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jaliu
Member

Please for the love of god...

Can someone **Edited for Community Guidelines** I've hired so many and have wasted more time than you could imagine. Each and every one had some serious issue related to ethics or reliability -- a freelancer I was about to hire, changed the "ballpark" price after much discussion the very next day by nearly 100% (not cheap projects) without explanation, and just assumed I'd work outside of upwork like he wanted. Then the person I hired a day later seemed too good to be true and I knew that I was going to be disappointed. Sure enough, the work submitted, which took awhile, had barely any changes and did not incorporate any of the notes I made. I could tell that the quality of the work was not the same as the portfolio and I just knew that I had been fooled again. This is after I tried everything I possibly could to vet the freelancer and verify that the samples provided were original work. Well, they promised a redesign and guess what... today I see the design and it is the exact same thing stolen from a theme that I know of.... and of course still without any of the changes I noted. I could not believe that they literally took the same thing and just presented it to me. They didn't even bother changing the font type!

 

I spent over 50 hours during this hiring process (again) -- I went through hundreds of freelancers in my filter and talked to only top or nearly top rated freelancers with hundreds to thousands of jobs completed. And they are no different from the poorly rated cheap talent on the platform. I might get whipped by upwork for saying this but they don't seem to care at all or don't have any effective way of maintaining the quality of this platform, and I have no faith in hiring here at all. 

45 REPLIES 45
khurram4m
Member

now be prepared to receive tons of private messages Smiley Wink

seriously? and freelancers can't see my forum activity from my profile page right? hopefully.


@Jonathan L wrote:

seriously? and freelancers can't see my forum activity from my profile page right? hopefully.


Nope, but those who read the forums may read your messages 🙂

 

It would be inappropriate for anybody to send you a private message begging for work, if this happens, report them.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless
versailles
Member

There is a ****load of people on this site that are displaying the cheapest rates possible. On my opinion the vast majority are just fraudsters.

 

Then, you have great true professionals. Usually the question that we users ask when somebody is stuck in this type of situation is, were you shopping for the lowest rates? No offense, but clients do this very often and very often they get scammed.

 

And I may be frowned upon for saying this but in some geographical areas, the number of providers being high, mathematically, the number of fraudsters is high too.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

Can you elaborate on the "fraudsters" part? Meaning they stink at what they do or they're literally scamming people (or something in between where the client can't tell)? It's possible the work history is full of self funded hires. Should "top rated" not be trusted?


@Jonathan L wrote:

Can you elaborate on the "fraudsters" part? Meaning they stink at what they do or they're literally scamming people (or something in between where the client can't tell)? It's possible the work history is full of self funded hires. Should "top rated" not be trusted?


Jonathan, they can't have full profile of self funded hires. But sometimes they can be hired for very simple tasks and perform very well, or they can deliver let's say design that is stolen and clients who don't bother with due diligence don't notice and left great feedback.

 

Freelancers with extreme low rates usually have nothing else to sell but their rates. They cater for cheap clients who either don't care about quality or who are totally naive.

 

If you want quality, you won't find it at the bottom of the barrel. Also you need to hire a two or three applicants for a short task, this way you can evaluate their performance before deciding to work with one of them.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

If think you are wasting time interviewing people and being selective in who you hire.

 

Don't do that.

 

Just hire people whose work history is good. Many people. Continue working only with the freelancers whose work you value the most.

True story: A couple years ago I had an entire website expertly designed in just a few hours. On Christmas morning. From the point of posting the job through to completion.

 

I accomplished this by posting the job, not spending much time looking at profile pages, hiring people without interviews, and providing clear instructions.

 

I didn't do any of the design work myself. I hired six people to do the same job. Paid hourly. Told them I wanted the work done as soon as possible. I think all of them were from India or nearby countries.

 

Actually, I officially hired more than six people, but only six people actually submitted work. Some people were hired but the contracts were closed before they did any work because the project was done. I had told them this was a short-deadline project. Everybody who worked got paid.

