We Vet the Work-From-Home Jobs We Write About. Here’s Our Process

Penny Hoarder writers work on stories in our office in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Penny Hoarder writers work on stories in our office in St. Petersburg, Fla. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Finding a reliable work-from-home gig can be a real chore, especially with so many job boards, listings and companies that regularly seek work-from-home employees. 

Here at The Penny Hoarder, we want to put money in our readers’ pockets, and one way we do that is by sharing jobs with you. But how do we decide which work-from-home jobs are share-worthy?

With a tried-and-true vetting process, of course!

And since we want you to know you can trust us, we’ve decided to give you the lowdown on how that process works.

How We Vet Work-From-Home Jobs

We have a few methods of finding work-from-home gigs, such as browsing job boards, using keyword searches in Google and checking the career pages of companies known for having remote positions.

Once we find a job we think might interest our community, we put on our reporting hats. Here are the steps we take to make sure it checks out:

  • First, we do a quick Google search. We check out the company’s website and social media presence, looking for signs of legitimacy, like current contact info, recent activity and other boilerplate pages such as terms of service and press releases. We also look for the opposite: red flags. For example, maybe some of the site’s pages don’t exist, or it has links that lead to dead ends or unsecure sites. We might be concerned if a site looks outdated or uses odd or overly formal language. A lack of social media isn’t a deal breaker, but social media flooded with spammy links is.
  • If we find the listing on a website that aggregates jobs, we make sure that it’s also listed on the company’s official career page. If it’s not listed on their site or the information between the two posts doesn’t match up, that tells us to dig a little further. We won’t write about it until we confirm with the company that the job does, in fact, exist. In some cases, someone unaffiliated with a company could be behind a job board’s listing, using a big name to scam job seekers.
  • Next, we check Glassdoor reviews — reading what current and former employees have to say is a great way to get a better reading on a company. How are the benefits? Do the job listing’s claims live up to reality? Do employees recommend the company to other job seekers? 
  • In many cases, we contact the company directly if we have questions about the job listing or want to further confirm its legitimacy. If a phone number for the hiring department or an HR rep is available, we’ll give them a call. If we can’t find a usable number, we’ll send an email.
  • We might also check Google News for recent updates involving the company. Maybe the company recently raised wages or improved its benefits package. Or maybe it’s making headlines for less-than-stellar reasons, like unsavory hiring practices. Good or bad, we want to know what’s going on.

So, what exactly are we looking for during this process? Basically, anything that gets our spidey senses tingling.

If a job listing or company website is riddled with typos or uses weird, unnatural language, that’s a big red flag.

Say the listing was posted on a jobs website and we can’t find it anywhere else, including the company’s website. As Simon Cowell would say: It’s a no from me.

If a company has gotten bad publicity, say for fraud or improper hiring practices, we pass. And if the current or past employees leave a ton of bad Glassdoor reviews, we’re probably going to pass on that job, too.

Here at The Penny Hoarder, we’re a skeptical bunch when it comes to finding good, legitimate jobs for our readers. We’re trained reporters with experience looking at these jobs day in and day out — many of us have been doing research like this for years.

And if putting a face to a name gives you more confidence, check out our author bios!  Just click the author’s name on the post you’re reading. You’ll get not only an eyeful of our award-winning smiles but also some info on us and our journalistic experience.

If we have a fair amount of trouble vetting a job, we err on the side of caution and take a pass. We know you rely on us for quality opportunities, and we’re looking out for you.

Kaitlyn Blount is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.