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Anyone else get irritated when you see these types of jobs?

mikemckinney17
Ace Contributor

I keep seeing these types of job listings,

 

"I have a large job that needs to be done by the best freelancer available, it pays well...yada yada...

 

But FIRST!!!

 

I need a sample, I'll send you 1 video to edit(In my case, usually), and we'll take that to see if we like how well you do."

 

 

...This seems like flawed logic to me....I think someone could get all the work done with just the interviews if they really wanted to...

23 REPLIES 23
blastofflabs
Community Guru

Yes Michael there are a lot of different annoyances in job ads, that is one good example of a clearly exploitive listing. Many of them almost cry out for a sarcastic response, like the "REALLY?!" segment on SNL News had.

 

It would be nice if Upwork were to "socialize" listings, aka provide a mechanism for freelancers to post public questions and comments about the jobs below each listing -- as some other top freelancing sites do. It would serve to balance things out.

 

Among other benefits, this would allow the community to push back a little on some of the more exploitive techniques like the one you mentioned.  Questions could also be asked which would help to clarify the task for everyone.

 

Also we would be able to throw that well-deserved rotten egg on occasion:)

 

I've seen it mentioned that a good use for extra credits at the end of the month, is to send sarcastic applications to some of these posts. I won't mention any names but Jennifer has said she does that:)  (Go Jennifer!!)

Thanks for the reply, that is good to know, and I think I will do that, I've just assumed I could get in trouble for it. 😛


@Steve B wrote:

Yes Michael there are a lot of different annoyances in job ads, that is one good example of a clearly exploitive listing. Many of them almost cry out for a sarcastic response, like the "REALLY?!" segment on SNL News had.

 

It would be nice if Upwork were to "socialize" listings, aka provide a mechanism for freelancers to post public questions and comments about the jobs below each listing -- as some other top freelancing sites do. It would serve to balance things out.

 

Among other benefits, this would allow the community to push back a little on some of the more exploitive techniques like the one you mentioned.  Questions could also be asked which would help to clarify the task for everyone.

 

Also we would be able to throw that well-deserved rotten egg on occasion:)

 

I've seen it mentioned that a good use for extra credits at the end of the month, is to send sarcastic applications to some of these posts. I won't mention any names but Jennifer has said she does that:)  (Go Jennifer!!)


 Months ago somebody on Elance suggested this text as a reply to such jobs if you have the connects to spare:

 

We will be happy to conduct a test to make sure we're the right fit for your project. Just award us the project, pay us a small percentage of the final fee (I think 25% should cover it) and if we're happy with the sample of money that you've sent over, then we'll be happy to consider working on your project. I appreciate it's a lot of money for no work, but it will look good on your feedback, give you great experience of paying people and there may be lots of opportunities for you to pay us more money, for little or no amounts of work, in the future.

I might just use that, thanks!


@Joachim M wrote:
Months ago somebody on Elance suggested this text as a reply to such jobs if you have the connects to spare:

We will be happy to conduct a test to make sure we're the right fit for your project. Just award us the project, pay us a small percentage of the final fee (I think 25% should cover it) and if we're happy with the sample of money that you've sent over, then we'll be happy to consider working on your project. I appreciate it's a lot of money for no work, but it will look good on your feedback, give you great experience of paying people and there may be lots of opportunities for you to pay us more money, for little or no amounts of work, in the future.



That was me!

"Welcome, humans. I'm ready for you!"
- Box, Logan's Run (1976)

@Scott E wrote:

@Joachim M wrote:
Months ago somebody on Elance suggested this text as a reply to such jobs if you have the connects to spare:

We will be happy to conduct a test to make sure we're the right fit for your project. Just award us the project, pay us a small percentage of the final fee (I think 25% should cover it) and if we're happy with the sample of money that you've sent over, then we'll be happy to consider working on your project. I appreciate it's a lot of money for no work, but it will look good on your feedback, give you great experience of paying people and there may be lots of opportunities for you to pay us more money, for little or no amounts of work, in the future.



That was me!


