Tips for Job Seekers on Web Boards

Warning signs to look out for

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#1 Martyr2  Icon User is offline

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Tips for Job Seekers on Web Boards

Posted 10 January 2010 - 01:13 PM

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I have seen a few job postings on here recently that has me shaking my head. I hate seeing newbies applying to a position and later get screwed over on a job posting posted on a web board. So I thought a nice little post outlining a few warning signs might be good for those looking to do a small project for someone.

These tips below can help you avoid falling for dead end projects by less than reputable people...

1) Poster says "Can't pay now but will share profits with you when we get up and running". Easy to say that when you are not making money. The fact that they can't pay for anyone up front is a clear sign that they are A.) Not Serious enough to put money on the line B.) Don't have the resources to begin with C.) Looking to either take your work and disappear or stiff you on what you do get paid. Greed can play a big role in this and you have to protect yourself. Often times I witness the person disappearing with work others have done or not paying out at all. If they are generating 30k a month from your work, do you really think they are going to give you 50% when it is easier to say that they made less and only offer you 5k? How would you know how much they made to begin with? If they give you 5k of that 30, you may think you are getting the 50%.

2) They won't provide any other contact info other than just their email or a msn messenger name... and that email is typically from some easily obtained public email host like yahoo or gmail or hotmail. Very rarely are people using these emails as their primary contact email. Many people use them as proxies or spam collecting emails. Something they may check once a week if that. The person hiring you should at least be able to give you a name and a specific email with that name in it. If they are John Smith they should have something like [email protected] or similar. Just remember that anyone can setup a yahoo, gmail or hotmail in 2 minutes. Someone who is serious is going to give you some good connections to contact them. If they are working through a business, they should be able to give you the business' main line which you can call to check.

3) Has an idea but no game plan. This dooms pretty much all projects out there in the industry let alone on the web. We all can have great ideas, but it is getting that idea to maturity with a game plan that really counts. Don't be afraid to ask for specifics about the resources at hand and the plan to make the idea a reality. If they want to build a web app, do they already have a host and registered domain for it? Do they already know what languages and databases they are going to use? Do they have any skills in actually doing these types of projects? Do they have any other team members already and what is their names? Get info on these things and double check them to see if in fact they have the resources they say they do. You will often find people have a great idea and think they just need a programmer to make it reality. Sorry, but you need to have a plan.

Ask for a scope document. They should at least have one of these setup to know what is involved, what is needed, and thus can give you a real world idea of how much time and effort is involved. Perhaps their idea will take 6 months for a 5 man team and cost 120k. They themselves may not realize what is involved and will cancel the project right there once they find out. Saves you some time and effort.

4) Get some pay up front. This ties into point number 1 above. If they are serious and can put their money where their mouth is, they can at least provide a retainer for your work. The last thing you want to do is enter into a project, make some great code and find out they no longer want to talk to you and shuts everything down. If this is the case, at least with the retainer you got some money for your troubles. Keep in mind that it is a risk for them to put up a retainer, what if you disappear? So agree on an amount that is comfortable for both sides. Perhaps you might want to go further and get a legal binding contract with that person. Again, confirm they are who they say they are first.

5) Ask around the board or other forums if anyone has heard of this person or business. You may be surprised to learn that others have dealt with them before and found them to be shady or lack communication skills resulting in a project failure. A job poster's track record does account for something and it will show with the number of positive reviews they receive. If you find others who have done work and gotten paid for it, great!

6) Last but not least the most important piece of advice I can give.... never ever invest more time into someone else's project you are not willing to lose. I have seen people dump in hours and days worth of work with no pay and got screwed in the end. Of course they cry about it and expect something to be done. If you are doing this work on the side as a hobby and a little extra cash, perhaps you are willing to dump a few hours into a project and lose it knowing you at least learned something. However if you are unemployed and was really hoping this project would put food on the table, getting screwed over can really put you in a bind. Another reason to have some kind of agreement in writing to protect yourself.


In Conclusion...

You will find that serious posters are willing to put in some money and resources to get a good programmer on their team. They will provide solid ways for you to contact them, keep in touch with them, and will be even willing to put up a small retainer if they are willing to work with you. They will know the project scope that needs completion, provide you with enough info for you to gauge the amount of work needed and a direction. They will know what they want in the way of skills (or at least ask during an 'exploratory' phase), what is needed for the project and be thought of highly by others who have done work for them.

Be smart, read the post carefully and think about some of these guidelines before jumping in to do some work. I know how it can be when you are anxious to get in on a hot project and want to code up stuff that very minute, but when you find out there is no pot of gold at the end of that rainbow you don't want to be caught off guard.

:)

This post has been edited by Martyr2: 10 January 2010 - 01:16 PM


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Replies To: Tips for Job Seekers on Web Boards

#2 SixOfEleven  Icon User is offline

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Re: Tips for Job Seekers on Web Boards

Posted 10 January 2010 - 01:20 PM

This is very well written and very accurate. Thanks for sharing this, I'm going to pin it.
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#3 calvinthedestroyer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Tips for Job Seekers on Web Boards

Posted 27 February 2010 - 10:12 PM

Thank you, This gives me great insight on what I need to do when outsourcing work and help for my invention. Its really nice to have all the do's and don't's listed all in one doc.
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#4 audiman  Icon User is offline

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Re: Tips for Job Seekers on Web Boards

Posted 22 March 2010 - 04:38 PM

Thanks for some sound advice
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#5 nick1200  Icon User is offline

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Re: Tips for Job Seekers on Web Boards

Posted 05 April 2010 - 11:58 AM

This is real good
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#6 Code_Pheonix  Icon User is offline

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Re: Tips for Job Seekers on Web Boards

Posted 04 May 2010 - 11:46 AM

I thought it was a great post. I'd been wondering how to sort them out. I had a quick question. Should I have a nondisclosure ready when I ask them for money and the real question. Just what are they planning to do. I am considering a ground floor opportunity in my spare time which I think could be big but they won't really say what the project is. The company is real, and if I had a "new" idea, I might be hesitant to share it too widely.

Any advice appreciated,

Code_Phoenix
Jerome Bonno
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#7 PlentyofJobs  Icon User is offline

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Re: Tips for Job Seekers on Web Boards

Posted 05 September 2013 - 12:43 AM

Great Tips! Thanks for sharing.
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