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It looks like freelancers are allowed to hide bad reviews, is this true?

Active Member
Eric C Member Since: May 26, 2011
1 of 21

I am reviewing some candidates for a new project I posted. Upwork has automatically categorized some of the applicants into a section labeled "Proposals not matching your qualifications". I understand this is an automated feature and given a typical job posting can have over 100 applicants, I appreciate it. And I also understand that there are many variables and algoriths that play a part in how/why a freelancer gets placed into this category, and I am fine with that.


For this particular job posting, I decided to review these applicants anyway. One of the first things I noticed is that I did not see their average star rating / job success rate. Why not? Does Upwork allow freelancers to hide their ratings? With one particular candidate, when I read his reviews, half of his reviews are exactly 5 stars and the other half say "No feedback given". In other words, to someome who was not paying attention it would appear that this person is a 5 star candidate. A superstar. I would have assumed this person is a GREAT candidate because all of his reviews are exactly 5 stars.


I don't think the freelancer is doing anything questionable or shady, and I believe in being rewarded for continuous improvement. It looks to me like Upwork is letting freelancers hide their bad reviews and in exchange, maybe their success rate is hidden? Is this true?


Please help me understand whether or not this is the case. I am not quite sure yet how I feel about it. I guess I am just used to the old way and going forward when reviewing candidates, I'll be more aware of this. In the past, I would (almost always) automatically disqualify a freelancer with a success rate lower than 85%. But if success rates are now hidden, then it seems like it would be harder for me to vet candidates.



Actually, I just noticed that *many* applicants for my most recent job posting do not show a success rate - not just the ones that are categorized in the "Proposals not matching your qualifications" section.


Again, I am in favor of second chances, but I can't help but automatically assume that if a freelancer is able to (and has) disabled or hidden his/her success rating, then there's something to hide. Sorry to sound biased like that but it's human nature I suppose. I've given my fair share of bad ratings when freelancers clearly mislead me or failed to complete a job. But I've also given many praises and positive reviews for those that deserve it. So if the rating system has any merit (as I believe it does) then I don't think some freelancers should be allowed to hide it.


Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 21

"No feedback given" does not represent hidden feedback.


It means that a contract was closed without feedback being given.


This means that the freelancer himself closed the contract, because it is impossible for clients to close a contract without giving feedback.

Active Member
Eric C Member Since: May 26, 2011
3 of 21

I just find it a little too coincidental that literally EVERY visible rating for this freelancer is 5.00 stars, yet more than half of his reviews (now that I went back and counted them all) are "No feedback given". So you are saying the freelancer is allowed to close a job before the hiring party has an opportunity to give feedback? If that's the case it seems like this freelancer is reaching out to the client before the job is ended, to get a feel for whether or not he'll get a 5 star rating and if he suspects he won't then he beats them to the punch by closing the door on the client, a sort of pre-emptive strike.

Community Guru
Rene K Member Since: Jul 10, 2014
4 of 21

@Eric C wrote:

So you are saying the freelancer is allowed to close a job before the hiring party has an opportunity to give feedback? 

Not at all.


If one party closes the contract, the other party is notified and has 14 days to provide feedback. Also, stars are not that interesting. What really counts is the Job Sucess score (JSS) expressed in % on the top right corner of the profile.


A freelancer who has a significant number of jobs without any feedback will see a decrease in their JSS. Also, the JSS takes into account the answer to the how likely would you recommend this freelancer question into account. This answer definitely weighs way more than the star rating.

"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
Community Guru
John K Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
5 of 21

"No feedback given" means exactly that -- the client chose not to give feedback, after the freelancer closed the contract. It does not mean it was removed by the freelancer or Upwork. As a freelancer, I rarely close contracts and leave it up to the client to do so, with the end result that I have a huge number of 'jobs in progress' in my profile, even though there's little chance I would be asked to do further work on the majority of them, but a client who sees this *might* assume I would be too busy to take on more work. This is one reason a freelancer might choose to close a contract after no activity for months, and then it appears in the Work History as "No feedback given" if the client doesn't leave feedback within 14 days.

"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
Active Member
Eric C Member Since: May 26, 2011
6 of 21

Hi Rene,

The JSS is definitely more appealing to me and that was actually the second part of my original question - why is it a significant number of applicants to my job do NOT have a success score?

Avery O Moderator Member Since: Nov 23, 2015
7 of 21

Hi Eric, 

It's very likely that the freelancers applying to your job posts are new freelancers, or freelancers who do not have a Job Success Score yet. 

Freelancers will need to have a certain amount of feedback to receive a Job Success Score. More than 90% of freelancers have a score after 5 projects. Since not all projects and clients are equal, the length of time will vary. Nearly all freelancers have scores after completing eight projects. The projects need to be with at least three different clients and take place within a 24-month period.


You may read more about the freelancer Job Success Score here for more information.

Community Guru
Sanja D Member Since: Dec 18, 2013
8 of 21

Hi Eric,
No feedback given  means exactly that -  freelancer had to close the project, since client couldn't be bothered to do that (or couldn't be found).  So - when the freelancer closes the project (and we have to do that, because too many  open projects are not  a good thing),  and client doesn't leave feedback - you get "no feedback given" on freelancer's profile.  Top rated freelances have the option to remove bad feedback only on one contract, I believe - but in that case no contract details are visible on freelancer's profile.
I'm in a similar situation - when I get the feedback from clients, it's usually good. But, many clients just take the work and pay - and never show up again. I believe those are happy as well, because I see that the  work is used - but they obviously have no idea that they should close the project and leave  their comments. Unfortunately, no one can make them do that   

Active Member
Terrence B Member Since: Dec 5, 2019
9 of 21

I just closed a contract with and left a book of feedback, on the programers page it says, no feedback given. 

Community Guru
Kelly B Member Since: Jan 1, 2016
10 of 21

Terrence B wrote:

I just closed a contract with and left a book of feedback, on the programers page it says, no feedback given. 

You can't always see the feedback right away, and if one person leaves feedback but the other doesn't, the feedback might not show up for two weeks (the amount of time you're given to leave feedback).