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May 28, 2018

14

HRS Invictus: Scamming young graduates into unpaid sixty hour work weeks.

by chaoticespeon

Picture the scene. You’re at home, relaxing in the living room after another grueling day in the office, sinking into the first bite of your home made meal. You hear a pounding on the front door. YOUR front door. Interrupting you in the privacy and sanctity of your own home. You open to be greeted by a suited and booted gentleman claiming that you’re spending too much on your utility bills. Annoying right? Well imagine the flip side – a recent University graduate, desperately looking for their first post study full time job, willing to snap up the first promise of progression and high salaries which comes their way. Combine the two, and you get HRS Invictus.

Nikesh Patel’s young company came to my attention through an innocent enough posting on Linkedin, where they were seeking Marketing assistants. It seemed attractive enough – the promise of assisting in marketing campaigns of an unnamed “internationally recognized client” using targeted marketing techniques. For those of you who are unaware, “targeted marketing” implies that a marketing company have researched – extensively – a products target audience and devises campaigns to appeal directly to this chosen demographic. An example of this would be the giveaway campaigns our website has run across Social Media, where we identify the people who would be interested most in winning our competitions and visiting our website. This is how Invictus advertised this specific role, and this is what the other fifteen applicants alongside me had applied for.

The initial interview process was straight forward enough; a quick screening interview lasting, at most, ten minutes before ringing back that same day to invite successful candidates to a second interview at an “Open Day”. A day in which we could observe the “marketing team” and have any inquiries about the role & company answered. A day, which would last from 11am to 8pm; nine unpaid hours. In this instance, the “team” consisted of one person, a lad in his early twenties, ready to assess the competency of the four applicants assigned to him. We were quickly ushered out of the two room office space within Leeds’ Oxford House to be stood outside and informed that the four of us were in direct competition with each other. One of us would be asked to leave early into the day and we would be taking a bus (yes, we were asked to pay for our own fares) to the other side of the city, to observe the work successful applicants would be expected to do. Imagine that. A hugely successful and profitable marketing company (as we had rammed down our throats on numerous occasions) having their valuable and trusted employees use public transport to take valued applicants away from the offices where these second interviews were to be held, carting them off miles away to the far end of the city where one unsuccessful candidate would be sent away – presumably forced to make their own way back to the city centre.

In our groups case, we were being ferried off to Crossgates – not too far away from the centre of Leeds. However, one unlucky Reddit user was required to go even further – needing to travel by train to Huddersfield, and by bus towards a housing estate.

I think we’re walking to an office. Carlton then takes out a blue neon jacket, puts on a name badge, and starts knocking on people doors and talking to them about overpaying their energy bill. I get it: This is door to door selling. But how is [the job] sold? As an incredible business opportunity. As something only us lucky few, 5 of us from 25+ who interviewed, were good enough to witness!”

[Read the rest of Ambreen’s experience here]

As we were being instructed to board the bus, I decided enough was enough; directly asking our ‘guide’ exactly what sort of work we would be observing. I was hurriedly told he would explain on the way, trying again to usher us onto the bus. No answer. I tried again with an even more direct question, asking whether we would Street Selling or knocking on peoples front doors and that the majority of applicants probably hadn’t signed up to do this. He shot me a glare before rushing ahead onto the bus but his lack of an answer spoke volumes of their intentions. I elected to leave, choosing not to waste any more of my time; thankfully, I noticed a few other applicants from different groups took this as their cue to also leave.

After delving a little further into the company I discovered inconsistencies in their pitch to applicants.

Whilst being led to catch our bus, we were told of the highly profitable relationship Invictus enjoys with Broadband provider Talk-Talk. According to our guide, their partnership began in 2012 and Invictus assisted Talk-Talk in acquiring 56% of their 4.2 million customer boom. Impressive right? This is a company that clearly gets things done on a drastic scale! Companies should be lining up to acquire the marketing acumen Invictus provides surely? Well, actually, no. A quick look at Patel’s (HRS Invictus CEO) Linkedin page provides evidence that this story has as much factual basis as Little Red Riding Hood.

“I founded HRS Invictus in October 2016 in London, now we have expanded into two other locations including Leeds and Maidstone.”

The plot thickens somewhat after a quick glance at the HRS Invictus company Linkedin page, where it gives an alternative founding date:

invictus founding
Want to be confused even further? Surf on over to their eyesore of a website, you’ll find a third alternative founding date!

“Since starting in London in 2008, we have expanded into multiple markets worldwide. HRS Invictus now has access to a network consisting of more than 3000 sales and marketing professionals that represent our clients in over 700 locations across 17 countries worldwide.”

So which is it guys? 2008? 2016? 2017? The whole idea that a company which consists of 11-50 employees has somehow expanded across 17 countries worldwide; yet, despite their success, are only able to maintain ‘offices’ in Leeds and Maidstone makes this whole scenario feel more than a little far-fetched.

