I’m a huge fan of outsourcing. I love the concept of paying someone else to do something that you can’t, won’t or don’t want to at reasonable (to menial – I’m not rich) wages. This is a win-win situation that leaves everyone happy – hypothetically.
I recently tried to hire an independent contractor off of odesk, elance, guru and virtual worker. I cannot begin to describe the sh*tfest that followed.
I was flooded with bids or offers, which was expected (on average 40 to 45). It quickly became painful looking through the proposals because (1) it became very clear that most of these people never read the project description, (2) they issued copy-and-paste standard templates that listed their “abilities,” but failed to explain how they related to me, and (3) their proposals were very poorly constructed.
Lesson – Proposals 101
- Read the damn project description. I specifically stated that you should begin the proposal with the words “ABC,” if you can’t follow simple directions and read at an elementary level, then you shouldn’t be applying.
- Standardizing or templating your “pitch” into a series of bullet points describing your skills does not help me evaluate a candidate. Also, your inability to tailor your skills into viable benefits for a client is disconcerting.
- You’re a damn contractor! Your job is to make my life easier. You should not be flooding me with pointless information, when you know that 40+ other people are applying. I don’t have the time and I won’t waste my time reading your crap! You should be keeping your proposals to 250 words or less that speaks to my project. Key: Portfolios are great! But, I’m not going to look through 20+ links, give me 2 or 3 max.
If you’ve run afoul of any of the above – You’re Fired.
After the initial flood of applicants, I scheduled a barrage of interviews over skype, gtalk and telephone. I gave every candidate a time slot to convince me that they were capable and professional.
Lesson – Interviewing, Pitching and Selling
- Don’t ever be f*cking late. You should be waiting at least 10 to 15 mins for me (THE CLIENT). No client or employer will ever accept tardiness. Unpunctuality is death! I fired 7 out of the 15 people I interviewed based upon this rule.
- Have a plan. You should be ready with an entire process or at least an outline of your services. I need to know how you will work. This will show your potential client (me) how professional you are. When you don’t have a plan or you’re not ready –it’s obvious.
- Don’t waste time with bs. Get to the point.
Outsourcing labor and projects is amazing. It allows people to do things quickly and efficiently, but the lack of professionalism with a majority of the candidates is scary. So, for the future employers I leave you with these tips.
How to fire the losers – Donald Trump Style
- Always have a phrase that you require potential candidates to post in the first line of their proposal. At least 50% of the losers fire themselves. (Amazing how dumb these people are.)
- Limit their proposals to 250 words or less. You don’t have years to spend reading resumes.
- Schedule every candidate for an interview within the same day. Gives the candidates 15 mins (This is more than enough time; you’ll usually end up firing these people within the first 5 mins.)
- Expect a lot of no-shows and latecomers. Fire all of them.
- Never pay upfront. Provide benchmarks or goal posts for the candidate to achieve and pay them according to that schedule.
**Disclaimer: I ended up hiring two contractors because they were professional and knowledgeable. I respected them within the first 5 mins of our conversation and I hired them. There are a lot of losers out there so, it makes finding these professionals very hard. Also, I’m a tax accountant and I follow the same rules that I described above. I expect to receive the same professionalism I provide to my clients.