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The Real Mean Girls Of The Job Market: How To Know If Your Job Interview Is Real or Plastic

(Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures. The image depicts Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan) at Old Orchard Mall in the 2004 film, Mean Girls, directed by Mark Waters and written by Tina Fey.)

In the 2004 Paramount Pictures film, Mean Girls, Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan) tells protagonist Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) that there are two kinds of evil people in this world: those who are evil and those who witness evil and don't do anything about it. Twenty years after the movie premiered, 2024 ushered in a Mean Girls remake and a 2008-like job market. The Wall Street Journal even had a piece discussing the increase in unemployment among post-secondary graduates in white-collar jobs. If you are unlucky enough to be stranded in a sea of unemployment, where is your life raft, and what lurks under these murky waters? While Dorothy Gale was scared of lions, tigers, and bears, job hunters contend with increased competition, fewer job prospects, and bloodthirsty creatures called MLMs or multi-level marketing schemes/pyramid schemes.

(Image depicts Théodore Géricault's 1819 work The Raft of the Medusa housed at the Louvre.)

(Media from Wix.)

Now, you might ask the following questions: Rachel, how do you know that inserting the name of a random company is not a legitimate business? How can a communications firm become a pyramid scheme? What happens if you send in your resume and your "interview" devolves into a pyramid scheme pitch?

Below are some tell-tale signs showing that your dream job can become an MLM nightmare.

1. The person posting your job description does not work for the company. Instead, the person works as a consultant for a random company with no LinkedIn page or credentials.

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2. The company's website does not post a company history, a link to case studies, or employee information. There is no personalization; instead, it just contains random stock images.

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3. The person on the Zoom interview is not the hiring manager. The person is a random employee "just hired" by HR. The person then does not tell you what exact position they are in.

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4. Your Zoom Interview is a group interview with applicants from multiple departments (Sales, customer service, communications, etc.). When applying for a position, your interview should not be a group date from The Bachelor.

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5. The Oz-like interviewer asks the following questions:

1. In the perfect job, the one that matches everything you want, when is the earliest you can start?

2. Do you have a car or need public transportation to work?

3. What is your ideal pay (there is no right or wrong answer.)?

4. Who is looking to make a career or want a position?

5. Do you like face-to-face communication or phone calls?

6. If you could work with one celebrity, who would it be and why?

So, you might wonder why I wrote this piece? In my group interview, I was a part of the jury-like selection pool of job applicants. Each of us has different stories and backgrounds. Yet, we are all trying to get a job. MLMs use the job market to spew their convoluted version of what employment means. They echo Regina George's manipulation as they view job seekers as Karen Smiths/Shettys, lambs stupid enough to trust a job posting. In a world of Mean Girls and MLMs, when you witness bad behavior do something about it.

(gif courtesy of


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Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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