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Clarifying the application process - automatic hiding

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Community Manager
765 Posts
Member Since: ‎10-29-2014

Clarifying the application process - automatic hiding

[ Edited ]

Hi all, We’re here to update our earlier forum post and to specifically address your comments around freelancer applications being automatically moved to a client’s Hidden tab. When a client posts a job, they often receive more applications than they can sift through, and the best candidates have a hard time standing out. To solve this issue, we’ve been testing a process to help clients shorten their list by automatically surfacing the strongest candidates and putting applicants less likely to be a great fit into the Hidden tab. Our testing has shown this process of automatically moving some applicants to the Hidden tab (“auto-hide”) has led to more hiring. Clients have told us that auto-hide has helped them more quickly find and hire the best candidates for their jobs.

 

What’s next?

We are continuing to test and refine the auto-hide process. We’re also working on ways for freelancers to identify jobs that are a good fit, so you can focus your energy on the best opportunities. We’ve received a ton of great input from all of you and will continue listening. Here are answers to the frequently asked questions we’ve received about this process. Please reply here if there are any additional questions or clarifications we can help answer for you:

 

Frequently asked questions about the “auto-hiding” process:

 

Why does oDesk automatically hide ("auto-hide") some applicants?

Clients often get more applications than they have time to review. Sorting through these applications manually can be overwhelming and discourages many clients from hiring. By “auto-hiding” some proposals, oDesk is helping clients get to a smaller list of candidates who are the best fit for their job so they can easily and quickly hire the right freelancer.

 

How does oDesk decide which freelancers appear on the main candidate list and which get hidden?

oDesk evaluates applicants according to how well they fulfill three criteria:

1. Client preferences

    How well does the applicant match the client's hiring preferences? For example, do they meet the desired location/timezone, budget, and/or level of expertise?

2. Job requirements

    How well does the applicant fulfill the job requirements? For example, are their skills, experience, test scores, and application a great fit?

3. Freelancer quality

    How does the applicant’s reputation compare against others? For example, do they have better feedback, a stronger work history, or more instances of positive outcomes for clients?

Combining all of this information, oDesk rank-orders applicants according to their overall fit. Those that are the strongest match appear on the main candidate list, while the remaining proposals get automatically moved to the “Hidden” tab on a client’s candidate page. In this process, even high-quality, high-skilled freelancers could rank lower than other applicants who are an even stronger fit. Therefore, being hidden doesn’t mean you’re a bad freelancer. It means that, compared to other candidates, your application is not as strong of an overall fit.

 

If my application is in the Hidden tab, does that mean the client will never see it? Can a freelancer “unhide” an application so the client will see it?

A freelancer cannot unhide their application, but clients can review applications in their Hidden tab at any time.

 

I have a great profile and reputation on oDesk, why does oDesk hide my application?

As discussed above, your profile and reputation are considered alongside the client's preferences, job requirements, and how you rank against other applicants.

 

Can I make sure my application gets viewed and isn't auto-hidden?

Technically, no. However, you CAN continue to improve your visibility by targeting jobs that are a great fit for you and continuing to strengthen your reputation on oDesk through quality work, robust skill sets and high-quality applications.

 

Is oDesk only hiding those of us with a lot of experience to give new freelancers a better opportunity?

No. Our goal in auto-hiding applicants is to help clients more quickly identify the best possible match for their job. Our evaluation of candidates and subsequent sorting of them is not based on a freelancer’s tenure on oDesk.

 

Clients can hide applicants on their own, why is oDesk doing this for them?

Clients often get hundreds of applicants for a given job, more than they have time to review. By automatically hiding some applicants, we are helping clients identify top candidates more quickly to encourage hiring.

 

There was an issue in which oDesk was hiding applicants by mistake. How do I know this isn’t still a problem?

When we first started auto-hiding applicants, we briefly saw a bug that resulted in some highly qualified candidates getting hidden. We fixed this issue right away and have been, and will continue to, closely monitor this process to ensure it is working as designed.

 

Can oDesk tell us if we’re going to be hidden so we don’t waste our efforts in submitting a proposal?

Because the candidates can vary on each job, oDesk can’t inform you in advance if your application will be hidden. However, we are working on ways to help you find and maximize the best job opportunities. This includes a “Good Fit” feature we’re testing on the job details page. With this feature, we’ll show you a clear, visual signal that alerts you when the job is a good fit for your skills and experience. This feature is still being tested, but we hope to roll it out soon for all freelancers.

 

This process is unpopular; is oDesk going to reverse this or stop this functionality? Is this really working?

So far, we have found that auto-hiding applicants has improved the hiring process for clients and led to more jobs getting filled. We do not plan to eliminate the auto-hiding of applications, but instead to continue making it better.

 

I haven’t received as many job invitations since this started. Does auto-hide affect my ability to be invited to jobs?

Auto-hide does not influence your job invitations or the ability for clients to find you in search.

