Thursday, August 22, 2013

How to be a successful Leapforce Agent



That’s great, you’ve been given a 6 month contract to begin working as a Leapforce Agent, now what happens?   After all your online “paperwork” is completed you can start working and earning money.

Much of the work you will do will be just like the applied part of the qualification exam.  Occasionally when there isn’t much work available, you will see some odd tasks in your Evaluation platform.  These tasks will have their own instructions to follow.  If the task is not very complicated the instructions will appear above the task itself.  If it is a complex task there will be a link to a pdf document that you can read to learn how to complete the task.  I recommend leaving the pdf open on your computer while you do the task, that way you can quickly refer to it when needed.

How to get good review scores

Leapforce reviews its agents’ performance monthly.  Most novice agents worry about getting good reviews.  There is a good chance that your first reviews won’t be very good.  Leapforce is aware of this and they will give you time to improve, but they do expect to see improvement in the first few months.  Leapforce will provide detailed explanations of their reviews of your evaluations.  When you get your review read the explanations carefully and learn from them.  There are also simulations on your rater home page that you can do to improve your skills.

You may occasionally disagree with the reviewer on how they interpreted the intent of the query, but you can’t argue about it so just learn from it and move on.  To be successful you have to learn how to think the way Leapforce thinks.  In order to get consistent ratings from all their workers they need us to all be thinking the same way, they aren’t looking for individuality.

How to monitor your speed

Another issue of concern to new workers is how to be sure that you are working fast enough.  Leapforce will have you change the time on your invoice if you work slower than their average time estimate.  But they don’t measure the time spent on each task individually, rather it is an average of all the tasks you’ve done in a month divided by the estimated time that should have been spent on all of those tasks.  So if you go too slow on some tasks it will even out as long as you work fast on others. 

It is difficult to keep track of your time while also trying to research and rate the webpages in your task. So it is best to not try to keep track of your time, but just be sure you are working efficiently. 

Some tips for working efficiently


  •   Have everything you need nearby before you login to start work
  •  Minimize distractions, turn off the phone, make sure everyone else in the house knows you are not to be disturbed when you are working
  • If you find a fascinating website or video that you must spend more time on – bookmark it and come back later when you are not working
  •  If something happens and you have to stop working for more than a few minutes, log out and log back in later
  • If a particular type of task takes you consistently longer to do than their estimate, don’t do that type of task unless there is no other choice, or at least don’t do those very often

What to do if there isn’t enough work for you on Leapforce

Leapforce does have slow periods when there isn’t much work available.  We agents have no control over that, but there are things you can do to maximize the amount of work you are offered.

  • Keep your review scores above average
  •  Always try to qualify for any new project they announce.  Leapforce will often give agents the opportunity to qualify for new projects.  Qualifying means learning new instructions and guidelines and doing some tasks that are evaluated to see if you can follow the guidelines.  Although this can result in time spent reading the guidelines without pay, if you qualify you will have more work available to you than if you didn’t try to qualify.  The more tasks you are qualified to do, the more work will be offered to you.
  •  Have a back-up plan like Mechanical Turk, Clickworker or freelancing to supplement your income when Leapforce work is not available.

Keeping in mind that I can’t discuss the specifics of how to complete particular tasks, is there anything that you would like me to discuss on the blog?

Thanks for reading Leaving Low Wages!

39 comments:

  1. Hi Janice,
    Great post with lots of information (especially for a newbie like me)! I was wondering, are you allowed to work for Leapforce and MTurk at the same time?

    Also, which is more important to Leapforce: Quality of the rating or Time it takes to complete tasks?

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    1. Hi Monica,

      Thanks for your questions. There is no problem working for Mturk too, the only thing you can not do when working for Leapforce is talk about the guidelines or how to do specific tasks. Mturk has many different types of tasks you can do, some are similar to Leapforce but will have different instructions. There are also writing assignments and taking surveys, which are the ones I do most often. I use Mturk as backup when there are no tasks for me on Leapforce.

      Quality is definitely most important as far as their review of your work. But you can't take too much time; if you go too slowly they will ask you to revise the time reported on your invoice, and you will be paid less. They will only pay for the amount of time they estimate that it should take you to do the work. They have to monitor our time this way because they can't physically see whether we are working or watching a music video or checking facebook.

      I hope this helps. Feel free to ask if you have more questions.

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  2. Hi, I've started to look around for a freelance/at-home job to work on while I'm at school and came across your blog. I saw that Clickworker offers translation jobs, which is what I'm specifically looking for, but I don't quite understand what the tasks are that Leapforce offers? Is there any way you could explain them to me without explaining how to do them? Or maybe you know of other companies who specialize in translation?

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  3. Hi Laila,

    Leapforce doesn't offer translation work, but they are interested in hiring people who can evaluate webpages in languages other than English. The main thing a Leapforce agent does is evaluate how well a webpage satisfies a users query. For example, if someone typed "Lady Gaga" into the search box, they are most likely looking for current information about her or a music video. A Leapforce agent will be given several webpages to look at and decide how well they would satisfy someone interested in Lady Gaga. The best pages would be her personal website, the latest music video, or some very current news about her.

    The only other places I know of where you can get translation work are freelance sites like Odesk and Elance. On those sites you can post information about your translation skills and have others offer you jobs. Or you can look for translation jobs and apply for them.

    Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

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  4. Hi,

    Thanks for the article. I just started today and I have to admit the work I've been doing had me a little confused from time to time and worried I'd get bad reviews!

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    1. It is confusing when you are just starting. And you may get a bad review but they are more lenient with newbies. Be sure to go over your evaluation when you get it, there will be useful explanations of how they want things rated, use the evaluation to guide your future work and you will do fine.

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  5. Hey, ty for your input!
    I was wondering about the stability of this job... I mean, after 6 months, you will probably get fired? Or not necessarily?

    Is it possible to work for like 2, 3 years straight as an agent of Leapforce?

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    1. I suppose it depends on your performance. My contract was just renewed again and I've been working for them for 3 years now. If you do a good job, they keep you on. The experienced workers produce the best results for them so it benefits Leapforce to keep good workers rather than try to keep training new ones.

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  6. Hi Janice,
    Since you've been working with the company for awhile I was wondering, is there any way you can avoid rating porn sites? Do they warn you that a site might be pornographic before you work on it? I would like to avoid all porn sites at all cost for religious purposes but I do like all the other aspects of the job. Also is there a particular time of the day or time of the year where the task volume is the most high? Your answer will greatly help me thanks!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Its not completely fool-proof but they do ask you if you are willing to rate porn sites when you first start working. I told them "no", but I have encountered a few porn sites anyway.
      If you have said you don't want to rate porn you can release the task without any negative consequences if one shows up. They seem to have gotten better about keeping them out of my work in the past year or so. I to occasionally see an ad for porn in the side bar of a forum site that is not porn in itself. So I don't think they can keep them out of your work completely but you can release them, you don't have to rate them.

      I'm not certain if there is a particular time of day when task volume is high, but in the summer and around the Christmas/New Year holidays the volume is usually low.

      Hope that helps.

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  7. Janice, do you know if there is any way of getting a warning message (an e-mail or something), each time a new task is available?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Unfortunately no. They don't have that function available, it would be great though.

      Delete
  8. I'm going to be taking the test soon. (fingers crossed) I was wondering if there were any suggestions out there on anti virus/anti spyware programs? (preferably free options) I was also wondering if computer security has been much of an issue for anyone while working? Thanks. I really like this page, very informative. : )

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I don't have any suggestions on free anti virus programs, maybe someone else has. I installed Norton and it has blocked many virus attacks while working on Leapforce. You definitely need to have a good one, you never know what you are clicking on when doing your work.

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    2. Avast. It's what I use and I've never had a problem.

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  9. On average how many hours a week do you do?

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    1. I have a full time job too, so I don't do as much as a lot of folks, I average about 10 hrs/week.

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  10. Do you have tips on how to better understand each rating category? Breakdown and examples

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    1. I can't discuss specifics about rating on this blog because of my confidentiality agreement with Leapforce. If you are studying for the qualification exam, study the examples they give in the guidelines. If you are already working for Leapforce there are tools in your rater homepage to help you understand the rating categories. I'm working on a post that discusses the new tools they have to improve your performance; check back in a few days

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  11. Thank you so much for posting this Janice. Can you please explain a bit more how to keep track of hours worked. I just started and it says I'm level 1 and can't go over an hr per day. What is the best way of keeping track, will task automatically stop being available after the estimated time adds up to 1hr?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I haven't been on restricted time so I'm not sure if tasks will automatically stop being available. Maybe someone else reading the blog can answer that.

      I use "online stopwatch" at http://www.timeanddate.com/stopwatch/ to keep track of my time. I just open it in a separate tab. I believe if you click on "alarm options" you can set it to beep you when it reaches 1 hour.

      Work on doing a good rating job and soon you won't have to worry about being restricted. Good Luck!

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  12. Hey Janice!
    I just completed a month with the Yukon project as a new rater and I submitted my Invoice wrong. I was counting the number of physical hours it took to complete a set of tasks instead of counting the allotted time of each task. I have since resubmitted and they told me it make take up to 30 days to get paid. *Depressing*. can it take up to 30 days to get paid even if I hadn't made any mistakes or am I being penalized? I thought a first time rater would get some sort of break.
    If you can please help me understand how to invoice hours I would appreciate it very much. Each task has an estimated time at the top of the page that required to complete the task. Do we add all these times up at the end of the day and make it the number of hours worked that day? What if the tasks take more or less time? Please help me.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'm not sure if I'm understanding what happened but it sounds like you submitted the invoice correctly but you just took longer to do the tasks than their estimated time. That is something that can happen to new raters, it takes a while to get up to speed. When you take longer than Leapforce thinks you should have they ask you to revise your invoice. I had to do this a couple of times and I think I still got paid within the same month, they aren't penalizing you.

      The way you keep your time is to note the time when you begin working and again when you stop working. I use the stopwatch function on: http://www.timeanddate.com/stopwatch/ As you become a more experienced rater you should get faster and you will be completing tasks within the time they expect you to and it won't be a problem.

      I hope that helps

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  13. During the tracking of my hours, I would record physical hours. for work example: 6pm to 7pm instead of tracking number of minutes on each task. Are we suppose to tally the total estimated time for each task or what to give hours worked per day. How do you calculate hours worked per day..may that will help me understand more..

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    1. You are correct, you record the total amount of time you worked. The estimated time for each task is only for your information, it tells you what Leapforce expects from raters. Leapforce won't pay for a lot of extra time from what they expect it will take raters to do their work. they don't want to pay us if we get side tracked watching youtube videos instead of doing our rating work and then try to charge them for time we are not working. So if you record more time on your invoice than Leapforce thinks you should have taken they will ask you to revise your invoice. As you get more experience rating your speed will improve to the point where this will not longer be an issue.

      I use the stopwatch function I mentioned above, I start it when I start working and stop it when I'm finished for the day (or that session) If I work more than one session per day I just add up the hours & minutes and record that on my invoice.

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  14. Ok, I think I almost got it. Hypothetically, lets say I have 4 tasks that are 15min. estimated time each. Will this equate to 1 hour worth of work even though, as a new rater it took me lets say, 30 minutes each task? To say out of trouble, wouldn't I just invoice for 1 hour despite it taking me longer? And If it took me less than an hour overall, why would I just invoice for an hour to make the extra money, since they gave me an hr for all 4 task?
    I am sorry to bug you about this, but you're the only person that seems to break it down for me, I've emailed the time and time again, but they just copy and paste stuff from the guild lines and are very vague in the explanations. I really enjoy making extra money and I'm trying not to mess this up.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I think the reason they are only replying with quoting the guidelines is that they want you focusing on doing the rating correctly and learning it well enough that you are doing it within the amount of time they allow.

      As you become more experienced you will probably be rating faster than the time they allow and if you invoice for the amount of time they allow, but you took less time than that your time won't match with their records. They know how long you are signed in to the server and working on tasks so your time has to match that record too.

      Don't try to game the system, it is much easier to just record your actual time working and you will get in less trouble when you are being honest. Instead of worrying about this, work on getting more experienced at rating and improving your time at completing tasks. When you get more experience some tasks will take a little longer and others will take less time than they allow and it will all average out in the end.

      Bugging me is OK, but I really thing you will be better off not worrying about it.

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  15. Hi Janice! I've been wandering how hard or difficult the tasks are that you agents get to do at leapforce?

