Craigslist Submittable Scam

Normally, I don’t call out an scummy ad or interview by name.  I saw a new low point for sleaziness, and decided to out one.

I didn’t waste time and money applying for this job.  I don’t shame interviewers, because that could indirectly leak my identity.

A Craigslist ad led to Sumbittable.  Here’s a copy of the ad, in case the poster takes it down.

I’m looking to fund and incubate a new startup.  I have the idea, a half built product, and funding – but need a CEO-type person to lead the project.

The idea/product is in the email space.  Familiarity with software development, search advertising, SEO, and PR is a plus.

However, what is most critical is passion, desire to learn, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Here’s the deal: you will get a modest salary, space in my office, and equity in the startup.  I will provide the funding (initial product buildout, offshore engineering hires, and marketing) and day-to-day guidance.  I am looking for you to be the CEO.

FYI: there is a $3 application fee.
I’m an investor in the company Submittable and I’m told charging a nominal fee will result in a higher % of serious applicants.

Really?  He’s charging me $3 to apply to his job?  Is he weeding out “not serious applicants” or weeding out competent people?

You *NEVER* pay to apply for a job.  That’s an important rule for workers with useful skills.

If someone’s asking you to pay them to apply for a job, it’s definitely a scam.

Also, he wants to use an offshore development team.  That also shows he’s a clueless twit.  For an Internet-based business, software is the key component to success.  You aren’t going to get great software, when you outsource to an offshore development team.

Clueless twits think that it makes no difference who you hire to write software.  All programmers are interchangeable cogs.  Therefore, you might as well hire an offshore team, and minimize the cost per hour.  If you aren’t going to manage your software correctly, you might as well minimize cost per hour and the rate you flush your money down the toilet.

I don’t see the value of using a 3rd party website to manage resume submissions.  Is it that hard to set up a new E-Mail account for each job ad and read through the submissions?  Is Submittable better than monster or Dice or Craigslist?  Would anyone other than a sleazy employer ask job applicants to pay?  In my experience, the most competent interviewers let you E-Mail them a resume, rather than making you jump through hoops and fill out forms on a 3rd party website.

For some interviews, I asked “How many resumes did you receive?”  They answered “100-200″.  Is it that hard to read through those?  Do you really need to charge $3, to make sure that competent people don’t apply?

That is Submittable’s scammy business model.  When you apply for a job or submit a manuscript, you do it through Submittable.  Submittable charges a fee for each application.  The excuse is “That weeds out people who aren’t serious.”  Actually, that weeds out all the people who have enough self-respect to not pay $3 for a job application.  That weeds out all the people who are smart enough to not be scammed.

Obviously, Submittable is a scam.  Surprisingly, ycombinator invested in Submittable!  They’ve jumped the shark.  They should know better than to invest in such a sleazy startup.

There is too much money invested in junky web startups.  I’m surprised at all the lame ideas.  You might say “Start your own web business, FSK!”  There’s a big difference between conning clueless VCs into giving you money, and bootstrapping a business.

I was really offended by that ad.  He’s asking me to pay $3 to apply to a job?  He’s routing it through his sleazy startup “Submittable”.

I’ve dealt with plenty of clueless people who waste my time.  Some jerk wants to charge me for the privilege of wasting my time?

My blog has a good PageRank.  Anyone else who searches for Submittable, wondering if it is a scam, should find my post.  Hopefully, I can prevent other people from being scammed.


Here’s an interesting forum discussion. There’s an online magazine “The Rag” that also uses Submittable’s scammy service.

3 Responses to Craigslist Submittable Scam

  1. Years ago I realized that every job interview in the software field I would attend would insult me in some way. It got to the point where I would know the company would be rude to me in some way, but in a new, unknown way.

    It is not uncommon to have to make 3 different trips to an employer’s office for interviews. Technical tests go on and on. They can start at 10am and go on to 6pm. And then that is not even the end of it!

    $3 is nothing if you judge things that way. Think of the economic value of 3 – 4 days of your time wasted in interviews each pop.

    Employers don’t even bother not to waste your time. I went to three days on interviews at a Swiss bank in London. I got 100% in one written test and go virtually everything right in an oral test that went on for the better part of an hour.

    At the end of it I was told I couldn’t be offered a job because I had 5 different jobs in 10 years. They knew this right at the beginning as they had a copy of my resume (CV).

    What a bunch of time-wasting idiots!

  2. > Normally, I don’t call out an scummy ad or interview by name.

    I usually don’t mention specifics either, but I think the worse interview experience I had was at Microsoft UK in Reading.

    Two weeks after the interview, I had a phone call from their Human Resources woman. She asked me if I wanted the interview feedback. Foolishly I agreed.

    The interview process was somewhat lengthy. Before the interview I had to submit 3 programming solutions by email. After that I had to write another short program on an internet whiteboard.

    As the interview was in Reading at 9am, I think I had to wake up around 5am in the morning to make sure I got there in time.

    Each interview typically asked me 2 programming questions per interview.

    By 5:30pm I was getting tired. I didn’t see answering yet another programming question would add anything.

    Anyway the manager asked me a question. I was getting tired. The manager then started typing loudly on his laptop keyboard. It just broke my concentration and I stopped then and there. I thought the question was too large to be answering on a whiteboard anyway.

    So the interview ended.

    **** The Human Resources woman told me the manager said I WAS TOO STUPID TO REALIZE THAT I HAD GOT THE LAST QUESTION OF THE DAY WRONG ****

    That is just plain nasty and offensive feedback. You don’t attend an interview to be abused like that.

  3. Another disappointing interview I had was at Microsoft Dynamics in Denmark.

    It was disappointing because I was rejected for getting one question wrong, when in fact I got it exactly correct.

    I said my correct answer. Then the manager said he was in a hurry as he had someone else to interview. He then rephrased the answer I had just said out loud. That was it.

    I guess he wasn’t paying attention or he was looking for an exact word match to his prepared answer.

    As the interview was in a foreign country and there was pre-interview telephone conversations and problems and I had to make preparations first, the whole interview process probably occupied 4 days of my time.

    I wasn’t rejected straight away. After my interview with the manager – in which I GOT EVERY SINGLE ANSWER CORRECT, I had two more interviews. The last one of these was particularly difficult. I slaved away and got the correct answer on the whiteboard.

    Then I was told I was rejected because I had got one question wrong in my third from last interview (in fact I got it right). So why did I have to go through answering more monstrous questions?

    Just a whole waste of time. I suspect I was rejected because I am a bit older and wiser and experienced and the manager didn’t want any competition or anyone that would be a threat in any possible way.

    If they had rejected me for an HONEST reason I wouldn’t have had a problem.

    But how nasty? I got the question absolutely correct, but the manager couldn’t be bothered to listen to my correct answer. A waste of 4 days of my life!

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