Last week I received an email with a job-offer from a company; since I haven't heard anything about said company, their webpage was in maintenance and found nothing about them in Google (and there have been cases in which companies kidnap or rob people by offering fake jobs), I asked them if they could provide more information about the company (expecting a "we develop X and Y and we are located in Z"). Apparently the "I haven't heard about the company" offended them because they only replied that they are "a software and hardware development startup, and we haven't heard anything about you either".

I only replied apologizing if I offended them and wishing them good luck.

Was I wrong? Was I offensive? Isn't it normal that people doesn't know them since they are a startup? Is it a professional way for they to respond? How could I've asked for information without offending them?

(Feel free to correct my grammar :) )

  • 40
    ouch. Don't contact them again -- you did nothing wrong and acted appropriately.
    – mcknz
    Jul 2, 2016 at 18:42
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    That response warranted further interest? If a company responds that way then you probably don't want to work there. Did you even interview with them or apply there? Needless to say, you are not going to get a "job" there. Move on.
    – G.T.D.
    Jul 2, 2016 at 20:48
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    "their webpage was in maintenance" - You can also try the Internet Archive (aka Wayback Machine) to see what they have previously published on their Web site. If they have never posted anything, that does not sound serious to me.
    – Brandin
    Jul 4, 2016 at 8:49
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    Use WHOIS service (but use more than one, as not all give all available info) on their website url. You'll get some names and phones and addresses, etc etc. If you get a "Date registered: Yesterday" then you can send them to **** off right away. Jul 4, 2016 at 15:03
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    It may have been a scam, but the "offended personal response" tells me it's probably one or two guys that are remarkably impressed with their own mediocrity. A legit startup wants to stay "invisible" until they have a deliverable product, lest Google or Microsoft take a weekend to beat them to market once they see their idea is good. Jul 4, 2016 at 18:16

4 Answers 4


Unless you are a prominent figure in your industry, legitimate job offers do not come via unsolicited email from strange companies you've never heard of. This has scam written all over it.

"we haven't heard anything about you either"

is clearly a lie, since they sent you an email. They at least knew your email address. This sounds like a scammer annoyed that the intended victim is asking sensible questions. I recommend having nothing more to do with this.

  • May not be a lie, likely they will have "aquired" a list of initial marks and won't know anything until they respond, but agree with the advice Jul 2, 2016 at 19:47
  • I get unsolicited job offers to my personal e-mail occasionally from people that don't know me or what I do. Sometimes they find me on github and think I might know X or Y technology so they try their chance. It doesn't sound like a scam to me.
    – ecc
    Jul 4, 2016 at 12:21
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    @ecc are those job offers, or invitations to talk to see if it would be a good fit? Jul 4, 2016 at 12:30
  • I guess I would say it was the latter but OP didn't really specify. From what was written in the question, the scenario could basically be the same as mine.
    – ecc
    Jul 4, 2016 at 12:38
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    In English, a "job offer" implies a firm commitment to hire you. As you can imagine, making a commitment to hire you without ever having met you, would be very unlikely for a legitimate company. However, It's beginning to sound more like they just sent you an invitation to apply, As @ecc writes, that does happen, particularly in markets with high demand for workers. However, given their sketchy web presence, negative reaction to your question, and your remarks about kidnapping and robbery scams in your local market, I'd still be wary. Jul 4, 2016 at 19:01

If it was a legitimate business, then they would know that nobody has heard of them, and their reply to you would be absolutely childish. Not a place where you would want to start a job. I would have asked the same question, and would have expected from a legitimate company with currently no visibility an explanation what they plan to do and how to make money from it. As a legitimate company, I would be worried if a potential employee wouldn't ask.

Most likely a scam.

PS. Right now I'm working for a billion dollar company and an industry leader whose name I had never heard before I was told about a job opening. Their website was running though and I can't imagine it every being down for more than ten minutes. There will be a lot of people who never heard of Alphabet. Even more who never heard of TSMC, and even more who never heard of ASML.


First red flag:

I received an email with a job-offer from a company

Getting an unsolicited job offer from an organisation you haven't applied to is really suspicious. Perhaps a contact to ask if you are interested in working for them yes, but a job offer? Not so much.

Second red flag:

..."a software and hardware development startup, and we haven't heard anything about you either."

So if they haven't heard of you, why or even how exactly did they send you a job offer?

Your actions were appropriate and professional. Walk away, this has scam written all over it.

  • 10
    bonus red flag: "a software and hardware development startup"? Vague, much? Seems like an actual company would have a clearer idea of what they do. (If they didn't, they wouldn't last long) Jul 4, 2016 at 12:27
  • @LindaJeanne I have shared a building with a startup that was exactly a "software and hardware development startup" (they built edge devices for networks, custom hardware and software), so it's not unheard of. Not common, but not that much of a red flag.
    – Jane S
    Jul 4, 2016 at 14:16
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    if they described themselves as "building edge devices for networks, with custom hardware and software", then they weren't being anywhere near as vague as this company is with "software and hardware development startup". Jul 4, 2016 at 19:08
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    Gotta agree. @Jane: if they couldn't be any more specific than that either their recruiter is incompetent or something else is wrong. It's not even as focused as the semi-apocryphal mission statement DEC came up with to get their first Lian.
    – keshlam
    Jul 5, 2016 at 16:03
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    c/lian/loan/ in previous post.
    – keshlam
    Jul 5, 2016 at 22:59

I would have phrased my question a bit differently -- "I tried researching you but I wasn't my able to find anything meaningful. So who are you, how long have you existed, where's a trade journal article or three about you and your offerings, where's your web presence.." But I agree with others that their getting defensive rather than saying "oops" and spelling this out is a huge red flag.

  • 1
    For what it's worth, I made life rather unhappy for a recruiter who claimed to be offering me a CTO position... at a time in my career when I barely knew what a CTO might do. Remember that a cold caller is essentially a salesman knocking on your door; the profit may not be good, the deal may not be good, and it is not rude to say "not interested" and close the door.
    – keshlam
    Jul 5, 2016 at 15:59

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