold Call” door-to-door sales contacts with a commission-only salary and the “benefits” of working in groups of three during a sales trip.  Unfortunately, the company’s suggested “Benefits and Advancement” weren't’t the kind of “Benefits and Advancement” their Advertisement had put forth.   I was told that if I liked the job, I could “advance” by starting my own marketing operation with the same company’s business model, as other beginners would then be acting as my subordinates.

In short, I had almost fallen for the old “bait-and-switch” scam.  

After a short evaluation, I said, in effect, “thank you, but no thanks”, and left, feeling disappointed in a number of ways.

Having learned this lesson, I encourage all job-seekers to peruse secondary sources when researching a company.  Like any research project, PREPARE!  Seek valuable assistance from our Nyack College Intern Coordinator and Career Counselor, look at both positive and negative assessments of a company, and then decide whether pursuing a position at that company is worth the time and effort.

It’ll be worth your time!!

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