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cbsolz
Community Member

Why Employers do NOT see your Proposal

You making countless of very good proposals on various projects, but don't get any replies? Then read this post patiently, you will know the reasons.

 

Sincere thanks to all of my Elance clients who moved to Upwork and  patiently answered to my long list of questions and helped me in various ways to create this issue list.

 

====================

 

Issue 1: Algorithm for deciding "the top 10 freelancers to invite" when a client posting the project is a big failure

 

Details:
When a client posting a project, they have an option to invite top 10 freelancers relevant to that project. The algorithm that Upwork uses for this is flawed.

 

Why this critical:

Personally, I don't mind even if wrong 10 freelancers invited to a project. But the kind of advantage these top 10 freelancers gets after invitation, is a big worry. It is impossible for others to win ( read further issues to understand the seriousness ), if a client decided to invite them.

 

What Went Wrong - Case study:
Lets say a client post project called "web scraping program in php" and client selected PHP and web-scraping as needed skill sets

Algorithm thinks the below people are best to do this project:
a .NET developer - Top Rated
a newbie freelancer who has done 4 web-scraping project but php is not a skillset he selected, done only 22 hours of work ( 14 jobs total - most projects nothing to do with webscraping )
a php developer who is nothing to do with webscraping
A java, c++ developer, 0 hours worked, 0 feedback
and many more crap invites. Out of 10 invites, 7 suggestions are joke. Lets talk about the three correct ( to some extend ) suggestions.

 

It seems algorithm thinks this project is about PHP with some importance to web-scraping OR it may thinks php and web-scraping skills needed. It turns out that those 3 correct suggestions are people top rated in PHP projects with very few webscraping projects. What the algorithm don't realize is, PHP is a generic skill and
Web scraping programming using PHP language is the specialization. It is common sense that a programmer who has done 100 projects in webscraping using PHP is most qualified than a programmer who has done 200 generic projects in php ( may be he has done some 10 web scraping project ). There are countless of
freelancers whose profile is open, top-rated, done 100s projects / 1000s of hours in webscraping using PHP, but they are not in TOP 10 invite list.

 

Implications:
Opportunity denied to right people and irrelevant freelancers gets the opportunity.
I personally don't have any issue in TOP 10 invites, irrespective to whom is invited.. but read the further issues to understand, how it is impossible for others to get the job if a client decides go for the suggested invites.

 

Resolution Needed:
1. Fix the algorithm which selects the top 10 ( or top 30 ) invites. Else remove the feature
2. If don't want to / unable to fix this issue.. At-least fix issue: 8


================================

Issue 2: Algorithm for deciding "Recommended" badge in the list of proposals

 

Details:
A client views the list of proposals in their dashboard. The order of proposals being listed to client is determined by Upwork algorithm. It list the invited freelancers & "some other freelancers" at the top positions ( irrespective when they make their proposals ) with a big green badge & a star with text "Recommended" to lure the
client to award projects to them. Lets call this "some other freelancers" as genius.

 

This genius selection suffer the same problem explained in "Issue 1", but not that worst, mostly relevant freelancers. But definitely they are not the best ones who applied to the job. More qualified / experienced ( hours, no of projects, relevant webscraping projects, feedbacks ) not termed as Recommended but pushed down the order in listing the proposals.

 

My client said that one of the Recommended guy revealed that he is not doing PHP ( or web based ) projects but applied thinking he can do the scraping as desktop app; his profile don't list php as a skill. but he is
still recommended. He also said many freelancers hidden or at the end of the list with hundreds or some time  thousands of hours, full of required specialized projects with great feedback score.

 

Implications:
Upwork force feed certain freelancers to clients to award the projects, that too with flawed algorithm.

 

Resolution Needed:
1. Fix the algorithm which determine the "recommended" freelancers. Else remove the feature.
2. If you don't want to fix / unable to fix this issue.. atleast fix issue: 8


================================


Issue 3: Upwork sends an email to clients suggesting "They found a great fit for your project"

 

Details:
Out of the recommended freelancers ( aka geniuses ) few are selected and separate emails being sent to clients with the title "XXXXX XXXX is a great fit for your job" . Inside the email, that genius's photo, name, star rating, hours worked, cover letter ( few lines only ), latest review all are being shown.

