The other side – 6 critical mistakes that contractors make on Elance

OK, so in my previous post, I had talked a little bit about some of the critical mistakes that employers make when they post jobs on Elance.

This time I want to turn this around and talk about vendors/contractors.

There are several mistakes that contractors continue to make on Elance that absolutely drive me bananas! It’s hard to watch because while I know that these things come from ignorance, it’s sad to see it cost contractors jobs that could help them feed their families.

So without further ado, here are the 6 critical mistakes that contractors make on Elance.

Contacting Employers outside of Elance

Man-Disgusted-phoneThis is a fun one.

I’ll post a job on Elance and then 3 hours later my phone will ring and it will be someone from some country telling me that they were calling me about the job.

NEVER contact someone on the phone who didn’t ask you to call them on the phone. It inspires a lot of disgust and is creepy. That person has a ZERO probability of getting the job.

It’s not clever or thinking outside the box. It’s rude.

Using fake names in order to make employers feel more comfortable

This one really gets me every time.

Hey newsflash – I really don’t expect to see “Richard Johnson” in Mumbai. Once I suspect a vendor is pretending or using a fake name, it makes me wonder, what else is this vendor lying about?

If you’re in a different part of the world, use your real name. If it’s really long, shorten it a little but use your real name.

It’ll be worth it in the end I promise.

Sending an unsolicited link to your portfolio

So as an employer, when I post a job on Elance, I’m VERY specific about what I am looking for from a project resource.

I add the description of the task, the duration, skillset expected, budget etc and I am extremely specific about insisting that only qualified resources contact me.

I usually also ask for 3 to 4 examples of when they have done something like my project before.

There’s always the rocket scientist who will read what I am looking for and respond with a link to his portfolio. Or even better, the genius who responds by sending me the links to the last 100 jobs they did.

The response is automatic – delete.

Contractors – read the detailed requirements and respond to only what the employer is asking for. No more and no less.

Don’t apply for a job you CLEARLY aren’t qualified for

This is a tough one because a lot of the resources who work on projects are ambitious and are always looking to do bigger and better things. Having said that though, sometimes it’s ridiculous.

If you have no programming background, maybe a medium to large PHP, HTML5 and Javascript project might not be the way to break into the business. I’m just saying.

Don’t miss deadlines that an employer gives you

deadlinesIn the post about employer mistakes, I talked about how employers should set tests and deadlines for contractors. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about read that post. Basically just keep this in mind – every deadline you miss could be the last on that project.

Take employers seriously. They need work done by a certain time and when you don’t deliver that work, you become the problem.

Use a decent photograph for your profile

It’s really simple. If I have a medium to large project, I’m not going to give it to someone who looks like he/she needs that work to survive.

You dont have to make a lot of money to fix your hair, clean your face, wear a clean shirt or blouse, find a sunny day, find a friend with a camera phone and say cheese.

This is a business so treat it like one.

Those are my tips for contractors. Avoiding those 6 mistakes as an Elance contractor will probably raise your customer satisfaction ratings significantly.

What about you guys and girls? What have your outsourcing experiences taught you?

Use the comments below.

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