I have read forum posts from many, many experienced oDesk contractors who have been surprised and dismayed at how oDesk's new auto-hide feature has caused a dramatic decline in the numbers of interviews they are receiving. Most of these forum posters are contractors with with high marks (5 or nearly 5 star average), high numbers of work hours and high numbers of successfully completed jobs.
For my own sake and for the sake of all of us, I'm trying to compile a list of reasons why your name (or my name) is not showing up in the list of job applicants that clients see.
First of all, immediately after you apply to a job, you might not see your name in the list of applicants. Be patient. Not everything on oDesk is instantaneous. It's a big site and it uses caching. Wait a while. But if you wait for an hour and don't see your name on the list, I believe you won't be seeing it.
Anybody who knows better please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that if you don't see your name on the list of applicants on a job posting page, then it means your name is not on the main list of applicants that a client sees.
There are then TWO DIFFERENT possibilities:
1) Your name is in the "auto-hidden" list, which is a separate list a client can manually click on and review.
2) Your name was NOT submitted to the client at all. This is something that happens regularly and there is currently no way for oDesk contractors to know if this happened to their application, or if their name is in the auto-hidden list.
The official oDesk reason that your name is not even in the auto-hidden list is that the match between you and the job is even worse than the match for auto-hidden jobs and/or your application has not been forwarded because you have been flagged by client complaints.
But this has also happened due simply to glitches in the system.
If your name is in the auto-hidden list, this is what the client seeson the client-side interface. They see a second list that they must manually click on the peruse, and the list is identified with a popup notice that states that the auto-hidden names are names of applicants who either (a) do not match all of the job criteria, or (b) used copy-and-paste cover letters.
This notice is a generally provided notice for the whole list. Your application may have been auto-hidden for reasons other than these two reasons, but this is what clients are shown.
So now that we know the possibilities:
1) your name is in the "featured" application list
2) your name is in the "auto-hidden" list
3) your application was not forwarded to the client at all
... what are all the reasons for this?
Remember that oDesk has explicitly stated that if your application has been auto-hidden, it DOES NOT MEAN you are a bad contractor. They are attempting to provide a good match between contractors and individual jobs. Sometimes the best, most skilled contractors will not be a good match for a particular job.
oDesk is attempting to limit the number of applications a client sees so that the client's has an easier time choosing a contractor and so that the average rate of jobs in which a client actually hires somebody goes up.
Here is what I know are reasons that applications have been blocked or auto-hidden:
1. applicant's account is under review
2. a bug in the oDesk auto-hide software caused your application to be auto-hidden or not forwarded
3. your profile does not meet specific criteria set forth by the client in their job posting, such as minimum number of hours worked on oDesk, minimum star rating level, match to geographic location, etc.
4. you used a copy-and-paste cover letter
5. oDesk thought for some reason that you used a copy-and-paste cover letter, even though you didn't.
6. your specified skills do match well with the skills asked for in the job posting
7. your hourly rate does not match well with the job posting's indicated budget level (low, medium or high)
8. the types of skills associated with the current job posting does not match well with the types of skills associated with jobs you have completed in the past.
9. you have had relatively poor client feedback or low feedback scores relative to the other applicants
Here are some additional reasons that I suspect may cause your application to be auto-hidden, but do not have any evidence for. If you know either way, please comment:
1. You have a high number of current jobs you are working on.
2. You have had many POTENTIAL clients flag you with negative feedback.
Yes, I said "potential." Many oDesk contractors may not realize that when they apply to a job, the client who receives their application can rate their job application in a number of ways, including flagging their job application as "spam" or "poor quality cover letter."
(I do not know all the ways that a client can flag an application. Can somebody provide a list?)
So if you have applied for many jobs and received even a few flags for your applications, then I believe this can negatively impact your chance at having your other job applications seen.
Another reason, whch I did not list in my original post:
When you, as a contractor, are asked to provide feedback, there is an option which is said to be "private", which the client will NOT see, which asks you to rate, on a scale from 1 to 10, how likely you would be to refer to this client to other contractors.
Clients see the SAME THING, in reverse. A client may rate you, as a contractor with a high number, or a low number, even if that doesn't match what they put in their "public" feedback score.
What I have read is that if you get many lower numbers (or even less than perfect numbers) in the private rating, this can have a HUGE impact on how your name shows up in searches. This is probably a major reason why experienced freelancers are seeing their job applications NOT show up in the "primary" applicant list that clients see (i.e., their applications are auto-hidden).
I'm just an oDesk contractor. I don't work for oDesk. But I just discovered two additional reasons why you might not be showing up in job application lists that clients see. An oDesk representative on this form specified two reasons why an account would be put under review, and I believe these reasons could cause your application to be rated poorly, auto-hidden, nor entirely not presented to clients:
- You have a number of jobs which finished without a client ever leaving feedback.
- You have a number of jobs which clients contacted your about, but which the client never officially started a job for.
Note that both of these could happen to high quality contractors, but they're something we all need to be careful about. Are you working with a client who new to oDesk? And perhaps quite busy? Maybe you did a great fixed rate project for them, and they quickly paid you the full amount agreed upon. But then they disappeared. They didn't need to use oDesk any more, or they simply weren't clear about the importance of feedback. THIS WILL HURT YOU. They didn't leave you bad feedback, but they left no feedback, and the oDesk algorithms may actually penalize you more for that. (I don't know for sure.)
