Odesk provides great tools to find the right outsourcing staff. I personally find it much easier to use and filter on odesk than the other sites I frequent, vworker and scriptlance. However I still go to those sites for programmers. I have discovered some tips that would help you filter for the ideal candidate. Love to get your feedback on them to see if they worked for you or not.
- Look at the hours they work on their projects – If a contractor is good they are usually hired for a long period of time per project. If you are looking for someone long term you would be sure to want that person to have a long term mindset. Make sure that the projects they’ve worked on are also long term.
- Look for “real” feedbacks – Look at how their employers rate them. Usually if they are outstanding they will get consistent enthusiastic comments. If you see lack luster comments such as “They did as required.” It’s an indication that the employer did not like their work and only wrote that to be polite.
- Review the type of work they’ve done -make sure it’s similar to yours
- Make sure they have a lot of hours worked (around at least 50 or 60). – This will ensure that they follow the system. You do not want to waste your time trying to manage a newbie.
- Plan to select more than one worker. – If the task can be divided select 2 or more workers at the same time doing different part of the tasks. Depending on your task and your style, one worker will be better than another.
- Invite contractors to get more applicants. - Whenever I outsource the odds of the perfect candidate applying is very slim. So I am always proactive and look for them. In the case of odesk this extra effort saves me a lot of time and make the process quicker. After setting my filters I invite those contractors to the job. Since I invited them I just review those I invited instead of everyone that applied which many do not match my filter. As well since I invited them they respond within 24 hours so I do not need to wait for applicants.
- For article writing, hire from culturally relevant countries – It is important to hire writers that have same cultural perspective as your country. I’m from Canada and I find that the Copywriters I was looking at, only people from the US, Canada, and Philippines seem to write in a style that is ‘normal’ and relatable here.
This is the process to find good candidates.Â You might be able to find contractors for a lower rate if they don’t have as much feedback or hours worked but I find that it is high risk and not worth your time.
We are know there are slackers and lazy workers and they are littered with them odesk. Despite having high ratings and many hours work they can still fool you. Here are some things to watch out for.
- Hidden feedback – Even if they have a 5 star rating and the feedback is hidden, this is a warning flag for me. I suspect the comment is not positive or even if it is positive it probably notes a flaw in the worker which is actually good because you know their areas of weakness which everyone has. If the worker decides to hide it then I would conclude this worker is the type to conceal or not give negative news, and secondly they do not aspire to take criticism and use it to improve themselves.
- Short feedback - Short feedback is posted when you are content with the job done or feel back because they tried hard but is just incompetent. Either way it’s not a good sign.
- Does not answer questions – You need someone detail oriented, if you noticed they are not answering all your questions and address all your points at this early stage of the process, they will be less likely to be detail oriented once the job starts.
[*Added March 23rd 2012]
The post was first written over 2 years ago and it has been highly comprehensive and relevant. After 2 years I still agree with every point. The only thing I would add it to do a test with the applicants. Many candidates look good on paper and is great at interviews but when they are hired they do not live up to your expectations.
I also recommend using LastPass to manage passwords with your Odesk Outsource worker. LastPass lets you share passwords without the other person knowing, as well you can easily remove access without having to change your password.