You can find nearly anything on Craigslist. You can find rental units, furniture, pets, and jobs—yes, jobs! If you're looking for a job, you should use every resource available to you. Craigslist can be one such resource. Finding a job on this website can be simple if you keep these 10 tips in mind.
- Never pay anyone.
This tip applies to anything you do on Craigslist. If you run into a job listing where the advertiser requests payment, it’s a scam. Recruiters are paid by employers to look for viable employees. Employees are paid by employers. Under no circumstances should you pay someone to give you a job.
- Look for employer names.
Some businesses post listings that don't indicate who they are. They omit the company’s name in order to hide their intentions from competitors or even current employees. While you shouldn't completely dismiss a listing that lacks employer information, be on guard. If the employer’s name, address, or contact information is missing, begin to seriously question the legitimacy of the posting—it could very well be a scam.
- Check the dates on the post.
Craigslist is becoming increasingly popular, which means a good job that’s been posted on the website could go fast. Usually, listings that are a week or two old are problematic. There is probably a reason a perfect candidate hasn't been found. It's also possible the advertiser simply forgot about the listing and failed to remove it.
- Avoid multiple listings.
If you see the same job posted on the website several times, it could mean one of two things: either the job has a high turnover rate or the listing is a scam. Positions listed multiple times should raise major red flags. These posts may have been altered slightly but generally contain the same information, and they will always contain the same contact information. Avoid these listings.
- Research before you apply.
Unfortunately, Craigslist draws scam artists who will do anything to get your personal and financial information so they can steal your identity or do any number of nefarious things. To avoid being scammed, research the company before you apply. If you see a listing with contact information, go to the Better Business Bureau website (bbb.org) to check its legitimacy. You may also check the phone book or online yellow pages.
- Never give out your Social Security Number.
Above all, do not give out your Social Security Number (SSN) over the internet or in person unless you are 100% sure the business is legitimate. Your SSN should only be provided once you've done thorough research. A scammer with your SSN can easily steal your identity. If you are unsure, list your SSN as "available upon request" rather than giving it on paper or online.
- Set up a separate email account.
Set up a separate email account to protect your privacy. This email account (with a professional-sounding address) should be used only for the purpose of job searching. Scammers posing as potential employers will not gain additional information about you if you set up this fake email. Plus, you avoid other spam that may be sent to your inbox, as spammers often scan listings of email addresses to send their junk to.
- Protect personal and financial information.
Do not share your home address or phone number when you apply. Simply give the employer the separate email address that you set up for the purpose of job searching. Try not to get too personal in an interview, and never give an advertiser your bank account number unless you're sure the business is legitimate.
- Trust your instincts.
If a job listing sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ads that offer free money right away or other benefits at no cost are scams, especially if they don’t require prior work experience. If the listing asks you to sign up for anything, click out of it immediately.
- Don't get too personal.
When you're applying for a job the “traditional” way, it's not unusual to share personal information, but it's different when you're applying for a job on Craigslist. I'm not saying do not give this information, but be cautious when doing so. Does it make sense for an employer to need personal information? If the advertiser asks for a photo of you when you're applying for a writing position, it could be a scam. Modeling jobs may ask for photos, but telemarketing jobs shouldn't. Safety should be your first priority.
- Look for signs of unprofessionalism.
There are several signs of unprofessionalism you should look out for. Things such as asking to meet you at night for drinks, dodging questions about the company, or texting you about non-work-related subjects are all red flags. Check the spelling and grammar on the listing, too. Spelling mistakes happen, but if there are several, the person either doesn't care about the professionalism of the listing, or he or she is unfamiliar with the English language. Such a listing may be a scam.