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Red flags ....

This has probably been done 100 times. Maybe 200. 


But let's start a thread of red flags. 


Here's one:

"Pay will increase if we like the work and/or work well together ..."


That's just nonsense. I fell for that when I was 20, which was half a century ago.

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Hi, Anthony. It's an interesting topic. Years later, these promises seem like a joke. But in the beginning, it seemed like a great opportunity.


OK, but I'm looking for a list of red flags.

Here's another: A job posting that says, "We want you to write a sample article so we can see if you are a good fit or not."


In the world of employment, the employer is allowed to give you a test, but that doesn't mean a day of working for free. A test is a test -- it should take an hour at the very most. More often, it should take 10 minutes or so.


Writers have hundreds of writing samples. If a client can't get an idea of your style from these, then something is wrong. They don't need one more "test" writing sample to see if you know how to write if you have a resume as long as Interstate 95. 

Asking for free work isn't always a red flag. It could be a legitimate test ... but on Upwork, I see many that aren't.

I saw a job post yesterday.  "Be ready for the three step test which will help us judge your passion, knowledge and interest in being part of our team. "


No mention of payment. 


That's an excellent example. I wrote over 30,000 news briefs for UPI over the course of eight years. I've just finished my 17th book. And they want me to take a test to see if I have a passion for writing??????? 

Here is one  "We are waiting for big projects, and then you can earn big money, but for now... these some... they will be coming soon, they will be coming soon, big projects will be coming soon ). "


It is indeed an exciting yet knowledgeable topic. Let me share what I've noticed in my years of experience with diverse talents.


"Are you willing to work overtime and weekends? and Holidays?"

Talents: Yes! (with full confidence).


Yes, Dmytro. Years later, those answers will literally turn into jokes. LoL.


Kidding aside. I believe that with due diligence, we can avoid falling for these red flags and make the experience as safe as possible. Hard work comes next. Starting with this help article as your guide. 


We're looking forward to what other members get to share on this one!

~ Arjay


Topics aren't knowledgeable. People are knowledgeable. 


Community Member

Great idea! Participation will go through the roof.

Here is one (of many) that comes to my mind:

"Let us know your turnaround time for 60 mins. and your fee per audio minute. ... We pay %x per minute and expect delivery within twenty-four hours after receipt of the audio."  

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"We just need you to quickly sign this contract agreement; you can read the mundane details later when you have time."

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"This is an easy job and shouldn't take longer than one hour of your time."

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"Newbies are welcome, I will give you 5 stars"

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Not a red flag necessarily, but a skippable ones from my perspective: job posts with templated/AI generated description.

If a client isn't bothered, why would I be interested.

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"We are looking for an experienced and highly skilled freelancer... Entry level: I am looking for freelancers with the lowest rates."

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"The application is 90% complete".


"This should take a skilled developer less than a day".

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'Rock star'.

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Here's what I look at:


- immediately reject or filter out certain countries. We can't say the countries, but we all know what I'm talking about.

- History of payments. I will reply to invites cuz I have nothing to lose, but I do look at who they usually hire. If it's a really good fit, I might bid anyway in the open marketplace. Depends on my mood ig lol

- "long-term" gets immediate LOLs from me. No long-term client says they are long-term. They do this to get you to work for cheap, and it works tbh. Just doesn't work on me cuz this ain't my first rodeo.

- "if it goes well there is more work." Now, I have to admit sometimes this is true. I think it depends on how they word it. The undesirables will word it just like that and it's a red flag. I immediately get snarky. But, it's not always a red flag. Some people really do give you a smaller thing to see how it goes, and I think it's reasonable to invest a small amount at first.

- "this should take you an hour." Haven't had this one in a long long long time or maybe I just ignored it if it has. I tell them how long it takes me and usually ignore any time estimates from them.

- "so and so and the other millions of cheap junk writers are cheaper." Don't care. I get annoyed by this but will probs respond but won't put much time into it. I know it's going nowhere at this point.

- AI generated nonsense reworded from Indeed. If it's an invite, I'll straightup tell them the ChatGPT said nothing so I need them to be more specific. I might bid in the open marketplace but these templates don't say anything so it's hard to judge what they want even a little bit.


Just some random ones I thought of before I go feed my FFXIV addiction. I'm so embarrassed to say that I am back on the junk but with energy drinks and starbursts. 


It's true, some of the "there will be more work if it goes well," are legitimate. If you walk around in the client's shoes for a moment, you know that some don't want to over-commit to a new hiring. After all, freelancers aren't on their payroll, so one of the advantages of a freelancer is you can dump them if they don't work out. So, some of these guys are just being cautious and going by the rules as they see them. 

Thanks for jumping in. Nice post.

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