 

This approach suffers the same issue as in Issue 2, because the part of peole who emailed are being selected from Recommended freelancers.


Resolution Needed:
1. Fix the recommentation algorithm. Better don't send emails promoting certain freelancers only. 
2. If you don't want to fix / unable to fix this issue.. at-least fix issue: 8


================================


Issue 4: Unfair advantage to Invited freelancers

 

Details:
If a client decides to invite freelancers based on the Upwork's flawed algorithm ( issue no 1 ), they don't need to write cover letter. They can directly private message the client, chat in the message center, can send a message with their skype id / contact details to have a live discussion. Other freelancers can only initiate a
discussion if client decide to respond through a private message ( aka interview )

 

Resolution Needed:
1. Let them make a proposal ( covering letter, answer all questions, show your understanding of the project, ask right questions, suggest nice ideas, win the client heart, let the client to initiate a message if he/she feel that you worth the recommendation. Not direct access to clients.


2. If you don't want to fix / unable to fix this issue... at-least fix issue: 8


================================

 

issue 5: When client click on the list of applicants, it take them to list the messaged freelancers instead of listing the proposals

 

Details:
In the client admin panel, there is a listing of jobs they posted. In which there is a link to view the applicants who applied to the job. (link says "xx applicants" ). Upon clicking that link, it "supposed" take to a page where all the applicants are displayed. Instead it takes them to a section called "Messaged Applicants".

 

Who can message a client directly? oh yes, those upwork suggested TOP XX invited freelancers. So they are the ones listed here ( provided they messaged, they do, it is a easy chance to win a project - direct access ). A-tleast below that list, other freelancers being listed? NO. Below which they list "xx unanswered invites". So where are the normal applicants. Client has to click on another link called "Applicants".. isn't the client already cliked on the "xx applicants" link to come here?

 

Resolution Needed:
1. Fix issue 4. And if a client clicks on a link called "xx applicants" just take them to a page where applicants (aka proposals ) are being listed. Why you take them to messed -invited - applicants? if you want, provide another link saying "Messaged Applicants" and take them to respective page. Don't hijack the client, let me  them decide what they want.

 

2. If you don't want to fix / unable to fix this issue... atleast fix issue: 8


================================

 

issue 6: proposals are hidden from clients

 

Details:
Client post a project -> freelancers make proposals -> client view the list of applicants through their admin area. Now they have to see the proposals
-> Either in the order of First Proposal First
-> Or Latest Proposal First
* But Upwork do neither. They display only one proposal or xx number of proposals ( which proposals? Read issue no.7 ) and the remaining are hidden. Client has to click on "View More" button to see the remaining proposals.

 

Oh wait, did I say remaining proposals, no, not yet. It will display only the remaining "new proposals" which client haven't seen already. He has to click the "View More" button once again to see the next 5 proposals. If there are 20 proposals made in a project, it needs at-least 4 clicks on "View More" button to see all the proposals.


* To make it more complicated, "View More" button often
-> Loads forever, nothing happens
-> Leads to standard Upwork page load issue ( crikie / kaput? whats the meaning of it? Is it English? )
-> Some time 'View More" button don't display at all
* This is further more complicated because... omg.. please read next issue 7

 

Resolution Needed:
* Display all the proposals. Don't hide proposals behind "View More" button.
* If you can't fix it ( I know there are huge project - freelancer mismatch, seen lot of even low budget projects attracting 50, 100 proposals, displaying all proposals will aggregate the current site load issue ) or don't want to fix it, atleast fix issue: 8


================================

 

issue 7: Proposal listing order favor invited or recommended freelancers and other proposal listing order determined by Upwork advanced technology

 

Details:
To further complicate the "proposal listing order" which client sees when you apply for a work.. upwork always show invited / recommended freelancers at the top, and also it applies its advanced technology and algorithms to list in a specific order which thinks more suitable for the job.

