My Three Stars SCAM experience
I recently went for two interviews at Three Stars Media and this was my experience. I am hoping someone closes this company down !! It's hard enough to find a job in this market but when you get scammed like this, it becomes VERY demoralizing.
I applied for TWO jobs on CareerBuilder.com : Administrative Assistant and Human Resources Assistant.
Click here to see the actual postings as they appeared on Careerbuilder.com : http://i44.tinypic.com/11rrxa9.jpg and http://i39.tinypic.com/jj5qgy.jpg . NOTE: CLICK the pics to make the image larger to be able to read it. This applies for all future photo links.
I received and automated e-mail back from Three Stars, Inc. the next day requesting to set up an "initial interview" : http://i42.tinypic.com/s4t6br.jpg .
I went to the website and registered for an initial interview. The ENTIRE interview set up process was automated.
I received a confirmation e-mail for the "initial interview" : http://i41.tinypic.com/6hi88n.jpg .
And a reminder e-mail : http://i43.tinypic.com/wbz5mp.jpg . This reminding cements the thinking that the job interview is important. They want to make sure you show up.
I put the words "initial interview" in quotes above because there was NO interview on my first visit to Three Stars. Here is how the first visit played out.
I arrived at Suite 211 and the receptionist asked for my resume. She then handed me a white binder with laminated pages to view information for a "Verification Specialist". I quickly paged through this booklet because I already knew what was coming next. I have to admit, I didn't pay attention much to the laminated pages because I had a friend who interviewed a few weeks prior for a Sales Manager position and she told me the first interview was just an assessment test.
After flipping through the laminated booklet, I then handed the book back to the receptionist. She told me I needed to take an assessment test (I think the binder info alluded to this too) and she told me she needed to take a picture of me as they "have so many people coming through their doors" and needed to take the photo for "identification purposes". I complied and let her snap my photo. She then guided me through a door opening to a room with several computers and little cubicles dividing the individuals taking the test. She opened the test on a PC, told me I had 30 mins. to take it and she told me I could use a calculator and she opened the calculator on the desktop. She told me to log in to take the test using my e-mail address and my last name. I then saw all my person info (name, address, etc. as well as the pic she just snapped of me) and then was taken to the test. I don't remember all the questions but I found a few questions quite odd. One asked "Are you over 24 years of age? " another asked (not sure of exact wording) "We have part time work at home positions for individuals. Would you be interested in this position or would you like to stick with the position you applied for?" I selected to stick with my current job I applied for. And there were some questions on advertising: "What are advertising verticals?", "What are five of the top 100 Internet websites?". There was also three vocabulary questions (the only one I remember was the meaning of the word "CONVERGE", there were two other vocab words used in sentences, I can't remember, something about Freud). There were also some Math questions. From memory, I think there were three in total, two word problems (one something about cutting a piece of wood into three pieces and the other was an algebra question, I think it was "2x - 4 = 6") and another odd question was "If you knew you would be fired for admitting a mistake would you lie to save your job?" . There were other questions on the test but these certain questions stood out to me.
I left the computer room and the receptionist handed me a business card (http://i44.tinypic.com/p7vus.jpg ) and told me to log on to their website with my e-mail address and last name after 10am the next day to check my application status :
When I logged on the next morning the website had a message (after I logged in) showing that my "aptitude test was impressive" and they wanted to meet with me for a second interview. I scheduled the second interview and got another confirmation e-mail : http://i40.tinypic.com/97440m.jpg .
And again, another reminder e-mail for the second interview : http://i43.tinypic.com/30cuc8o.jpg . They really wanted to make sure I showed up !
I arrived for my second interview at Suite 217 and walked into a foyer with dark lighting and no one to greet me. I saw a big conference table with better lighting and big leather chairs and a projector. I sat down next to two women who were waiting for their "interview". One of the women asked me "what are we doing here? What's going to go on I wonder ?" - the both laughed nervously. I told her that first we would get a presentation, then tour, then have individual interviews. This was the experience of my friend. In reality, I misunderstood my friend - there was no individual interview after the tour, it was a group interview telling everyone that they would be getting a phone call if they were interested. Again, my friend when there for a sales job, NOT the jobs I had applied to for Admin Asst. and Human Resources Asst.
