Craigslist is a power horse in the world of online classifieds. A not-for-profit group, the website allows users to post classified ads, be they for roommates or secretaries or rare coins.  As classified are organized by geography and then subject, the website makes it easy to look for something in your local area. 

This is especially nice when looking for a job that doesn’t requiring you to move.  While the local paper is a good place to start, the fees associated with that may prevent some employers from being able to post a request for an employee.  Placing an ad on Craigslist is free.

But this freeness of Craiglist can pose problems. It’s very easy for a job ad to simply be a scam. Or of the job advertised to not be what you thought you would be hired for.

So how do you figure out what jobs are worth applying to?

Ads are small, short things, but that makes it relatively easy to look for triggers of a scam because you have less words to sort through.  A short block of text means a short amount of time you can to spend to analyze it.

Contact Information

  • This is the first thing you should look for.  If it’s not there, dismiss the ad.
  • If the phone number listed is not an area code you recognize, dismiss it.
  • E-mail addresses are a little trickier.  If the job is for a company, the e-mail address should have the name of the company in it, be it before or after the ‘@’ sign. Even if the company isn’t mentioned by name in the ad, you should be able to tell. (E-mails with a name or initials followed by ‘hotmail’, ‘gmail’, or ‘yahoo’ are usually personal.  Especially if numbers are after the name.) If not, move on to the next posting.  For personal e-mails, if the ad states they’re an individual, there’s a good chance it’s not a scam.
  • It is common for contact to only be down through a reply link given by Craigslist, so it's not something to be concerned with.


  • Make sure one is listed.  If this field is just a string of question marks, they’re most likely looking for an unpaid intern or offering a fee lower than is competitive. Or it could be the ad was ment to be in the community section and not the job board.  Either way, it's not something you want.
  • If commission is the only compensation offered, again it’s probably not worth your time.  Unless you know you’re a really good sales person and can make it worth it.
  • Also make sure the compensation for the job makes sense with what the job description says you’ll be doing.  If it sounds like a skilled labor job, or the employer wants someone with experience, a hourly wage at or just above minimum is something to pass over.
  • If the job poster is asking you for money, you should go beyond disregarding the classified and report it to the site admin because that’s a scam 100%.


  • It’s actually pretty rare that the names of companies will be mentioned, so when they are take care to Google them.  If a Google search of name yields no results, or results that aren’t associated with the job ad at all, don’t bother applying.
  • Similarly, if the company – unnamed or not – promotes the company as large and award winning, only to not have a company name after the ‘@’ sign in a listed e-mail, ignore the job post.
  • Just because a company is unnamed, doesn’t mean the post is a scam, so make sure you check the rest of the elements of the job posting.

That being said, happy job hunting!