 

The result was a site with great design which I feature in my portfolio (highlighting my work as a backend database designer, not a web designer, but I want it to look nice).

 

I hire multiple people to do work like this and I select the best submissions to use. Or the best parts of what they each submit. I don't try to find the one right person to hire for this kind of work.

Actually, I hire complete newbies as well as people with a good work history. I hire mostly experienced freelancers, but also a mix of some newbies.

 

Sometimes the newbies do great work.

 

I don't let any of these people work more than an hour before checking their work diaries and maybe asking them to show me what they have done so far.

 

I am ready to close the contracts quickly on freelancers whose work does not impress me.

any ideas how i can get more people to apply to my job themselves? more money may be the obvious answer, but literally everyone or almost everyone who applied to my job wasn't qualified and I went out and searched through all the top rated profiles for freelancers. it couldn't be the money because they all accepted my invitation and ended up with a price a little higher or lower than my budget.

This is not only about money. I think many people would be shocked when they see how much money I save by hiring multiple people simultaneously.

 

One thing I do to increase job applications is to write very complete but also brief job descriptions.

 

For example, when hiring artists, I provide the complete description of what they need to illustrate. When hiring cartoonists/comic book artists, I include a link to the complete script.

 

When hiring web designers, I include a link to the complete raw text, undesigned version of the website.

 

Potential job applicants like it when they know exactly what it is they are being asked to do.

Jonathon, you might want to consider hiring someone with past experience in this for a one-hour consult to determine exactly what you need, to phrase the discriptive part of your RFP and to review your final few choices for who would be the best fit.

Jonathan,

 

I share your experience, but what I cannot confirm is that price is a valid criterium for judging quality. I know that I had one of the lowest fees (for translations) when I started out, simply because I had only just founded my business and had no exactly matching work experience or references to show. But looking at what some freelancers dare to offer for vastly greater sums is simply impertinent.

 

The best way to proceed is to list your expectations at the outset, offer industry-conform rates and check all work before releasing funds. One of my former bosses was a real stickler for checking simply everything. He got on everyone's nerves, but he was probably right.

 

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Jonathan,

 

I'm sorry to hear about the difficulty you're having in finding the suitable freelancer for your job. I'll ask our team to reach out to you directly and assist you with finding the right candidates, whose skills and past experience match your job requirements.

~ Vladimir
Upwork

Maybe Upwork should escalate the testing on this service:  https://community.upwork.com/t5/Announcements/New-service-Helping-freelancers-find-the-projects-that...

 

It's more than a little frustrating to read the OP's comments and realize how hard it might be for some clients to find what they're looking for, to find the best of what this site has to offer.

Maybe Upwork should stop accepting everybody and their cousin.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

That too.

Jonathan originally wrote, "I went through hundreds of freelancers in my filter and talked to only top or nearly top rated freelancers with hundreds to thousands of jobs completed. And they are no different from the poorly rated cheap talent on the platform."

 

You haven't told us what area of expertise you were looking for, but I can tell you that I'm top rated with 100's of completed jobs and I *am* different from poorly rated cheap talent because I've fixed some of the messes the cheap talent left behind. And my rates are average or perhaps even a bit below average if I compare them to freelancers from G7 countries, which is where the bulk of my clients come from.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

I did have an upwork consultant provide a few candidates and they were less impressive than the ones I combed through. I'm pretty sure they don't do much more than find a few top rated candidates and probably don't even bother looking in the portfolio. Regardless, it speaks volumes when the highest rated, most established freelancers can't follow simple instructions like "change font type" and "change header picture" after several discussions and just present you someone's else design as their own.

 

And upwork's method of correcting and enforcing violations? "Warning" the freelancer and asking them if they are still breaking policy or not. Maybe they'll get lucky one day and have someone volunteer that he/she is working outside upwork or is planning to.


