The problem with freelancers on Dribbble

For the last few weeks I’ve been trying out Dribbble’s freelancer board to find a UX designer. It costs nothing to post and looks pretty good. 77 new jobs posted today.

Job posts are typically brief - so I added a short para about the role and put it out there. Within 24 hours there were 100 replies in my inbox. Great response, or so I thought!

After investigation, many of the responses were spammy or not even appropriately targeted for what we were doing.

I decided to re-write the posting with some basic screening criteria. Just reply with:

  1. your location (I often see global or remote profiles - not helpful!)
  2. your day rate, and
  3. a URL to one of your Figma designs
    A pretty low bar for getting to the stage 2.

I also hooked a Zapier+Airtable workflow to automate and analyse the responses.

76% of the responses to our Dribbble post failed the simple screening check, 51% had applied to my previous posting, and of those 68% reused exactly the same message text. A few even had their own automated workflow with drip responses.

So it appears Dribbble's freelancer board has a super a low signal to noise ratio - 24% signal : 76% noise.

If they wanted to solve this they should limit the number of jobs a freelancer can apply for each day. At the moment it's a mess and really difficult and overwhelming to use - unless you decide to build out your own automated Zapier workflow like I did.

The good news is that I've found three really promising candidates from this - so there's some gems out there if you're willing to put in the time.

One last thought, while background checking the stage 2 folks, I was struck by how many LinkedIn profiles had job title changes to "UX Designer" in April 2020. Clearly a lot of pandemic-related retraining at online bootcamps fuelled by stories like this https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/08/how-a-29-year-old-single-mom-earning-75000-dollars-in-nyc-spends-her-money.html

I'd be interested in hearing other experiences of this.

  1. 2

    Hilarious. They started using automation against you, and having bots to autorespond and DRIP at you. So you started using a kind of 2FA and automation against them.

    Platforms that can't enforce a human-to-human only conversation are going to lose their value exactly as you describe. Conversations become bot-to-bot.

    1. 1

      The irony is that if a freelancer uses untargetted lead gen then the leads they get will be unsuitable and it just wastes everyone’s time including their own. I guess there’s a scenario whereby the freelancer may convince a naive client and bill them for the short term. But yeah, either way this feels really low value.

  2. 1

    I've had the same experience using Dribble and Behance. Got better success on Fiverr and Upwork.

  3. 1

    I personally haven't posted a job yet on Dribbble, so this is good to know before I attempt to post any work there!

  4. 1

    I have got spammy work request, three. All three were spam...

  5. 1

    That's the issue with all the marketplaces so far. And on Dribble, Behance there are lots of faked designers who just copy other's works and claim as theirs on their profile.

    My agency focuses on web/app development but we have a pretty good designer so if you interest feel free to drop me a message.

  6. 1

    I was totally screwed after posting in fiverr. Completely hated by spams and automated messages with same text for all. You said it brilliantly, they should limit the number of responds that a freelancer could do in a day so that they will do it valuable.

    1. 1

      Sorry to hear that man. Good news is you’re wise to it now and won’t get caught again.

      1. 1

        Yeah, finally i got one from my linkedIn network. It was for a UX design.

  7. 1

    For that reason, we have built the https://hiretheverified.com, verified freelancers only. Currently, you can find the mobile developers only,

    1. 1

      Looks interesting! I couldn’t find anything on Pricing/costs. They don’t appear in your FAQs.

      1. 1

        oh. Adding it Asap. Currently, pricing is $10/profile.

  8. 1

    I have tried twice with dribbble, looking for a graphic artist freelancer and UI/UX designer. It works better for creative tasks, like graphic design, etc. For UI/UX design, I didn't get any good candidates from dribble. But I have got some good candidates from upwork. On Upwork, you can see the past projects, success rates, feedback, portfolio, etc.

    1. 1

      Ah that’s an interesting take. I’m very familiar with Upwork but thought I’d get better success using a platform that’s dedicated for design. Agree that a freelancer reputation is much more transparent on there. I feel there’s huge range in the quality of candidates. Plus I really dislike that I’m paying 20% of the rate to Upwork. I’d rather go direct.

      1. 1

        Yeah, I agree 20% sucks.

        After you have found and worked with a candidate that you like, it is not too difficult to skip any job platform if you don't need the milestone/feedback/escrow service to control the quality.

        I do hope there is a better and cheaper way to find qualified creative freelancers. Maybe that is an opportunity for an indie hacker:-)

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