Why that recruitment ad you’re replying to could be an MLM con in disguise

Find out how one mum had a nasty surprise when she applied for a job recently. And why that recruitment ad you’re replying to could be an MLM con in disguise.

In their increasingly-desperate quest to lure unsuspecting women into their pyramid-shaped cons (research shows that an average 99.6% of MLM reps will lose money), MLM reps are sinking to new lows.

As we revealed recently, MLMs are fond of using legitimate job boards to try to recruit women as unpaid sales reps for their schemes. But, as blogger and social media expert Hannah Clarke discovered, they’re also actually passing off their ‘income opportunities’ as actual roles, listed with realistic-seeming recruitment agencies.

“We’re looking for a social media executive”

Not long ago, Hannah Clarke was looking for new work opportunities on Total Jobs, when she saw this recruitment ad:

As Hannah says in her blog “Dear MLM con Artist”:

“The job spec looked fine, and it had been posted by what appeared to be a recruitment company. It wasn’t particularly well written, but then nor are a good 80% of the job specs I’m sent through. I filled in my details, uploaded my CV, and then left to have lunch with my best friend.”

However, not long after Hannah submitted her application, she received an email from a Kleeneze recruiter making it clear that, far from a social media executive job, the ad was actually looking for someone to “[post] catalogues through hundreds of doors and [spam] social media with sales posts.”

And as with all MLMs, this wasn’t a paid role. Instead, to join you’d need to pay a minimum of £75 for a Kleeneze starter kit to become an unpaid sales rep for them. (And remember, an average of 99.6% of MLM reps make no money when expenses are taken into account.)

The same old MLM lies

As you can expect, Hannah was disappointed and angry, and emailed the Kleeneze rep to let them know she didn’t wish to pursue the ‘opportunity’. Here’s the email exchange that followed:

In the past few months we’ve spent a considerable amount of time researching MLMs and the strategies and lies they use to recruit. And to help anyone who may be tempted to fall for them, we’ll just point out two of the common MLM lies this email exchange perpetuates:

  • “If you follow the system you’ll earn money”as this in-depth, independent research reveals, even if you follow the system to the letter, you’re STILL more likely to win money at roulette than profit with an MLM.
  • “People fail at MLMs because they don’t have the self-discipline or motivation” – if someone fails at an MLM they are always told it’s their fault (much as an abusive partner never takes the blame). They didn’t work hard enough; had the wrong mindset; were too negative. The truth is that people fail at MLMs because the business model doesn’t work for 99.6% of the people who pay to sign up.

Let’s play MLM bingo!

In fact, these, and other lies, are so commonly used that the brilliant Timeless Vie created the MLM bingo card:

If anyone ever dares to question whether an MLM actually works, or whether an MLM rep’s quack doctor-esqe ads (or blatant boasts and lies) are true, they’ll usually get one of these responses. Sometimes you can fill an entire bingo card in one conversation!

We decided to test Hannah’s experience ourselves

So was Hannah’s experience a one-off? Or do we all need to be careful applying for jobs in future? We decided to find out.

We searched for ‘social media executives’ roles on Total Jobs, just as Hannah had done, and applied for one of the many similar-sounding positions on page one of the search results with a fake CV. Here’s the description for the social media executive position we applied for:


  • [We] have a fantastic opportunity for a Social Media Executive
  • A B2C brand – Household name!
  • Paying up to £24,000 per annum
  • Based in the West Midlands


  • Executing the social media campaigns and strategies across the group’s brands
  • Contributing ideas for the social media channels and for online content
  • Content creation across the brand’s social networking sites and the company website
  • Working in tangent with the other digital channel


  • Proven experience of managing a business’s social media channels
  • You need to be a creative thinker and have an outstanding level of written English
  • Evidence of working in a fast paced marketing function

Not bad for a salary of ‘up to’ £24,000. However, here are the REAL details from the automated email we received immediately:

Thank you for your interest in the online position.

The role is simple and great fun, all that is involved is to advertise products on Facebook through buy & sell sites etc.

You will initially set up a selling group which you will grow over the next coming months, as this grows so will your income 

We help you get set up and coach you so that you are fully functional and able to run successfully.

  • We help you set up your group.
  • You will also be put into our team groups so that you can gain all the knowledge and tips to help you.
  • You can sell local.
  • You can also sell nationwide.
  • You can sell on EBAY, Gumtree etc.
  • Products sell themselves (you will also be put in a group with all the successful pics and descriptions for you to use).
  • If you want to start to build a team of your very own, we help you get that side up & running (lots more income etc.)
  • Continued support & guidance.

We are one of the main leaders in the company and have vast amounts of experience in helping and coaching people to their desired incomes.


  • £200 – £600-part time
  • £1000 – £5000 Full time (with team)

You can work as fast or as slow as you wish all depending on how much income you want to earn.


  • Join our selling group below to see what a selling group looks like
  • Take a look at the catalogue link below
  • Join our Success Group and see other people’s stories
  • Ask to get started, we can have you up and running within 24hrs

Just as with Hannah’s experience, the links included revealed this was a Kleeneze recruitment ad. And far from earning a salary (as you’d expect with a job), this was an unpaid sales role you’d need to PAY to join.

Update: According to BBC News, Kleeneze have gone into administration

Beware of MLMs conning you via recruitment ads

We think it’s bad enough that MLMs prey on mothers who need to find ways to earn money from home to join their income ‘opportunities’ (the only people making an income from MLMs are the top 0.4% of the earnings pyramid). But to con women with fake job ads is a new low entirely. And certainly reflects poorly on job sites like Total Jobs that allow these ads.

So if you are looking for a position in future, please do beware of MLM companies advertising on legitimate-seeming job boards – whether they disguise the fact they’re an MLM or not.

As tempting as they make their opportunities sound, we believe that MLMs are little more than a con in which research shows that an average of 99.6% of the people who pay to join will lose money.

If you’d like to learn more about MLMs and just why they’re so dangerous, please read the 10 ugly truths they don’t want you to know

Photo by Bonnie Kittle