Reviews don’t make pleasant reading for HRS Invictus either, a small number of the many negative reviews relating to this company will be posted below, but to summarise the most worrying points raised:

  • Little to no base salary – one review states minimum wage as a rate of pay, whereas others state income is completely commission based.
  • Ridiculously long hours – Working hours are strictly 10am – 10pm, six days a week.
  • Useless ‘Open Day’ – Candidates will observe door to door sales. Most candidates will be hired as Invictus are desperate for door to door/street sales people.
  • “Opportunities are limited” lie – Company is constantly pumping out job advertisements with slight differences in wording to reach more job seekers.
  • No holiday pay, sick pay, bank holidays
  • No Contract – Absolutely no job security offered.
  • Misleading/Non-Existent job titles
  • UNPAID TWO WEEK TRAINING PERIOD –

So, if you’re a University graduate take the advice from countless other young adults in your position. Avoid HRS Invictus at all costs, you’re worth more than being flung into potentially dangerous areas of cities, completely alone, disturbing people in the comfort of their own homes.

We’ve offered HRS Invictus the opportunity to comment on this article. At this time, no comment has been forthcoming.

REVIEWS:

REPETITIVE AND MISLEADING JOB ADVERTS:

 


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14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Anastasia Kar
    Sep 29 2018

    Thank you for this – really. Very well written and based on solid arguments (e.g. the elusive founding year) and your detailed personal experience (e.g. the interview, the ‘Open Day’). I liked you posted snapshots from Glassdoor, too. You saved me (along with other poor souls, I guess…), as I have already been to the interview and invited to the Open Day (of course, on the same day!) Thanks a lot!!!

    Like

    Reply
    • Sep 29 2018

      I’m so glad, this was the point of me writing this article in the first place; best of luck with your job search!

      Like

      Reply
  2. Pēteris Āboltiņš
    Dec 18 2018

    Thank you! I was about to accept an invitation to an interview, but I had some doubts about the company, now as I’m looking into it and finding your post…oh boy, not going there…bye Felicia! =D
    Thank you for the detailed info.

    Like

    Reply
  3. Adrian P Williams
    Jan 2 2019

    Thank you so, so much for this. I nearly made a grave error.

    Like

    Reply
  4. Omar Islam
    Feb 14 2019

    Thank you so much for this!! I was meant to have my interview with them today but I felt that there was something fishy about them. The fact that they told me that I didnt need to research anything about them at all and all i really had to do was just go there and meet Nikesh and he would “tell me everything”. Even their website is a whole lot of waffle. I couldnt make out a thing about what they do. Thanks for clearing this all up for me.

    Like

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    • Feb 14 2019

      I’m glad the article helps, it’s so frustrating they’re still wasting people’s time

      Like

      Reply
  5. Betty
    Mar 5 2019

    Really glad I stumbled upon this article. I had a off feeling when they stated in their email when you meet with Nikesh we will find the right position for you.. Already having experience within a marketing role the last five years, if you’re gonna hire me for marketing, hire me for that not something that “fits”. Their website is shady as well, the fact no clients were listed seemed off. Well done on putting this together.

    Like

    Reply
  6. Ben
    Mar 17 2019

    Same situation with me. They found me by “sending” my application to employer, but I am 100% sure it was one of their fishing adverts to get more potential employees. Then I was invited for an interview and highlighted several times not to prepare, because if you start researching you will find what is it all about… So after reading this I am not going there for sure.. Thank you for sharing this.

    p.p My girlfriend attended several interviews with scammers like these and never attended the “Open day”. Guys, be careful with the job description and if you see “direct marketing” run away.

    Like

    Reply
  7. Gemma
    Mar 18 2019

    Thank you for the honest article, I’m about to graduate university when I received an email for an interview. I’ve applied for so many graduate schemes I didn’t remember applying for this company, because I didn’t they found my CV on reed and invited me for an interview. I decided to research the company before my interview tomorrow and stumbled upon this article, you’ve saved me a lot of time and by the sounds of it money too.

    Like

    Reply
  8. Amber
    Apr 1 2019

    this is an extremely well written and accurate piece about the company. I had the misfortune to go through the exact same procedure but my enough is enough came at 6pm after having spent an entire day and a portion of my meagre savings on public transport. They still email me time to time with vacancies and that I am too talented they would love to hear from me blah blah.

    Like

    Reply
    • Apr 1 2019

      They’re such a waste of time for talented people. I don’t understand why they aren’t honest with their roles; surely they should be trying to find people enthusiastic about the job..

      Like

      Reply
  9. Tima Jackson
    Apr 1 2019

    I have been out of work for a couple of years due to being hit by a car. I have been receiving emails from a Chloe Simmons, apparently found me a good candidate and would love to invite me for an interview. On any day of my choice, of course. That’s when I started looking for reviews, a contact number. How the hell does a “massive” company only have one contact number? One that goes straight to VM at that! And it’s thanks to your detailed information that I cancelled the appointment . So thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    Like

    Reply

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