oDesk March Newsletter
Josh B. 509 posts - United States
oDesk March Newsletter: The Test Drive
Buyers hiring their first remote providers might feel as though they're going in blind. Your profile has good feedback, a history that demonstrates your skills, and perhaps some encouraging scores on oDesk's performance tests. But they're still hiring someone half a planet away and entrusting you with tasks essential to their business. It's an unnerving risk, a roll of the dice, but so is hiring an in-house staffer. With remote workers, different techniques are needed, and we're suggesting to buyers that a "test drive" can be a great way to overcome the challenges of distance.
When you buy a car, you take several for a ride before settling on the one for you. You don't buy a house until you've had a good walkthrough - perhaps several. Anyone hiring a staff member goes over resumes and references, chats on the phone, and has several candidates come in for an interview -sometimes several interviews, often with some kind of proficiency test. Buyers at oDesk have to adapt that process a little. Where an office manager can stroll over to your cubicle, our buyers have the Work Diary. Where a hiring interview can be conducted face-to-face for an in-office position, oDesk professionals use chat and Skype. And instead of bringing you down for three rounds of interviews and a grueling exam in some dusty corner cube, buyers can hire a handful of likely candidates for a test drive to make sure they put their vital project in the right person's hands.
If you have the technical skills and the professionalism that a buyer is looking for, a quick for-pay test is a great chance to show not only how good your work is, but how good you are to work with. Maybe in searching for a PHP programmer for a 1000-hour project, the buyer will give you something with a time limit of a few hours. It can be discrete pieces of the greater project or just a sample task - maybe a Web page that will take input of name and gender and output "Hello, Mr.
Smith." Throw in a time-of-day element to get "Good evening, Ms. Jones."
For a smaller project, the buyer may want you to spend an hour or two assessing his or her site to suggest specific improvements. Any opportunity to show you can grasp their objectives, communicate viable solutions, and demonstrate the level of detail and creativity needed is a chance to distinguish yourself. Show them that you provide a clean, attractive solution that meets their specific objectives, that you do it on time and do so with pleasant, professional communication throughout.
If such a test doesn't lead you to getting hired, you've still logged a few hours' work, and you're now much more to that buyer than the 50 other profiles he or she skipped over entirely. You may hear from then again as more projects come down the line.
The overall process of hiring a remote provider isn't that much different than hiring in-house staff, and there's no reason you can't shine from a distance in front of the most selective buyer.
Score: 8.0, Votes: 45