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Update on Talent Specialists Program

Community Guru
Scott B Member Since: Nov 20, 2015
11 of 70

Steve - also please bear in mind that not every job posting warrants being filled let alone receiving help by UW employees. The purpose of the program is good, but the team may wish to refine the criteria by which it is executed. Clients that are not able to take 5 seconds to try and describe their need or who cannot put down a coherent sentence, are not worthy of anyone's time. Promoting those undermines the program as does the canned Talent Specialist text which further promotes the idea that no thought is being brought to bear. 

 

UW has good idea programs like Talent Specialists, Upwork Pro, and Talent Clouds. However, they all share in their lack of execution and strategic approach. Good ideas are not enough. 

Community Guru
Jess C Member Since: Feb 18, 2015
12 of 70

@Renata S wrote:
Jess, 

Just to be fair, on page 21 of the Crazy Job Postings Part II thread, just past the discussions of Amish romance novels, winkies, jingles, small German proofreading, lube oils, data-driven publishing and money laundering, a guy did in fact post that he got a job through a Talent Specialist invite. And to be fair, he did in fact say it was a good job. 

It was a bit of a challenge, but I managed to find it. So there was at least one that someone posted about last September. 

Hmm. One. An outlier, for sure.

 

I still want to see real data.

Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
13 of 70

exceptio regulam probat

Employee
Steve H Employee Member Since: Apr 17, 2017
14 of 70

Thanks for sharing David’s post, Renata.

 

I just wanted to clarify a few points.

 

We do train our Talent Specialists. They receive training related to our processes and procedures. We also give the agents training to help them understand different categories/skills. It's important to note that they rely heavily on the skills tagged in a freelancer's profile for guidance. That said, our team does make mistakes from time to time.

 

We know that the program results in more jobs getting filled and more freelancers being hired.  Clients are appreciative of the support they receive based on survey responses, which is why we will continue to make an investment in this program.

 

If you don’t wish to receive invites, we have provided a way to opt out of the program.  

Community Guru
Mary W Member Since: Nov 10, 2014
15 of 70

I have opted out and my blood pressure is doing quite nicely.

Community Guru
Jess C Member Since: Feb 18, 2015
16 of 70

@Steve H wrote:

Thanks for sharing David’s post, Renata.

 

I just wanted to clarify a few points.

 

We do train our Talent Specialists. They receive training related to our processes and procedures. We also give the agents training to help them understand different categories/skills. It's important to note that they rely heavily on the skills tagged in a freelancer's profile for guidance. That said, our team does make mistakes from time to time.

 

We know that the program results in more jobs getting filled and more freelancers being hired.  Clients are appreciative of the support they receive based on survey responses, which is why we will continue to make an investment in this program.

 

If you don’t wish to receive invites, we have provided a way to opt out of the program.  


This is demonstrably untrue - again, GO READ ALL OF THE POSTS IN THE COMMUNITY ABOUT THIS PROGRAM. ALL OF THEM.

 

Before I opted out, I got recommendations for data entry, web design, and architectural projects, to name just a few. None of those things are listed on my profile, and it's obvious if one READS my profile that I'm a graphic designer, definitely NOT in the market for data entry, and neither am I an illustrator, a web designer, or, for heaven's sake, an architect!

 

It's not one or two mistakes here and there. It's an overall problem with the concept of the program itself.

Community Leader
Catherine M Member Since: Jan 20, 2017
17 of 70

Instead of relying heavily on tags, I think the Talent Specialists should actually spend more time reading the profiles. I opted out a long time ago because the job selections were awful. There needs to be someone saying that they hear us and will consider what we are saying instead of defending the flaws. The response of telling freelancers they can opt out is not fixing the real issues at hand. 

Community Guru
Renata S Member Since: Jun 10, 2014
18 of 70

@Steve H wrote:

Thanks for sharing David’s post, Renata.

 

I just wanted to clarify a few points.

 

We do train our Talent Specialists. They receive training related to our processes and procedures. We also give the agents training to help them understand different categories/skills. It's important to note that they rely heavily on the skills tagged in a freelancer's profile for guidance. That said, our team does make mistakes from time to time.

 

We know that the program results in more jobs getting filled and more freelancers being hired.  Clients are appreciative of the support they receive based on survey responses, which is why we will continue to make an investment in this program.

 

If you don’t wish to receive invites, we have provided a way to opt out of the program.  


Steve,

Reading the post is important. I didn't offer the post as a ringing endorsement of the system. I offered it as an example of the only guy I've heard of who got a job through the Talent Specialists. Maybe the satire part of it didn't quite land. That's one example of a hit.  To be precise, it's the only one I've ever heard of.  It's from last September. And just to be clear, I haven't heard of another one like it.  I've read loads of posts on this forum complaining about them. Those are the misses. And you know what? I think people at UW who implement the Talent Specialist program really should read those posts too.  Especially this most recent one: https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/Talent-Specialists-AGAIN/m-p/464432#M283758

Secondly, the problem I mentioned isn't that UW doesn't offer the agents any form of training. My comments about the training are specifically directed towards the idea that agents are not selected as a result of having extensive HR experience, which is suggeted by the name ("Talent Specialist") and which   is something clients who use the service may expect as a result of the name (i.e., the specific problem I see is that the name might suggest that they are talent scouts, which they're not). The agents clearly lack any previous human resources training, for instance, having attended a specialized human resources program at a college or university or we wouldn't see the types of results that we are seeing. If you call someone a "Talent Specialist," you're creating an expectation about that role being closely aligned to that of a "talent scout." That's clearly not what's on offer here and if you're creating that expectation, people will be put off when you don't deliver. If you're going to offer this service, I believe that you should give the workers who provide it a name that's more in line with the reality of the service that's being provided. 

Please read Tiffany's post below. I believe she raises an excellent point. I appreciate her insights because I know she's been a tireless advocate for raising the bar on the professionalism of this platform. Please also read Petra's post in the link I provided above. That's a clear statement about why the Talent Specialist service is currently inadequate and potentially dangerous on a professional level. 

Finally, basing your assessment of the success of the system on survey results is quite limited and probably leads to an overly optimistic view that the system is working much better than it actually is. Busy professionals who have just wasted their time on a useless search probably won't also waste their time completing the survey. They'll just move on without looking further. 

Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
19 of 70

@Steve H wrote:

.... 

We do train our Talent Specialists. They receive training related to our processes and procedures. We also give the agents training to help them understand different categories/skills. It's important to note that they rely heavily on the skills tagged in a freelancer's profile for guidance. That said, our team does make mistakes from time to time.

 

We know that the program results in more jobs getting filled and more freelancers being hired.  Clients are appreciative of the support they receive based on survey responses, which is why we will continue to make an investment in this program.

 

If you don’t wish to receive invites, we have provided a way to opt out of the program.  


Sorry Steve, that’s a sorry answer.

The training and heavy reliance you mention have been shown to be inadequate time and time and again—not “from time to time.” You can’t give a quantitative answer to a qualitative complaint.

 

Investment? Meaning hiring more undertrained staff to fill production quotas rather than investing in both hiring and training in a way that doesn’t alienate contractors and quite likely prospective clients?

And if the best you can do is “if you don’t like it, lump it,” I wonder why you bothered to post in the first place.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
20 of 70

@jason T wrote:

Nina, Thanks so much. Guru Jess C pointed out the thread is 2 years old,

 

The thread is not 2 years old, I started it 2 weeks ago.

 

Edited to say that you mean another thread you also posted on.

Frankly if you get a 50/50 fit, count yourself lucky.

 

I am still horrified that I was invited to a job I already have.

 

 

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