I’ve really looked forward to writing this FlexJobs review.
The main reason for that is that FlexJobs advertises all the time on Facebook – to the point that I tend to see an ad for the service on my newsfeed almost every day! Often, there are comments after the ads with people questioning if FlexJobs is a scam, or debating whether it’s right that you have to pay for membership. As such, I was really interested to sign up and see what it’s all about. (I did so with my own money and wasn’t financially compensated in any way – before anyone asks!)
The fact that FlexJobs charges for membership is something that’s immediately addressed in the welcome video when you sign up. FlexJobs is a service that curates and vets flexible job opportunities from various sources. This is what you’re paying for, alongside various other “members only” features that have varying levels of usefulness, as we’ll discuss later in this FlexJobs review.
Paying for Vacancies? Some Background
Many people are uncomfortable with the concept of paying any money at all as part of finding work. The traditional way of doing things is that companies looking for staff pay job boards to advertise their vacancies. This is how many online services work, from traditional job sites such as Monster, to freelance listing sites like ProBlogger Jobs.
However, there is an increasing trend for companies to turn that model on its head, charging job seekers for the convenience of viewing jobs from multiple sources all in one place, rather than charging clients and employers to advertise.
This is happening in all kinds of industries. Services like Writers.Work and Contena, targeted at freelance writers, charge for the convenience of providing curated lists of writing gigs; Then there are sites like Experteer, aimed at high-end consultants, which also charge for access to vacancies.
Whether or not you object to the basic principle of services charging for access to work opportunities, the reality is that there is a current trend towards it. Nobody has to sign up for anything like this! In many cases, the jobs and freelance gigs found on all of these services are freely advertised elsewhere – on traditional (free) job boards, company websites or both. However, it’s undoubtedly harder to find opportunities scattered all over the web than it is to view them all in one place.
What IS FlexJobs?
FlexJobs is a subscription-based job board that offers “hand screened” work opportunities that all come with at least “some kind of flexibility.”
This is a fairly broad scope, and that’s reflected in the jobs you see once you sign up to FlexJobs. At one end of the scale, I saw job listings from companies that employ a fully remote global workforce. At the other end were jobs in specific US cities that merely allow “work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays!”
Like many of these chargeable job search services, FlexJobs bolts on several other supplementary features to justify the cost. These include online “resumé profiles,” skills tests, and access to lots of job-search related written content.
What does FlexJobs Cost?
FlexJobs doesn’t cost a lot of money. To be frank, the cost is low enough that it makes the Facebook commenters ranting about the general principle of having to pay look slightly petty:
The cheapest way to “test the water” and try FlexJobs is to buy a one-month subscription for $14.95. At the other end of the scale, there’s a significant discount on an annual subscription at $49.95 (the equivalent of $4.17 per month).
There are also discounts widely available. For example, you can sign up with this link and use the voucher code of “AFFILPROMO” and get 30% off a monthly subscription ($9.95), 20% of a quarterly subscription ($23.95), or 10% off annual ($44.95). This brings the minimum monthly cost to just $3.74 for people who pay annually. It’s hardly a huge sum of money. FlexJobs also has a “no quibble” refund policy.
However, what matters is whether it’s worth the money – and that’s what we discuss next!
FlexJobs Review: User Experience and Job Search
FlexJobs certainly works to put across the impression you’re getting plenty for your money. The browser-based user interface is cluttered and initially rather overwhelming:
I can’t pretend I’m a fan of the interface and “dashboard.” It looks pretty “old school,” and cleaner designs are more the norm these days.
Interface aside, the first thing people are going to want to do when they join FlexJobs is see what kind of jobs are there.
What I found was…a mixed bag. To sum up my initial findings:
- There are definitely genuine opportunities here, especially for people with skills and experience. I saw decent remote and freelance jobs for people like programmers, designers and technical support professionals.
- The majority of jobs involve working for specific companies on a full or part-time basis. One-off freelance “gigs” are more thin on the ground.
- There’s a decent selection of jobs from companies that employ a fully remote workforce, and it’s fair to say that you’d probably struggle to find many of these without the help of something like FlexJobs.
- There’s definitely a significant US bias when it comes to companies offering traditional jobs with flexible working options. I saw some in the UK and elsewhere, but not nearly as many as in the US.
- There are some jobs on FlexJobs from bonafide household-name companies. For example, I saw technical support and language tutor roles for firms I recognised, both looking for UK-based people.
- There aren’t too many “entry-level” jobs amongst the listings – people with experience will find far more options.
- The vast majority of jobs require you to click out of FlexJobs, and take you to a job page on a specific company website.
