Need to hire on Upwork (formerly oDesk)? It isn’t easy. In a “traditional” work environment, you can conduct face-to-face interviews and assess job applicants against some criteria. But, when you hire on Upwork (formerly oDesk) or other similar virtual environments, it’s more complex. You don’t have the benefit of shaking people’s hands, making eye contact and picking up on non-verbal cues that reveal their suitability for the job.
It simply isn’t the same.
So, how do you make an informed staffing decision when hiring virtual employees on Upwork (formerly oDesk)?
Unfortunately, there isn’t any rule of thumb when it comes to hiring remote workers. But, there are certain personalities you should avoid anytime when you hire on Upwork (formerly oDesk).
Consider these as warning signs. If a freelancer displays any of these signs, take your money and run.
The Disappearing Act
This one start offs on a good note. You hire them and they start working on your project. Then suddenly and without warning, they stop answering your emails and messages.
This is one of the most difficult personalities to spot before it’s too late. Everything seems to be moving along smoothly. You have probably spent a good amount of time training the contractor or messaging them to let them know how you want our project done. After a while they go silent, fail to bill you, fail to upload any work and totally ignore you.
Unfortunately, there are many freelancers who regard sites like Upwork (formerly oDesk) as a side hustle – somewhere they go when they are low on cash. Other things in their life take priority and as soon as they earn a few bucks they disappear leaving you with an incomplete project.
It’s hard to avoid such contractors but if a contractor disappears on you then comes back after some time with a sob story about some unexpected life event, you might want to ditch them at the earliest opportunity. In today’s connected world, there is absolutely no excuse for anyone failing to communicate unless they are dead or dying. A single-line email is sufficient to let your employer know what’s happening.
Also, when you hire on Upwork (formerly oDesk), check the work history thoroughly. Avoid people with little or no experience on Upwork (formerly oDesk) despite how good their resume looks or how fair their rates are.
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Getting work on sites like Upwork (formerly oDesk) isn’t easy for new contractors. It takes a lot of time and hard work to build up good reviews and work history. So some freelancers take short cuts. They fake resumes and lie about having worked for big firms.
Upwork (formerly oDesk) profiles are also hawked in online black markets. There are crooks out there who specialize in creating accounts, get them nice looking fake reviews using multiple buyer accounts and then sell them to freelancers who don’t want to take the time to build a genuine profile.
You can tell your freelancer is fake if the work submitted isn’t of the same quality as promised in the bid or as displayed in the profile and portfolio. For example, assume you hire a writer with excellent samples in their portfolio only for them to turn in work that reads like it was written by a six-year-old.
You can safely assume you were duped. Demand your money back or start a dispute process to get a refund of any funds in escrow.
Another variation of the fake is someone whose time tracking screen shots on Upwork (formerly oDesk) all appear to be the same, yet the freelancer has maxed out on the allowed billable hours and the job isn’t complete.
The Time Waster
This type is always asking questions and seeking clarification but never really gets down to work. They will flood your inbox with endless questions, clarifications, and argument.
Most of these types are techies. In extreme cases, they will assume they know what your project needs better than you do. And, they may even belittle you or insult you subtly by sending you a list of technical questions which you have to answer before the project can proceed.
These types can cause a lot of damage within a very short period of time. If a freelancer is still sending a barrage of questions after 72 hours and no work is being done, cancel the project and demand a refund. You are better off hiring another worker.
Desperate people are ready and willing to work for peanuts. Let’s be honest, you get what you pay for. If a freelancer offers to do what looks like a considerable amount of work for a rate that no one can live on anywhere in the world, you better be careful. It is best to pay a decent wage and be assured of quality.
If you ask some freelancers why they are charging so low, they will tell you that life is very cheap in their country so they can afford to charge low rates. While this may be partly true, (it is a fact that there are wage differences across boundaries) some rates are simply too low regardless of where in the world you live. Take, for example, someone offering to code a website for $5 or write a 500-word article for $3 …really?
Don’t hire a desperado.
If you do, then lower your expectations.
The fraud is a total crook. Sites like Upwork (formerly oDesk) are constantly on the lookout for illegal activity being perpetrated on their platform. Unfortunately, they don’t always weed out thugs in time. The biggest problem affects writing and coding jobs. When you hire writers on Upwork (formerly oDesk), you have to be careful you don’t receive plagiarized content.
