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Re: Intro and A focus on Job Search

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Upwork Staff
Tam L Upwork Staff Member Since: Aug 31, 2015
1 of 31

Hi everyone, just wanted to stop by and introduce myself. My name’s Tam and I’m a new Product Manager here at Upwork. My main focus - relevant to all of you - is Job Search.

 

In short, my main goal in this role is to help you all find work, specifically when using the search functionality. I’m a pretty hands on Product Manager so expect to see me chime in on things from-time-to-time, so feel free to post your questions here and I’ll get back when I can.

 

With that said, having spent some time perusing the forums it’s pretty clear to me that a lot of you are suggesting/clamoring for certain changes. Just so it’s clear, out of respect for my colleagues I will only be commenting/addressing posts/replies re: job search, as that’s my main focus.

 

Now that we’ve gotten intros out of the way - I just wanted to let you all know that in the next month-and-a-half to two months we will be rolling out a new search experience based off of your feedback. The first round of changes, which we will slowly be inviting you to opt-in to, will be purely cosmetic, as we’ve seen/heard that the search results and job feeds are hard to read sometimes.

 

Here’s a screenshot (full image attached):

screencap_post_crop.png

 

 

Before anyone asks why I don’t spend my time fixing the job feed or recommended jobs - I’m working on that as we speak Smiley Wink

 

Our goal is to get these readability fixes out to all of you in October (barring any setbacks), and once you’ve given it a spin, I’d love to read/hear what you think.

 

More information to come, but in the mean time, please keep an eye out for the opt-in link at the top of your search. A few of you may start to see it next week.


Looking forward to working with you all!

 

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Community Guru
Jean S Member Since: Oct 22, 2007
2 of 31

Freelancer search is just fine when you know your way around.

 

BUT!!!!!

 

When will the client search algorithm be fixed?

 

This is one reason that I can't stand hiring here. It's broken.

 

It's been broken since May 5 when you rolled out the new site. When I search for  writer I'm getting data entry clerks not only applying but being recommended. When I'm looking for an expert writer I don't expect to have a $3.33 / hr data entry clerk being suggested.

 

PLEASE FIX THIS...it's killing all of us with no work.

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Community Guru
Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
3 of 31

Surely I don't need to point out that cosmetic fixes are pointless if there is noting to actually see.

 

That is to say, if search (freelancer AND client) isn't working, then cosmetic updates are the least of our problems.

 

Personally, I don't care about cosmetic fixes anymore. Without developer fixes to the items that don't work, including search, it's all a moot point.

 

Having said this, if a team is working on search fixes and a different team is working on the "fluffy" bits in the mean time, fine. Next time, your post should reflect THAT, rather then make it sound like you can't do the tech fix until the cosmetic fix is complete. That's just going to upset people who want real solutions, not "fluffy" bits.

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Upwork Staff
Tam L Upwork Staff Member Since: Aug 31, 2015
4 of 31

Hi Pandora - fair point and I'll take care to be more transparent (as much as I can be) in the future. Although, I may need reminding some time! 

 

And yes, that's sort of the case here. We are working on several things in tandem, and these cosmetic changes were completed first. The 'real' solutions, re: job search, as you put it, are still being worked on, and will be coming in the future. 

 

Some items that are being worked on/thought about:

  • Fixing the job feed so that it remembers your preferences, specifically the experience level of the job
  • Making recommended jobs actually recommend you jobs that make sense... Speaking of, something I've been pondering lately, do you think Freelancers want jobs recommended based on their apply history OR do Freelancers want jobs recommended based on what they say they want in their profiles OR both?

Thanks for taking time to chime in!

 

 

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Community Guru
Gyan D Member Since: Sep 4, 2014
5 of 31

do you think Freelancers want jobs recommended based on their apply history OR do Freelancers want jobs recommended based on what they say they want in their profiles OR both?

 

Surely, both. Application history is a concrete indicator of the freelancer's interests and the profile may mention some skills for which the jobs are rare and so would like to be alerted if they do show up.

 

In any case, it's the matching engine which needs to be overhauled rather than the primary reference base that Upwork uses. I work in video and yet I have been recommended jobs in Corporate VA and invited to jobs in Writing and Programming, none of which I've applied to or mention on my profile. If the matching algorithm improves substantially, then it won't matter much which data you use for generating recommendations.

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Community Guru
Olga Q Member Since: Sep 5, 2012
6 of 31

@Tam L wrote:

[…]

  • Making recommended jobs actually recommend you jobs that make sense... Speaking of, something I've been pondering lately, do you think Freelancers want jobs recommended based on their apply history OR do Freelancers want jobs recommended based on what they say they want in their profiles OR both?

 


For the first time today, I was recommended a list of 10 jobs. According to the notification, "These recommendations are based on your profile, skills and history", but the fact is that they're not. No need to go into details - it suffices to say that none of them has anything to do with my profile, skills or history. Apart from that, when I click 'View job', the links redirects to one and the same job recommendation (the first on the list).

So, basically, in my case I would very much like a recommendation list that actually makes sense.

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Community Guru
Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
7 of 31

@Tam L wrote:

Hi Pandora - fair point and I'll take care to be more transparent (as much as I can be) in the future. Although, I may need reminding some time! 

