I have had great success with Craigslist. My first place was un-freakin-believable in San Jose, CA. It was a room for about $300 a month with a Korean family in one of the wealthiest areas of San Jose (Bel Air Estates).
I had a partially furnished room, the use of the common areas of the home, plus use of the W/D, kitchen and internet. Utilities included. It was a fantabulous experience!
The place I am right now, I found through Craigslist. It is good size bedroom in a home with the owner and one other roommate (they have their own bedrooms). The roommate and I share a double sink bathroom. All utilities are included, as well as internet access. Use of common areas, W/D and kitchen. I pay $400 a month.
I do my homework and research. You can google a street address and get a look at a home and the surroundings. Also, you can use google maps to compute the commuting distance to work, find shops and groceries in the area. Read an area's local paper online to find out crime reports or 'happenings' in your chosen area.
Always have a backup plan, an extended stay in an area just in case. As well, if you do not find a place, the employee bulletin board or colleagues should be good resources.
Apartment listings on Craigslist at times offer short term leases, to keep a place from being vacant too long. I had success that way also ... a beautiful 3-bedroom, unfurnished OCEANSIDE
apartment in Santa Barbara, CA.
When I state partially furnished, sometimes there was no bed. So what! Go buy an inflatable air mattress that you can pack and go. I purchased a lamp at Target. I have even made a comfortable pallet on a carpeted floor ... be adventurous.
It is short time and cost efficient.
Pocket the significant savings ... or head to Nordstroms, like I did.