Ekong has hundreds of packets of herbal tea, soaps and creams at home. He is desperately searching for people to buy the products so that he can earn a little commission.
Both of them are graduates. They are working as marketers of a popular drug supplement company. They had been promised lots of financial benefits if only they would market the products. Two months on the job, they have not made any money and want a way out of the bondage.
I would say that majority of job seeking Nigerian graduates have had encounters with these drug supplements companies who operate under various names. The most popular is GNLD. Their mondus operandi is to invite the applicant by sms to a recruitment test/interview for a good job with fat salary.
The interview location is always an obscure place. When the applicant finally gets there, he or she is subjected to a charade of a test. Then the officials of the company would start giving motivational talks and subsequently request that the applicant pays a certain sum of money for registration in the drug supplement company as a marketer/partner. After paying the registration fee, he or she would be given some quantity of drugs to sell. The officials would promise the applicant that quick sales of the drugs will fetch him/her, mind blowing profit, make him/her financially independent and rapidly advance his/her climb up the ladder of the networking scheme. The disappointed applicant, whose dream of working in a corporate high flying company is dashed, leaves the venue angry and defeated.
Why do these people prey on poor and hapless applicants looking for jobs? Why do they mask their drug supplement marketing chores as real juicy jobs thereby deceiving the job seeker?
I had this experience in 2013 when I was searching for a job, one month after passing out from the Nysc.
I was walking towards a road junction to board a taxi in Uyo when someone handed me a flyer. I collected it and read the content.
“Happylane Ventures limited, a new services company urgently requires workers to fill the following vacancies in the company.
Driver: N40,000 monthly salary. Marketer: N50,000. Cleaners: N30,000
I went through the list of vacancies and my eyes fell on a position that I was qualified for.
Graduate Admin officers: N90,000 monthly salary.”
Curiosity got the better of me and I decided to attend the recruitment test holding the following week.
On the D-day, after emptying a bottle of anointing oil on my head, I took all my credentials including my Nepa bill receipt, and stepped out of the house. Tracing the location of the test wasn’t easy. My heart sank when the keke driver entered a lonely road with big bushes on either side. I was afraid that I had been kidnapped for ransom or for money rituals. But when he halted in front of an uncompleted building, where a large crowd of young people with shiny suits and other formal wear were gathered. I was reassured that I had come to the right place.
We were apprehensive about the kind of company that would use an uncompleted building for a recruitment exercise. I dismissed it as a gimmick to prune down the number of applicants. The test was scheduled to start by 9 am but the officials kept us waiting for about an hour. They arrived at few minutes past 10 am. There were eight of them. I expected to see people in dapper suits looking suave and polished but these ones were in casual wear. One of the men’s trousers looked tattered and frail. I could see a slight tear in the buttocks region. The officials looked like people who had not eaten for three days.
They addressed us and told us that the venue they had earlier booked for the recruitment exercise was unavailable and so they had to use the uncompleted building as an emergency alternative.
We sat on the desks in the big hall and began writing the exams; thirty questions with multiple choice options. The hall was in disarray as the examiners stood outside while the candidates copied answers from each other. One was even at liberty to leave his/her seat to source for answers elsewhere.
We didn’t know that was the stage one of the charade.
We submitted the scripts and proceeded to interview stage. Three teenage boys carried in an aged looking grandpapa table with a bent leg. The table wasn’t balanced and looked like it would topple over if someone of considerable weight climbed on it.
The officials sat behind the table and asked us to stand in a single file in front of the table for the interview.
“Hey I was in front of you,’, “stop marching me, don’t you have eyes?”,“Do you know who I am?” “And so what?”, “do you know who my father is?”, “Ol boy I dey your back, make I go piss”, “You were not here, move back!”
It wasn’t an interview in the real sense of the word as the officials were just getting our basic information from us. After all the dust had settled down, one of the officials, a man with a serious looking face wearing thick rimmed lenses stood up and cleared his throat. He had not spoken a word since the exercise began. He started giving a motivational speech. He talked about believing in your dreams and living a goal driven life. He mentioned Abraham Lincoln, quoted Napoleon hill, Myles Munroe and a whole lot of other motivational speakers.
“Oh I am going to work in a company that motivates its staff, how nice! But are they preparing us to face the sad news that they won’t hire everybody?” I wondered.
At the end of his tiresome speech, the leader of the team stood up with a solemn air and began speaking…
“We want to thank you for answering our advert and taking the aptitude test. We want to introduce you all to Happylane company products.
“Happylane Ventures ltd is concerned about the health and well being of the populace. We deal on nutritional supplements taken to enhance healthy living. We are going to employ everyone who meets the criteria for employment. All our employees are partners. To register as a partner, you will all pay the sum of N8,500. Then we will give you the drug supplements to market. You earn 10% commission on every product sold…”
I could scarcely believe my ears. This wasn’t what I had come for. I couldn’t envisage myself walking around with a bag full of drugs looking for a sucker to buy them off me.
“Hello sir, I want to tell you about the latest and wonderful miracle drug from Happylane venture ltd. It is called Vitro X, yes vitro x gives you protein, fats and oil & miracle salts. It is good for your liver and kidney. It is very effective when you want to do that thing with madam. Na only N1500 per card, oga abeg buy am, I need the commission”
“Hi yellow sisi, I want to introduce you to viseal gel, a new skin care supplement from Happylane ventures. If you rub this cream eh, your skin go fresh like baby, e go shine well well, that fine bobo go come beg you for marriage. Sister, mbok buy it, I need the 10% commission.”
The hall was in uproar. The candidates were furiously shouting invectives at the organizers demanding for their transport fares for misleading them and wasting their time.
A very small queue had formed in front of the table as two or three people who had N8,500 to partner with the company were filling the registration forms. Many of the disgruntled applicants were walking out of the building with frowns on their faces. I had only N500 with me and even if I had the required N8,500 amount, I would have rather given it to charity than give it to the rip-offs who were looking for graduates to dump their drug sales target burden on.
I finally stood up and left for home in anger. I nearly fell inside a dirty pool of water that was in front of the building.
Thank God that was the first and the last time that I encountered such people.
Have you ever been a victim of Gnld drug marketing interview, have you ever been invited to a juicy job interview at an obscure location only to be asked to pay money to register and sell supplements? Share your experience.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime