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Friday, January 6, 2012

Free Spreadsheet - Elance Contractor Analysis and Selection

Hello there. I have good news for you...

I have decided to give you all my spreadsheets freely!

I plan now to post my spreadsheets here on this blog for you to use and enjoy. Some of them are not totally finished, however, you will find that every one of them will be fully functional. Some of them are put together in confusing ways that only I really understand, but I will try to simplify and streamline them for you and make them understandable and include brief instructions over time, if not right away.

These are valuable items to me that I created, used, and still use now. Most of the spreadsheets I post here for you will be tools related to the Freelance world. I have found that these spreadsheets made complex or confusing tasks much more simple. Take a look below at one of my favorites, ECAS. If you are a regular Elance Client, you will probably like this one the most.

Please know that due to it being posted here on the web, there may be certain features and items missing or some text might be out of order. The original version is much more complete. If you want that version, just sign up as a member of this site and leave a comment with your email address included. I will mail you a complete copy. Also, I will try to improve things over time (the look, function, and usability of all spreadsheets).

Other than that I hope that you will please enjoy these creations. I really feel rewarded putting these items together and would feel even better if a lot of people find them useful for their own work / professional tasks. That is one reason why I ask that you feel free to donate so that I will be able to afford spending much more time putting these items together and improving them for you.

Lastly, if you have a request, I am willing to listen and consider fulfilling it. All I ask is that you sign up for membership to this site and then let me know in a comment what type of spreadsheet you would find useful. Those who Donate will really get my attention (after all, doing this type of thing can often be fun for me, but it does take time and energy to do it well. So I need some encouragement and compensation). Leave a full description in your comment. If possible, I will put an item together for you and post it here in the blog. If you also leave your email, I will send you a personal response and the finished spreadsheet if I am able to create it.

Ok, that's enough reading for you now. Get what you need using this spreadsheet instead!

Elance Contractor Analysis and Selection (ECAS) v1.05
First of all, thank you very much for your interest in the ECAS - v1.05 analysis tool. This product was designed out of my own personal need to select the best candidates for my Elance projects.
That is why plenty of thought and effort has been put into the ECAS - because it is something that I myself use to make an accurate analysis of contractors. It is now in your hands as well.
In brief summary, what the ECAS analysis tool does for you is that it quickly and methodically compiles an analysis of the most important stats associated with an Elance contractor.
The ECAS allows you to combine 3 main factors - Level, Rating, and Number of Jobs - into a single Score so that you instantly and accurately decide who is really the best candidate.
ECAS is best designed for Elance but can give you rough Scores of contractors from other sites by using Presets on the Data sheet to estimate what Elance Level any freelancer should have.
Example: If I find an oDesk Contractor whose profile says they have worked 34 jobs, I would roughly estimate their level to be 7 based on the "Expected # Jobs" column in the Presets table.
But isn't selecting the best already easy enough? Since the Elance Level system takes a variety of factors into account, you might assume that the person with the highest level is the best.
However, this would be a mistake. Just like with anything else you do, it's just not that simple. When considering all important factors, a level 5 could be much more valuable than a level 7.
Don't get me wrong, the Elance Level system does have significant value, which is why it is included as a main factor for the Score calculated by the ECAS analysis tool.
However, level is rather limited in its reliability. Most presumably, Elance Level is more likely to indicate the contractors' value to Elance rather than to the Clients that seek to hire them.
Even though many of the factors which influence level are of value to Clients, after doing some research I found that there are some factors that are almost solely of value to the Elance website.
It only makes sense that if factors that are really only of importance to Elance are given considerable weight, then that can greatly reduce the true value you get when hiring.
Simply put, it is perfectly logical that Elance gives some extra Level points to contractors who make them the most money. Not necessarily the contractors who provide the best service.
Well, business is business, right? And, after all, Elance is a business, isn't it?
I am sure that is what Elance thinks.
However, if you don't want to rely on their potentially inaccurate assesments as to who is the best contractor for you, then you will have to explore options other than those that they provide.
Report Board
For the most part, the Report Board is where you view results, not where you enter information. It combines the useful elements of both Reporting and Dashboarding -
by giving vital information for your consideration and also by guiding you as to what your best options are. Hence, the name "Report Board."
The end result is a unique and versitile tool for data comparison and analysis. With the exception of criteria for percentiles, you won't give any input on this sheet.
This is where you read the vital info that you need to make your selection. You can use the Report Board to view contractors in order from highest to lowest score and visa versa.
You can also view contractors based on Level, Rating, and etc. Just click the Radio buttons below the titles. Futher comparison is provided in the form of stat percentiles for each main factor.
Indicators are displayed in each row telling you if an entry falls above, below, or is equal to the percentile you set. Percentiles can be customized by entering the values you personally prefer.
See the lower right area below the main chart. Please note that the High and Low percentiles should add up to be 100%. Example: if you set theHigh for 25%, you will set the Low as 75%.
This means that if you have 20 entries total, the 4 highest values will be indicated as "High" (25% of 20 = 5), and the remaining 16 values will be indicated as being "Low" (75% of 20 = 15).
Each of these are set to 50% by default.
The Data sheet is where you enter stats and information of contractors. If you wish, you may only enter Level, Rating, and Jobs. This is enough to do a full calculation.
Any other information is for your records or convenience. There are Presets below the main chart. There you can adjust values for the expected number of Jobs for a given Level.
Please know that these settings have a significant effect on the calculation of Score and you should leave them at their default settings unless you are sure your input is more accurate.
The Calc worksheet displays raw, unformatted information that is referenced by the Report Board. You can look at it if you wish to see the numbers in plain text.
Current Version - 1.05
Version Updates:
* Minor edit to the Score formula to make the values occupy a smaller range (usually single and double digit numbers instead of double and triple)
* Changed Score values to include decimal numbers to make small, nearly matching scores unique
* Instruction Sheet changes - placed some additional descriptive information, made minor formatting changes, and updated contact details
* Added a logo image that contains a hyperlink to a newly created blog that is related to the ECAS Tool -
* Repositioned the Score columns on all sheets to appear as the second column within its chart
If you have any questions about the spreadsheet, don't hesitate to ask. I won't give out any formulas, but I will help out in just about any other way that I can.
Please feel free to send me your comments and suggestions also. I would love to know what you think.
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