When I met Kara Johnson (name changed for privacy*) at a job fair, I was immediately impressed with her confidence and social skills. She ran an independent investment advice office for Edward Jones and was looking to hire salespeople/advisers.
She was upfront about the need to do a lot of sales even though the job title was “investment adviser”. She invited me in for a dinner and company introduction at a fancy restaurant if I was interested. Now, don’t jump to conclusions yet… this did not feel like a bait-and-switch at all.
However, when I reached out and got on the phone (mostly to score my free fancy dinner), she didn’t cave in right away. I was super-impressed at how she spent very little time (about 15 minutes) on the phone. First, explaining quickly what was expected of the role (mostly sales, during the first 6-9 months). Then she asked me to do research on the company itself and call her back if I was still interested:
- What did Edwards Jones do?
- How was it originally founded?
- What were their values?
- What was a typical role of an investment office?
- Who was their competition etc..
It would have taken me 1-2 hours to prepare with all those answers and a fair bit of back-of-the-head thinking before I would be prepared to face her again. Long story short, I self-selected out of that role (and a shot at a free dinner) because of the time involved.
But my biggest takeaway is:
If you are a career-seeker, you should definitely research the company quite thoroughly before meeting anyone at that company formally or informally. I am proud that Edward Jones has figured that out from the employer side but you will not get that lucky from most of your prospective employers.