 

If I’m being hidden does this mean I won’t ever have a chance to win future job opportunities?

Not at all. oDesk reviews candidates for each job. So, it could be that you are a great fit for some jobs (and appear on the main candidate page as a result) while for other jobs, other freelancers may be a better fit and your proposal is hidden.

Community Guru
1,429 Posts
Member Since: ‎12-04-2012

Feedback???

[ Edited ]
OMG...where to start?????? I'm just going to work my way down it... "1. Client preferences How well does the applicant match the client's hiring preferences? For example, do they meet the desired location/timezone, budget, and/or level of expertise?" So you think timezone is a factor. I have clients from both sides of the world, +10 and -8 from me, and often at the same time. Why should that be a disadvantage? I haven't ever not been able to communicate with a client due to timezone difference. I work at night, Australians get their stuff in the morning...or I work in the day, Americans get their stuff in the morning. It's up to the client to decide if timezone is a limiting factor "Technically, no. However, you CAN continue to improve your visibility by targeting jobs that are a great fit for you and continuing to strengthen your reputation on oDesk through quality work, robust skill sets and high-quality applications. So you're blaming the freelancers now for poor applications?" I'm sure some are, but there's plenty of evidence of highly qualified people getting hidden, still, today. "Our goal in auto-hiding applicants is to help clients more quickly identify the best possible match for their job." and what if the clients aren't in so much of a hurry but would rather take time doing the vetting properly themselves? "This includes a “Good Fit” feature we’re testing on the job details page. With this feature, we’ll show you a clear, visual signal that alerts you when the job is a good fit for your skills and experience." I would have thought a freelancer would have a very good idea of that themselves - pity you don't trust them, but rather tar them all with the same brush "So far, we have found that auto-hiding applicants has improved the hiring process for clients" you keep repeating that mantra, but have you ever shown any evidence of it? and can you explain how come not a single client to my knowledge has posted in the forum (and yes I check all the relevant boards every day)that it's been good for them?? Summing up "why does oDesk hide my application? As discussed above, your profile and reputation are" It's NOT discussed above - it's presented as a smug self-serving fait accompli above. It takes more than one to discuss something. I don't believe you've really listened to anyone over the last six months - you're determined to plough ahead with it no matter what. So can I make one suggestion? If it's such a good thing for clients, then make it OPTIONAL FOR CLIENTS. yes - give the client an option to decide for each job post - do you want to do your own sifting of applicants, or do you want our mad robots to do it for you? Try it and see.... Next...
Community Manager
765 Posts
Member Since: ‎10-29-2014

Thanks for the feedback

[ Edited ]
I appreciate the comments Stephen. Some responses below: 1. The client's hiring preferences - we agree the clients should, and can, decide if some aspects of their job are requirements. "Timezone" and the other aspects we mentioned here are meant to serve as examples. Also, please note that we are considering client fit, job fit and freelancer quality together. Combined, these help determine which applications show on the main page and which get moved to the Hidden tab so it is important to consider these together and not necessarily on their own. 2. Freelancers have a good idea of the jobs that are a good fit - Correct, freelancers can continue to apply for jobs they think are well suited to their skills, experience or interest. What we're aiming to do is help you maximize your efforts. We want to help you quickly identify the best opportunities. 3. We have found that auto-hiding applicants has improved the hiring process for clients - You're right, we have reiterated this. This feature, and others like it, are successful if we're improving the experience for our users and leading to more/better outcomes on the marketplace. Our success as a marketplace is dependent on your success and the success of clients hiring here. We'll continue to carefully monitor and adjust for those positive outcomes. 4. Making this optional for clients - Good suggestion and we will consider this. As of now, this isn't on our list of immediate enhancements to the process but we will evaluate it.
Power Member
66 Posts
Member Since: ‎11-15-2007

Timezone/Location

[ Edited ]
I can't imagine how this is really relevant. My "location" in my profile is 10 hours behind my actual timezone. I am flexible and am willing to work any hours I might be awake, from 5am to midnight. An Indian programmer I work with starts his day at 11:30am his time and works until 7:30pm, even though those aren't standard working hours. I don't think timezone means anything because each of us has our own preferred working hours that may or may not match standard working hours in our timezone. Instead, the client should be able to specify the specific hours the person needs to work and the freelancer should be able to indicate whether they are willing to work those hours, rather than you decide what our timezone means for availability.
Community Guru
1,188 Posts
Member Since: ‎04-03-2013

If you expect a freelancer to

[ Edited ]
If you expect a freelancer to be awake and online whenever their client is online, you're blurring the employee/contractor distinction and ought to start thinking about paying a minimum wage and offering a pension. (The time tracker is pushing it already.)
Power Member
8 Posts
Member Since: ‎03-05-2008

