oDesk Outsourcing Follow Up

So far my experience with oDesk has been met with some frustration but it is not the oDesk system that I blame but the people I am hiring. You see, the oDesk system it self has been great (I do have some recommendations to make it better but overall it is great) but the problem is that the people that I have interviewed and even hired have been less than exceptional… not all of them… but the majority.

So far I have tested a few different people and I have just now found someone that I am hopeful with. The biggest problems have been…

1. Not able to dedicate time needed: Even though I put in the job request that I need someone 30+ hours a week, every single one of them (expect for the latest) seems to think that means something entirely different… like maybe 10 hours a week.
2. Do Not Understand How to Communicate: I had to actually chase down two people to see if they were actually going to do the “test” assignment. One of them decided no and the other finally got back to me with something that could have taken 20 minutes (it was a joke).
3. Are Not As Experienced as They Say: This one was a big lesson for me and it made me revamp my test assignments I have been given them. People will lie about what they can do in their resumes and as a result I assumed certain things and did not bother to test on them… BIG MISTAKE!

OK, so this kind of sounds like a slamming of oDesk, but it really is not. In fact I love oDesk and it has been the features available on oDesk that have really helped… especially the time tracker with screen capture. This has allowed me to see if people are even started on the task and the real amount of time it took them. With elance and rent a coder, I was always left to just hope… but oDesk shows me.

What I am not crazy about is…

1. There should be “contact info” front and center on the work team page for each worker. This is not in an obvious spot and is a pain to find.
2. Should have a communication area (a message board) for communicating with outsourcers in the team room. Using email and having to track the communications is a pain in my opinion. I would rather everything be there like how elance does it.
3. Even though you put criteria for the job, people can still apply that do not meet it. For example, I would want the ability for applicants to have to confirm that they can be available he 30+ hours a week before being able to even apply for a position. If the say they can but can’t then they get a negative point on their profile.
4. When you “interview” some one, it needs to show you clearly on the application board (where all those applying for the job, have their profiles show up) who you have requested an interview for.
5. If you have more then one job open and click on a person to interview, you then have to select a drop down box for which one of the jobs you are interviewing them for. That may sound easy but it is first of all in a terrible spot and easily missed. Plus if I am on the page for a certain job that people are applying for, why in the world when I click “Interview” would it not just automatically know that is what I want to interview them for!

Overall, I like oDesk… but with the above changes I would LOVE it!

I am going to work with this system for another week and then put a checklist together for all of you as to how I am going to use oDesk. This will include…

1. How to post a job
2. How to interview
3. How to create test assignments
4. What to watch for in test assignments
5. How to manage outsourcers after hiring them

So what are your thoughts and what else would you like me to include that I may have overlooked?