@Jonathan L wrote:

 Regardless, it speaks volumes when the highest rated, most established freelancers can't follow simple instructions like "change font type" and "change header picture" after several discussions and just present you someone's else design as their own.


 Since you mentioned themes earlier, and now font and header, I presume you were hiring or interviewing freelance web designers or developers. Incidentally, there's no such thing as 'font type' in CSS, you probably meant 'font family', such as Arial, Helvetica, sans serif, and so on. Anyway, I certainly can follow simple instructions and wouldn't pass off someone else's work as my own, but I guess you must be jinxed here if everyone you interview or hire is incompetent, so why don't you try your luck at other freelancer sites? Just make sure any freelancer you hire elsewhere doesn't also have an Upwork account.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

Sorry, looks like someone edited my original post and hid the field that I hired in. I apologize if I offended you, I was speaking in hyperbole when I made the generalization that "top rated" are no better than the cheapos. I'm sure it isn't this way and that freelancers of a certain geographic region(s) may have different practices. I'd ask for recommendations for other sites, but no doubt it will get flagged by upwork. The problem itself isn't upwork, it's bad freelancers, but there just isn't a way of effectively vetting them before hiring them, and if it's found that one is in breach of a major violation, upwork does nothing anyway so naturally the platform will be full of these anti-talents. I can't even leave feedback for the next client that my freelancer just used someone else's design, and that could be the single most useful feedback for clients to have. Instead, all they will see is the same top rated, great feedback. 

re: "The problem itself isn't upwork, it's bad freelancers, but there just isn't a way of effectively vetting them before hiring them"

 

I think that realizing this is a key to successful hiring.

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Jonathan,

 

I've checked with our team and it looks like unfortunately you declined they assistance when they reached out to you. In case you change your mind, feel free to follow up and our team will gladly help you find the right candidate for your job.

~ Vladimir
Upwork

 


Vladimir G wrote:

Hi Jonathan,

 

I've checked with our team and it looks like unfortunately you declined they assistance when they reached out to you. In case you change your mind, feel free to follow up and our team will gladly help you find the right candidate for your job.


 

 

 

 

Please elaborate how this will be any different from the recruitment consulting service and if your team has any background in the related fields.

cupidmedia
Member

Jonathan, I'm a client in a different field to you (I only hire translators), but I have *never* had any problems like what you're describing. Preston is a freelancer who is also sometimes a client, and he *has* hired in your field, and he hasn't seen those problems either.

 

Honestly, if you are doing the same thing and getting the same results, I'm not sure what you expect. If you are only finding terrible freelancers, then here's some possible reasons:

 

1) Your budget is too low

2) Your job description is too vague

3) Your communication to freelancers is too vague

 

Note that these are only possible problems, there could certainly be other things going on, and I'm not accusing you of anything. All I'm suggesting is that you a take a good long look at your hiring practices and see if there might be something that you're doing that isn't working.

 

Like someone else suggested, you may want to hire an experienced project manager if you're having this much difficulty yourself.

An elementary school student could handle "change font type to X" and "change picture to X," and not slap my logo on a different theme and present it as a redesign. If you and others think (although sounds like just you so far) the things been done by these "top rated" are acceptable and worthy of the status, maybe this is the wrong place for me. The system is obviously broken and no offense, your solutions sound like you haven't paid attention to any of the details.

 

It sounds like Preston has had these problems otherwise he wouldn't be hiring multiple people for the same job. 

Perhaps they felt you were stifling their "creativity" and were determined to show you what they could do.

 

Then again, a (rough) picture is worth 1000 words.

jaliu
Member

am i not allowed to ask for recommendations on the forum?

re: "It sounds like Preston has had these problems otherwise he wouldn't be hiring multiple people for the same job."

 

My hiring style is based on these assumptions:

 

1) There are great freelancers on Upwork.

