I have uploaded my first job and have received proposals. However under jobs it doesn't actually show the proposals. You have to into the job itself to view the proposals. I would have thought there would have been a personal message responding to the job posting??? I asked people to advise how long it would take to complete in the job ad.
I can't see an option to message them to ask that question, rather the system wants to send them an invite to the job they have already applied for.
This process seems pretty clunky.
I am not sure if this will help, but it has the steps on how to contact applicants.
To begin an interview message thread with a freelancer who has applied to your job posting:
Once you complete this process, the applicant is moved automatically to your Messaged section for further review. Your message thread will embed in the job application view.