 

This is again flawed, because ( in the example I am explaining from start ), freelancers with 1000s of hours of very relevant projects, great feedback / job success scores too buried under many clicks of "View More" button and it will never see the light of the day. The algorithm is flawed, the proposal listing order doesn't make any sense.

 

Due to this even new proposals will also never get an opportunity to be displayed at the top. Everything buried under if algorithm don't like you.

 

Resolution needed:
see issue: 8

 

================================

 

issue 8:
Okay, This is not an issue. Kind of fix you have to do, even if you can't fix any one of the above.

 

Resolution Needed:
"NEVER modify the order in which proposals are being listed to clients. Just show the first made proposal first, or the opposite, no preference to anyone. This is a fundamental right of freelancers in a marketplace"


================================


There are lot of more issues, but I stopped with the issues that directly affect a freelancer's chance to win a project, forget winning, issues that stops the freelancers from presenting the proposals to clients.

 

Dear Upwork,
If you want, you shall fix issues 1 to 6. If you can't fix for whatever reason, at-least fix that point 8 (point 7 fix is same as 8 ).

 

* Give recommended badges to certain freelancers, no problem
* Send email to clients suggesting the best fit for the project, no problem
* Select Top XX freelancers to get invited with your flawed algorithm, no problem
* Let your top xx invited freelancers to send direct message to clients, no problem... on a second thought.. oh no, this is a big problem, can't you stop it?
* Display only 5 proposals at a time, no problem ( as site is having page loading issue, can't afford to display all proposals )

 

But fix the point 8 above. Again, "NEVER modify the order in which proposals are being listed to client. Just show the first made proposal first, or the opposite, no preference to anyone. This is a fundamental right of freelancers in a marketplace"

 

If you change the order as per your need:


- You deny the opportunity to a client from selecting a possibly most potential freelancer


- You think your clients are dumb and pushing your selections through their throat


- You laugh at the freelancers who analyze the job post, suggest ideas, point out missing information, write extensive, compelling proposals by spending lot of time to each job, at all the odd hours in day & nights...and that only to be buried somewhere, no one read and goes to garbage


- You may say smart clients can filter through the proposals. No, most of the clients are not technical,most don't know whats going on here, they tends to accept your recommended great guys, suggested invite are the best


- You may say client who wants the best freelancers have to cross the algorithm order and read the proposals that buried under. No, this is not humanly possible when there is huge number of proposals being made to each project.


- You forcing the freelancers to getting into a bidding war, to post lowest rates possible and to give copy paste cookie cutter covering letters... because they fed-up that they never get a response ( interview ) from any clients. So they decided to try bid them all and see if they get any reply.


- There are lot of ways to address project-freelancer mismatch, to stop low quality proposals, or stop freelancers from bidding every project they see..etc etc. all these solutions are common sense. You may not believe in we human beings ( but rely on your so called non working algorithms ), but we believe in you. You can
identify those measures and implement.

 

Lets assume your algorithms are perfect, it decides the best person suitable for a given project in whole Upwork or in the whole world. Still this is not ok, because, who is the most suitable person for a project?

 

No, not the top-rated person, or the one with most number of reviews. These should only be supplementary. It shouldn't be used to throw away other freelancers' chance of being represented.

 

The right candidate is the one, who have many relevant past experiences AND who really understand that particular project in question, show his/her understanding through proposal, by analyzing the requirement, suggest ideas, questioning the contradictory in requirements and asks the right questions n the proposals. 

 

Your clients are not dumb. Let them to choose who is the best, or whom they want to work with. You Upwork is not a commission agent / agency, but a marketplace. Your role is to provide a platform in which they interact and decide whom they want to work with.  If you think otherwise, please announce yourself as an agency, charge 50% fees from freelancers and may directly award the projects to your best freelancers, selected by Advanced Technology.

