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Re: Interviewing Outside of Upwork

jorgensons
Community Guru
Signe J Member Since: Jan 29, 2016
1 of 38

In the last few weeks, I've seen a huge uptick in the number of clients asking me to communicate outside of Upwork prior to hire, despite this practice being banned in the TOS. Today alone I've had two -- one who wanted to talk via phone and another who wanted me to contact the person in charge of the specific project I was interviewing about. Both jobs and clients seemed 100% legit; they just prefer to communicate outside of Upwork. (Can't blame them. It's so much easier, and who wants to learn a brand new platform when existing communication methods work just fine? Not me...)

I reviewed the TOS to make sure things hadn't changed without me noticing. Nope. We're still not allowed to communicate outside of Upwork prior to hire, except with Business and Enterprise clients. (Who are the vast minority, at least for the type of jobs I do.) My question is...

(1) Any chance Upwork will revisit this policy? Clients have told me I'm being passed over because other freelancers are willing to communicate via Zoom/phone/email. In other words, I'm being punished for following the rules. I know I'm not the only one.  

(2) Any chance Upwork can do more to make clients aware of the policy and incentivize them to follow it?

(3) If the policy isn't going anywhere, could Upwork consider adding Upwork Plus clients to the exceptions list? Or clients who have shown they're trustworthy with a 4-star rating or higher as long as they've completed a certain number of jobs? (Maybe 5 or 10?)

I'm following the rules and don't have any intention of doing otherwise -- I'm just getting frustrated by how often I'm being asked to go against the TOS (especially in the last week or two), and I'm getting frustrated by knowing that others are breaking the rules in order to get a job. I'm curious to know what Upwork is doing about this situation...

andregutierrez22
Moderator
Andrea G Moderator Member Since: Jul 7, 2020
2 of 38

Hi Signe, 

 

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback and suggestions with us. I will pass this along to the appropriate team for review.

 

~Andrea
Upwork
gilbert-phyllis
Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
3 of 38

Andrea G wrote:

Hi Signe, 

 

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback and suggestions with us. I will pass this along to the appropriate team for review.

 


Andrea, respectfully, Signe is not making suggestions. She's asking questions, the answers to which are of compelling interest to hundreds if not thousands of us. I constantly have to steer prospective clients away from communicating off the platform. Most of the time they're unaware of the rule and most comply without a fuss but occasionally, there's pushback. And it always introduces unnecessary friction. I don't need these extra opportunities to hone my sales and diplomatic skills.

 

As I understand it, this policy is meant to discourage people taking work off the platform and/or help newcomers avoid scams. Instead, it just created another way for cheaters to cheat and the honest and conscientious among us to pay the price. And we know from the forum that newcomers who don't bother to read any of the other rules don't read this one, either.

 

jorgensons
Community Guru
Signe J Member Since: Jan 29, 2016
4 of 38

Thanks for passing it along, Andrea, but it doesn't really address my key point: What is Upwork doing to reward those of us who  follow the rules, incentivize clients to follow the rules, and penalize the rulebreakers?

grimesr
Community Guru
Robert G Member Since: Aug 7, 2018
5 of 38

I just want to be sure I understand -

 

Here is a situation 

 

I submit proposal for a very complex technical project.

I get message from client say, WOW, you might be exactly who we want. Are there any questions?

I say some of the tecnical details are a little fuzzy, client could you clarify before I commit?

Client says sure, just need a NDA signed and I will share some of the internal workings.

I say, great. I sign the NDA.

Client says I want to tell you the magic secret of our company that is in the project.

I tell him fine, but I tell client that the message system is not secure and could be read by others.

Client says - That won't work, I will just give you a call.

I say, can't do that or I get thrown off Upwork for violating TOS.

Client says - Then I can't discuss this since there is now way to talk.

Client says thanks anyway - goodby

I lost potential project.