In this case take credit for it. I used it several times in a more personalised form. Love it 🙂 

jmeyn
Community Guru

@Michael M wrote:

I keep seeing these types of job listings,

 

"I have a large job that needs to be done by the best freelancer available, it pays well...yada yada...

 

But FIRST!!!

 

I need a sample, I'll send you 1 video to edit(In my case, usually), and we'll take that to see if we like how well you do."

 

 

...This seems like flawed logic to me....I think someone could get all the work done with just the interviews if they really wanted to...


Flag them as asking for free work. With a bit of luck they will be removed. 

Will do.

Or those asking for updated resume's with contact details.....No.

Lots of fun and funny stuff in this thread, which I have enjoyed

 

But in all seriousness, it is a violation of Upwork TOS to ask for free sample work. Any such jobs should be reported and Upwork should work hard to remove these.

 

Neither Upwork nor contractors get paid when contractors do free work. It is unethical and unprofessional for clients to ask for free work, including free custom samples.

--------------------------

Preston H Wrote:

 

It is a violation of Upwork TOS to ask for free sample work. Any such jobs should be reported and Upwork should work hard to remove these.

 

Neither Upwork nor contractors get paid when contractors do free work. It is unethical and unprofessional for clients to ask for free work, including free custom samples.

--------------------------

 

Preston,

 

Would you say it would be unethical to right in your proposal, for those clients asking for samples, the following?

 

“As for the sample you are requesting in your job description, I am regretful to inform you that it is a violation, of the Upwork TOS, for a client to ask for free sample work, as it is both unethical and unprofessional; however, should the sample be the determining factor, please hire me for a trial period, and I would gladly produce a sample for you at that time.”

Asking for a "Sample" as such, by itself, is not a violation of the Terms of Service. This is yet another much repeated urban myth.

 

"Free work" is against the ToS - but not all sample requests are deemed "free work"  by the powers that be.

 

There are many (including absolutely huge) clients who have a selection process for their contracts which eat up a lot of time.

 

Before anyone shoots me by stating that every time I type 2 letters without being paid for it that could be classed as "free work": I know. But that's the way it currently is.

 

It's a grey area where a "sample" ends and where "free work" begins.

 

I think there also needs to be a degree of common sense applied when weighing up potential gain against effort needed. Some clients require some tests to be done for example, which is strictly speaking free work as well, but for a potential $20 000, $30 000, $40 000, $50 000+ contract it becomes a more attractive proposition to spend that time than for one that potentially earns me $ 100

 

Having said that I'd personally consider the OPs situation with the video to be quite clearly on the wrong side of the line, the same as I'd consider a sample article on a specific subject to be written to be on the wrong side of the line.

 

Essentially anything that might get the client's work done without the need to pay for it to be done falls into the "free work" category (again as far as I'm concerned.)

 

Linda, I don't think your response is worded in a way that would win you any contracts, I'd reword it to put a positive spin on it.

 

"Please see my portfolio for samples of my work, or XYZ (links to more of your work.) Should you require a custom sample I would be more than pleased to ........... (write / create / program /produce) this; feel free to hire me for a test contract and I'll get it back to you by Monday lunchtime PST."

 

or something like that. Directly calling a client unethical and unprofessional is unlikely to get you hired.

Linda, thank you for considering all the points we are making in this thread.

 

Petra is making a great point when she says that you should not use my wording in your reply to a client.

 

My observation was definitely not intended as a reply to a client.

 

My general rule of thumb is to always say "Yes" to clients, even when saying no.

 

For example, if a client asked me to create a free custom sample for him, I would not do so, but I would send a positive reply:

 

"John, thank you for interest in my work. I would love to create a sample video for you. What you described would take me about one hour and it would definitely demonstrate the type of work I would do on your project, as well as provide you with material that you own and could use however you want in your project. If you send me a 'hire' offer at my regular posted rate I will get started on this right away. The total cost to you will be approximately $X.00."

