I am an employer who used GenM (now Acadium) and not a hired Growth Marketer for GenM (Acadium) posting fictitious questions on Quora to only answer them myself including creating several backlinks. (Joyce, your LinkedIn profile seems to paint a very different picture for your “used to be” affiliation with GenM (now Acadium))
As an employer, I cannot recommend GenM (now Acadium)to other startups or businesses big or small. While I generally chalk bad experiences up to more of life’s lessons and move on, my experience was so bad that I won’t let go.
(From a background perspective, know that I’ve led large agency teams for national brands – DeVry University, McDonald’s Kids, Sony, M&M Mars – as well as entrenched in the startup world self-funding my own back in 1994. Over the decades I’ve hired and worked with over 100+ interns. I currently mentor many startups and young founders here in San Francisco and have been doing so for years.)
Here’s why I don’t recommend GenM (now Acadium) given my experience as an employer:
I reached out to 10+ apprentices on GenM (now Acadium) to personally invite them to interview for intern slots we had available (I prefer not to do a mass send as I study resumes and candidate profiles before interviews to be more human and personal). About 80% of those candidates responded in a timely fashion. Some didn’t respond at all.
I scheduled and sent calendar invitations for interview confirmations with explicit instructions that I would phone. Of the 10 who confirmed, 4 were no-shows. That’s a 60% success rate for apprentices showing up for an interview which starts to raise a red flag for me. No notes, no apologies, no anything from the apprentices for their lack of professionalism and wasting my time.
GenM (now Acadium) has a crazy “End Chat” button which allows apprentices to “ghost” employers. Since much of the dialogue with candidates was contained on the GenM platform and contact email addresses and phone numbers were generally not shared, it was super easy for a candidate to pretend our exchange never happened. Here’s a screenshot of one such “ghosting” experience following a no-show interview. In this thread, I had confirmed the interview day, time (including time zone) and my work number. I recognized that sometimes things happen so I sent a follow-up note for possible reschedule. Her response is in the red bar at the top. Yes, incredible.
I followed up with GenM (now Acadium) to share my initial disappointment with the overall poor response rate from apprentices and was shocked by their response. Instead of looking at the unprofessionalism of the candidates in my situation, GenM (now Acadium) wanted to look at my “funnel” to explore what I had done wrong in this instance. There was no acknowledgement that just perhaps the quality of apprentices could be lacking. With hindsight, I shouldn’t have been surprised by their “employer must always be wrong” stance since culture starts at the top. There was a video on their site by one of their founders who was conveying to employers how best to work with apprentices – not thinking that any of us have ever hired 100+ interns before in our decades of work experience. It was a very one-sided video versus presenting a two-sided look at expectations of the employer and expectations of the apprentice. (Here he is with the one video I could find:
(Being a former club kid as having worked in nightlife during my career, he quickly takes me back to those days and many of the promoters I know).
During the interviews that did happen, I asked basic questions in the functional areas for which the apprentices were allegedly certified by GenM (now Acadium). Surprised by the lack of basic answers that should have been known, I dug deeper with a few of the interviewees. Several were candid that the same certification tests can be taken over and over again until one passes. To me, this isn’t learning but merely memorizing answers to a test. So net, “certificates” appear to be meaningless.
I had prepared a detailed internship project plan and we eventually hired an intern through GenM (now Acadium) which lasted a mere 3 weeks. We had to let her go given that she was consistently missing self-imposed deadlines and wasn’t devoting the full 5-10 hours per week we had agreed upon (and stated in the GenM agreement).
I reached out to GenM (now Acadium) again to share that we had terminated the intern and that we wanted a refund. Low and behold, I was told that refunds weren’t possible and that I’d need to find a new apprentice. I had lost all patience with GenM (now Acadium) so went searching for the Terms and Conditions as well as their FAQs to view and refund clauses if an apprentice is terminated. The Terms and Conditions and any FAQs are buried and nearly impossible to find. In what should be an easy find in the footer takes several clicks through links to eventually find. Once there, the Terms all about any employer breach with no mention of an apprentice breach (e.g. if the apprentice fails to devote the appropriate time per the Agreement or fails to meet deadlines).
This week I received a note from a customer service rep at GenM (now Acadium) asking how the apprentice was working out for my company. This was the customer sales rep with whom I had shared that we had terminated the intern and that we were requesting a refund of the initial $147. Was his CRM malfunctioning?
Immediately following his email, a new 3-month round of apprenticeship was charged to my account (another $147 without any referral credits). Yes, more incredible since I was, am and will always be a dissatisfied GenM customer.
I DO NOT recommend GenM (or Acadium). If you are an employer, you’re better off working through your local colleges, universities and trade schools for finding and hiring interns. If you have project work, we use any of the virtual freelance platforms for finding cost effective solutions (Fiverr, Upwork, Thumbtack, etc.)
So that’s my experience and feedback working with GenM (now Acadium) and pool of apprentices from an employer’s point of view.
(p.s. And GenM (now Acadium) is in Ottawa, Canada so don’t be misled by the San Francisco 415 area code Google Voice phone number).