Eventually, more people filtered in. We had 10 in our meeting. A woman named Crissy W (WAH Advisor Regional Manager - according to their website. Go to http://threestarsinc.com/teams/corpTeams.cfm?dept=9 and click on the little girl being hugged by Mickey Mouse to see her pic and info) was our cheerleader for the next couple of hours. She first asked us to go around the room and introduce ourselves. She then told us about herself (she was a dancer and worked at Disney, although that didn't pay the bills and then she spoke about the company. Started in 2004, now has over 500 employees and also a team in India. She explained the role of the Verification Specialist and explained that they don't show the job name in their listings online because "no one would know what that job is and no one would apply for it". So she admits up front that the jobs that brought all of us in DID NOT EXIST, but not in those exact words. My Human Resources Assistant and Administrative Assistant jobs were not real open jobs at the company! We were told that Three Stars also had a website called "Career Network" and that they are going after Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com. She said that it costs a company $ 400 to post a job on those websites while their Career Network offers postings for only $ 99 and they initially started out by posting those ads for FREE in the beginning. She also showed up a clip on News Channel 13 where the company donated toys for charity (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxXZd0u0dOE&feature=channel_page ) and talked up how they give back to the community. She also talked about their free happy hour, dinners at the Executive Managers house, and their co-ed flag football (http://threestarsinc.com/fun/eventsIndex.cfm ) . She then proceeded to give us a tour of the company. We all piled in the elevator and headed up to the 4th floor (from the 2nd floor) and first toured an office of people posting jobs on Craigslist and other websites, according to Crissy. The workers pretty much ignored us, except for one guy who watched the whole show. All of us idiots, in suits, all there for fake jobs. I could only think as I saw them sitting at their desks that these people were creating the same fake jobs that brought us in. Crissy said they were creating jobs from "their business clients". We were then lead to Human Resources and introduced to a manager named Dahlia who told us she has been with the company 7 months and LOVES it. She told us that "it's a long interview process, but stick with it" and she wished us all good luck.
Next up was the division that we saw the people in action who were Verification Specialists. Basically an auto dialing system will call applicants to tell them that they need to verify information for a job they applied for. When they call back, they go to this department. These people follow a script, verify certain info and then plug at the end to try and sell school admissions. For some reason a select few people work here vs. the at home position we were offered at the end of the interview. See below.
Next we walked into the webmaster division. First Crissy proceeded to flirt with Darvin K. - Director of Operations - as he showed her a photo that they laughed over, then we were introduced to Kelly R. - Executive Vice President (http://threestarsinc.com/teams/corpTeams.cfm?dept=1) and were told that she was the third person hired at the company when it was created out of someone's apartment. Kelly was wearing a flag football jersey. She explained the department was broken down into four departments. I can't remember all but one to come up with design ideas for a website, one to create the website, one to "break it" - quality control, and then it was released. Crissy proudly told us that Kelly created MANY websites. We were then lead to the next department "Employer Services" and met Scott D. - Career Network Director (http://threestarsinc.com/teams/corpTeams.cfm?dept=7 ) . We heard him give his spiel. He basically stated that he talks to companies to find out more about the jobs to make sure they post the correct information to get a qualified individual and also to make sure that there employees ask the right questions when they do their verification to pre-qualify candidates for companies. A good story anyway.
Next up, we met Ben D. - Senior Business Analyst (http://threestarsinc.com/teams/corpTeams.cfm?dept=1) . Ben told us that he handles SEO and making sure that the websites they create show up in the featured listings on search engines like Google and Yahoo!.
Lastly, we met Matt A. - WAH Advisor Regional Manager (http://threestarsinc.com/teams/corpTeams.cfm?dept=9 ), who was located in Suite 211 in the back offices, behind the computer testing area, who told us what a great company they had because one woman (can't recall her name) had a Mother that fell ill and she needed to move back up North (New Jersey I think?) and how great the company was because even though the woman had to move away she was still able to log on to a computer up there at 9am in NJ the following Monday and continue working. He said they had many employees talking about how expensive gas was and they realized it was a GREAT idea for their employees to work out of the home. Matt was planting the seed here.
And then we were lead across the hall again to Suite 217 and back to the conference room. Crissy's tone TOTALLY changed. No longer a cheerleader and full of friendly energy, she was somber and matter of fact. We were then given two hand outs : one detailing the job outline for the Verification Specialist : and the other for the computer requirements to work at home and the script for the education spiel : . Crissy told us that training started us at $ 10 per hour and we could earn extra money from there, depending on how many people said YES to wanting more information on signing up for education. She claimed she made $ 600 in her first week. She said they like for you to receive 80 -100 calls a day but the record was 150 calls in one day. She estimated that in 15 minutes at least TWO people would say YES to wanting more information about education. She said we were not to push the education, only plant the seed, mentioning it twice, the second time to confirm it. She said they only wanted people who were serious about signing up for classes. She then told us that she realized this job - Verification Specialist - was not for everyone. If we didn't think it was something we'd be interested in, we could leave now. Otherwise stay behind and she left the room to "get paperwork". Everyone was like a deer in the headlights. No one moved. She came back and then asked "ok, we have openings for tomorrow for the phone interview, who is available tomorrow ?" So then, with the peer pressure of everyone watching, she proceeded to ask everyone. Many set up times, signing up by stating the time and then telling Crissy their First name and last initial. One person said "Well, can I have some time to think about it?" "Of course!" - Crissy replied. That was a snowball effect then. Others said they too wanted to think about it.
