Well this post of mine about guru.com has been a long time coming, but I’ve refrained from telling my story because I was still using Guru. I used them because I needed staff, and I wasn’t going to let Guru’s nasty treatment of me prevent me from finding potentially positive independent contractors.
My experience as a company has made me feel that Guru treats companies like garbage.
Mind you, if you spend a lot of money on Guru, they may leave you alone, but if you are a small company like I am, they even tell you to go elsewhere.
Here are the problems I encountered, and I heard that other companies had problems too, but they probably haven’t posted their experiences.
Guru.com allows independent contractors to complain about me because I speak my mind. The odd time I have complained about independent contractors, but Guru doesn’t care, they only care that I say things they don’t like.
I don’t run around complaining about independent contractors night and day, because I know it won’t do any good.
Examples of what I may tell an independent contractor when I’ve really been provoked are that they are immature, insecure, fear based, unprofessional, etc. It all depends on how they acted.
Of course I’d never say that if the independent contract was mature, professional and just an overall nice person who didn’t waste my precious time.
It’s clear based on my experience, that Guru allows independent contractors to act like little babies. Why else would they side with them every time they complained about me when it should be very clear based on the conversation (Guru can read every private message) that the independent contractor 9 times out of 10, acted in the ways I stated.
So the message I am getting, is that companies aren’t allowed to say what they feel.
Business owners watch out, we aren’t allowed to run our companies the way we see fit.
Unfortunately on the Internet, I have found that 75-80% of all independent contractors refuse to adhere to normal business practices like filling out an application, abiding by company policies that require good work ethics, they disappear often, and some are so dangerous, they can steal things from a company if they have access to confidential areas. Not to mention, I’ve had independent contractors leave me in a bind in the middle of a project, or get money from me upfront only to NOT finish the project they were responsible for. I know other companies have had similar issues.
With Guru.com I had to cancel several projects (I call them jobs because mine were almost always ongoing positions) because the independent contractor would accept the job and then disappear before even starting, and as far as I know, Guru did nothing about that either.
Another big problem with independent contractors (aka freelancers), is that they claim they have the skills I asked for in the hiring, but most aren’t.
If I had to hazard a guess, maybe 20-30% are actually skilled at what they “claim” to be skilled in, & NO, this has nothing to do with what they charge. They can be high priced, mid ranged, or low priced, my experiences have all been the same.
So, the behavior I encountered from independent contractors on Guru.com was really no different. In fact for the short period of time I dealt with Elance, it was clear that their independent contractors were slightly better. Not always great and I was ripped off by one independent contractor on there, but I did see a difference between independent contractor on Guru.com, and independent contractor on Elance.
Guru gave me attitude almost from the very beginning of my stay there which was around 3 years.
Because I used Guru so often, there were probably 5-7 complaints over a 3 year period. I’m only guessing because I don’t know. I only know how many times I was told someone complained and that was around 4 times, but to give Guru the benefit of the doubt, I used the range above.
I admit that sometimes these independent contractors would get me going trying to blame me instead of taking responsibility for their actions. I’m not one to let people talk to me in that rude disrespectful way, not clients, and ESPECIALLY NOT people looking for jobs, I would speak my mind.
I found that these little babies would run and cry to Guru instead of just going about their business trying to find another job.
This only proves my point that they were very insecure and immature, because they treated me terribly and I rarely ever contacted Guru. I handled the strife within my company where it should stay.
So, the next thing I know, Guru.com is telling me I’m in the wrong and the independent contractors are in the right.
This happened several times.
I once even had an employee of Guru tell me we were too small a company, and we should go elsewhere. She told me that their independent contractors were sooo high end, I would never find anyone there.
I was shocked at how I was being treated by Guru, but I ignored this arrogant, disrespectful woman who would dare treat a client in this way, and I continued to post job openings. I will state that they were never nasty in how they wrote, but the tone as if I was a little child who needed reprimanding from a parent was clearly there.
Another time I found out that Guru didn’t like it when I didn’t rate the independent contractors with 5 stars. I figured this out when an independent contractor wasted my time and the rep at Guru said she agreed with the independent contractor.
I was very nice to this independent contractor, we talked back and forth (this is what irked me, as I had invested a lot of time in her), and then all of a sudden she refused to fill out the application. She then used my ratings as an excuse when she could have CLEARLY seen my profile prior to even bidding on my project.
This spoke volumes about her confidence in herself, but once again, she ran crying to Guru because I was upset and spoke my mind.
