Consumerist's Job Interview With IDT Energy's Scammy Marketing Firm

115 West 30th Street is the unassuming address for an unmemorable building that serves as the headquarters of Midtown Promotions, a “marketing solutions” company that solves markets for IDT. We interviewed with them as part of Consumerist’s continuing efforts to expose IDT’s deceptive practices.

Their headquarters aren’t impressive. The security desk is unmanned. The elevator to the fifth floor opens onto an unkept hallway with a yellow door labeled 500 and 500a, next to a sign reading “Figueroa Marketing.” The reception area was staffed by two women. We announced ourselves. We said we were there for an interview after reading an ad in the paper. They gave us a form to complete. It asked for the usual.

Everything, save the lies, was the truth…


Interestingly, they didn’t ask about our education. We returned the form.

We sat on their faux-leather couch and watched two or three people walk through the corridor off from the reception area. They seemed to be walking too fast, darting into nearby rooms. We were convinced they were checking Consumerist.com. Like the old ladies watching Chris Rock, we dialed 9-1, and were just waiting for something to happen. Instead, they summoned us.

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We were introduced to Christopher Polke, CEO. About 6’2″, Chris had a pockmarked face that wasn’t helped by his black suit and tie-less white collar shirt. He led us into his office, down a hallway covered with cheesy motivational posters. Attitude, quality, and a nice print of the Brooklyn Bridge at the end. Chris’ large office was much more respectable than his wardrobe. Two leather chairs faced a wood desk sporting a flat panel monitor and a voice recorder. Behind the desk, past Chris’ chair was a bulletin board with a piece of paper reading “Department of Labor.”

The interview was short and to the point. He asked about our work experience. We told him we sold electronics for Radio Shack while in school. We emphasized the person-to-person nature of the job and stressed that we enjoyed working with people in a collaborative environment. He asked if we knew what deregulation was. We said no. It turns out deregulation affects utilities!

Until a few years ago (cue ominous music,) ConEd generated AND transported electricity. “Like a monopoly,” we offered. But thanks to d-e-r-e-g-u-l-a-t-i-o-n, consumers now have a choice. Midtown Promotions (didn’t the door say Figueroa Marketing?) works on behalf of IDT to offer consumers that choice. ConEd still delivers the energy, but consumers can now choose to have it generated by IDT. It’s not like Radio Shack, where the consumers would come to us – we go to them, but after that, it’s the same person-to-person sales we knew and loved.

We asked about career paths, since we’re in this for the long-term. Within three to four weeks, we can build a team of our own, and if we work hard, within nine months we could be upper-level management. Chris asked if we like working as part of a team. Hardball question, but we thought “yes” was the right answer. It turned out teams are important. They’re not just looking for people who can sell, they’re looking for people who can lead, people who work well with others. But they can’t really see what we can do in a three to five minute interview. Oh no, that would be rash. Instead, they (might) bring us back to work with one of Chris’ associates for a day of evaluation, or day of observation. We’d spend one day, one-on-one, learning the ropes and seeing what we’re capable of.

We told Chris this all sounded great. But Chris wasn’t sold. The competition is pretty fierce. He couldn’t guarantee that we would get the job, but said he’d be in touch later in the evening. We await with baited breath…

Next: The second interview…

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