Empty Rhetoric

[ Edited ]
[quote=Garnor M.]I appreciate the comments Stephen. Some responses below: 1. The client's hiring preferences - we agree the clients should, and can, decide if some aspects of their job are requirements. "Timezone" and the other aspects we mentioned here are meant to serve as examples. Also, please note that we are considering client fit, job fit and freelancer quality together. Combined, these help determine which applications show on the main page and which get moved to the Hidden tab so it is important to consider these together and not necessarily on their own. 2. Freelancers have a good idea of the jobs that are a good fit - Correct, freelancers can continue to apply for jobs they think are well suited to their skills, experience or interest. What we're aiming to do is help you maximize your efforts. We want to help you quickly identify the best opportunities. 3. We have found that auto-hiding applicants has improved the hiring process for clients - You're right, we have reiterated this. This feature, and others like it, are successful if we're improving the experience for our users and leading to more/better outcomes on the marketplace. Our success as a marketplace is dependent on your success and the success of clients hiring here. We'll continue to carefully monitor and adjust for those positive outcomes. 4. Making this optional for clients - Good suggestion and we will consider this. As of now, this isn't on our list of immediate enhancements to the process but we will evaluate it.[/quote] You should be a political spin doctor - the way in which you turned the post around and made it seem like this idea is best for us was truly impressive. You didn't actually answer any of the questions in a meaningful way, but that's the nature of PR, I guess Smiley Happy Have to agree with the consensus - this is a ridiculous idea. It might have sounded good in a corporate planning meeting, but it will be impossible to implement in reality. My way of finding work on oDesk was to target jobs for which I believed I was qualified, before writing a targeted cover letter explaining how I could help the client. Now, even if I manage to find a decent job after wading through the ever-deepening cesspool of low-rate jobs, I find that some job applications do not allow you to attach a cover letter and instead ask some facile questions. If I find a job that allows me to attach a letter, and spend my valuable time crafting it, there is a chance that it could disappear into the abyss of the hidden folder. Often, discussions about changes lead to arguments about whether it benefits clients at the expense of freelancers, or vice versa. In this case, it seems that everyone believes this to be a ridiculous, ill-conceived idea. Does that not tell you something? I can foresee an exodus of good clients and freelancers - oDesk is not the only place in town.
Community Manager
765 Posts
Member Since: ‎10-29-2014

Please be considerate of our Forum Guidelines

[ Edited ]
Hi Martyn, I understand you may not agree with this process nor the explanations we've offered here. That said, we ask that you are considerate of our Guidelines and respectful of others, including oDesk and our team, when posting here. We're doing our best to answer many of the common questions regarding auto-hiding and to follow up on comments here and not simply post 'rhetoric' or 'pr spin.' I hope you'll be considerate of that. We want to improve the health of the marketplace, specifically to help clients find and hire the best freelancers for their jobs. We'll continue evolving the platform, including the auto-hide process, to achieve this goal.
Power Member
8 Posts
Member Since: ‎03-05-2008

No problem

[ Edited ]
No problem - I consider myself chastised and will strive never, ever to question the integrity or motives of oDesk again. Wouldn't want to hurt oDesk's feelings.
Community Guru
734 Posts
Member Since: ‎08-02-2010

Let’s not generalize

[ Edited ]
[quote=Martyn Shuttleworth]No problem - I consider myself chastised and will strive never, ever to question the integrity or motives of oDesk again. Wouldn't want to hurt oDesk's feelings.[/quote] Not everyone from oDesk. He should try to be less sensitive and/or less strict. People will not feel like commenting due to his constant reminder about the rules (some only highly offensive to him). This is just one of many examples. The topic is here if you want to read the full comment. John H. wrote: 1) Why did we make these changes? To waste money? Anger people? No. We clearly have a monetary incentive to help contractors get jobs and earn money. That's how we make money. But beyond our obvious incentive as a business, we take pride in trying to be the best marketplace for contractors. We don't nickel and dime people with fees. We guarantee hourly work. Nobody is saying it's perfect, but it's simply not the case that we aren't contractor-focused or that we're not receptive to contractor feedback. But receptive to feedback does not mean we just do what a handful of people in the forum suggest. We're weighing lots of different sources of data (some of which isn't available to the individual contractor or employer) and viewpoints, which is ultimately better for everyone. You should be a politician. I'm almost buying it. I've said that I think there Submitted 12/10/2011 John H. 33 posts - United States - Joined Aug 06 2008 I've said that I think there are design flaws that should be fixed. I've said that commenters have some valid points. I don't know why a difference of opinion has to be transmuted into some sinister plot of lying, ego-trips, assumptions of bad faith etc. It's not helpful. On the particular question of testing, I just went to our team room & took some snap shots of the jobs we posted for usability testing & consulting.
Power Member
8 Posts
Member Since: ‎03-05-2008

Thanks for that, Natasha -

[ Edited ]
Thanks for that, Natasha - that is a very interesting thread that I will browse through while I wait to hear back from a potential client. I must admit that I was engaging in some cheap and underhanded sarcasm - it is a long time since I posted regularly in the forums, but was never averse to robust debate. Smiley Happy