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Signing a contract before an interview? What?

Active Member
Megan F Member Since: Jun 12, 2019
1 of 13

 Hello, I’m relatively new to the game but I’m feeling disheartened with my search thus far. My first invitation was spammed out to 100 other candidates with a low budget and minimal detail on the project and this morning I was emailed a confidentiality and work agreement contract to be signed before I could speak to the editor and that priority is given to candidates that reply quickly. I gave them my email two days ago because they told me the editor could “furnish me with details.” Who signs a contract before being clear on what the expectations are? What kind of big-shot does this editor think they are anyway? I hope this isn’t common practice here. I replied to them on Upwork that I wasn’t comfortable signing anything until I am clear on what is expected of me and will not sign anything offsite.

 

Any suggestions on how to avoid this in the future? Should I report this client? Please tell me it gets better. 

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
2 of 13

A job invitation sent to over 100 people at once?

It sounds like you're a potential revenue source rather than a freelancer they want to pay money to.

 

You shouldn't worry too much about passing up a potential lucrative opportunity if you drop this.

 

As new as you are, it is unlikely that you will receive invitations that aren't from scammers. Once you gain more experience, then it is possible you will receive legitimate invitations, as many us more experienced freelancers do.

Active Member
Megan F Member Since: Jun 12, 2019
3 of 13
Sorry that I wasn’t clear, it’s been a rough day: the job I was invited to apply for that was sent to over 100 other profiles was different than the one that emailed me this morning. I submitted a proposal to the latter and that was the response I got.

And since I replied stating that I was uncomfortable with signing the contract before getting more information, I haven’t heard anything. Shocked, really. 🙄
Community Leader
Wes C Member Since: May 3, 2019
4 of 13

This is almost certainly a scam.  Flag the job as such and move on to the next job.

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
5 of 13

As a newbie, you are only going to get invitations from scammers. Ignore them. Anybody who tries to rush you to respond; asks you to sign anything (except, in some cases, an NDA) before furnishing enough detail for you to scope the project; and/or invites you to Google Hangouts, is a scam artist. Scammers abound here--on both sides of the table, FL and client--but there are also plenty of professionals transacting profitable business.

 

It's only worth your time to report those who violate the ToS. 

Active Member
Megan F Member Since: Jun 12, 2019
6 of 13
Does Upwork have any strategies for cutting down on the amount of scam jobs? I don’t even know if half of the jobs i submitted proposals to are even legit. Would a work agreement/confidentiality contract be considered an NDA?
Community Guru
Miriam H Member Since: May 16, 2017
7 of 13

Megan F wrote:
Does Upwork have any strategies for cutting down on the amount of scam jobs? I don’t even know if half of the jobs i submitted proposals to are even legit. Would a work agreement/confidentiality contract be considered an NDA?

Upwork primarily relies on the Freelancers to identify jobs which are scams. They may have other filters, but in general I've observed the FL community is the strongest "scam detector."

 

Without seeing the agreement, I can't totally andress your second question, but it's common to sign NDAs before discussing some projects in detail.

 

 

Active Member
Megan F Member Since: Jun 12, 2019
8 of 13

Oh. See he didn’t phrase it like that. I probably messed up. I took the whole reply by 10 pm today thing to be a massive red flag. He called it a work agreement and told me to sign and return it by the deadline with no additional explanation. I never worked a job where you sign an agreement prior to accepting a job.

Community Guru
Phyllis G Member Since: Sep 8, 2016
9 of 13

Megan F wrote:

Oh. See he didn’t phrase it like that. I probably messed up. I took the whole reply by 10 pm today thing to be a massive red flag. He called it a work agreement and told me to sign and return it by the deadline with no additional explanation. I never worked a job where you sign an agreement prior to accepting a job.


 

Good call--that was indeed a red flag. Unless you are doing emergency surgery or disaster relief, there's no good reason for that kind of urgency. What did the document say? I'll bet it contained a bunch of boilerplate legalese along with requiring you to provide contact details and possibly even more confidential info. That's the scam. Google "NDA" and get familiar with what those look like, so you'll recognize legitimate ones--and legitimate circumstances to be asked to sign one.

 

It's rare that you'll be asked by a legitimate client to sign any kind of "work agreement". One of the benefits of using UW is that we don't have to execute separate contracts with every client for every project.

 

Also, here's a bit of unsolicited advice about your profile: It clearly says "Help me learn to be a freelancer." No client is interested in spending money to train you. That doesn't mean you aren't capable of doing professional work. You just aren't getting that across in your profile. Study the profiles of successful editors here and emulate them. Your day job doesn't speak to the skill set you're marketing here, so find some pro bono opportunities to do some editing--for friends, family, local non-profits. That will help you zero in on which skill set you want to offer. Copy editing? Proofreading? Developmental editing? They are not the same. 

 

Good luck!

Active Member
Megan F Member Since: Jun 12, 2019
10 of 13

It was a lot of legalese. I had my husband look at it (he's a paralegal) and he told me not to sign it without getting some more information at least. I never heard back from him so I guess he's not interested in answering questions. If I were hiring, I wouldn't want my candidates thinking I was doing anything shady but that's just me I suppose. 

 

Thanks for the review of my profile! I agree with what you're saying. Marketing myself has always been a struggle for me as I tend to downplay my achievements so I reached out to some family and friends to help me figure out how to portray myself better. I'll be revamping it over the weekend. 

 

On that note, is there a discussion pinned somewhere for others to rate and review profiles? I wanted to ask before I would create a needless thread for the idea. 

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