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.

Leave a Comment Below

  • Very sound advice. I think the last one is huge. Whether we like to admit it or not, looks matter in the sense that you need to look like you care about your appearance. That shouldn’t be hard to do!

    • Sad, but true. There are countless studies done that have proven better looking people have a leg-up on the competition. Taking a good photo of yourself is crucial.

  • Great read, Onuora. The one thing I see on Elance all the time is applying for jobs you’re not qualified for. I guess people are desperate for any job, but as you said, it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

  • Fake names is a big no-no. If you can’t give your real name, you shouldn’t be expected to be hired. I think this is all useful advice. Thanks!

    • Agreed. If you aren’t willing to give your real name, you shouldn’t be able to get hired in any circumstance. Online doesn’t mean it’s easier work.

      • You’re right. That’s a perception, but it’s wrong. If you wouldn’t give a fake name in a real job application, don’t do it on Elance. It’s still a real job.

    • Agreed, Jason. I loved the first Elance breakdown, and this followup didn’t disappoint. Great work. Can’t wait to see other freelance site breakdowns and advice.

  • The unsolicited link made me chuckle! Come on, people. Be smarter than that! Great stuff as always. Have a nice weekend.

  • Not missing deadlines is key. Just like the real world, if you want to keep your job, do it well and do it on time. It’s simple as that.

  • Sending links is key. If your unable to sift through your own portfolio and find relevant work your employer is asking for, how can they even trust you to do the simplest of jobs. Frustrating, no doubt.

  • If you’re not qualified, don’t apply. Simple, yet brilliant. Don’t trick people. Do jobs you can do or the sham will be up. If you can’t do them, try and become qualified.

  • Elance is a great resource for anyone looking for work. Missing deadlines is the biggest no-no in my opinion. Just like school and real life work, online work needs to be done in a punctual manner. If you can’t do this, you shouldn’t be hired in the first place.

  • I love this take. Spot on, Onuora. One thing I would add is to complete all of your profile and the tests offered. If you are unable to take the tests to prove your skills, it’s hard to prove to the employer the quality of your work.

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