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Students Question Company’s On-Campus Recruiting

Vector MarketingVector Marketing advertises flexible schedules for its workers, who are primarily students.

One marketing company’s presence on Loyola’s campus has some students skeptical.

Vector Marketing, founded in 1981, sells knives from CUTCO Cutlery by employing independent contractors. The company actively recruits people, and 85 percent of its sales representatives are students. The independent contractors set up one-on-one meetings with potential customers and are given a base pay for each appointment as well as commission for sales.

Vector recruits at Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus and did so at a table in the Damen Student Center earlier this month. Kathryn Jackson, the director of Loyola’s Career Development Center, said the university’s relationship with Vector goes back more than eight years.

The company has been subject to controversy over its methods for training sales representatives and has faced lawsuits for requiring unpaid training of its independent sales contractors. In a 2014 lawsuit, a group alleged that this requirement violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, which establishes minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, recordkeeping and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in federal, state and local governments, according to the Office of Financial Management’s website.

Multiple online forums, such as indeed.com, have described Vector as a “scam” and a “pyramid scheme.”

Sai Cheekireddy, a fifth-year biology and bioinformatics double major, worked for Vector for five months in 2014. He said he thought Vector was a scam because, during training, Vector asked him to provide contacts of people he knew. Those people were then recruited.

“There was an app, which I don’t have downloaded now, obviously, it’s a Vector app … Once you sign up, it uploads all your contacts to their server and every summer they call all my contacts and say [I] recommended you for this job,” said Cheekireddy, 23.

Mary Ann McGrath, the interim department chair of marketing at Loyola, explained that with a pyramid scheme, salespeople are responsible for recruiting new employees and earn additional profits based off of their recruits’ sales.

Joel Koncinsky, a public relations manager for Vector, described Vector Marketing as a single-tiered direct selling company.

“We offer commission to sales reps for the selling of products – not for the recruitment of their friends.” Koncinsky said.

Sai Cheekireddy, a fifth-year biology and bioinformatics double major, worked for Vector for five months in 2014. He said he thought Vector was a scam because he felt that Vector’s claim that students could make $17 per hour was misleading.

“You only make $17 an hour if you signed up for Vector when the company first started and nobody else heard of Vector knives,” said Cheekireddy.

Koncinsky made it clear that the $17 hourly sales rate is inaccurate.

“We’re not sure how the rumor started that we pay an hourly rate because we’ve never offered to pay an hourly wage since 1981,” said Koncinsky. “Our reps earn a commission for sales made and we also offer a guaranteed base pay per qualified appointment.”

The base pay for an appointment in Chicago is $17, according to Koncinsky.

Loyola student Melissa Aristoza, a junior social work major, went through training with Vector and decided not to work for the company. She said that when she called to inform Vector of her decision, the company was persistent in trying to make her change her mind.

“It seemed to me like they were making excuses to try to make me stay, to the point where they were badgering me and being belligerent and disrespectful towards me, and at that point, I was getting very frustrated and I hung up,” said Aristoza, 20.

Loyola’s Jackson explained that Vector is a multi-level-marketing company (MLM). An MLM pays its salespeople commission from the sales of people it recruited, according to Investopedia, an online resource for finance. These types of businesses sometimes face criticism, according to Jackson.

“There’s controversy surrounding most MLMs,” said Jackson. “I’m not surprised at that at all. What they say about Vector is what they say about Avon, Mary Kay, Juice Plus [and] Rodan and Fields. MLMs aren’t for everyone.”

Jackson explained that sales positions also might not be a good fit for everyone.

“A lot of sales jobs get a bad rap because it takes a really specific kind of personality to enjoy sales, and if you don’t enjoy sales, it’s not usually a pleasant experience,” said Jackson.

The Career Development Center (CDC) is attentive to student feedback, according to Jackson. Any complaints about employers will be looked into, and action will be taken if there is a pattern. There has been only one reported complaint about Vector Marketing in the past eight years, Jackson said.