Here are links to view the Verification Specialist handout : http://i44.tinypic.com/2ishbm8.jpg, http://i39.tinypic.com/wbz5w5.jpg, http://i44.tinypic.com/23rtx8y.jpg, and http://i39.tinypic.com/1y7h8o.jpg .
Here are links to view the Computer requirements and the Education script : http://i44.tinypic.com/1zpqst5.jpg, http://i44.tinypic.com/15x71qp.jpg and http://i41.tinypic.com/n3kht0.jpg . This was what was to be covered in the phone interview. They wanted to hear you read the script and make sure your home did not have background distractions like "a baby crying or dog barking".
I realize this is lengthy but I wanted to give you all a firsthand account for what the Three Stars interviews entail so you don't have to waste your time like I did. If you want work at home job that pays $ 10 an hour plus commissions for planting a seed for education, then this job is for you. It's just a shame they scam, as they say "600 people a week walk through our doors", into thinking they are on REAL interviews for jobs they applied for online, only to learn it's a telemarketing work at home position instead.
Does Three Stars offer job s? YES, but ONLY the Work at Home "Verification Specialist". NOT the jobs that were posted online. Here is a listing of ALL the jobs supposedly available on the Three Stars website : http://threestarsinc.com/careers/jobIndex.cfm?type=1 . The jobs were the SAME, none were "filled" from the time frame that my friend applied weeks prior. Now I know it's because they simply DO NOT EXIST.
Their claim is that once you master the Verification Specialist job they then like to move you up in the company, depending on what areas you would be best suited for. I wonder how many people are actually moved up. Of course Crissy said she started out (7 months ago, oddly the SAME time Dahlia started with the company) in the Verification Specialist position and worked her way up. Oh and Crissy did tell us all that we did really well on the aptitude test, we were the best of the best, which I now know is a load of bull. The whole thing was a HUGE sales pitch. They made the place look like a fun, young, energetic place to work..and hey ! They even give to charities ! How could they be bad. Forget that that LIED to us to get us all in there in the first place ! I found it odd though that most of the offices did not have fluorescent overhead lights...only desk lamps. All offices were decorated very attractively. Staging here was key. Another odd thing ? NONE of the suites had the "Three Stars" name on the nameplates...which was odd because ALL the other offices DID show their names on the nameplate with the Suite number. Their suites simply had the suite number listed on the nameplate.
I just saw on the news today that Channel 9 News WFTV will be showing ANOTHER piece on Three Stars and their false job listings. They even show footage, the room that had the Verification Specialists/Education Counselors in it. Should be interesting to watch. http://www.wftv.com/
Lastly, as I mentioned, my friend also went through this process. Why on earth would I want to go through this? Well, she again went for a Sales Manager position and her second interview included info about the company, the company tour, but then also a pitch to the individuals on the interview to partake in a website called Monkey Jar (http://www.monkeyjar.com/ ) where you create your own "online mall" and you make money supposedly if your friends shop your "mall" by clicking the links to visit the store websites. Interestingly enough, if you click the "About Us" link on Monkey Jar you will see cartoon caricatures of both Kelly and Darvin from Three Stars. So I went on this interview to see how well I would do on the aptitude test and to see if I would do well enough to get the second interview. My friend who went for her Sales Manager second interview was told if they were interested in her they would call her. It makes me wonder what Three Stars got out of her second interview. Maybe advertising to get people to use the Monkey Jar website. Or maybe the whole thing is just a scam to get our personal info : they have our home address, work numbers, employment history, aptitude ratings, heck even a photo of us - that they can use to sell to marketing companies. Here is info about this take on the whole scheme : http://www.nowpublic.com/tech-biz/three-stars-media-new-name-same-scheme . I know this is long, but I hope it helps others from going through this.
Early on in my search, I also received these two e-mail (and many more - too many to post) from Career Network which I now know is also Three Stars : http://i41.tinypic.com/xqgaw3.jpg and http://i39.tinypic.com/2rgjm2o.jpg . I did not like the fact that the company name and phone number were not listed. I e-mailed back asking for this information and did not receive a response. I think these e-mails were generated off jobs I applied for on Craigslist.com. Once you click the link for the fake tech support job you are brought to this website: http://perfectcareercenter.com/JobOffer/Register.cfm?JobPositionID=92050 . Notice the questions at the bottom regarding education. You guessed it...this is so a Three Stars work at home Verification Rep. can call you back and ask if you are interested in furthering your education. The website is called : perfectcareercenter.com but if you click the about us link it shows that this is Three Stars. So when you search for a job online today you have NO IDEA if the job you are apply for is real or if it's yet another Three Stars fake job website. I think networking to find a job today is best way to not get scammed. Happy job hunting everyone...be careful out there. At least Three Stars didn't ask for my social security number at any point. I feel very sorry for job seekers that DO offer this information online. :-(