    Search Engine Evaluator? I mean Comparing search query results based on their relevance sounds so easy on paper. So I just wanna know how difficult the task really is.
    On a scale of 1 to 10, how much would you rate the difficulty of the task?

    Are there other different tasks also other than evaluating search results?

    Keep sharing and let's leave the low wages ! :)

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    1. Its hard to say how hard the tasks are, I've been doing it for over 3 years so its relatively easy for me, but I remember that it seemed hard at first. So I guess I'd give it about a 5. Some are easier to do than others.

      Yes, there are other tasks besides evaluating search results. There aren't as many other types of tasks, most of them seem to be related to helping develop algorithms to help smartphones understand queries when people speak it into the phone. And sometimes the tasks are so weird its hard to figure out what they are using the data for.

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  16. Hi Janice, i've just passed the yukon exam and i'm very excited about it.

    I have some questions: Do you had some restriction imposed by them about the time spent at the first months? (you could only work 5h per week or something else)

    And the amount of tasks, there are plenty sufficient? I'm willing to work 40+ hours per month, is it possible?

    ty since now

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    1. Congratulations! Yes, when you first start out you are in a training period, I don't know what the limit is but you won't get as much work until you demonstrate you can do a good job. I think its probably more than 5hr per week though. They do not allow anyone to work over 40hr per week. I haven't tried to work that much but I often work over 20 hrs in a week. There are some slow periods usually around Christmas/New Years and over the summer, during those times you might not have as much work as you'd like.

      The best way to ensure that you have plenty of work is to keep the quality of your work high.

      Good luck!

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  17. Hi Janis, thank you for all your postings and responding to all the comments, this is a very helpful blog. I recently took the the test and past the first 2 parts and will be waiting until this Friday or Saturday to see if I have passed the 3rd part of the exam. I see that you have tried a few other work at home companies, and sorry if this has been a redundant question, but what would you say is the next best company to work from home to LeapForce? Thanks again!

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    1. Thanks for your comments. Of the work at home companies I've talked about on the blog Leapforce has paid the best for me. I've heard of Lionbridge which has similar work, but I haven't tried applying with them. What I've heard is that they pay more but have tougher requirements to work for them. For now I'm happy with Leapforce.

      Good luck!

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  18. Hello Janice. I just started to work with Leapforce about a week and still at level one web evaluator. So I'm only allowed to do the task limited for an hour. I was sort of wondering if there's a way I can speed up to level up? And one more question, can I be like working for clickworker along, is it gonna violate their policy?

    Thank you

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    1. Thanks for your question. There is no quick way to level up, everyone goes through a probation period. The best thing you can do is be diligent about following the guidelines. You will level up faster if you do good work. After the first month you will get an evaluation of your work, there will be explanations of how they wanted each page rated, read them and make notes to yourself if you need to. Also you can participate in Leapforce Live, a live chat, on Thursday mornings and ask specific questions. You can learn a lot from this chat session. If you can't make it while it's live there are transcripts you can read - look under the Social tab for it.

      You can work for Clickworker as well, the types of tasks they have and the guidelines are different, there would be no conflict.

      Best of luck to you and thanks for reading my blog!

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  19. Hi Janice,

    Is it possible to use different computers and internet connections while working with Leapforce. I travel within my country and wish to work from different locations. Is that possible with leapforce?

    Does leapforce track our ip address for verifying our work? or is work tracked based on deadlines met?

    Regards,
    Aarti

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure if Leapforce cares about that. I remember reading that they don't want you working in public, because they want to keep the process of what we do private, but working in hotel rooms might be OK. Maybe another reader can answer that question. If not you might want to email Leapforce directly and ask.

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  20. Hi Janice! First off, thank you for these blog posts. They've been really helpful to me during the application process. I finished the third part of the LF exam earlier this week and it made me a little nervous about the amount of time I was taking. When you begin a task, is there any indication given how long LF expects the task to take? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Sarah. I don't think the time you take matters when you are taking the exam, but it will matter when you are working for Leapforce. When you are working for them you will see on the top of the screen the estimated time it should take you to complete the task. This will be averaged over all of the tasks of that type that you do, so you don't have to worry about how long you take on each individual task, but you do have to average out at their expected time.

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