 

And yes, that's sort of the case here. We are working on several things in tandem, and these cosmetic changes were completed first. The 'real' solutions, re: job search, as you put it, are still being worked on, and will be coming in the future. 

 

Some items that are being worked on/thought about:

  • Fixing the job feed so that it remembers your preferences, specifically the experience level of the job
  • Making recommended jobs actually recommend you jobs that make sense... Speaking of, something I've been pondering lately, do you think Freelancers want jobs recommended based on their apply history OR do Freelancers want jobs recommended based on what they say they want in their profiles OR both?

Thanks for taking time to chime in!

 

 


Tam, that is good to hear, and thanks for the update.

 

In regards to your question about recommended jobs, that is not a simple thing. I can't be the only person who "changed services". And when I did this 2 years ago, it was total, drastic change. General VA to Project Manager. I didn't show up in search for almost a year, (tested, tested, test, tested), I got 0 invites, and job recommendations were (and still are) based on the General Admin main cat.

 

Not to mention some users like to offer "package deals", which only their Profile can discuss. So the more, the merrier, so to speak.

 

So, I would have to say that CURRENT job history, going back say 6 to 12 months, and if possible, either current skills, + our Profile data (current only) or skills if we can't have both.

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Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
8 of 31

@Tam L wrote:

 

Some items that are being worked on/thought about:

  • Fixing the job feed so that it remembers your preferences, specifically the experience level of the job
  • Making recommended jobs actually recommend you jobs that make sense... Speaking of, something I've been pondering lately, do you think Freelancers want jobs recommended based on their apply history OR do Freelancers want jobs recommended based on what they say they want in their profiles OR both?

Thanks for taking time to chime in!

 


Tam,

 

Thanks for your response! As you must realize by now, this job comes to you with a lot of baggage. Did they tell you thick skin was a prerequisite?

 

I have to say your agenda astonishes me. Not because it's off-target; you are, however, confirming everyone's worst suspicions about the non-functional feed and by implication and association every other automated matching system used by Upwork.

 

Do people want their preferences remembered? Yes. Yes, they do. While you're at it, remembering the jobs I've dismissed would also be handy. Because, you know, when I dismiss a job, it's not just the whim of the moment. If I dismiss it, it's because I never want to see it again. RSS readers seem to get this; Upwork does not.

 

As to your second point, that's a stunning question to ask, and it's downright scary to think it might be being floated here for the first time. To echo what's been said:

  • Yes, both, with some mechanism such as Pandora suggested to account for a change in services offered.
  • As Lyam pointed out, it doesn't matter which dataset you're mining if the matching algorithms suck rocks.

I wish you every success, out of self-interest as well as benevolence. You might want to suggest to Upwork that it collect some data about how freelancers actually work—which seems systemically absent—through some means more representative than polling the vocal minority here in the forum.

 

All the best,

Michael

 

p.s. See, I wasn't kidding about the baggage and the thick skin.

Community Guru
Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
9 of 31

@Douglas Michael M wrote:

snip>

As to your second point, that's a stunning question to ask, and it's downright scary to think it might be being floated here for the first time. To echo what's been said:

 

<snip>

 As usual Doug, great comments! In regards to this first "public" airing of "actual" work going on with job recommendations, I have to say that with all the griping about "stuff" here on the forums, chances are SOMETHING, EVENTUALLY, will be worked on / fixed / adjusted.

 

This time, it's job recommendations. I don't have much hope for this, because I can't see much improvement with this unless the  the algorithm is working. And who knows if it will ever work?

 

Having said this, I do see changes coming. I just don't expect the sky to fall, or anything awesome like that.

 

I have registered on a lot of other "sites" for jobs. Some are like Upwork with Profiles, and such, and some are just simply freelancing job feeds. Of these, the ones that send me job recomendations and such do that well. If I ask for Project Managment, thats' what I get (I ask for other stuff too, but PM is what I do here on Upwork).  I mention this because NONE of these sites are half as big and complex as Upwork, but they get this part right.

 

Of course, one of the reasons this IS so problamatic is BECAUSE Upwork is so complex. Sigh.

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Upwork Staff
Tam L Upwork Staff Member Since: Aug 31, 2015
10 of 31

Hey Michael - 

 

Thanks for the added insight and well-wishes! And yes, I do have thick skin =)

 

As for calling a spade, a spade. I just want to help you all find work. As I mentioned that goal is my main focus here. I will always be as transparent as I'm allowed to be with you all, and in all fairness, recommended jobs doesn't really work for me. It is what it is. Thus, my strong desire to figure it out. 

 

Just being clear here: I cannot comment on the other pieces/matches/algorithms you refer to. Those aren't my products and thus I cannot speak to them.  

 

With anything, this will all take time. If I could magically have it done tomorrow, I would (and I'd be a genius! Sadly, I am not). Will I make mistakes - yep. Will I take actions to correct these mistakes - also yep. 

 

At the end of the day, you (a general you) may not agree with my/Upworks initiatives, or how I/we implemented a certain feature, and I think that friction/discourse is good in moderation. It forces me/Upwork, to think more deeply about the problem. 

 

Again, thanks for taking time to share your thoughts. Much appreciated.

 

P.S. And yes, I love doing customer research and I have some plans to do so over the next month or two =)

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