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I've been signed up for careers.stackoverflow since before it went live just to test the waters in case I ever needed to use it.

In the last 24 hours (including one at 11pm Sunday night) I received 'Hey, give us a shot back!' from Amazon and another firm called QuantLab.

This is only suspicious to me because:

1.) My CV, although 'published', literally has just a "//TODO :D" in it.

2.) These are the first 2 I have received, both in the scope of a day.

Did Amazon really contact me simply because I listed C# as a skill? Or could this be somebody ready to inform me I've won the Nigerian lottery?

Any other changes that would explain this anomaly? Or just a strange coincidence?

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23  
You can't have just won the Nigerian lottery. It's being transferred to my bank account as we speak. Very friendly prince is sending it over. –  squillman Mar 1 '10 at 23:27
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@squillman: our exiled princess is sincerely grateful for your assistance in this sensitive matter of recovering her family fortune! –  Ether Mar 2 '10 at 1:47
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I also got messages from Amazon and Quantlab within 24 hours of each other. This made me feel special. Now I feel less special. –  matt b Mar 4 '10 at 4:35
    
also meta.stackexchange.com/questions/40064/… –  matt b Mar 4 '10 at 4:36
    
I just got one from Amazon listing a job for a bunch of cloud/aws/web buzzwords. I haven't answered on Qs on this - my profile makes it pretty clear I'm a c++/3d/image processing type. I suspect Amazon are using freelancers/some sort of recruiter bonus - so these may be 'unofficial' official spams –  Martin Beckett May 22 '12 at 22:03
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8 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

We are looking closely at this. They are valid requests, as Geoff noted, but probably not the kind of thoughtful requests that we want on careers.

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These requests are in fact valid. If you respond "interested" you will be taken seriously.

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I don't understand. Are you being sarcastic? –  Andreas Bonini Mar 2 '10 at 0:52
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He is one of the SO developers. I don't think so. –  perbert Mar 2 '10 at 1:12
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If the OP's CV is what he says it is, then they are kinda desperate, aren't they? –  jmfsg Mar 2 '10 at 13:36
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My Conclusion, YOU ROCK

In one day you managed to get 66% percent of my total employer views in direct requests, I have been signed up to this service ever since it launched and have never been contacted and only had 3 views, despite having the C# tag and lots of reputationimigigs. I guess living in Australia sucks.

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5  
Australia is not too bad, the number of search hits for C# in Manchester(UK) is no better but we get a lot more rain and cold weather! –  Ian Ringrose Mar 2 '10 at 11:03
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@Ian you and @eskerber will have to slug it out over whose city is colder and rainier. And when walking on ice, you had better C# or you will B♭. –  JXG Mar 2 '10 at 14:29
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Note that the request the employers sent you were about as sparse as your CV. They are merely approaching you the way you are advertising yourself.

You will show up in employer searches, and they will see you CV:

http://careers.stackoverflow.com/erikkerber

Then view your user page at SO:

http://stackoverflow.com/users/132087

And you will fit many open positions. Just because your CV is incomplete doesn't mean it's useless, and one of the nice features about careers is that employers have a second source (your SO page) to check out one form of your output.

In fact, having a sparse CV may work to your advantage if your SO profile is particularly good. If your CV leaves them wanting to know more, they will do a little bit more research.

Keep in mind that employers have to pay to use careers - it's not something spammers will usually do unless it's less than a penny per thousand people they can spam. So it's unlikely that we'll see any real spam on there for awhile.

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A great point, and one I've asked myself about. The question is, how many suckers does one need for the registration fee to pay off? –  eskerber Mar 2 '10 at 15:08
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I, also, recieved the Quantlab one and I'm convinced it's spam. I already e-mailed careers about it.

This was what I got from them:

Hi There –

I came across your information on < link temporarily hidden > and I am interested in networking. My firm, Quantlab Financial is a science-driven, technology focused automated trading firm based in Houston, TX. We recruit all types of engineers from software to systems.

Even if you are not currently looking for an opportunity we would love to exchange contact information if your circumstances change. Quantlab also has a great referral program, if you refer a friend/colleague to Quantlab and we hire them, you receive a 1k referral bonus.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Jennifer Evans Quantlab Financial < email temporarily hidden >

It came with information in the employer box:

Quantlab

http://quantlab.com

4200 Montrose Blvd Houston TX, 77006

The website leads to a Network Solutions "Under construction" page. The address is for The University of St Thomas in Houston, Tx. Specifically the ELS Language Building. Plug it into Google Maps and see for yourself.

If you do a search for Quantlab Financial on google.com you get a linkedin profile, a profile on business week, indeed and half a dozen other profiles that one person could easily create. No web page, no news reports, no official records or listings. You also get a about a bajillion postings on pretty much every job listing site out there.

I am absolutely convinced that the Quantlab one is a fishing scam. If it isn't, I'll eat my hat (and turn very red in the face). I have no idea about the Amazon one though, it could just be that you're that awesome ;)

Edit: I would add that I appear to have received the quantlab one at the exact same time you did. ~16 hours ago

Edit Again:

After much confusion, I'm now pretty sure that they are real. Austin (see comments) will confirm it as soon as he visits.

To Quantlab - my sincere apologies. I'll leave up my posts so that you guys can see what made me convinced you were a phishing scam. The primary culprits - the lack of web presence (or website) and the fact that Google Maps has your address listed as a language building at the University of St. Thomas. Putting up a website would probably help a great deal to allay suspicion in the future. I wish you luck in your recruiting, and apologize again for the trouble.

