Tutorial: How to Find the Right Person on oDesk

odesk tutorial

If you’re growing a business, hiring is essential. But the process can seem overwhelming. That’s especially the case if you’re just looking for contractors or freelance employees online.

Online entrepreneur Evan Carmichael shares his process for finding the right help on sites like oDesk in this video tutorial:

Carmichael explains:

“The goal here is to get quality people who want to work with me and quickly weed through all of the crap – all of the people who aren’t paying attention, who don’t read your profile, who don’t put in even a little bit of hard work to prove themselves. Those people you don’t want. If they’re not going to jump in and do a little bit of work for you, then you’ve got to move on and find other people. And so this process helps make sure you get the right people in.”

Here are a few steps Carmichael uses to find the most qualified candidates.

Specify the Type of Job

Depending on your specific needs, you might want a freelancer to handle just one specific task, or you might need someone on an ongoing basis. Carmichael says ongoing jobs tend to attract the best candidates. So be sure to be specific about the time period in your job description.

Don’t Make it Easy

When writing a job description, include everything in one big, ugly paragraph. This might seem strange, but Carmichael says it helps weed out the people who are not detail-oriented and it is very important for him to have detail oriented contractors. So this step helps him find people who don’t mind going through a job description that isn’t necessarily the easiest to read and picking out the important elements.

Include a Question

To ensure that applicants have actually read his job description, Carmichael includes a specific question in the middle of the paragraph. For example, he might ask applicants to tell him how many YouTube subscribers he has when submitting their applications. This step helps prove who pays the most attention and actually cares enough about the job to read the entire description.

Develop Good Feedback

You can’t find great candidates unless those great candidates actually want to work with you. Fortunately, oDesk and similar sites allow contractors and business owners to leave reviews for each other.

So as early as possible, Carmichael suggests building relationships with contractors so you can gain positive feedback. For new users, this can’t be done right away. But there are still some steps you can take. For example, verifying your payment method on oDesk makes you look more reputable to potential contractors immediately.

Use a Trial Job

The final step in Carmichael’s process involves creating a trial job on oDesk. He invites the candidates who respond to his application correctly to do short tasks that he will pay them for regardless. He says that not all of the invited applicants even attempt the trial job and even fewer complete it. This further weeds out contractors who don’t have the follow through he needs.

Of the ones who do complete the task, he is then able to judge candidates based on who took the shortest amount of time and did the best job. If two or three stand out, he says he may hire a few people and see who does the best job on an ongoing basis.

Image: oDesk


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

6 Reactions
  1. I would like to add offering a fair price. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen posted or been offered work that would be of significant time/effort committment and it was for a foxed price of $5… Wow! All I think is a) you probably don’t value to work and b) you trully don’t understand the WORK that goes into what you are contracting out.
    Thanks for sharing this blog!

  2. I understand writing a big ugly paragraph to weed out certain people. I’m also thinking though: couldn’t writing a big ugly paragraph work against the person looking to hire in terms of creating a good (professional) impression to potential applicants?

    • I hadn’t really considered that aspect of it, but that could be a concern! I think that maybe since it’s a job posting and not necessarily a more professional/polished platform that job seekers might not look too far into that aspect of it, but I can’t speak for everyone.

  3. Actually, I, too, had wondered about the paragraph format as a “weeding out” strategy. As a potential applicant, I would wonder about the professionalism, and communication abilities, of the potential employer. If they can’t/ don’t clearly specify what they need, it’s difficult to satisfy the requirements. Nevertheless, it is an interesting strategy.