Monday, October 26, 2015

Develop These Mental Qualities to Increase Your Success with Leapforce

People ask all the time for tips on how to pass the entrance exam.  I can’t tell you the answers or give you a formula to follow that will help you pass, but I can give you some ideas of the way Leapforce wants you to think about webpages.  They are looking for people who can follow detailed instructions, turn off their own biases and analyze webpages based on the guidelines you are given.

To be successful as a Leapforce agent you can’t look at the internet the same way as a casual user; you have to try to understand what the user wants to see when they issue a query, you then have to try to understand what the creator of the webpage intended to convey, then analyze how well the webpage served the user.  To do that well you have to dig deeper and think more critically than the casual user.

Here are some of what I believe to be the most important mental qualities for a Leapforce agent:

Understanding – ability to get inside the head of the user.  Probably the hardest part of evaluating search results is figuring out what the user wants when they type in a query.  Some queries are straightforward and easy to understand; others are vague or outright impossible to grasp.  How do you interpret something like this (a query I actually had to rate): “Knuckles when I was young”?  How about: “je”?  Or: “anchors tow”?  Your job is to figure out the most likely interpretation of these queries.  Sometimes it’s an individual thing and you can’t figure it out, sometimes if you play around with words a little you can find something online that is similar and may be what the user meant.  You have to use your imagination and understanding of people to try to work out these puzzles.

Skepticism. Don’t trust everything you read on the internet.  You have to be skeptical about every website you visit.  Does it really have the authority to make its claims?  For instance, I was rating a page by a “Dr” about uses of an herbal supplement.  I tried to find out what kind of doctor he is, there was nothing on the site stating his qualifications or even if he really is a doctor.  If you can’t find that information, what does it say about him?  To me it says he’s not the kind of doctor we would want to take advice from.

Attention to detail.  Does the page give the user the latest information or is it outdated?  Is it about the latest version of the software or device the user is asking about? Is there something else with a similar name that is not showing up on the search results, but may be what the user wants? If the user gave very specific details in the query, do the results match exactly?

Curiosity – willingness to dig deeper to understand the query, willingness to go beyond the search results that are given to see if there is something even better.  What would happen if you search for it a slightly different way?

I hope this will help those of you about to take the exam, or those thinking about applying.  This is the way Leapforce hopes you will be thinking when you work for them.  Good luck in your efforts.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Explaining the Leapforce Qualification Exam

Updated Information on the Leapforce Qualification Exam

I’ve been working for Leapforce for 3 years now, but recently I was unable to work for a couple of months.  Leapforce really is serious about the requirement that agents work at least 200 tasks per month or they may remove your authorization to work.  

That is what happened to me; however, they did give me the opportunity to re-qualify and get back to work.  This is great for my blog readers because now I can give an update on the way the current qualification exam is conducted.

The exam is given in 3 separate parts; you must pass each part in order before you are allowed to go on to the next part.  You will receive an email outlining basic information about each part, however I can tell you some things that the email doesn’t.

Note: As needs change, Leapforce changes the methods of evaluation and when that happens the Qualification Exam will also change.  So the information in this post is only true of the exam that exists at the time of this writing.  It will change some day in the future. The exam today is VERY different from what it was like when I originally took it three years ago. 

The main thing that has changed in the last year is that you must begin rating pages from a mobile device user's perspective by rating pages on your own smartphone.  If you don't have a smartphone and don't want to get one, you can't work for Leapforce.

Part 1 Theoretical

The email you receive says that the Theoretical part consists of (one email says 32 but its really) 33 questions.  This is misleading, each question has 4 parts and you must answer each part so it is in effect 132 questions. 

They aren’t trick questions, but some can be tricky, so take your time and read them carefully.  You are allowed to refer to the guidelines while taking the exam and I recommend that you do.  

You should plan on taking at least an hour to complete this portion of the exam. Once you have submitted the last page of questions the evaluation platform will display the following message:
No tasks are currently available. Please try again later.
In my case, within about 10 minutes of submitting the last page of questions I received email notice that I passed Part 1 of the exam.  The next batch of tasks will take a few hours to show up on your evaluation platform, so take a break while you are waiting.
Part 2 Page Quality
In this section you will evaluate a webpage, fill out the online form that is only mentioned in the guidelines, and give your rating of the page. 
As with Part 1, you are allowed to refer to the Guidelines while doing the evaluation.  It is advisable that you use this resource.  Take your time and think about what you are doing.  How well does this page achieve its purpose?
Note: the email about Part 2 that you receive says: Comments within the tasks are not required for the exam and will not be read. However, if you don’t put anything in the comments box when you submit the task you may get an error asking you to comment. So if this happens just put something in the comments box and hit Submit again.
You do not have to complete this part of the exam all in one sitting.  You can take a break by hitting the "Submit and Stop Rating" button when you are ready to submit your rating.  The rest of the tasks will be there when you sign in again.
When I took the exam there were fewer than 10 pages that I was required to evaluate.  After submitting my last rating, I received an email within about 10 minutes stating that I had passed Part 2.
Part 3 Send to Device  
This is a relatively new way of evaluating pages for Leapforce.  When Google decided that webpages should be mobile friendly if they want to be ranked highly on search engine results, Leapforce began evaluating webpages based on how mobile users see them.  The most recent change has been that agents are now evaluating pages directly on their smartphones.  So now in order to be a Leapforce agent you must have an internet enabled smartphone.
To complete this part of the exam you must follow the instructions carefully, there will be a link to a video in your email notice that you passed part 2.  Watch it, do what it says and you should have no technical problems with the tasks.
Note: Here’s a trick if the User Location map doesn’t display properly on the task page (this is a glitch that has always been there and hasn’t been fixed).  If you have a blank map at the top of the task page, hit the back arrow button at the top next to the page address:
This will pop you out of the task, but you will still be on the Evaluation Platform.  There it will say: "Incomplete Tasks" and next to that will be a Continue button.  Click on Continue and your task will come back along with a usable user location map.
Again, you don’t have to complete all of Part 3 in one sitting.  You can use the "Submit and Stop Rating" button to take a break and complete the other tasks later.
You can also refer to the Guidelines while completing Part 3, and you would be wise to do so.
When you have submitted the last task on your exam the only notice you will have is the message:
No tasks are currently available. Please try again later.
This time you will have to wait longer to learn whether you have passed the exam depending on when you finish the last task. For some reason Leapforce waits until after the due date and time before they will let you know whether you have passed.  I got my notice on the morning after the due date.  You won’t be able to start work immediately, once they have all your paperwork and permissions in order you will receive another email letting you know when you can start working.
Much of what is in my older post Leapforce Qualification Exam Advice is still valid, so take a look at it too. You may also like my original post on Leapforce and my 2nd Year Update. Also my latest post on the mental qualities that Leapforce is looking for may help you when taking the exam.

Good luck on your exam!