 

Am I missing something or is the scenario I just gave what the rules state? If so, then something needs to change.

kinector
Community Guru
Mikko R Member Since: Dec 26, 2015
6 of 38
Yeah Robert, I get that too. 🤣

The only thing I could think of to manage this is that I ask about the communication channel before signing the NDA, just to save some effort. 😉
grimesr
Community Guru
Robert G Member Since: Aug 7, 2018
7 of 38

As soon as client knows I have no way to talk to them, then they will drop dicussions with me. Then I loose that million dollar contract we are all waiting for.

geri_kol
Ace Contributor
Gergana K Member Since: Dec 11, 2019
8 of 38

Robert G wrote:

I just want to be sure I understand -

 

Here is a situation 

 

I submit proposal for a very complex technical project.

I get message from client say, WOW, you might be exactly who we want. Are there any questions?

I say some of the tecnical details are a little fuzzy, client could you clarify before I commit?

Client says sure, just need a NDA signed and I will share some of the internal workings.

I say, great. I sign the NDA.

Client says I want to tell you the magic secret of our company that is in the project.

I tell him fine, but I tell client that the message system is not secure and could be read by others.

Client says - That won't work, I will just give you a call.

I say, can't do that or I get thrown off Upwork for violating TOS.

Client says - Then I can't discuss this since there is now way to talk.

Client says thanks anyway - goodby

I lost potential project.

 

Am I missing something or is the scenario I just gave what the rules state? If so, then something needs to change.



That's right Robert. Problem as I see it is that Upwork has introduced all these obstacles that purposely create friction in initial client-freelancer interactions to disincentivize cheating on the lower end. But it has not provided a reciprocal mechanism to enable a frictionless experience for the pros that are actually ready to "talk business" but don't like having their every word watched and recorded as if they are some kind of recidivists. It comes down to poor experience design for the "high end" freelancers. 

grimesr
Community Guru
Robert G Member Since: Aug 7, 2018
9 of 38

Gergana K wrote:

Robert G wrote:

I just want to be sure I understand -

 

Here is a situation 

 

I submit proposal for a very complex technical project.

I get message from client say, WOW, you might be exactly who we want. Are there any questions?

I say some of the tecnical details are a little fuzzy, client could you clarify before I commit?

Client says sure, just need a NDA signed and I will share some of the internal workings.

I say, great. I sign the NDA.

Client says I want to tell you the magic secret of our company that is in the project.

I tell him fine, but I tell client that the message system is not secure and could be read by others.

Client says - That won't work, I will just give you a call.

I say, can't do that or I get thrown off Upwork for violating TOS.

Client says - Then I can't discuss this since there is now way to talk.

Client says thanks anyway - goodby

I lost potential project.

 

Am I missing something or is the scenario I just gave what the rules state? If so, then something needs to change.



That's right Robert. Problem as I see it is that Upwork has introduced all these obstacles that purposely create friction in initial client-freelancer interactions to disincentivize cheating on the lower end. But it has not provided a reciprocal number of tools to enable a frictionless experience for the pros that are actually ready to "talk business" but don't like having their every word watched and recorded as if they are some kind of recidivists. It comes down to poor experience design for the "high end" freelancers. 


I am sure this has been cussed and discussed ad nauseum, but I just to don't see how this rule has any impact on cheating or scams. I have purposely allowed the client to contact me so it isn't an unsolicited contact. If client and I want to agree for me to get paid outside Upwork, it is trivial to get that point across in the message stream so it will happen just as much if the rule wasn't in place.

 

Maybe we all would feel better if there were some concrete reasons given that logically show the rule helps prevent outside payment. I just don't see it.

 

geri_kol
Ace Contributor
Gergana K Member Since: Dec 11, 2019
10 of 38


I am sure this has been cussed and discussed ad nauseum, but I just to don't see how this rule has any impact on cheating or scams. I have purposely allowed the client to contact me so it isn't an unsolicited contact. If client and I want to agree for me to get paid outside Upwork, it is trivial to get that point across in the message stream so it will happen just as much if the rule wasn't in place.

 

Maybe we all would feel better if there were some concrete reasons given that logically show the rule helps prevent outside payment. I just don't see it.

 


I would be surprised if anyone is gathering such data that proves a negative or at least shows a positive evolution, since there is no baseline to compare against. The "prevent cheating" goal is obviously the desired effect but the mechanism is too crude, so regardless of whether or not is achieves that effect, the rule has a draining effect on the high end. (I sound like a public policy impact evaluation specialist, which I´m not.) 

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