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Don’t Be Too Quick To Judge an Odesk Contractor’s Test Score Until You’ve Taken the Test Yourself

February 12, 2012

I’m attempting to hire a writer for one of my developed websites.  I’ve been using Odesk to subcontract other types of work for a while now, so I turned to them to seek some help.

The site I’m hiring for is about distance learning at the University level, so it’s pretty important that the person I hire be not only fluent in English but also have some decent writing chops.

In evaluating the first two candidates, both from the United States, I was somewhat shocked to see a number of low scores on the candidate’s aptitude tests, specifically: the English Spelling Test; English Vocabulary; and English Basic Skills.

One candidate whose application was otherwise a perfect fit, scored in the 26th percentile on her English Spelling test. (i.e. – lower than 74% of other candidates).  Really?

This was especially surprising to me considering the number of overseas contractors on Odesk, most of which must be non-native speakers.

Having always considered myself a pretty derned good speller (typically I’m the one people will ask, “how do you spell …. ?”) … I decided to go ahead and take the test for fun.

Pride comes before the fall. 🙂

I scored in the 31st percentile!!

Are you man or woman enough to beat me?

The test was actually much more difficult than I had anticipated. The point of this post is that I may have dismissed an otherwise qualified candidate based on a false assumption.

On the other hand, the second of the two U.S. contractor’s to apply scored a perfect 5.00 in the 95th percentile, earning a ‘1st place’ badge.  I’m not saying a perfect score is impossible but frankly, I’m now quite suspicious of this candidate.

If you’re an Odesk  member, have 15 minutes to kill and are feeling up to the challenge, go see if you can best me.

If you’re interested in the writing gig, feel free to apply here, or drop me an email or comment below. Thanks.

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