 

In its current form, upwork is configured to win the projects only for certain individuals selected by half-baked algorithms, MLs and AIs. If you really care for the people who are the very reason of your existence of Upwork, stop trying to micro manage everything. And... you know what needs to be done. Thanks

 

===============

 

Update: 

Our community member Nichola L made a very good point ( see her original message in second page 😞

 

"

Upwork is not abiding by its own rules:

 

6.3


Upwork does not introduce Clients to Freelancers and does not help Freelancers secure Engagements. Upwork merely makes the Site Services available to enable Freelancers to do so themselves.

 

"

 

 

105 REPLIES 105

It did not.

I got yesterday several irrelevant invites. That means algorithm shows me on wrong jobs. Second, I applied to so many jobs these last days but response is minimal. Like they are not noticing me. And I know why. Third, client's interface is indeed a mess and has glitches. Like, showing freelancers who apply with a time lag. 

____________
Don't correct my grammar!

Still no reply from Upwork on these issues especially with #8?

 

I own an agency on here with more than 65,000 hours logged and the past 10 or so months, my top rated agency and its top rated members have now been working below 10 hours a week and as an agency owner, I'm left to pay them even without work for nearly a year now.

 

For peoplea thinking "top rate" gives you an edge, I highly doubt that. Again, my team members aren't just top rated, my agency IS top rated which is a lot more stringent to get and we've been nearly jobless that past year or so.

 

I have to say this has to do with all the changes that came with the merger. Oh how happy we were back in the oDesk days. Gone those days are now. And we're stuck with no reply on these issues for nearly a year now. Amazing effects for a product that now charges 20% instead of 10% to start with. 

So I notice that many of the posts on this topic are over 1 year old.  Has Upwork ever responded to this problem because I believe it is still a problem.  The mere fact that they haven't responded is a red flag for all of us.  I had great hopes when I joined but now I believe I'm wasting my time... SAD and ANGRY!!

I have submitted a few proposals.  How do I know if a Client has reviewed my proposal?  If they reject my proposal will I receive notification?

You can't tell. Apparently they can choose to reject your proposal, and in that case, you will be notified; but most -in my experience- don't take the time to do that. All you can do is wait for them to contact you. If you want to, you can go to the job post and see if they're already interviewing someone else, and when was the last time they interacted with the applications, but honestly the best thing to do is just forget about those and move on until someone actually contacts you.


@Rebecca M wrote:

So I notice that many of the posts on this topic are over 1 year old.  Has Upwork ever responded to this problem because I believe it is still a problem.  The mere fact that they haven't responded is a red flag for all of us.  I had great hopes when I joined but now I believe I'm wasting my time... SAD and ANGRY!!



Upwork has repeatedly responded to this issue in at least a dozen other threads. The problem here isn't that they're being unresponsive,, but that someone resurrected a year-plus old thread.

 

At one time, Upwork experimented with hiding certain proposals. That was abandoned a very, very long time ago, and since moderators have told us over and over and over again that clients see all proposals. Some freelancers simply have trouble accepting that, as they can't see any other reason they arenot getting responses.


@Tiffany S wrote:

At one time, Upwork experimented with hiding certain proposals. That was abandoned a very, very long time ago, and since moderators have told us over and over and over again that clients see all proposals. Some freelancers simply have trouble accepting that, as they can't see any other reason they arenot getting responses.


They had two types of hidden. One where they really put unwanted applications in separate category, and you would have to find that tab and click on it. That one is abandoned.

 

And second type of hidden, which for they state over and over again this isn't hiding anything, and theoretically speaking really isn't, but what appears client gets 2-3 applications shown right away, and all other are underneath "show more" button. Like when i go to see my jobs list, and I need to click "show more", or when you search for messages and need to click "load more". It's not hidden, but actually it is. Especially if client gets convinced that top freelancers that are shown right away are top of the tops and everybody else don't deserve their time clicking on "show more".

____________
Don't correct my grammar!


@Vesna M wrote:

but what appears client gets 2-3 applications shown right away, (...) It's not hidden, but actually it is.  