The next one: What if you applied for a job, the cient quickly responded and said you sound perfect. The clien asked you various questions about how you would approach the project, and said they look forward to working with you... when they get their approval or their funding completed, or hear from their associate... and what about this? And they string you a long a bit, maybe not intentionally, but there is never an actual offer sent your way to accept a position. Just interview. THIS CAN TRIGGER A REVIEW and is probably penalizing you in job application, maybe leading to being audo-hidden.
These are really client issues that contractors can't directly control, but they negatively impact your ability to apply to jobs.
To avoid being penalized, you need to work hard to let clients know that leaving feedback is important to you, as important as the pay. They can leave whatever feedback they feel is appropriate, but please be sure to CLOSE THE CONTRACT and leave feedback.
If you get paid everything that is owed to you , even if you receive a bonus, you will be penalized if the client doesn't close the contract and leave feedback.
As for clients who contact you and talk about having you do work... They need to put you on a contract, even if it is only for a few dollars. They can't keep interviewing you for free. I think I have been penalized by this, because I had a number of clients like this ina row. For now on, I'm committing to explaining to clients that oDesk doesn't allow me to do extended interviews without a contract, but if they would like to continue discussing their future project they can pay me a fixed rate amount for the time we've spent talking via oDesk messages so far, or they can put me on a simple hourly contract and I'll log any further time we spend discussing the project.
Around 20% of my clients haven't left feedback. Should I expect to start turning grey soon?
If these are really the reasons people are hidden/reviewed, then somebody needs to start using some common sense.
"So, the client was "too busy" to leave feedback? Well, let's investigate that freelancer then"
Why should a freelancer be punished when a client doesn't leave feedback? The irony is, I bet if a freelancer didn't leave feedback - they'd still be punished.
In my opinion, oDesk favours clients way too much because they're the ones paying. They don't care if they lose a freelancer here and there because there are thousands to replace them. I just think oDesk are scaring hard, honest workers by reviewing and suspending all these accounts without good reason.
I'm just guessing here. Trying to put together the pieces, because so many high-level contractors are getting zero respones to job applications where they used to get many.
I don't know for certain that multiple instances of clients not receiving feedback will increase your chances of your job application being hidden. But I know that an oDesk rep said multiple such instances will lead to your account being reviewed.
wow this just made my day
One of my client asked a lot of questions and then left for vacation and actually sent offer after 3 - 4 weeks.
Also some dont leave feedback, this must not hurt the freelancer as a little can be done on his side. No feedback is not bad feedback.
I believe I'm somehow suffering due to such auto-hidden or auto-trash system, as I'm facing unusual droughts for about last 2 weeks or so, with dozens of job posts, even some with exceedingly easy and well-matched job skills from my side (with reasonable proposals offered by me).
So far, I have a short (yet) but good track record, somewhat good ratings and reviews, moderately decent job history (matching with the new jobs I applied for), I know I'm good at the skills I try for, moderately good pricing and cover letter.... may be I should be obliged to take some more relevant tests to show off or something, may be.... I almost always quickly check myself before applying for any job to make sure I can do it 100% perfectly as per requirements. But I'm not at all sure what's going on there; it wasn't exactly the case up until couple of weeks from now, kind of Frustrating.
I know that's the system, and demand-supply of labour market economics is playing a cruel role here, I get it. But I just wish, oDesk had some system in place to tell/warn me right before applying any job whether that would be auto-hidden or thrown away to trash (as per their systems); then I could've known and saved quite some of my time, efforts, and foolish expectations, and channelize them around to something more fitting.
>> I know that's the system, and demand-supply of labour market economics is playing a cruel role here...
Sayeed, I do not believe that the way in which your job applications are being auto-hidden or "auto-trashed" (not forwarded at all) has anything to do with supply and demand in the labor market. This is happening to me too, and to many other people, and to the best of my ability to figure out, what is happening is purely a glitch in the programming. It is not even happening intentionally or as something oDesk administrators want to see happen, but it is happening due to programming and database design flaws.
I agree with you it might be ptograming glich,but there must be a supervisior who can take care of this.
So this is overall fault of odesk admintstrator and they are simply playing with many people lives.
//* "Sayeed, I do not believe that the way in which your job applications are being auto-hidden or "auto-trashed" (not forwarded at all) has anything to do with supply and demand in the labor market." *//
Hi Preston, Thanks for replying.
I agree with you and others that the system might be having some serious trouble, may be.... and while I was surfing through odesk and internet, and was reading scores of posts and comments regarding this very issue, i.e. system glitch or not...it shows this has been going on such a way for quite some time now, without any resolution.
Hence, comes the saddening words of the forces of Labour Market; if it were even nearly balanced and/or we freelancers were of much value in comparison, they would've very importantly addressed the issue with higher priority and immediately fixed any such glitch or made it more flexible, or otherwise they would've dropped any such buggy system until it was properly tested and passed (if that's the case). Don't worry, this market force clearly indicates, we're the ones will be paying, and true that I'm gradually adapting to these, for short run at least; let's see where it takes us in long run.....