Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Dealing with shady customers/clients - questions they ask on interviews then disappear

Active Member
Agustina G Member Since: Feb 17, 2018
1 of 17

Hi everyone 


I was wondering the other day, do the people/businesses who look for freelancers on Upwork have any rules like how maybe we have when we sign up? Ex: how our profiles have to be reviewed and service fees and things like that. 

Do our future clients get the same treatment? What I mean is, does Upwork really look at who's requesting freelancers as much as they look at our profiles before getting approved?


I ask because I am kind of tired of shady people asking for my services, doing interviews or asking questions like "how would you solve this problem?" etc when you submit a proposal. I have had quite a few interviews where they extensively ask questions on how to solve things, or how I would do something for them and so forth. (Specially because I am Top Rated) And then suddendly disappear. It could be that they hired someone already obvisouly, but you can tell when they have. A lot of them delete the job ad or just don't answer messages when you ask them what's up.

And so it always gives me the impression that the person interviwed me one or even more times, they ask on how I excecute things and deal with problems and so on, then they leave. BUT they leave knowing our tips and tricks on how we solve certain issues and executions. - I hope I'm making any sense here!


I also don't want to be that person that puts, "I DO NOT WORK ON TRIAL BASIS" on their profile because that's not me, but I understand why they would put it up.


Back to my main question, does Upwork REALLY look into who's posting jobs? Because it's incredibly time wasting and unprofessional for someone who will make me do 3 interviews, then just disappear with some of the knowledge I have provided. 


And for us, the freelancers: how do you guys deal with this? Does it happen often to you? Have you had people that ask for "solutions just to see how good you are" then just leave - with your solution?!


I hope all this makes sense! 


Thank you! Smiley Happy 

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 17

re: "Back to my main question, does Upwork REALLY look into who's posting jobs?"


No. That is not something that Upwork does.


Upwork does not claim to do so.

Active Member
Agustina G Member Since: Feb 17, 2018
3 of 17

But shouldn't they? Because they claim to protect us from any shady business if a client doesn't pay us or so, but how can they not monitor things like that? 

We get looked at when we apply and wait for our profiles to be accepted - and I know that a lot of people are not getting accepted lately. But how can they not look at the job postings. Some are crazy, weird, a lot of them don't even have payment verified (which should be a BIG THING) and some job postings don't make sense. 



Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 17

re: "But shouldn't they?"


No. They shouldn't.


It would cost money to do that, and it would also create additional barriers for legitimate clients to post jobs.


Who would pay the cost of Upwork doing background checks on clients? You?


Think about it this way:

When you go to a store, does the store do a background check on you? Or do they let you just walk in and purchase items without asking any questions?


Upwork is like that. It lets pretty much anybody come here as a customer (client). But it DOES NOT hire everybody who applies to work there. (Just like a store doesn't hire everybody who applies, Upwork doesn't accept everybody as a freelancer.)


To be clear about something: Upwork DOES have automatic filters for job postings. And it will remove job postings which violate its ToS.


But Upwork does not do background checks on new clients.

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
5 of 17


@Agustina G wrote:

But shouldn't they?

 Not really, no.

All the money that Upwork and we make comes from clients. Making things difficult for clients would be an incredibly stupid business decision.

Once a client hires they have to verify their payment method - so that is a degree of verification.

The rest is up to us to be careful.


Active Member
Agustina G Member Since: Feb 17, 2018
6 of 17
Yes I guess it makes sense. Thanks to you both. I'll wait till a freelancer comments on how they at least deal with the interviews and such. Just to get an idea on how to be more careful.

Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
7 of 17



What you describe will always be a problem on any online freelancing site.


Every freelancer's specialty and ideal client profile will be different. My own target clients will typically want me to provide detailed financial models and professional-quality business plans, which are unique in content (but not structure), so I can show them examples of work done for previous clients, which usually answers the client's concerns about the quality of what I do, etc. Some potential clients have probably taken my sample work and tried to create original content themselves. It's not something that worries me because most of them will fail and if they succeed, I would wish them well. They can find similar information for free on the online or at very low cost from certain Web sites.


Nevertheless, I have had the problem you describe where potential clients want some solution to their problem before they engage my services. I don't give them any specific answers but I do give them a response that reflects my abilities and experience. Good clients don't expect free work and I am lucky not to have to try to work with the clowns one often encounters here.


There isn't much Upwork can reasonably be expected to do to vet clients before they join Upwork, but it would be helpful if Upwork would have the equivalent of a client JSS score that includes disclosures about how often a client requests refunds, cancels projects, what his/her average rating of previous freelancers has been, etc.


For fear of upsetting current and potential clients, which Upwork cannot afford to do considering its inability to report profits to its shareholders, I think it is unlikely we freelancers will see much additional information about potential clients any time soon.

Active Member
Agustina G Member Since: Feb 17, 2018
8 of 17
This was very helpful. Thanks so much!
Community Guru
Virginia F Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
9 of 17

@agustina-gil wrote:
Yes I guess it makes sense. Thanks to you both. I'll wait till a freelancer comments on how they at least deal with the interviews and such. Just to get an idea on how to be more careful.



Preston and Petra are freelancers ... and successful ones at that. Their advice is the same advice all of us would give. We don't want it to be difficult for clients to post jobs. Experienced freelancers pretty much know how to identify good clients. If you're spending your time giving away free advice, that's your decision ... but it's easy enough to stop doing that.

Community Guru
Scott B Member Since: Nov 20, 2015
10 of 17

Others have answered your main question so I will comment on the real issue. You need to greater control over the interview process. Yes, perhaps the client does not have an intention to hire and wants to use fake interviews to get their answers. So long as you don't have other red flags via the job posting then there is no reason to enter an interview conversation with this notion. Whether you are Top Rated or not, people still want to get a strong sense of whether you are someone who can actually solve their problem and are someone they can count on. Some clients are more risk averse and will want to spend more time with you while others may get very comfortable with your profile and a brief conversation. Neither is wrong. If you are going to spend time with someone on an interview call you must first set the expectation for that call. I tend to use words suggesting I am happy to have a 10-15 minute  "introductory call". There should not be an expectation that you will stay on a call for 30-60 minutes, etc. Certainly on that call you should listen carefully for their pain points and address them. However, addressing them means describing how you met similar challenges or how you would go about addressing theirs. This is not a step by step recipe for a solution but it does provide them context and the knowledge that you know what you are doing or at least would take steps that make sense to them. 


If you are taking multiple calls and solving specific problems, then you have allowed the "interview" to turn into free consulting services. That's really on you. You need to take greater control over the conversation and pepper the talk with "if hired, I would do...". Taking multiple interview calls with the same client is a red flag but is probably the result of your willingness to provide free consulting. So, take stronger control of the call and the time you spend on the call. These are all within your purview. Don't abdicate your responsibilities here to UW. This is part of being in business for yourself.