Always check the work using a plagiarism checking service to make sure you haven’t been sent content that was ripped off another website.
Also, when you hire web developers, be alive to the fact that they may use a template they got off The Pirate Bay.
The same goes for any images used on your website. The developer must have the legal right to use them. Demand to be shown where images were sourced and confirm that they are royalty free or creative commons images.
Using intellectual property without permission can land you in serious legal trouble.
Hire on Upwork (formerly oDesk) – Can you Hack It?
Sounds tough, huh? You are probably wondering how on earth you would be able to spot these five personality types before its too late.
It’s true, it isn’t easy. You have to be really keen and have a sixth sense for spotting a raw deal a mile away. Although keep in mind that you can always rely on Hubstaff for accurate time-tracking and remote employee management.
7 Crucial Points to Remember Before You Hire on Upwork
With the flexibility and various skill sets that working with a remote team can bring to your project, websites like Upwork (formerly oDesk) are quickly becoming a go-to resource for many startups, entrepreneurs and businesses. However, before you jump in and start hiring your remote team, there are a few things you need to know about how to hire on Upwork (formerly oDesk) to improve your hiring process:
1) Make sure you write a solid job description
The more detailed your description, the more accurate of a match you’ll attract. Beware, if you get too detailed, you may end up excluding too many people and not having enough to choose from. Try to keep a happy medium where your description will insure those who apply understand the extent of what you’re looking for without scaring off quality candidates.
2) Weed out those who are applying to every job
Sometimes Upwork’s (formerly oDesk) abundance of resources can work against you. You’re highly likely to get people who will send out a blanket application to multiple jobs (many of which they are not qualified for) which you will then have to spend time and resources sorting through and weeding them out. One way to make this process easier is to add a line in your job description that will help you tell who is serious about the job and who is not. One example, tell all applicants to put a specific phrase at the top of their application and then you can easily dismiss those who do not have the phrase.
3) You get what you pay for
Upwork (formerly oDesk) has many options to fit your budget, but as tempting as it is to go with the lowest possible bidder, remember that you really do get what you pay for. Those who are bidding super low most likely do not posses the skills that are required and you may end up having to have the work redone. When looking to hire off Upwork (formerly oDesk), remember the quote from Red Adair, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”
4) Don’t be afraid to interview
If you’re doing a project that needs more explanation or requires a certain skill, don’t be afraid to interview your potential candidate. This can be as simple as a few message exchanges on Upwork (formerly oDesk), email or via instant message. You can even take it a step further and do an interview via Skype, but don’t be offended if someone doesn’t want to meet face-to-face or give you their personal phone number. Without a previous relationship with you, they may not feel comfortable giving out such personal information right away. Don’t use this against them, but you should at least try to have a conversation via Upwork (formerly oDesk) before the project to ask any questions (or have them ask you questions) to help you verify you’ve selected the right person for the job.
5) Check out their references
Upwork (formerly oDesk) (and other freelance sites) come with reviews where freelancers are rated by those who they’ve worked for before. Be sure to read through their references to give yourself a better idea of what type of a worker this person is and if they’d be a good fit for your project. Keep in mind that these reviews are a two way street so freelancers will be able to rate what you’re like to work for, which may help or hinder you in the future.
6) Know what is important to your project
Make sure you have a list of priorities for your project beyond specific requirements for the work. Think about things like how important their English skills are, how and when they’re available to work, what previous clients have said about them, etc. These are all available on their Upwork (formerly oDesk) profile and though they are not project-specific, they should be taken into account when selecting the right candidate.
7) Trust your gut
In the end, you need to trust your gut. If someone gives you an uneasy feeling or wants you to change terms of your project that you’re uncomfortable with, trust yourself and keep looking for that perfect candidate!
Finding resources for your next project is right at your fingertips with resources like Upwork (formerly oDesk). However, you have to be willing to put in the work to find the right candidate, but sometimes it’s necessary to have others help vet and find the perfect fit for your project. For this type of work, Hubstaff offers staffing solutions to take the guesswork out of finding the right person for your project.
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