How to Find the Best Contractors on oDesk

oDesk logoOk, so you posted a job on oDesk.  And you’re now seeing a bunch of cookie-cutter applications come in from overseas.  Maybe they didn’t even read your job posting.  Maybe they don’t even have the skills that are required.  Maybe their English is so horrendous you can’t even get through the 1st sentence in their cover letter.  Either way, it’s common that these initial applicants aren’t very high quality.

So, how do you find contractors on oDesk that meet all your criteria?

Here’s the trick that I use:

#1. Go to the “Find Freelancers” page:

#2. Click “Advanced Search”

oDesk - Find Freelances - Advanced Search link

#3. First, in the “Skills Search” field, try to find the specific skill(s) you need.  If it’s not available, use the “All of these words” field.

oDesk - Advanced Search

In this case, I wanted a Laravel programmer.  Laravel isn’t a popular-enough skill in oDesk yet, so I had to enter it in the “All of these words” field.

#4. Select appropriate search parameters on the left-hand side

Here’s the options I like to use:

oDesk - Search Parameters 1oDesk - Search Parameters 2

You can of course adjust these to suit your needs.

  • Category / Subcategories – Try to be as specific as possible.
  • Feedback Rating I like to include “No Feedback Yet”, as I’ve had good luck with guys who were brand new to oDesk and wanted to work hard to build their reputation.  Anything under 4 stars is generally not worth it.
  • Hourly Rate – I’m a cheap-ass, but I’ve had great luck finding awesome programmers for <$10/hr.  I’ve also hired guys at $6,000/mo that weren’t as good as my $1,500/mo guy, so don’t believe people that say you have to pay big $ to find good developers.  Maybe if you hire locally, but not for overseas developers.
  • Hours Billed – If you want to include brand new users, this should be set to “Any Hours”
  • Location – You can optionally search for specific countries.  In the past, I’ve had issues with Indian contractors, so have excluded India.  This is just from personal experience, so make up your own decision.
  • English Level – It’s important to be able to communicate easily with whoever you hire.
  • Freelancer Type – Sometimes I just choose “Independent” as I’ve also had issues with agencies promising the world then booking too many clients and mishandling my project.
  • Tests – I don’t typically select any tests, but I know people that like to use this filter.

 #5 – Invite Away!

Now, just go through the search results, and click the “Contact” button, for each contractor who looks like a good fit.  I like to write a personal message, including their name.  I typically send invites to a minimum of 5 pages of results.

oDesk - job invite

Hopefully this helps you find the perfect contractor!  Good luck.

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