As I continue my examination of various credit websites, today I’m going to look at what current and former employees say about their job at Nerdwallet. I’ve already examined the lousy Nerdwallet credit card reviews, and in reading about Nerdwallet jobs, and talking to current and former Nerdwallet employees, the reason for this poor content has made itself apparent.
Thinking about a job at Nerdwallet? My opinion is that you don’t. At least that seems to be the message from numerous employees. Nerdwallet’s Glassdoor.com reviews do not speak well of management. I’ll talk more about Glassdoor’s Nerdwallet job reviews in another article, as I want to tell you about one conversation I had with one former employee.
This person, who I’ll refer by the gender-neutral name of Tracy, told me some things that I found shocking for a company that makes it appear that they are “happy nerds”. This individual came from several long-term reporting and management positions.
“The interview process should have been the first tip about how a job at Nerdwallet was going to unfold. I was given a writing test, one in which I was literally timed. I had two hours to complete it. This included a credit card comparison and a math test. Yes, they actually wanted to test the math skills of someone with 20 years experience in personal finance! Then came another audition piece, for which I was paid fifty cents a word.”
The interviewer, who Tracy identified as Maggie Leung, was, in his opinion, “as humorless as they come. A complete automaton without an original thought in her head”. What followed was a one-month trial period, “consisting first of a seemingly-endless three hour training session that was of no value, and a waste of my time.”
The trial period consisted of writing some ten articles per week, along with “hours and hours of inefficient Skype meetings” with editor Steve Symanovich and two other content writers. After a few weeks, Tracy was offered a half-time freelance position – which amounted to 12.5 cents a word. It struck him as odd that an audition article was paid at four times the rate of a regular contributor. He ended up with a freelance position, because he was told that “Nerdwallet’s hiring matrix dictated that if someone is too quiet during inefficient Skype meetings, they apparently aren’t worthy of a full time job.”
Tracy was fine with this approach, and over the next three months wrote ten articles per week at $30/hr. The work was easy, he says, because he inferred that the content he was assigned could be found on other credit card review websites. To me, this suggested that his real job was just to “spin” other website’s content and he did little to dissuade me of that theory, though he never once came out and said anything explicitly.
So maybe I’m wrong. Then again, Nerdwallet’s content – as I said in an earlier article – looks like material written elsewhere and written with more panache.
“Another clue that this gig would be short-lived was how conveniently Maggie Leung and Steve Symanovich “forgot” to tell me that I would not actually have my own byline. Instead, my work was shuttled to the byline of wet-behind-the-ears content writers. When I asked about this, they sloughed it off to “compliance requirements”. Really? What compliance requirement would mean stealing the work of a freelancer to post under that of a full time employee?”
This smacks of foolish management, not only to omit mention of not having one’s own byline during the application process, but management is essentially lying to its readers by claiming content is written by one person when it has been written by another.
In my next article, Tracy describes the “bizarre behavior and disrespect of Nerdwallet management”.