A month ago, we launched a new hire confirmation screen. It set the stage for a series of feature enhancements designed to make hiring on oDesk easier. Today we launch the second, and much more important, in the series. We call it "Make Offer".
What problem are we addressing?
Today, there are only two ways to hire a provider: you can hire an applicant from your candidate list, or you can "direct hire" a provider by clicking the "Hire" button on their profile. The latter requires first posting a job. If you already know who you want to hire, you have to find them in the network, post a job if you don't already have one, and then hire them. In addition, there is nothing stopping a buyer from hiring a provider he's never talked to before, which can be disconcerting for the provider, to say the least!
With "Make Offer", buyers can now propose specific engagement terms to a provider. The provider can accept or decline the terms.
How can this feature be used?
(1) Easily rehire a provider you've worked with before. To rehire someone you've hired before, go to the "Ended Assignments" tab and click "rehire". You may use the same terms as the previous engagement, or propose new ones.
(2) Bringing your own provider to oDesk. If you connect with someone outside of oDesk and want to hire them into your oDesk team, you can use the Invite User function, then go to the Team Room and click the new "Hire" link. All team members without active assignments will now have this link. It is still a two-step process but it's a lot easier than before, and we'll be making it even easier soon.
(3) "Direct Hire" from the marketplace. As of today, provider profiles no longer have two separate "Hire" and "Interview" buttons. There is one button: "Contact". That button goes to the "Invite to Interview" form, which is what most buyers will use when they find an interesting candidate in the network. But from there, if they already know the provider they can use the new "Make Offer" link on the right side of the form.
What happens when you make an offer to a provider?
The provider receives an email notifying him/her of the offer. The offer also appears in the provider's My Candidacies list, as well as the buyer's candidate list. The provider can accept or decline the offer.
What about affiliated contractors?
Provider Company managers are cc'd on all offer notifications, just like interview invitations and hire notices today. Managers can see pending offers in the candidacy list, and can accept or decline offers.
Actually yes, there's one more thing: with Make Offer we are also making available a new payment term option: weekly stipend. A stipend is a fixed weekly payment that is automatically billed each Monday. It can be used as a salary, or as a bonus or expense reimbursement in addition to the hourly rate. More on that feature in a separate post.