Linda, see how Preston turned a negative (I won't do your free sample because you're unethical and unprofessional, which is what your version sounds like) into a positive (What a great idea, sure I'll do your sample (if you hire and pay me) )?

 

That's the way to elegantly turn the situation around and not say "No!" - but say "YES" on your own terms...

l_pouncey
Community Guru

Preston and Petra, thank you both for your replies.

 

That being "a future reference question" I had asked anyway, I wanted to “metaphorically speaking” bounce it off the wall.

 

Realizing there is a fine line between clients asking for samples and actually giving work away, I had misinterpreted what Preston was saying, and at the time I was reading the post, I must have taken what Preston said literally, regarding all samples.

 

I would much rather ask such questions here, before actually sending something to a client inappropriately worded.

 

Sometimes questions are asked just to reconfirm what I already know, as my thinking cap stays on most all the time.

 

Petra, your suggestion was more appropriately written, thank you.

 

Again, thank you both for your feedback and suggestions, it was and is Greatly Appreciated.

marciamalory
Community Guru
When hiring writers, it is very common to ask for a sample piece of work to be written, in addition to asking for samples from a portfolio.This is to see if the writer can match the style and tone of voice of the publication. Not every writing job is a blog where you get to "express yourself". An article on Buzzfeed looks like it was written by Buzzfeed, not by Linda, Petra, Preston or any other individual.This doesn't mean you have to write the sample for free, but the client does have a perfectly legitimate reason for asking for it.



Hm, I can see how it would make sense in that situation, would you apply the same method mentioned above in doing so(the, "If you hire me first" method)?

heh, I'm an ace contributor now, hows that work? XD

Marcia, I don't think anyone here believes that there are no valid test jobs; there just are many clients that do not understand what is an acceptable scope for a test job, or indeed, a lot of "clients" just trying to use the words "test" and "sample" to scam the freelancers in order to get free work from them. I think the most blatant examples are the writing jobs where a client seems to interview almost everyone and gives then each of the (not hired) freelancers a writing "test", in which case s/he is getting multiple works for free.

 

Personally, I find that job posts that mention test job are usually (not always) legitimate if the test job is already described in the job post, ie. any necessary files are already attached and the client describes what needs to be done and attached to the proposals for them to be considered. This suggests to me that the client really is looking to get samples they can compare, instead of chopping up their project into small pieces and giving different freelancers different parts as "tests".

 

Of course these projects still include instances where the whole job has been posted as a test, or where the scope of requested sample is unaccaptable, but the transparency of it all being "out there" gives the freelancer more security, not to mention saves time when even before bidding the freelancer can make up his or her mind about whether the requested sample is worth their time or not.

l_pouncey
Community Guru

No criticism or hard feelings intended, I would like to elaborate…

 

What happened in my earlier post, when I first responded to Preston with the question, I had taken what he had said about samples and the Upwork TOS “literally” and had simply asked a question in response to his post. The record was set straight, both by Preston and Petra, which I took as constructive criticism, and for that I am greatly appreciative for their response.

 

Just for the record,  I have never responded to a client regarding samples, as my post may have suggested, instead I have simply asked the client, in my proposal, to “please review my profile” is such cases.

 

That does not mean, I will not “test the waters” so to speak, to determine whether or not I can produce the end results being requested by Clients, in fact I do, and in the process have learned many other aspects of online research, other than just researching documents. On the other hand, I do not merely apply for every Job Description I come across, but rather try to carefully choose on which ones to use my “valuable” connections.

 

I am not a writer, and yes I do understand there are clients who may have a need for samples; however, when the request for such “is not included in the Job Description”, when it states “it is attached”, then I either provide my on little work sample tailored to the information provided in the Job Description, or simply refer them to my profile, which all depends on the type of sample being requested.

 

By the Way – my specialty is Data Entry/Typing and Researching Documents, which I have been doing for the past 11 years, before coming to Upwork, and am very good at the research which I had been performing; however, there is currently a “down time” in the industry for which I have been working.

 

 

In closing I would like to add, I am truly grateful to be able to turn to Upwork during this time. It has and continues to be a learning experience.

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