Guru.com once again told me that this independent contractor was in the right, and I was wrong.
I never ONCE swore at an independent contractor because that isn’t my style, but I have no qualms telling an immature child looking for a job that I feel they are immature, unprofessional, etc. Perhaps other companies don’t talk this way, but I do because I don’t put on an act. I don’t play games, pretend to be nice while feeling something else, I am open & honest with everyone, it doesn’t matter if you are a friend, team member, partner, child, etc.
Am I jaded, yes, I’ll admit that I am.
I’ve been hiring online for years now and while things are definitely better for us, I still encounter a lot of problems with independent contractors.
So with Guru, I felt like Big Brother was watching me. To my knowledge, not ONCE did Guru ever admonish an independent contractor for how he or she spoke to me or treated me.
I remember back when I was younger, if I EVER spoke to a potential boss like that, the person behind the desk would probably have gotten up and YELLED at me. We didn’t have the balls to talk to someone like that when looking for a job, even if they treated us poorly, and I don’t treat independent contractor poorly, not when I’m screening them, and not when they are working for me.
I believe every team member is part of our family, and I love my team members. I have to be able to get along with them, it’s NOT just about their skill set.
I will admit I don’t have tolerance for people who:
- aren’t very smart
- they live in fear
- they don’t work
- they come up with a whole bunch of lies or excuses, or
- they can’t communicate online well
And that’s another thing I noticed about independent contractor online, very few communicate very very well. I’ve only had a handful that get what I say the first time and I know right away whether they are sharp oron the ball human beings.
So back to Guru, they never even admonished the independent contractors, not when they wasted my time, gave me attitude like you get when you call a company and speak to a customer service rep and you can tell they don’t give a shit? That kind of attitude. Not when I was spammed by some of them with generic cover letters, or responses. Sometimes I had them responding to 3-4 of my open jobs, all with the SAME text. I consider that to be SPAMMING and if there was a word to describe it, I’d use that word instead.
I even had an independent contractor who told me he was an assassin (I don’t scare easily, but this guy scared me) and Guru still did nothing.
Finally after spending what I feel is a lot of money with Guru and employing MANY of their independent contractors, I was banned from the site for once again telling an independent contractor (he was a graphic web designer) that he was unprofessional because he refused to fill out our simple online application.
Just the feeling of thinking you have found someone who’s work you really enjoy, you are ready to get down to work and SUDDENLY they give you attitude about a simple application. He said, “it’s not Worth His Time.” For me that was a shock to my system.
In my opinion, based on Guru’s response, Guru feels that a company’s application is not necessary. That is what I was told, that the independent contractor has the right to refuse filling out an application and while I agree, as I would never force anything upon anyone, I don’t respect people who refuse to adhere to mandatory business practices.
Once again, a lot of independent contractors online feel they are TOO good to fill out an application. I will clarify that this only seems to happen with the following positions:
a) graphic web designers (they are very very difficult to work with)
b) voice overs (depends on what site I find them on, but on sites other than guru.com, a lot understood the need to fill out the application)
c) business consultants (I guess an application is beneath them)
Once again, not all of the freelancers were like this, I just noticed that most in these categories are.
I don’t really talk to other companies who use Guru, but I have heard one other story of how Guru had sided with the independent contractor, and not with the company.
To me it is very clear Guru is a one sided company.
I recently discovered that some independent contractors have complained that Guru is in it ONLY for the money, and when they were banned, Guru didn’t look at each incident on its own merit.
As I mentioned before, I feel that if you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars they won’t do anything to you, but if you are a small company and can’t spend that much, they don’t like it when you speak your mind.
I’m glad I didn’t listen to that one Guru.com employee who told me to get lost. She was lying when she said they didn’t have any freelancers in my price range. She claimed everyone on Guru was of high end quality. I remember her snooty attitude that the independent contractors were kings, and I was just this lowly small company.
After she said that, I came across many independent contractors within our budget.
In my opinion Guru is nasty, and shouldn’t even be in business. They welcome any independent contractor whether they are a flake or not. I think it’s obvious the reason they do that is because they want the money. You see, the independent contractors pay Guru, the companies don’t.
In the last year I’ve barely had any responses to my ads, whereas before I used to get tons, so it seems a lot of independent contractors aren’t on there anymore and now it’s kind of refreshing to be done with them and move on.
Thank you for listening.
P.S. I’m updating this blog entry on 05-19-17 and in the last several years I’ve come across more complaints about guru.com. I don’t keep track of them, but I am subscribed to one thread where there are several complaints.