Review: Is There Any Merit in Training and Trying for iSoftStone?

Although much of my freelancing career has centered around writing and transcription, I’ve developed more of an interest in quality assurance/search engine evaluation/microtasks in the last few years. It all started when such opportunities were offered via the late, great, Demand Media Studios. Then, I found out about Amazon MTurk, then UHRS. I tried OneSpace, too, for a millisecond. For more on those, check out my related blog posts:

I prefer to not use my phone for these sorts of opportunities, so I don’t know what it’s like to work for two of the more well-known search evaluation companies, Lionbridge and Appen.

Now it’s time to discuss another company that has regularly advertised search engine evaluation sorts of jobs for freelancers, iSoftStone. I started the application process for them at least 5 or 6 years ago, and didn’t follow through with it because the whole system seemed askew, for lack of a better term, and it was difficult to get any sort of timely response from their support team.

Fast forward to the present, and I noticed in my travels through freelance job opportunities that they were looking for Online Ad Evaluators. The advertisement was well-written/comprehensive, so I figured things had gotten more cohesive on their end, and decided to apply…

Be prepared to wait.

Like most companies who hire for various opportunities on a rolling basis, your location will dictate what’s available – they seem to go by country. The moment you land on the iSoftStone website, you can use their search form to filter the available jobs and proceed accordingly. Make sure you have a Live ID, because that’ll be needed to log into the platform they use. If you’re not sure how to create one, just follow the prompts HERE using whatever email address you’ve delegated for this sort of work, be that Gmail, etc.

The signup/registration process isn’t all that complicated – all you need to provide is the basic contact information, details about the computer you’ll be using for the work (it’s age and operating system). Your resume is optional, but recommended – I included mine as part of my application.

Speaking of that, three days after applying, I received an email that detailed the job, how much it would pay per hour, along with an NDA to sign if I decided to proceed with the testing. I filled out the NDA, and got an email a little over two weeks later with information on the testing process, which, ideally, needed to be completed within 5 days.

It’s all in the details.

I was sent a 44-page PDF with guidelines and examples, as well as a sign-in protected link to a video that was a little over 52 minutes long. I read the guidelines as carefully as I could, noting the general trends of what constituted one rating as opposed to another. The video, I admit I didn’t pay all that much attention to, since it was a walkthrough of how to use the platform, and said platform is easy enough to navigate around without much direction.

There were a bunch of (unpaid) tasks to complete within that 5-day timeframe, with an accuracy score percentage detailing the chances of, ultimately, being offered a contract (as an independent contractor). Thinking I was ready, I started working on the tasks, which give immediate feedback as to whether my answers were right or wrong. Well, they were all wrong…no matter how closely I followed the rating rubric, it just wasn’t working out.

I could see where this one was going with the unrealistically high expectations. iSoftStone had definitely improved, yet it still wasn’t an opportunity I wanted to continue with. That being said, perhaps someday another one of their assessing jobs will be more manageable for me, so I’m keeping my profile on the site for the time being, though there’s the option of permanently deleting my profile if I so choose. For now, I’d say that this sort of opportunity might be worthwhile for someone with a highly analytical mind who can understand this company’s rationale. If you think that might be you, you can search for their current opportunities HERE.

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