2) There are mediocre freelancers on Upwork.

3) There are freelancers on Upwork whose work is useless, or who are ouright scoundrels or scammers

4) For some types of work, there is no effective way to differentiate between these prior to actually hiring them

5) My time is valuable. Interviewing prospective freelancers, and reading their profile pages or proposal letters is a waste of my time.

 

For some types of work I look at portfolios and work history.

 

For other types of work, I provide a detailed description of what needs to be done and then I hire the first person who applies, and I'm ready to close the contract on them if they're not right for the job. But usually they're great.

 

For other types of work, I hire multiple people simultaneously to do the same job, because I don't believe it is possible to pick the best person prior to hiring them.

 

I have hired over 50 freelancers. I have hired people to do extremely technical networking and server infrastructure work. I have hired people to do graphic design, illustration, cartooning, web design, content writing, script writing.

 

I have saved tremendous amounts of time and money by hiring people on Upwork. I feel like I have had a very successful experience in hiring freelancers here.

 

I do not believe that the same techniques for hiring result in the same levels of success for all job niches.

re: "am i not allowed to ask for recommendations on the forum?"

 

You are very welcome to ask for recommendations.

 

The problem is that you are describing your experiences, and some of what you are describing is very frustrating.

 

Because it paints a picture of an Upwork that just isn't working for you as a client.

 

The worst part of what you are saying here is that it is true. Your experiences are not made up and you have no axe to grind or ideological objective.

 

It means that you have not perfected a technique for hiring the types of freelancers you need.

But it also means that there are defects in the system.

 

Some of the other Upwork clients who have weighed in here in this thread have had very different experiences than yours, but they have also been hiring in other job niches.

 

Budget is a serious factor. But budget and pay rate does not completely explain the difficulties in finding the right people to hire. You have tried hiring people at hiring pay rates, and this has not necessarily produced positive results.

 

I have successfully hired Upwork freelancers to do web design work, while also using lower pay rates. But I have done so by hiring multiple people at a time with the assumption that only some of them will produce usable work.

Thanks for the great feedback. Are there any special questions you ask in your cover letter or do you mention that there will be some sort of "testing phase" to weed out the bad ones?

jaliu
Member

Case in point: 

 

Upwork knows that this freelancer presented someone else's work, yet has done nothing and this freelancer is still asking me how to proceed. They are literally destroying the quality of their own platform and contributing to IP infringement. I am speechless.


@Jonathan L wrote:

Case in point: 

 

Upwork knows that this freelancer presented someone else's work, yet has done nothing and this freelancer is still asking me how to proceed. They are literally destroying the quality of their own platform and contributing to IP infringement. I am speechless.


I can tell you that we, freelancers, are sometimes speechless too when we see who is allowed to work on this platform. Many of us report bogus freelancers, but we don't always know what actions are taken by Upwork.

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"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

re: "Are there any special questions you ask in your cover letter or do you mention that there will be some sort of "testing phase" to weed out the bad ones?"

 

I don't think there are any special questions that I ask.

 

Mostly I don't ask questions. I often block the "cover letter" portion.

 

If I want work done immediately, sometimes I ask a single question like "Are you ready to start working on this now?"

 

The main thing I try to do is to provide concise, complete information. I try to create a job posting that contains ALL information and input files necessary in order to do the work. That way I do not need to communicate with the freelancers any further. I just hire them and let them do the work. Of course, that won't work for all types of projects.

 

I never discuss a testing phase in a job posting. I don't want freelancers to think I'm just "testing" them or asking for free work from them.

 

If I hire somebody to create some icons, I really hire them to create icons.

And I pay them to do so.

I'm not obligated to tell them I want 40 icons and I'm hiring 6 people to see whose initial icons I like the best. I might mention the complete scope of the work, or I might not.

Either way, whether somebody is paid to create 1 icon or 5 icons or 40 icons... it's real work and I pay them real money and I don't see any reason i should refer to it as "testing."


