Yes, it’s a tough economy. Yes, there are tons of people for every job. Yes, you’re going to be looking for a gig for a while.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

But that doesn’t mean employers can treat you like crap during the interview process.

Many hiring managers feel they’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to having their pick of great job candidates, and that can spell doom for some of you looking for a gig.

I heard from a soon-to-be college graduate named Meg recently who said she had the interview from hell.

Meg had an interview with a marketing firm in New York and was called back for a second interview where she’d be expected to shadow an employee for a day.

She decided to take do the second interview/shadowing even though she thought the company might be a bit “sketchy.”

Here’s how it went down:

I was greeted by this man named Kwame, who said I would be “shadowing” him around all day. He told me to save my questions for lunchtime, and told me to be myself and have fun. Still, I had no idea what this “shadowing” entailed. After a quick introduction and a handshake, we were out the door and hit the streets of NYC on a rainy and dismal day.

Before I could ask any questions, we were getting on a Subway to Brooklyn. After Kwame swiped his MetroCard to get onto the subway, I waited for him to see if he had a pre-paid ticket for me. I asked him if the company paid for my transportation, and he said no, and told me to purchase a MetroCard. At that point I was ready to dash, but I had my Mom’s voice in the back of my head saying, “Give it a shot.” So, I purchased my MetroCard, and was on my way with Kwame to Brooklyn.

First off, an employer who doesn’t tell you exactly where or what you’ll be doing is probably not going to be your best career choice, unless it’s with the CIA or something.

Meg’s story continues:

As we got off the Subway at Kingston Ave, Kwame had taken me into the slums of Brooklyn. There were rundown shops, and homeless people on every corner. As we walked around Malcolm X Blvd, he told me exactly what his job entailed. He was essentially a door-to-door salesman, selling small businesses office supplies.

Around 1pm, I was exhausted, drenched, and ready to go home. As we continued to walk from store to store, I saw a light at the end of the tunnel: A sign for the Subway.

I told Kwame that this was not the job for me, so instead of wasting his time and mine; I was just going to hop on the subway and go home. He proceeded to try and convince me that I couldn’t leave, insisting upon the fact that I needed to stick it out until 6pm. I told him there was no way in hell I was going to stay.

There are a lot of jobs that may be hard as hell to do. I’ve actually advocated in this blog that sometimes you have to do things you might not want to do, accept crummy behavior from hiring managers, or just go to great lengths to prove yourself in order to get a job. But sometimes it’s just not a job you want.

That means you shouldn’t be wasting your time folks. Ask questions of the people interviewing you. When they ask you to shadow someone get details on exactly what and where you’ll be going. If they ask you to take a personality test ask them why. You are not a slave when you go out into the real world and look for a job.

And, my top recommendation — Google the company you’re interviewing with!!

If you Google a company with a similar name some of the first results that come up are from scam busting websites with comments going back to 2008.

Clearly, you can’t take a few comments on the Internet as gospel about any company, but you should be looking at all the info you can find before you put on your suit.

I know many of you, especially grads, are desperate to find work, but that doesn’t mean you should let anyone take advantage of you, or jerk you around.

As for Meg.

I have learned one great lesson from that day. Go with your Gut!! On the first interview I had a gut feeling that this company was very sketchy, but instead of leaving once I had this feeling, I stuck it out. Big mistake! Times are tough, and finding a job is difficult, but this does not mean you must settle for a job solely because it offers a paycheck. There will be a job out there for me; I just have to find it.

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