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4  
Houston resident here... I drove by the address last Sunday (next door to one of my favorite pubs) and while I didn't investigate inside, the parking lot has several reserved parking spots for Quantlab. I'll try to swing by there tomorrow over lunch to see what's actually going on. Though I do agree that not having a web site is a bad sign. –  Austin Salonen Mar 4 '10 at 19:54
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I'm adding this in a new answer because I think this needs airing. I've received responses claiming to be from StackOverflow careers and claiming that Quantlab is legitimate. However, what they claim in the response and what Quantlab told me in a response conflicts pretty seriously.

The first response I got from generic Stack Overflow careers was the following:

Daniel,

We will speak to this employer and find out more information. We believe they are trying to fill positions for this job:

http://jobs.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?6373

-- Stack Overflow Careers careers@stackoverflow.com

However, the job they linked to is for a C# developer or a .net developer. I list both of those as one of my Dislikes in my careers Stack Overflow profile. If they are trying to fill that position, it makes no sense whatsoever for them to contact me.

Shortly after that I received a second response from Atilla (still careers@stackoverflow.com) with the following:

Thank you for your response, we always value our community!!

These guys are the definition of "Stealth Mode", I've spoken to them several times, they are real and not phishing. They just got funding and are looking to build out a team of programmers - Bootstrap Mode??. Either way, they are real: Thanks for the Help in keeping our boards clean, we appreciate it!!

Attila

Okay, I supposed I can buy that. A small team that just had funding and was trying to bootstrap could definitely not have much web presence. But then Quantlab responded to my initial response to their invitation telling them in no uncertain terms that I was convinced they were a scam and didn't appreciate the attempt. They responded with this:

Hi Daniel -

I certainly understand your concern regarding our lack of web presence. Actually we have been operating a very successful proprietary trading firm for 12 years. Because we trade our own capital and don't license any of our technology we are basically in business for ourselves. Great when you think about, but certainly makes recruiting a challenge.

My contact information is below, try my email, it works - even get it on my blackberry.

Kate Brummett Recruiting Manager, Quantlab Financial < email temporarily hidden > < phone temporarily hidden >

Wait, what? Someone needs to get their story straight! Either you've been around for 12 years and you're a very successful firm or you just got funding and you're in the process of bootstrapping. Which is it? And the fact that your e-mail and blackberry work tells me nothing. Mine do too, but that doesn't mean I'm not a spammer or scammer. And why are you giving out an address that points to the University of St Thomas? And a web address that leads to nowhere? If they were a real firm that was just going stealth mode, then they shouldn't be giving any address or web address at all! There's something very rotten going on in Denmark. I don't know what it is, but too much of this information conflicts, it doesn't add up. Someone is either very confused or not telling the truth.

If they are legitimate, then I apologize - but from what I've seen, I sincerely doubt it. And if they are a scam and someone bites they could screw some people over pretty seriously.

Edit: After a little more searching - looking for 'Quantlab Financial scam' ironically - I turned up a NASDAQ listing for them. On an a Securities and Exchange Fraud lawyer's site. They don't appear to be listing them as a fraud, but as legitimate though. And I found a few blog posts or articles listing them as a firm that does high frequency trading. I'm a little more willing to believe they aren't a scam.

But either they or Careers needs to work a little harder in the future to keep things straight. Because up until that point all the information I could see pointed straight to a scam.

Further Edit: I'm pretty convinced they are real now. See first post.

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This is a message received by our Sales Team at Fog Creek

Hello StackOverflow Community –

I do apologize for any concerns that our messages over the last few days have created. To clarify a few things I have asked the folks at StackOverflow to post this message on our behalf.

My name is Kate Brummett, the Recruiting Manager for Quantlab Financial. We are a Houston based, proprietary trading firm operating successfully since 1998. Because we do not require external investors or sell our products (basically we work for ourselves, which is nice) we have never really invested in creating a web presence. This obviously creates a challenge in the recruiting arena. Quantlab is an automated, global trading environment that is driven by state-of-the science research implemented by a cutting-edge technology team.

As a growing company, our recruiting efforts have taken us to pages like StackOverflow and JoelonSoftware.com because we hire Software Engineers, not just developers – people that are passionate, if not obsessive about writing creative, clean code to solve complex problems. The languages used are less important to our firm; the way you solve problems is our highest priority. We want to hire energetic, passionate engineers that enjoy working in creative, collaborative and challenging environments.

If you have any questions, or just want to chat about working for a trading firm, send me a note, I am happy to respond. kbrummett@quantlab.com

                                                  Kate Brummett Recruiting Manager
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Kate Brummett noticed my comment on one of @Alcon's posts and has graciously offered a beer at the neighboring pub to stop by and visit. Like I said in my comment, the reserved parking does exist; so I'll see the inside tomorrow.

I'll also emphasize in person that they need a better web site.

If you trust my public CV, I don't work for them either.

Post-tour
Like I said earlier, I don't work for them. Kate gave me a tour of the company so yes, it is a real place. From what I saw, the employees are treated very well and I have no reason to think otherwise. I won't go into the perks but I will say I was very impressed. The office itself was gorgeous as well (I was reminded of the pics of the Fog Creek office when I got off the elevator).

Kate also assured me that they are working on the web site.

So if living in Houston appeals to you, you really should apply.

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