@Jonathan L wrote:

Case in point: 

 

Upwork knows that this freelancer presented someone else's work, yet has done nothing and this freelancer is still asking me how to proceed. They are literally destroying the quality of their own platform and contributing to IP infringement. I am speechless.


 While I don't hire on this platform, if a writer handed in work that they plagiarized to me, I would immediately call the person on it with evidence, close the contract, and report with evidence to support.

 

As far as screening freelancers,

 

  • Ask the freelancer who apply to your posting to outline their approach to your specific project... use this to identify the applicants that seem to share your vision about the project. This is also an indicator of work ethic, attention to detail, ect.  
  • Give a "quick and dirty" test ( like 15 minutes of work) to your shortlist candidates and pay them at an agreed rate for their effort and give them a deadline of 45 minutes.  
  • When making your final selection, identify one or two runners-up to act as a backup if your first choice does not perform as you expected.    


@Julie T wrote:

@Jonathan L wrote:

Case in point: 

 

Upwork knows that this freelancer presented someone else's work, yet has done nothing and this freelancer is still asking me how to proceed. They are literally destroying the quality of their own platform and contributing to IP infringement. I am speechless.


 While I don't hire on this platform, if a writer handed in work that they plagiarized to me, I would immediately call the person on it with evidence, close the contract, and report with evidence to support.

 

As far as screening freelancers,

 

  • Ask the freelancer who apply to your posting to outline their approach to your specific project... use this to identify the applicants that seem to share your vision about the project. This is also an indicator of work ethic, attention to detail, ect.  
  • Give a "quick and dirty" test ( like 15 minutes of work) to your shortlist candidates and pay them at an agreed rate for their effort and give them a deadline of 45 minutes.  
  • When making your final selection, identify one or two runners-up to act as a backup if your first choice does not perform as you expected.    

 

 

I did all the things you would have done. Isn't it nice to know that upwork does nothing and these people are allowed to parade their top rated statuses and take business away from the other freelancers?

 

And of course after I call her out she makes excuses again, plays dumb and tells me she can show me how she actually did the work in her history. I ask her how and she literally doesn't respond and I find out she cancelled the job 10 minutes later. Reason cited? "Client did not give instructions on how to proceed."


And of course after I call her out she makes excuses again, plays dumb and tells me she can show me how she actually did the work in her history. I ask her how and she literally doesn't respond and I find out she cancelled the job 10 minutes later. Reason cited? "Client did not give instructions on how to proceed."


 If you have proof she engaged in IP theft, all you needed to do show evidence that she presented someone else's work as her own, inform her that you cannot work with someone who is not trustworthy,  cancel the project, and file a complaint with support. If you paid her any type of retainer, file a dispute.

 

There are too many top-notch web developers/ front-end types looking for work to waste your time with someone who wants to get paid to do essentially nothing. 

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Jonathan,

 

I see our agent responded on your ticket on Monday and confirmed that our team will review the case and take action against the freelancer who you reported. It's our policy not to share the details of our findings or subsequent actions with other users, and that's probably why you have the impression that our team hasn't taken any action in regards to your report.

 

 

~ Vladimir
Upwork


@Vladimir G wrote:

Hi Jonathan,

 

I see our agent responded on your ticket on Monday and confirmed that our team will review the case and take action against the freelancer who you reported. It's our policy not to share the details of our findings or subsequent actions with other users, and that's probably why you have the impression that our team hasn't taken any action in regards to your report.

 

 


 No one said any action would be taken and I doubt anything will be done. Maybe a "warning," just like how you "warned" the other freelancer to not bait and switch the proposal amount anymore. This is after he intentionally tried to circumvent upwork and cheat even upwork out of their cut! And apparently they've let all this slide. Gosh, maybe we should all start breaking the rules. What's the point of upwork anyway? Just to take 20% of the contract amount?