Upwork can be a great resource for connecting clients and contractors. While there is certainly a lot of rubbish (on both sides), I will not knock it as it’s where I found the majority of my present clients. The good and bad clients are relatively easy to identify. There is one area where most organisations and people listing jobs fall down – the tailored questions section of the job listing.
I am sure we have all been there: a job listing with minimal information followed by a long list of stock questions suggested by Upwork. From the perspective of a contractor, it’s lazy to use these stock questions and not attempt to provide details of your unique job listing. I’m sure it is not always intended that way, but that is how it comes across to top rated Upworkers. Those that come up the most are:
- Which part of this task are you most experienced in?
- What do you think will take the most time?
Often, it’s difficult to answer these question because the client hasn’t put enough information or has put the wrong information in the job listing in the first place. 99% of the time it’s hard to know the answers at the application stage anyway. If you’re frustrated at the quality of applicants, perhaps it’s time to consider how you are constructing your job listing in the first place.
How To Create Effective Tailored Questions
While the Upwork stock questions are useful suggestions, they are not adequate in the majority of cases because they are generic. Upwork suggest these as they are broad, generalised, sweeping suggestions that should apply to most jobs but will never go into specifics. I would argue that they are too open-ended to get the most effective set of responses you might require. This is more important if your advert is vague.
Make all Questions Relevant
Before posting that question, ask yourself whether the applicant would consider it a relevant question to ask. Asking a writer what will take the most time when all they are going to do is write a blog post is a waste of effort on your and their part. Relevant questions focus on their background knowledge, their ability to research in this area and – if you’re in a complex niche area – whether they even grasp the concept(s) behind it.
If You’re Not Getting the Answers You Want, Rephrase or Bin It
I’m sure the term GIGO means something to you. In technical terms, It means Garbage In, Garbage Out. In some cases, answers can only be as good in terms of quality as the question being asked. If you’re persistently getting unsatisfactory answers, perhaps the problem is the question and not the pool of candidates. Either think of a way to rephrase it or stop asking it.
Use Leading Questions
The problem with generic questions is that they are open-ended. While this might be what you want, there are ways of wording open-ended questions that they can hint at leading the candidate down the right path. You may not want to be too specific, but you can give prompts and hints at what you are looking for, even with open-ended questions.
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