 

It's more than 2-3. But...

 

Depending on the size of the screen, the bottom of the displayed list is hidden since it's not on the screen. Clients who never heard about scrolling never see those hidden proposals.

 

Then, proposals are on the client's dashboard. Clients who don't go to their client's dashboard never see those hidden proposals.

 

Then, proposals are only accessible via the Internet. Clients who use only fax never see those hidden proposals.

 

It's unfair.

 

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   â€”William Ashbless

Again, and again. It's not only scrolling. It's "click to view more". Don't anyone here use Facebook? It has feature now that it doesn't show messages until you actively click to see more. Not scrolling. But instead active click. Same thing is applied on proposals.

 

OP described it very well in his first post, issue #6 and moderators so far gave only general replies about Upwork's approach to clients. It's simply not true that all proposals list at once and are accessible through scrolling only. 

 

It's fourth or fifth time I'm pointing to this, and always get ignored or misunderstood. Really frustrating.

____________
Don't correct my grammar!

Rebecca,

 

I can confirm that all proposals are delivered to clients. Clients can then sort them using various filters, shortlist or decline candidates. Proposals aren't automatically-hidden. You can check your Find Work> Proposal page for active and archived proposals as well as see the reason proposals were archived.

~ Valeria
Upwork
millermelanie
Community Member

I'm new here, and this thread certainly explains A LOT!  I have sent in proposals for jobs that were tailor made for me and have gotten no reply despite the fact that I have 30 years experience in my field.  I thought it was just because I don't have a professional success score yet.  Now I see there is much more working against me.  So disappointing!

 

sivavranagaro
Community Member

I had at some point this month 120 or 130 connects. At the middle of a month I decided to apply to all relevant jobs because I had free time to work on something new. I spent like 40 or 50 connects in a week (20-25 proposal) and I got only two or three replies. Other interviews were initiated by clients who invited me. The next thing is, my profile has constant oscilation between 8-20 views. No peaks for this month. 

____________
Don't correct my grammar!
numbsain
Community Member

Here's what is weird. If i had known all this time that I didn't have the chance of an ice cube in hell unless i happened to be one of the "recommended" freelancers, Why am i writing bids for 3 hours a day!!!!!!! And upwork has not read this we all have to tell them! light up the support lines  make our voices heard!!!! Upwork has  stolen weeks, months of our lives!!!!

 


@Ray C wrote:

Here's what is weird. If i had known all this time that I didn't have the chance of an ice cube in hell unless i happened to be one of the "recommended" freelancers,

 

I'm not sure what in this thread you are responding to, but you'd do well to note that the posts here are all several months to three years old, and many are just speculation on the part of freelancers. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that you have to be "recommended" to have a chance of winning a job.

 

I wonder, though, what makes you assume you wouldn't BE recommended? If you're bidding on jobs you're highly quailfied for, why wouldn't you be recommended?

 

Why am i writing bids for 3 hours a day!!!!!!!

 

That is a great question. It sounds like a pretty bad business decision. Back when I was bidding on jobs, I spent about 30 minutes/week on them. I'm a fast writer, but 3 hours per day is insane. That means that you're either submitting far too many bids (and at risk of being banned from the platform) or overwhelming clients with way too much information (and hurting your chances of getting hired). 

 

ETA: I just looked at your profile and it appears that you're getting hired a lot, which makes your suggestion that hours of your life have been "stolen" because you were wasting time bidding seem a bit absurd.


