How do you improve your Job Success Score?


The Basics

Your Job Success Score is a measure of your job performance and reputation on oDesk. A freelancer’s history of on-the-job success impacts search and job application rankings as well as their account status.


The Background

How is your Job Success Score calculated?

We look at many performance indicators, both positive and negative, including:

  • public and private feedback
  • successful completion of work
  • client complaints
  • responsiveness levels
  • missed deadlines
  • disputes
  • long term client relationships

To calculate your Job Success Score, we subtract instances of poor performance from good performance, leaving your net overall performance. And to ensure we properly reflect your overall track record of performance, we look at how this calculation changes over time. Your Job Success Score is updated every two weeks, and it’s important to note any movement in this score (either up or down) reflects both recent activity and activity over a longer period of time. We look at trends over a 24-month period, meaning you won’t see work from years past surface in your Job Success.

Additionally, we consider all your oDesk jobs, whether or not work was performed. Jobs ending without receiving payment or with a full refund may be excluded from your profile history, but are still an important factor in calculating your Job Success Score. The goal is to capture a breadth of information not already reflected in your star-rating or profile.

We don’t look for perfection, but we do expect an overall track record of positive performance on jobs. One, two or even three client concerns or cancellations aren’t likely to have a significant negative impact on your score unless this is all the history you have. If there is a problem, don’t ignore it! Fix it, show us you can do better, and your score will improve over time. However, any significant negative trends could trigger an account performance review.

Why is it important?

Freelancer performance, when taken in aggregate, is a reflection of our workplace. The Job Success Score helps you understand what quality standards are necessary to maintain a safe and successful workplace for clients and freelancers alike. We understand that quality is an issue on both sides. So we’re monitoring clients, too, and your client’s record is taken into consideration when weighing their interactions in your score.

Your Job Success Score is also displayed on your profile, for clients to view. It is a key factor in determining your search rankings, whether we recommend you to clients, and how your job applications are ranked. If you fail to consistently satisfy your clients, you will be less likely to win jobs in the future. On the other hand, success breeds success. Completing your jobs successfully and satisfying your clients builds your reputation to help you earn more and better jobs.


The Details

How can I ensure I satisfy my clients?

All your clients should be so satisfied with your work together that they look forward to working with you again and would recommend you to others. On-the-job success means more than just getting the job done.

Before you take on a contract:

Only take on jobs you can perform well and on time, because every job that you start counts towards your score.

  • Understand the job: Make sure you know the scope of the project and the skills required, and only take jobs you will be able to perform well.
  • Check your availability: Understand the deadlines and make sure you have the time to complete the project successfully. Consider your other contracts and commitments and make sure those don’t suffer.
  • Show the client you’re the right person to hire: It’s not enough to know you can do the job. The client needs to see why and how you are not only a good fit, but the best fit, just by looking at your profile and cover letter. Show your experience. Demonstrate your skills. Make the choice easy for them.
  • Screen your client: Interview your clients while they interview you. Make sure you understand what they’re looking for. If you get a feeling that the client isn’t a good match, don’t take the job.

TIP: Don’t take on contracts you can’t complete. If you or your client ends a contract before you start the work, and the client is unhappy, we consider that a poor contract outcome and it impacts your reputation.

At the beginning of a contract:

Agree to the tasks, deadlines, and how you will work together.

  • Decide how you will work together: Agree on how you will communicate and how often, as well as to when you will update the client on your progress.
  • Set deadlines: Agree with your client on the first few deadlines, ideally in writing in the Message Center.
  • Get what you need: Make a list of all your questions, as well as what passwords, permissions, and contact information you need. Go to the client once to ask them for everything you need to start working.

TIP: If you realize at any time that you can’t complete the job, inform your client right away so they can plan accordingly.

During a contract:

Communication, respect, and responsiveness are critical for a successful work relationship .

  • Be proactive: Even if they don’t ask for it, communicate with your client at least once per week and let them know what you’re working on and what your schedule will be.
  • Respect deadlines: Ask your client for deadlines and make sure you keep them. If for some reason you won’t be able to meet a deadline, communicate with your client immediately to let them know when you’ll be able to complete the work.
  • When in doubt, ask: If you have a question, ask the client. It’s important to be proactive and confident that you’re work is on the right path.
  • Respond quickly: When a client reaches out, respond within a day. Clients get concerned when they don’t hear from a freelancer.
  • Request feedback: Show you want to get the job done well by asking for feedback throughout the project.

TIP: Most bad contract outcomes are caused by misunderstandings that could have been avoided through better communication.

At the end of a contract:

First impressions get you a job. Last impressions get you feedback. Make sure both are equally positive.

  • Make sure the client is happy: When you submit your final deliverable, ask your client to let you know if it doesn’t meet their expectations so you can fix it if necessary.
  • Let them end the contract: When you submit your final work and it is approved by the client, recommend that he or she be the one to end the contract. Clients are required to leave feedback when they close a contract. We know some clients prefer to keep contracts open for easier rehiring. The decision is yours between immediate feedback or the ease of rehire. In either case, if you are rehired after the close of the contract or continue to work together through an open one, working with that client for over three months is viewed positively.

TIP: Asking or bargaining for feedback stars or other ratings is unprofessional and against our policies. Do five-star work every time and your clients will rate you highly.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Some clients are unreasonable. Will bad feedback from them affect me?

Your client’s record is taken into consideration when weighing their interactions in your score. We know that not every contract will end perfectly, and your Job Success Score won’t be ruined by just one or two negative contract outcomes. However, it’s important to do your best on each contract and try to satisfy your client. How you handle yourself overall, and especially moving forward, is more important than any single bad mark on your history. Showing improvement over time will allow you to overcome almost any negative incident.

Q: What if my client keeps changing their mind?

Try to set expectations up front about what the project entails. For fixed-price work, either you or the client should write down the scope of work and agree to it at the beginning of the contract. Let your client know early on that the price you’ve agreed to covers the work outlined, and any additional work should be charged separately.

Q: I have done 100s of jobs, so I might have more clients who have been dissatisfied but it’s only because I’ve done more jobs. Will my history of client satisfaction be worse than someone with only a few jobs?

Your Job Success Score takes into account the ratio of satisfied to dissatisfied clients, so you are fairly assessed based on how many jobs you’ve performed. We can tell the difference between having 10 unsatisfied clients over the course of 2 years and 100 contracts versus 2 months and 20 contracts. Satisfaction trends are important here, too. You want your ratio to be as good as or better now than it was last quarter or last year.

Q: If I am never paid for a job or if I provide a full refund, does the contract count towards my Job Success Score?

Yes, every job that you start counts towards your score. Make sure you understand the client’s needs before you accept an offer, and communicate frequently to make sure the contract ends successfully.

Q: How can I monitor my Job Success Score?

My Stats will reflect an up to date Job Success Score as soon as you have enough work history for it to be accurately calculated. Your goal is to be above 90%, with 80-89% being good scores that show room for improvement. If your score dips below 70%, it’s time to make changes or face a potential suspension.