Craig from Craigslist Talks To Me About Finding a Job Through The Site He Founded


Funny how connections are made. When I was in Nashville a few weeks ago, desperately trying to find a job, I, like many other job seekers in metropolitan areas, turned to for help. But instead I was greeted with a litany of scams. Frustrated, I Twittered something to the effect of “Is there one motherfucking real job offered on craigslist or is it all bullshit?” Thats when THE Craig (I’d say the most well-known Craig on earth aside from maybe Jenny Craig?) contacted me about rotting out these scammers trying to take hungry job-seekers for what little they have left.

I was impressed. I mean, this guy personally took it upon himself to try to make craigslist better for one single person. That, my friends, is customer service. So I asked Craig if he’d grant me a short interview. He agreed. And from thence forth N. Frank Daniels’ faith in mankind was at least temporarily restored. Here’s the interview:

Me: Craigslist is one of the most popular and well-known web-sites on the
planet. It is a place where people can buy and sell items, where one can
look for dates, but in these difficult economic times it is probably most
depended upon as a place where job-seekers turn to look for work. As with
any site as highly trafficked as craigslist, it is also seen as a mecca
for scammers and spammers. Can you give me a brief run-down as to what you do to try to cut down on these sorts of activities on the site?

Craig: I don’t think we’re seen as “mecca” for bad guys, since they learn that
we’re really good at helping cops locate bad guys. However, our first
line of defense is our use community, which flags away most of the bad
stuff. Over time, we’ll get even smarter about dealing with this.

Me: You’ve told me in previous emails that you put in 15 hour days personally trying to rid the site of as many of these scammers and spammers as you can. What is the process you use to try to rid the site of these manipulators? Do you find that this is an ever-increasing problem now that websites such as CNN and others are publishing stories of individuals looking for work on craigslist, thereby increasing the visibility even more?
Craig: Every day, I work around eight am to eleven pm irregularly, taking the hours off I need to get errands done, to relax, maybe see friends. for the
most part the bad stuff is brought to me attention using a variety of
tools including email and internal software tools. It’s not really
increasing; there are only so many bad guys out there.
Me: Any advice for us job-hunters as to how we can smell out these fraudulent job offers?
Craig: We have a lot of good advice at:

Me: Do you take pride in the fact that craigslist is playing such a major role in giving desperate job seekers a glimmer of hope in finding work? Does
this increased visibility on the help wanted section of craigslist change
the over-all vision you have for the site?
Craig: I feel really good about that for a moment, then it’s back to work, in
part, wondering how we can help more. No vision, just, how do we do

Thanks for taking the time, Craig. Again, I appreciate your help with this. Just the fact that you have taken the initiative to personally answer my emails says volumes about you as a buinessman and a person.



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4 responses to “Craig from Craigslist Talks To Me About Finding a Job Through The Site He Founded

  1. Mickey

    The internet is the craziest and freakiest place in the world. It makes as all a bit…I don’t know…more balls-y? Like, I would never in my life write to someone like Augusten Burroughs and tell him if he wasn’t gay and in a committed relationship, I would totally be his beard. Yet, I still did it and now I am the proud owner of a signed copy of his one book, “Dry”.
    It’s so strange in a way to be able to email anyone who’s email address you can find. They may not write back, but they may.
    I am glad you got a chance to talk with Mr. Craig. It is awesome to hear from the source that a problem is not only being addressed but trying to be solved.
    We are no longer alone on this internet. This is both a good and bad thing.
    Keep bitching and complaining…I am sure others are listening.

  2. Jesse

    I think the biggest problem is the volume of people who are vulnerable to even the most overt Craig’s scams, yet the media just keeps hyping it as some holy social capital tool. I’ve been trying to contact several news sources to get them to do stories on the proliferation of employment scams across the entire job search spectrum; 10% unemployment, and no luck yet? Welp, screw it—better just cover the president’s pets some more.

    Myself, I’ve been using the site for over six months which has led to several valuable lesson: 1) regardless of your level of experience with the site, you WILL be scammed or spammed 2) the effectiveness of even local, legit job postings is incredibly low 3) screw this entire cultural shift toward electronic, anonymous, pomo interaction, the only way to get a job is the old-fashioned way: through peers, word of mouth, and [gasp!] face-to-face application. If I want an easy gig or a bike, Craigs continues to amaze. But the way I see it, the jobs section is a cesspool and it is highly unlikely they will be able to change it without changing the fundamental design of the site. The fact that more isn’t done publicly to help people understand the dangers of the site is simply an embarrassment.

  3. nfrankdaniels

    Jesse, I agree with you, but the problem with (gasp!) face-to-face interviews is that fewer and fewer companies are even doing that anymore until they let their autmoated systems get you through the first two rounds. It has become increasingly more difficult to charm your way into a position anywhere. Peers and word-of-mouth, though, are exactly where its at.

  4. Jesse

    Don’t even get me started on this backward, hyper-corporate trend toward slow, byzantine, Kafka-esque hiring processes (not the least for professional positions, either). As a young grad, lots of rejection and a seemingly endless job search has actually been a pretty good experience. Yet one of the important things I’ve learned is that if an institution fronts the electronic/H.R. iron curtain, in most instances one probably wouldn’t want to work there anyway. And a bit of poetic justice: most of the companies herein described have since gone out of business! (The bum-life is one of small victories.)

    Per your Craig’s contact, I wouldn’t mean to fault the site exclusively for what’s been going on in their jobs section. I owe Craig himself for thousands of dollars in labor and sold items. But don’t you think more should be done to help the public’s literacy regarding such online job scams? I don’t mean to soapbox here, I just really think that the responsibility to do so lies far above just the local level, nor is it just a law enforcement problem.

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