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How to handle vague job invites from clients

Community Guru
Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
1 of 20

 

Summary
How to handle a Client who sends an Invite, but the job does not outline specfics for the role the Client is looking to fill. Tips for confirming the client is legit, and making sure you fully understand the job before accepting the offer.

 

My Process
I recently received a private Invite from a client, who had seen my profile and wanted to know how I could help him. He wasn't sure how to handle the complex job he wanted to hire for, and had not yet created a proper job post.

Because he did not post job details, I was initially a little concerned that he was a legit Client, so I hope my little story here helps others who encounter this.

His message gave me a general idea of what he needed, and he included his website address in his message.

The first thing I did was visit his website, and crawled around his Social Media sites. I then checked out his Upwork job history. This confirmed he was a real client, had paid over $20k since he joined, and that his business was real.

Checking his Upwork job history required a little bit of additional work (job history was extensive) but his reviews were very good and showed 2016 hiring activity. The clients hire rate was over 70%, which is another good sign.

Once I completed this research, I replied and said that I was interested, and suggested we meet via Skype. I asked him to commit to an hour interview and Q&A, so that we could flesh out the job details. (This is a typical interview time for many of my prospective clients, because the role I am being hired for is often a Managerial position with possible B2B client facing responsiblities).

24 hours before the meeting I submitted 12 questions about his business, and told him that we would need to over these during the meeting. He responded 2 hours later with answers to my questions in an MS word doc, which I thought was really great.

The next day we met up on Skype and went through my questions in further detail, talked about his business needs, and discussed payment terms and hours.

I then wrote up a 1.5 page proposal that was a summary of the interview, along with payment terms and a list of goals I'd commit to in the first 30 days. I sent this to the Client via the Upwork message center.

 

Update: I just heard from this client. They REALLY need system and process development, but like so many Agencies, they keep putting this on the back burner. He said he's too busy to hire for this role right now. Could be true, or maybe my rate scared him off. Time will tell.

Note: This is actually the 2nd time I have received this sort of job invite with no detail. I won the older job, doing pretty much what I described above.

Takeways
1. If you get a direct message from a Client who whose job post is vague, don't assume it's a scam. Sometimes Clients just don't know how to hire an independant contractor for complex roles.

2. Research the Client before responding. View their history on Upwork, and if necessary, ask for the Clients website or details about thier business. Confirm they are legit on Upwork and have paid users on Upwork recently.

3. Prepare to do some additional work to get the job. In cases like this, the Client is ready to hire, but isn't sure how to go about it. This means asking relevent questions before the interview, and making sure your questions are discussed in the meeting or before hand via the Message Center.

4. Prepare a proposal. In a case like this, the Client may not be sure what kind of job post to create. Use this to your advantage and create a custom, tailored proposal. This will help the client create the job details in Upwork. Yes, it's an extra step, but not really that different from creating a detailed cover letter and submitting a bid proposal to an existing job post. Plus, you already have your foot in the door and you should continue to present your best professional face to the Client.

5. Do not work for the Client until you receive an offical job offer via Upwork. Just because the hiring process was a little different intially doesn't mean this legal step should be skipped.

 

Active Member
Arthur M Member Since: Sep 14, 2016
2 of 20

Thank you, Pandora, for sharing such great experience with us!

 

Summarizing all said: professional way includes careful thinking not only prior to accept the offer, but prior to reject as well. As "uncommon" doesn't necessarily mean "scam".

Community Guru
Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
3 of 20

@Arthur M wrote:

Thank you, Pandora, for sharing such great experience with us!

 

Summarizing all said: professional way includes careful thinking not only prior to accept the offer, but prior to reject as well. As "uncommon" doesn't necessarily mean "scam".


 

Arthur, you made a really good point that I agree with. Rejecting legit jobs is an art unto itself. More often then not, I only get private, legit invites when I am fully booked. If the job looks especially "juicy" I will actually try to research the client, and if they are someone I might want to work for EVENTUALLY, I will decline with a message with the likes of:

 

"Thanks, (client name) for contacting me. At this time, I do not have the hourly ability to accept your offer, however, I expect to be available on or close to (date). If you would like to open up a dialogue in a few (weeks, months, whatever), please use the Save profile feature, and message me again at your convience. Meanwhile, there are several very good members of Upwork who would suit you. I wish you luck in hiring for this position"

 

I've actually gotten a job because I wrote something like that and added the clients name in my reply when I declined. They messaged me a few months later and I was able to accept their job.

Community Guru
MERCY N Member Since: May 6, 2015
4 of 20

Pandora H: My Process

 

Very, very, very valuable information there you've voluteered. Thanks!

 

 

Moderator
Vladimir G Moderator Member Since: Oct 31, 2014
5 of 20

Hi Pandora,

 

Thank you for sharing your advice and experience in the Community.

 

Could you please pm me the details regarding the initial message you received from this client?

Community Guru
Nichola L Member Since: Mar 13, 2015
6 of 20

Thank you for a great post Pandora.

Community Guru
Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
7 of 20

@Vladimir G wrote:

Hi Pandora,

 

Thank you for sharing your advice and experience in the Community.

 

Could you please pm me the details regarding the initial message you received from this client?


 Done.

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
8 of 20

I wish I was so organized and thoughtful. I'm too lazy for this stuff. If they don't put enough in the job description, sometimes I'll reply with a short note that just says "I need more info."

 

I just don't have the patience. lol Mannn I wish I did. This is probably a great way to be, but I'm too ADD for it lol

 

I've gotten incredibly picky though. I'm a lot less picky during slow months but I've only ever spent a lot of time on an invite/project lead when it was an enterprise client.

Community Guru
Pandora H Member Since: May 11, 2010
9 of 20

@Jennifer M wrote:

I wish I was so organized and thoughtful. I'm too lazy for this stuff. If they don't put enough in the job description, sometimes I'll reply with a short note that just says "I need more info."

 

I just don't have the patience. lol Mannn I wish I did. This is probably a great way to be, but I'm too ADD for it lol

 

I've gotten incredibly picky though. I'm a lot less picky during slow months but I've only ever spent a lot of time on an invite/project lead when it was an enterprise client.


Templates are awesome! I don't have to create this digital content from scratch every time. Yes, it took time to develop a re-usable system, but now I can whip up whatever is needed in a couple of hours, rather then a day or more.

 

I got massively tired of creating the same data from scratch every time! Now I use a library of custom built files, and everything is labled so that I can load, edit, save, and submit/use very quickly.

 

This system can be built for anyone running a small business as an independent contractor, the only difference is the content needed to reflect what services the contractor offers.

 

I have a complete, digital package system that handles the entire a-z process:

 

  • UNIQUE cover letters (note the word UNIQUE)
  • client pre-hire onboarding questions
  • post-interview proposals
  • scope of work
  • post-hire client onboarding
  • complete computer folder system template
  • browser bookmark template

My latest hourly client and I got set up to do business in 30 hours. That's a record, and I could not have done it without this system.

 

I'm currently working to develop my first fixed-price service offering (Currently only accepting hourly jobs). My goal is to create the same kind of cookie-cutter system for this new service so that the final product can be created quickly.

 

Admittedly, creating these kinds of systems is one of the services I offer clients, so I've had a LOT of practice.

 

Community Guru
Setu M Member Since: Jan 26, 2014
10 of 20
Nice write-up Pandora. Useful information for the unusual encounters.

So much effort is put into getting to the point of being offered a contract.? But then again, the most valuable contracts require the most due diligence and effort.
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