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Upwork Online course to help clients find great talent

Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
1 of 24

We recently deployed an online course for clients to help you find and work with great freelancers that fit your project needs.  The modules will include information and best practices around hiring online and delegating projects to your freelancers. The modules also aim to help you interview freelancers and identify the top talent for your projects.


There are four modules covered in the online course:

Module 1: What is online work?

Module 2: Scoping your project and attracting top talent

Module 3: Vetting profiles and interviewing freelancers

Module 4: Communicating with your team


The course can take about 40 mins to complete and can be taken at your own pace with the ability to leave and come back to where you left off. You can access the modules here. Check out Module 1 and let us know what you think, and if you have any questions or tips!

Kevin B Employee Member Since: Jul 24, 2015
2 of 24

Hi everyone! I'm the facilitator for this course and wanted to kick off this conversation with a question for the group.


In the course, we talk about what kinds of work can be done online. I provide a few examples (remote tech support, designing a brochure, etc.) but what kinds of work are you all getting done with remote freelancers?

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

Lena and Kevin:


I think this is great to offer these courses to clients.


I am not going to criticize this effort, but I would like to add that 90% of all effort in producing courses and instructional material should go toward educating the CONTRACTORS.


This includes ways to instruct contractors in how to make clients more effective and thus more satisfied.


I say this because clients come here as customers, to spend money and essentially purchase a product from a company provides a product. So trying to educate customers may be a good idea, but the best way to have an impact on how those customers experience the platform is to educate those who provide the product: contractors.


McDonald's, Disneyland, QuickTrip, Costco, Starbucks, Trader Joe's, etc. all spend a lot of money on monitoring the quality of service provided by their employees, and they spend a lot on training for employees, especially their management.


Those companies don't spend very much on customer education. (They spend on advertising, but that's something very different.)


Upwork contractors are NOT employees. But contractors are the people who clients are most likely to interact with, and who they interact with the most. (Much more than customer service representatives.) Clients may come and go. Sure, many are long-term. But (hopefully) there are always new clients (customers) coming through the doors. The better-educated contractors are about how to ensure a quality client experience, the better off clients will be. Contractors are the ones who are here on a long-term basis, working for client after client. Contractors (not clients) SHOULD be the "experts" on how Upwork works and how to use it effectively.


The comparison between companies like that and Upwork is NOT exact, because the product Upwork provides is so different. But I still think that Upwork would have better success educating contractors in the areas that it hopes to see clients improve, than directly educating clients.


Upwork should implement an incentive-based continuing education/extended training program for contractors in order to improve client satisfaction, improve client behavior and improve profits.

Kevin B Employee Member Since: Jul 24, 2015
4 of 24



Thanks for your input.  I 100% agree!  


We have a few educational programs for freelancers that are already in motion in the form of onboarding webinars and in-person workshops in regions with high concentrations of our "top-rated" and "rising talent" freelancers.  That being said, there's always room for improvement - and we have plans to build more content similar to this course aimed at freelancers in the coming months.  You're correct, this is very different than employee training, but we only stand to benefit when we provide educational opportunities for everyone on our platform.


I've met with a lot of clients who are curious to learn more about working with remote freelancers, which was the inspiration for the courses mentioned in this post.  As an experienced client, I know that new clients would love to hear your tips and tricks as they get started.





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


Thanks for the follow-up note.


I think the online webinar and other instructional material produced by Upwork is great.


I hope to see more.


I'm sure you're working on it. I would like to see specific instructional material geared to educating contractors about some of the problems we see them bring most frequently to customer service and the Community Forum, including how to politely but effectively work with clients who ask for things which violate Upwork policies, as well as how to avoid and report scam clients.


I would like to see contractors incentivized from being educated in these topics and passing quizzes designed to test their knowledge of these subjects. Contractors earn additional connects or benefits for their job success score, or additional Upwork Systems Expert certification or something...

Kevin B Employee Member Since: Jul 24, 2015
6 of 24

Thanks for the suggestions.  I'll pass them along to my colleagues!

Active Member
Meg G Member Since: Mar 19, 2018
7 of 24

It is great to know that you have this for your contractors.


