Why should you take oDesk Skills Tests?

If you need a job than you should be very interested in finding contract work on oDesk, a freelance marketplace where thousands of people get part and full-time work everyday.  

To be successful on the site, plan to take some oDesk Skills Qualification Tests.  Because there are so many types of jobs on oDesk, the site has developed an amazing 344 assessments and counting to help contractors and employers determine who has the skills necessary to do many different freelance jobs effectively.  

An incredible 3.4 million assessments have been completed to date with a pass rate of 57%.  The low pass rate is a good indication that these measurement instruments are an effective way to select contractors because 43% of attempts at tests are unsuccessful and therefore the tests are sorting out skilled workers from less skilled workers.  Over 800,000 contractors have been tested to date.

Do These Guarantee Anything?

No online exercise can guarantee anything other than that the person taking it scored a particular score on the measurement.  All tests are just an indication of what skills a person has, but in this case the tests seem well designed and there is a good chance that they will accurately predict success within the tested area. 

The skills measurements are not a guarantee of competency of course, but they are a good start.  Note this useful  statement from the oDesk User Agreement that covers the site legally against claims by employers that a tested provider can't do a given job:  "They are meant as a data point in evaluating Contractors and are in no way a certification by oDesk of the User's ability to perform Services associated with a test."

What are the Tests Like?  

Typically the oDesk tests consist of 40 multiple-choice questions randomly generated from a large bank of questions.  The bank of questions is regularly refreshed to prevent cheating. Typically 40 minutes is allotted per session and contractors cannot revisit questions they have already seen.  

All assessments are free and contractors self select which ones they will challenge.  There is no penalty for failing tests but the contractor can not reattempt the same assessment within 30 days.  On a retest the contractor will not see the same questions as before. These systems help protect the integrity of the skills assessments.

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What Rules Must be Followed on oDesk Tests? 

Quoted from the oDesk User Agreement section 2.12)

"Manipulating test scores by providing or receiving answers to the test, allowing others to take the tests or any other attempt at falsifying credentials is a violation of this Agreement.What are the testing regulations?

Contractors are required to comply with the following regulations while taking oDesk Skills Tests:
  • Any attempt to take a test on behalf of someone else is prohibited.
  • You are not allowed to obtain improper access to the test or any part of the test prior to your taking the test (by observing someone else take the test, discussing questions/answers with someone else who took the test, looking up test questions or answers online, etc.).
  • It is expressly prohibited to disclose, publish, reproduce or transmit any part of the oDesk Skills Tests, in any form, by any means, visual, verbal or written, for any purpose without the express written permission from oDesk. Taking ScreenSnaps during any test is strictly prohibited.
  • The tests are meant to be taken by a single individual only. Do not collaborate with other test-takers or refer to their screens, testing materials or written notes while taking the test. Do not copy questions and or answers or share them with other test-takers."

Following the rules and only working through your own personal account is super important.  Not only does the site take action against cheaters, but how is an employer going to review your work when they find out you can't really do the work they assigned you to do because you cheated on a skills assessment?  So the skills assessments are a good way for contractors to find out exactly where they measure up on various skills too against other contractors. 

What is the First Assessment Contractors Should Take?

Every contractor starting on oDesk needs to take the oDesk Readiness Test.  It is  an open-book, tutorial quiz intended to help familiarize new users with oDesk's systems, policies, and best practices.  Essentially all contractors are forced to take the Readiness Quiz right away because the ability to apply to job postings is restricted until they are have completed the it successfully.  

What Kinds of Tests are There to Take?

There are 30 categories of assessments from Administrative Support to Web Design.  There is a whole section of English language tests and another section for certifying translation skills.  Because oDesk has many programing jobs naturally there are many technical tests.

The more tests you successfully take the more jobs you will be qualified for, so take all the ones you feel qualified for.  You might also want to read up on new skill areas and than try the corresponding assessments.  Treat the whole thing as a self directed education program to enhance your earning power.  

What Kind of Jobs Are On oDesk?

There are thousands of active unfilled jobs at any time in these major categories:

Software Development
Networking and Information Systems
Writing and Translation
Administrative Support
Design and Multimedia
Customer Service (phone, email etc)
Sales and Marketing
Business Services 
Within each category there are thousands of available jobs.  While oDesk is fantastic for Filipinos and Indians, it is also an excellent place for Americans and Canadians to work.  In the writing jobs, for example, there are many employers looking exclusively for native American English skills.  Likewise there are many employers looking for Westerners to handle administrative jobs. Jobs can even involve telesales and lead generation in your local area.  
So Are You Ready to Make Some Money?

If you are not already on oDesk, than you can start a free account now.  You might also like to read some oDesk success stories.  Hopefully oDesk can become a good source of freelance income for anyone reading this guide to oDesk Skills Tests.

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