Some example jobs are shown below:
Despite a wealth of searching and filtering options, the way the jobs are presented is all a bit of a muddle, which is a shame when they’re supposedly “hand-picked.” I found that several different searches landed me with a very similar selection of jobs. For example, a search for jobs in a specific location included all the jobs where the location could be “anywhere.”
Furthermore, filtering my searches was never very accurate. A search for writing jobs also showed me roles for inbound marketing managers and customer service reps! This is obviously far from ideal.
While I’m criticising, I should also mention that while FlexJobs had a total of around 30,000 listings live when I carried out my review, flicking to the last page of jobs revealed some went back many months – these seem unlikely to remain unfilled.
With all of this in mind, I find it hard not to feel a little conflicted writing this FlexJobs review. I genuinely think that people will find jobs here that they’d struggle to find elsewhere. After all, it’s simply not feasible to expect to unearth the hundreds of companies that advertise for flexible workers on the jobs pages of their own websites.
However, FlexJobs could do a lot more to improve organisation and presentation. I’d rather see far less functionality and far less clutter, in return for a more refined core experience when searching for jobs.
FlexJobs Review: Other Features
FlexJobs includes various bolt-on features. While some people may find them useful, I wasn’t hugely impressed, so I’m not going to dwell on them for long.
There’s the ability to set up multiple online resumés, and – in fairness – the functionality here is quite thorough and refined. However, in reality, it’s all a bit of a waste of time, as the vast majority of the jobs on the platform have their own application processes that don’t integrate with FlexJobs’ resumé platform. FlexJobs actually acknowledge this themselves in their introductory video!
One benefit of setting up resumés is that you’re teaching FlexJobs more about you, which allows them to include more relevant jobs when they send email updates. I was actually quite impressed that the first job on my own email update was for cybersecurity writing, when that’s one of the things I personally specialise in!
There’s a huge amount of blog content on the site, including informative articles for freelancers and remote workers. The “cluttered” theme does continue here though, making browsing this (quite decent) content more of a struggle that it needs to be. It’s also fair to point out that the blog content is open to non-members as well.
The other significant bolt-on feature is free access to a large collection of “skills tests,” covering everything from language skills to abilities in specific software packages.
I was sceptical about these tests when I heard about them, primarily because I failed to see that much value in them. After all, “I took a test on FlexJobs” is hardly something anyone will add to a CV or boast about in an interview! Unfortunately, I was even less enthusiastic when I delved deeper. Many of the tests are for seriously out of date software, as you can see below. Apple’s iOS is up to version 11 at the time of writing, and SQL Server 2005 went “end of life” years ago.
To be frank, beyond giving FlexJobs something to list as an additional feature, these tests seem pointless to me.
FlexJobs Review Conclusion
I’ve been negative about plenty of things above, so you may be surprised that I still feel inclined to recommend FlexJobs in some ways, especially to some specific groups of people (see below).
The service is FAR from perfect. I’d personally want to wipe the slate clean, get rid of all the clutter and unnecessary “features,” and just present the jobs in a clean way that’s easy to filter and sort.
Right now, it’s not like that; It’s a question of digging around and finding the jobs – but there ARE some good jobs there, and jobs that aren’t too easy to find when they’re spread across the internet. Often roles like this are “hidden in plain sight.”
FlexJobs has dozens of positive reviews on SiteJabber. I can understand this, because people willing to keep checking on the site daily over the course of a few months probably will find some jobs to apply for that suit their own definition of “flexible.” There is a steady stream of jobs added daily.
The other point I should make is that FlexJobs is really cheap anyway. If you sign up with this link and use the voucher code of “AFFILPROMO,” you can have a dig around for a month for less than ten bucks and then cancel if you don’t think you’ll ever find anything appropriate for you. It’s hardly a huge investment in a career, especially if FlexJobs helps you uncover a flexible position you otherwise wouldn’t have been aware of.
I’m going to end by stating who I think FlexJobs might work for, and who’s more likely to be disappointed. Then you can make your mind up as to whether it’s worth a look.
FlexJobs could work well for:
- People with established skills who wish to work at home – for a company or on a freelance basis. I saw lots of work for designers, developers and techies.
- People in the US or UK trying to find companies who allow home working.
- People anywhere looking for firms who employ 100% remote teams.
FlexJobs is less good for:
- Freelancers looking for one-off gigs.
- Entry-level workers with no experience.
- People who expect a job to fall in their lap simply because they pay a $10 subscription!
FlexJobs: The Good
- Access to jobs that may prove hard to find elsewhere
- Inexpensive subscriptions and a money-back guarantee
- Some useful features, such as a “recently viewed jobs” view
FlexJobs: The Bad
- The jobs are poorly organised
- Search and filtering features need improvement
- User interface confusing and cluttered
- Some supplementary features seem there for the sake of it