I am newish to the virtual hiring but have had some interaction with getting work done online through a business club.  My experience nearly put me off using a virtual developer.or graphic artist.

Biggest issues I have had as a client were -

Assumptions made by the contractor that I would know what they are talking about.  eg - using tech words and acronyms.  This meant I either had to look up online what they were talking about or ask them.  All a waste of valuable time.  

Asking me to supply things in a specific format that I couldn't do or didn't know how - eg Photos in a particular size.  No hint of how to resize or a link on how to resize.  Documents in a particular format that I was not familiar with.

Sending files that I did not have programs to open or sending files with no instructions apart from send back when done.  One was sent csv file which looked like a spreadsheet to me, I filled it in following the columns.  I got the rows wrong and they told me I had to do it again ..... it had taken 2 hrs to fill in this file. 

Them being able to follow a list of jobs - 1. fix this  2. change that  3. put a .. etc etc.    I found I had to send one job at time.  This was very tedious and time comsuming.


What contractors need to remember is if I understood the process and tech stuff, had all the tools I could probably do it myself.   So they need to ask the client some questions as well.


Will be going through the modules so I can be effective in my communication but I also need the other side to also be in the same place.

Hope this helps with your contractor training :-)



Community Guru
Dietmar Thomas B Member Since: Aug 11, 2015
8 of 24

Hello Kevin B


I am daily in the forum and hop in for an hours reading every now and then. I do not post that much as I think that the Gurus can do so much better than I can when it comes to stating facts.


The first course I would like to see would be for newcomers. Constantly somebody pops in with questions like:

  • How to get 100% profile
  • Why is my profile not approved
  • Why am I not rewarded a job

I think if those 3 frequently asked questions, besides others, would be answered in a tutorial, then newcomers could be off to a much better start.


As I am not really such a brand new person at Upwork any more, I would like something along the lines of JSS, Top Rated (am still not sure when that kicks in) and how to handle unfair customer demands.


The Gurus seem to like a complete explanation on how the time tracker works and how to manage booking of minor segments. This would be a good thing in general, so that freelancers do not lack payments for work done.


Just my two cents worth.



Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
9 of 24

Hi Dietmar,


Those are good topics for new freelancers. Kevin can elloborate on if there already is or are plans for a new freelancer module. The modules listed here are focused on clients and how they can get started successfully on the platform.



Community Guru
Bill H Member Since: Aug 18, 2017
10 of 24

Module One will benefit clients and providers both. Kudos!


I suggest that the next time Module Two is revised, you consider adding a few things.


1. An NDA is not a non-compete agreement. If you want that, offer it separately. I've signed literally thousands of NDAs; I've rejected every one that contained a non-compete clause.


2. Freelancers who have employees or contractors should consider adding a clause that the NDA applies to all of the freeloancer's employees, agents, contractors and assigns. Also state that every one of them has already signed an NDA prohibiting sharing of any client information with anyone, and that all client information must be considered confidential and proprietary unless notified otherwise.


3. Good freelancers should be asking questions to fill in any holes or get missing details in the template. Encourage freelancers to ask questions.


4. The solution is very different from the challenge to be solved. If you are sure you have 100% certainty in the challenge, and 100% certainty in the solution, you will still get good freelancers, just not those whose strengths are in identifying the real issues and their causes.


Hiring Module:


1. If Skype and Google Hangouts are UW's favorites, why, every time I mention Skype do I get a warning not to communicate outside UW, and to use UW's own tools?


2. I recommend an eighth question: What do you believe are my (the client's) responsibilities in this project? Every proposal outside UW that I write includes a YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES section, and always includes making information and people reasonably available, and promtly reviewing all submissions and responding within a reasonable amount of time.


You might want to include a disclaimer that recommended freeelancers are based on an algorithm that relies heavily on recent performance. If Jack Welch joined the platform this morning, he would never show up in a search for management consultants. Also, that job skills filter matching freelancers with posts. I got a translator's response to an engineering post, because I said I would accept either English or Spanish-speaking freelancers. Another post went unawarded, seeking a telephone consult from a packaging engineer. All the responses came from birthday card, wrapping paper, and similar freelancers. I asked for talent specialist help, and learned that a finance expert and flower arranger had been invited.