 

Okay maybe i was exaggerating but i did discover that rather than reading all the clients material and doing background checks and writing a long bid sharing free advice with them i get a lot better response and hired more if i just briefly introduce myself and say i can do the job, I had watched some stupid video that  said to do all that stuff and they lied i guess. It's working pretty well now. thanks for your insights.

bonbons
Community Member

FINALLY I GOT ANSWERS!!! I am stuck, about 50 cover latters, and about 40 hours spent writing covers letters, reading news, blogs, articles, videos to figure out  WHY I CAN GET EVEN REPOSONSE!!!@!@!!|!#$@Q#$+yp94y

 

Now i know, thank you a lot. But, what can we do as simple lancers? 

jennifercorrado
Community Member

This all explains why I never get interviewed for the jobs that I apply for. I have received some interviews, but lately I have been trying to get more work on here, but I'm having a hard time even trying to get a client's attention. I did have one job about a year ago that I did cancel, because it wasn't the right fit for me, and I am thinking that that has something to do with why clients will not respond to my proposals. But thank you for writing this. And
it helps me make sense of why I am not getting any responses from clients.
msjoia
Community Member

Where are those free police men & Women who come in every post to remind us upwork TOS, teaching us ethics and scaring about violations?

Now you got an issue to answer. I see, even after 5 years no one got guts to become a so called representative of upwork and answer his questions. That is the real face of leadership even from a mere website to federal govt. They grow bcz of us, stand on our necks, keep scaring us and when someone stands up to raise voice, then just show your extreme levels of being pathetic.

florydev
Community Member


Muddassar S wrote:

Where are those free police men & Women who come in every post to remind us upwork TOS, teaching us ethics and scaring about violations?

Now you got an issue to answer. I see, even after 5 years no one got guts to become a so called representative of upwork and answer his questions. That is the real face of leadership even from a mere website to federal govt. They grow bcz of us, stand on our necks, keep scaring us and when someone stands up to raise voice, then just show your extreme levels of being pathetic.


Holy cuppola this thread is ancient.  

If you seriously feel this way about Upwork what are you still doing here? 

dee_techright
Community Member

Wow! So, in other words, Upwork is likely a complete waste of time for most freelancers; especially those of us who provide services via project (and not hourly). Explains so much. Thank you.

This is really true. Upwork is a waste of time and effort. In addition to this, it impacts confidence. Most job posts related to Data Science lack clarity. If you are a newbie then by default you would get rejected because clients don't even view my proposals for which I have spent hours. This is a useless marketing gimmick and people who have existing credibility in Upwork stats (yearly earnings, client appreciations, completed projects, and all those nonsense) would only keep winning projects. If you are already in a job and want to stay in touch with your functional domain and skills then this is not the place. No matter how much you try hard if you are a newbie, only luck can give you the first project for which you can expect some remuneration. Completely useless.

john_arslan
Community Member

This was really helpful,now I understand why don't I get any response from the client..
I have made several proposals related to my field and for the projects I'm expert at but I guess the client don't even see my proposal that's why I'm not getting any work on Upwork.

Upwork needs to fix it or We will have no other option to move to other platforms.
Really bad management and algorithms
_jenny
Community Member

How "recommended freelancers" algorithm works ?

prashm7
Community Member

I am giving proof of what Vadivelan stated above. I think my stats are good to show the problem.

We can see here that I have sent 16 proposals, but only 3 are viewed and I am interviewed for all 3. That means there is no issue with my proposal writing skills but the upwork algorithm. Maybe clients Screenshot 2022-08-26 184256.jpghaven't seen my proposals. That makes it very hard to survive on Upwork.

 

Or there could be a different reason I am unaware of...

bc94f1cf
Community Member

post is old but things got more commercial as the time passed, i am a contract attorney and submitted several awsome proposals in the last week but not a single one was viewed ....feeling demotivated

paywell
Community Member

It is fantastic to see, that Upwork has solved the issue by introducing "pay to win"--oops, I mean "boosting proposals".

I would personally like the client to see all proposals in a kind of an "Excel" table, prefferably with individually chosen columns like "skills" or "hours billed" etc. 

 

I guess the Freelancers have to pay each time in order to overcome the technical issues, described here, by boosting their proposals. 

Otherwise it's pointless to bid at all, unless the Client knows these flaws and/or has a strong HR team.

 

Kudos for Upwork for finding a connects sink. They are probably sold like hot cakes.

We'll see whether the financial situation of the company gets better that way.

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