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Community Member

Client insists on video call/phone call is bad?!?

Hi everyone,
I'm new to this platform. Actually, my friend who works here told me that this is one of the biggest platforms that enables me to hire freelancers for my work.
But there is one thing I don't understand. Is it gonna make me look suspicious if I (the client) insist on using video call to interview my freelancer AGAINST HIS/HER WILL?
Since my friend got into that situation, he applied for a job and the client contacted him immediately. After hours (literally) of interviewing via Upwork chat, the client suggested that he wanted to "connect the freelancer to his colleagues" via Skype. My friend said that he had a poor internet connection and unable to call, he'd rather using Upwork chat section instead, hence the job description didn't mention anything about video call/phone call (the job itself doesn't have anything to do with calling). But the client insisted on calling him, against his will.

I ask this because I want to know, since the works I want to post doesn't related to "interviewing via phone calls/Skype calls" but I like to interview my freelancers via these means. Will I get suspended?
Community Member

As a client, you may require freelancers to do Skype calls or Skype interviews.


There is no way for you to be suspended for that.

Preston H wrote:

As a client, you may require freelancers to do Skype calls or Skype interviews.


There is no way for you to be suspended for that.

I would just add: if you require a Skype call, please say so in your job description, so freelancers who don't want to Skype won't waste their time and yours in applying for the job.

Doing a video call is a common way for clients to vet and verify FLs are who they say they are and that they will be able to communicate effectively. You are under no obligation to do a Skype call. If you don't want to, just say so, and the client will move.


There is no reason for the client to have to spell this out in the job post. I also either do a Skype video or a voice call to interview the FL. If they were uncomfortable with video, I'm usually okay with just voice.


So do you tell all your clients you will only communicate with them through chat? That's a very limiting and unproductive way of running a business with little capacity to build client relationships. I would reconsider that if I were you. 

Amanda has it right. I haven't tried UW's audio and video chat functions in about a year or more because it was very spotty. UW prefers that you keep all communication within Upwork, ostensibly to protect yourself from fraud, in fact to protect UW from money being paid outside UW. One freelancer in Russia refused to talk with me on Skype because she was sure UW would ban her if she did. Since we couldn't make UW's version work, she didn't get the job.


I offer to use video for a client but prefer not to. I'm old, fat and ugly, and if the client needs to verify that I'll turn on the camera. Otherwise, it uses a lot of bandwidth.


re: "One freelancer in Russia refused to talk with me on Skype because she was sure UW would ban her if she did. Since we couldn't make UW's version work, she didn't get the job."


That's on her. As a freelancer, she should know the system well enough to know that non-Upwork communication is allowed.


If a freelancer won't (or can't) use Upwork video chat and won't use something else... then how is a client supposed to know if that person is who she says she is?

Not every client will care. Most won't care. But for those who do, they have every right to reject the freelancer who may well be trying to trick them with regards to their identity.


re: "Otherwise, it uses a lot of bandwidth."


As I have been getting older, it actually takes less bandwidth to transmit my video signal, because I have less energy.

It is the young whippersnappers who move around a lot that are more taxing on the video compression codecs.

Community Member

This is just not ideal. As a FL with years of experience in both corporate and FL, I've gotten full-time year-long contracts with only having met in-person once before being given the on-campus job.


I struggle to understand why a client, who just needs a job done under limited circumstances, would get a proposal, reference materials, and and applicable years of experience presented to them ahead of time, accept an interview or offer a role and afterwards still need to see the face of the person who will be working for them under those very limited circumstances.


You're asking someone who is under no obligation to let you into their personal space, to do so for because you can't have faith in the clear evidence they've presented? My response to the previous commenters (clearly most of which are clients and not FLs) is that you'll never know the quality of work you lose by insisting on over-stepping boundaries set by FLs.


If you ask for a video call and they can't or ask not to, and that is a reason you don't reward someone a job, honestly shame on you. You don't know another person's home life, what hardships they're experiencing, or the circumstances they live in. If they are able to prove through references and discussion (via phone or chat) that they are capable of completeting your project, why do you care what they look like or what their internet bandwidth is?


If the FL you're interested in hiring insisted on a video call before accepting an offer, and for one reason or another you couldn't or weren't in a place to do so, and because of that they cast you off as unprofessional or not worthy of their time when that clearly was not the case, they would be the ones in the wrong for not having empathy towards your situation.


I hope that those responding in this thread can take from this that everyone is human, worthy of empathy and consideration. If you are not hiring a full-time employee, a video call is absolutely not necessary and anyone that makes it seem that way is not a client worth taking in my books.


The pedulum of how this morally reflects on the 'uncooperative' side of this debate swings both ways.

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