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6 thoughts on “Students Question Company’s On-Campus Recruiting”

  1. I worked at Vector for a summer and made pretty good money. It’s definitely not for everyone. A lot of people in my training group quit. But I needed something flexible and it’s not like it’s easy to get whatever job I wanted. The sales were easy. The hardest part for me was getting appointments. I learned a lot from other reps in the office that really helped. Everyone including the boss would try and help you. I got an internship in my major the following summer or else I might have gone back.

  2. Hi, my name is Avery Aylsworth and I am a Sophomore here at Loyola. I am a student of the Quinlan School of Business pursuing a double major in Finance and Information Systems with a minor in Sports Management. I will be going on my third year at Vector this coming summer as an Assistant Manager. Vector Marketing is a company that provides the building blocks and foundation for young students to turn into young professionals. My first summer, I was not able to work until the last week of July due to prior commitments and had to leave for school in mid-August. Realistically, this gave me 15-20 days to actually work and it was very comforting for me to have my boss be okay with me only working two weeks. After a successful summer and a Top 10 national finish for most sales among new sales representatives for a summer campaign, I was promoted to Assistant Manager the next summer. Here is where I really learned the ins and outs of the business. When it came to recruiting, we did not steal contacts from our representatives, we asked their permission to call their contact list in their phone. In addition to this, each representative was allowed to take anyone of their list before we decided to give them a call. We were very transparent in our approach, specifically stating there is $22 (in California) base pay for every appointment while we were recruiting and during the interview process. Now I do agree that sales is not for everyone; it does require the right mindset and entrepreneurial spirit. But if a representative sticks with the program and goes through the process, the results are unlimited. This past September at the Quinlan Networking Fair, I received numerous compliments and congratulations on working for Vector Marketing and being a successful product of their process. I do believe that Loyola wants their students to receive the best jobs in or out of college and Vector Marketing provides the opportunity for both. It will provide professional skills along with and impressive job on your resume that will provide a path towards a bright future.

  3. Greetings, my name is Natalia Gheewala and I’m a sophomore here at Loyola University. I am currently studying Business Marketing and I actually started working with Vector over the course of this summer. My experience with Vector had its ups and its downs, but Vector honestly provided me with skills and experience that I never really had before. My department pushed me to do better, to be better, and through Vector I have met so many amazing people, not only did I make friends from my division, I also was able to meet many amazing families that I still communicate with today. It is true that sales aren’t for everyone, I personally never saw my self in sales, but even then so, I was able to sell around 9200 dollars worth of knives. I did very well this summer and the district I happened to be apart of, was the number one new district in the area, but honestly the knives sell themselves. The knives and the job are both one of a kind. When I think back on my summer with Vector, I don’t see myself as being a sales representative, but more of a person that had a job just meeting new people. Overall, I enjoyed the job and I am grateful that I could be apart of such a great team. I feel like everyone should undergo this experience even if what your major is has nothing to do with business, because it helped with my communication skills and how to work efficiently with a team. I will never forget my first summer with Vector.

  4. My name is Dimitri polymenakos and I am a junior studying PLSC at Loyola university. I worked at cutcl for a short time and made good money doing fair and honest work selling good product. The company made it quick and easy to get started. This a legit company with great management. Good for short and long term opportunities for students to make much needed money. Consider.

  5. I’m currently a Senior at Loyola, studying secondary education. I worked for one summer with Vector, and while I eventually moved on from the company, the skills I gained were not forgotten. As a teacher, I need good communication skills, the ability to learn and move on from moments when I am not successful, and a level of confidence in my own abilities. Working with Vector gave me all of these skills and attitudes, and these are the things I value most about the experience. This was my first job that I ever held, and the experience I gained led me to be campus receptionist, and eventually and RA. Now with my sights set on becoming a teacher, I cannot forget what I learned with this company.

  6. My name is Matt Aminilari and I’m an undecided major at Loyola this year as a freshman. I worked for Vector last summer and honestly it was the most fun I have had in a long time. Contrary to popular belief and this article, it was not a “pyramid scheme”. You get out what you put into it at this company. People who can’t be patient won’t do well and will call this a scam. Vector is a completely legitimate and great way to work with people your age.

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