Thursday, October 27, 2011

Job Interview - Follow-up

So the other day I had a *job interview* of sorts. See my - prior post.

How'd it go?

Well okay - even though I'm not about to be tutoring wealthy New Yorkers for $300 an hour through this company anytime soon.

It's funny because, just as I predicted to my wife, the guy asked a million questions about *homeschooling*.

Now I love talking about what we do with our kids, the theories, resources, etc....but this was a total deja vu situation.

Some 10+ years ago, after I messed up my back in that car accident....every doctor I saw wanted to talk to me about the roaring stock market (on account of me being a floor trader). "But hey, Doc, what about fixing my back???"

After a nice, long conversation we did get around to talking about me tutoring with his organization.

Here's the deal. They mostly do standardized test tutoring. Yuck! And tutors have to teach all three sections to the student: math, verbal, essay.

Furthermore, tutors have to re-take the SAT, score in the top 1% on all three exams, AND then undergo this firm's *training program*.

Forget the exorbitant rates charged to the parents....tutoring pay starts at only $70 an hour.

After meeting with me for 45 minutes, the guy said that he didn't think I would be interested in such a path....and I confirmed it for him right on the spot.

Unless I was getting paid north of $150 an hour, it's not worth my time to tutor through a company because of income taxes, the cost of getting someone to watch my kids, etc. So $150 was my minimum to start with.

Beyond that I don't really care to tutor the verbal and essay sections - again, unless I'm getting paid $200+ hour on the books.

Re-take the SAT? Didn't I have to go through that BS once before?

Well I had been contemplating taking it anyway. I have no idea what the *essay* section even is (note also my handwriting is illegible TO ME at this point).

Apparently 2,200 points would get you in the top 1% overall. That would be, for example, 800 math, 700, verbal, and 700 on the essay sections. Though I'm not sure what the individual section scores would need to be to crack the 1% threshold.

I'm pretty sure I could take the test, ace the math, do significantly better than the 690 I got on verbal in 1991, and get close to whatever score represents the top 1% in the subjective essay section...

But again, why do tutors need to do this?

The answer is simply - *marketing*. I'm sure this company tells its clients, "EVERY ONE OF OUR TUTORS SCORED IN THE TOP 1% ON ALL SECTIONS OF THE SAT."

Now that's their business; it's very lucrative/successful; so I'm not going to pass judgment on its inherent weaknesses. Clearly they rank marketing at least on par with pure competence.  Eben Pagan most certainly agrees with this philosophy too.

I mean, just because someone can score on the exam....that doesn't mean they will be an adept teacher of the content. Who among us doesn't personally know *nerds* with F-level people and verbalization skills?

The other thing is, just as I suspected, all the *management* continues to tutor as well. So they keep the ultra-high-paying clientele for themselves - as I would too if I were them!

They are not really hard-up for tutors who meet their qualifications (top 1% SAT scorers) and are willing to work for less than $100 an hour (which is like $50-$60 cash after taxes) either...

What else do you think graduates out of Harvard each year but another flock of aimless nerds who have high college boards and scant, real marketable skills!!!

It wasn't all bad. The guy and I got along really well and he was very interested in me as sort of an educational consultant for their parents who want to supplement, enrich, or even venture completely into the wonderful world of individualized education. And since he has all the connections to the *people of means* in this area I'm not about to close this window of opportunity.


Anonymous said...

i thought you are done with working for others...after reading ferris :)

i think its a huge untapped market to charge 200-300$ an hour to your old colleagues, who probably are making few mil a year in total.comp.

CaptiousNut said...

It's not *untapped* or un-targeted. There are tutoring centers and independent tutors all over this area. I'd really be an independent contractor with that firm anyway.

I just have to break in. Only need 1-2 clients at these rates really.