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Leapforce - Appen

Mission: Help our clients enhance their best-in-class products and services around the world, including search engines, social media platforms, voice recognition systems, sentiment analysis, and eCommerce sites.
Location: Sydney, Australia
Employees: 3812
Funding: Acquired by Appen

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Leapforce - Appen Salaries

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What employees at Leapforce - Appen think about working there

“The exam you have to take to join the team is only 30 questions but the manual is 100 pages? I don't understand why they'd make this process so painful.”
“As a stay at home mom Aspen is amazing! I get to make a pretty good wage and I can choose family first!”
“They advertise you'll be making $13 an hour but thats a complete lie, you're actually paid on a purely task completion basis, and the supervisors determine how long a task should take to complete. Completely arbitrary, not realistic, and false advertisement.”
“It's a great place to work as I get to choose my hours and work from home. I never liked office environments.”
“I go to university and so my schedule really depends on when I have projects to do. Aspen gives me the flexibility to choose my hours and make some extra money.

Leapforce - Appen Glassdoor Themes

Flexible work hours

Like many people I sometimes have difficulty in paying my bills on time (rent just keeps getting more expensive). Being able to work whenever I want online to support my real job really helps me get by.
Compared to many online contracting companies Appen has a pretty consistent workload, but you can't work 8 hours a day. I choose when I work but it's really up to what's available.

Inconsistent, unprofessional communication from supervisors

I was doing the tests online to start working as a flexible worker for Appen. They gave me 3 days to complete the tests, but I had a death in the family and had to ask for an extension. I emailed the supervisor and I got a rude response saying I was terminated... unbelievably unprofessional.
If you have questions that you want to ask your supervisor I wouldn't even bother asking. They don't respond even if you email them multiple times, and when they do they always seem to forget part of your question.

Arbitrary ranking system - quick to be cut

There's 15 different metrics that Appen use to rate the quality of your work and I honestly don't understand them. It seems subjective how they rate you and if you end up dropping below the threshold they force you to do extra unpaid tests.
I see a lot of complaints about Appen's rating system but it makes sense... companies hire them for their consistent quality. If you fall below their metric, take note and work on improving! No work is free money!

What is management like at Appen?

“"My experience with management has been very positive but brusque, exactly the way I want my work at home life to be. Once a month we receive a report that details our progress which evaluates us based on certain metrics. If you're performing below the required levels your politely asked to improve in those areas and are given documentation to support getting better at it. Our contract terms last 6 months, so after the 6 months our term expires and we get an overall evaluation from the supervisor if they'd like to renew the contract. Those two times are the only times I interact with the management team. I love the independent working nature of this position."

"Absolutely the most incompetent supervisors I've had the displeasure of having to report to ever. A bunch of university interns with 0 professionalism, completely clueless project managers that can't respond to your emails on time, and don't have any knowledge of the systems they're supposed to be managing. It's so chaotic I tried to contact other team supervisors or upper management to see if it was just my own manager, but they were just as incompetent. Can't believe a company with such a high valuation can have such ineffective managers, unaware of the procedures of the organization.

After messaging multiple supervisors and managers from different teams I finally got a response apoligizing and saying that he'd look into it. Then I got no response for weeks. Appen management doesn't care about helping you at all, you're just one number of four hundred thousand others."”

What will I do at Appen?

“There are a lot of open positions at Appen but they all relate to evaluating different technology companies algorithms and how people interact with them. I work as a social media evaluator and I review if the news feed, advertisements, and search results make sense after they do changes. It's fun to have an impact on how these companies build their products!”

What skills do you need to work at Appen?

“Appen provides a wide range of documentation to support your learning in evaluating the tech changes. The only skills you need are the willingness to learn, and the ability to manage your own time efficiently.”

How can I make sure I succeed at Appen?

“To succeed at Appen you have to be very concise and engaged for every task. Since you're evaluated on a wide range of metrics, Appen recognizes high performers and promotes them to better paying positions.”

How do companies benefit from Appen?

“"Appen is used by 8 of the top 10 technology companies in the world to make sure their changes to their platforms create better user experiences and provide better information to the end consumer. Appen also supports companies in training their data sets with a well trained staff of over 1 million. Without Appen, many companies would never know how their changes to their algorithms would actually effect their customers until they see traffic decrease or start receiving complaints. By having an on-demand workforce to assess these changes, Appen helps these companies make more robust changes that benefit their customers.

These changes are especially important when you transfer from language to language. Most technology companies don't have staff that speak all the languages of the world to assess the accuracy of translation towards languages. Appen is unbelievably important, not only for companies to be able to reach this audience, but also for people who speak these languages to have equal access to online material. The workforce of Appen evaluates the projects assigned in over 180 languages.

Ultimately, Appens vision is to "empower every culture with language and search technology", which aligns with the visions of many technology companies in giving equal access to information for all."”

What benefits are available at Appen?

Independent contractors receive no benefits! The only perk about working here is you have flexible work hours. If you put in enough hours they offer some PTO but it's pretty low.

What do I have to do to work at Appen?

To work at Appen you have to complete their online tests. After you apply they send you a 4 part practice test, and after completion they send you a 3 part exam. You can apply online through their website.

How often are Appen / Leapforce agents paid?

Technically we're supposed to be paid once every 30 days, but I know many people who have had a lot of trouble getting their payment through them.

What kind of career progression is available at Appen?

“"It was random chance and luck that I found myself working at Appen and I couldn't be happier! They really recognize when you work hard and provide consistent results. I studied really hard, learned the textbook, and over 4 years I've been promoted 3 times. It's really all based on your metrics so if you're able to provide consistent quality with fast turn-around, Appen reocgnizes it and they give higher pay because of it. I'm now a director, something I never thought possible!"

"Everything here is based off metrics that are completely subjective. My supervisor marked me down in one area for a reason I couldn't get out of him and now I have to do extra practice work that isn't paid. I had been performing really well in the last 6 months and was actually looking forward to a promotion. I tried to contact my supervisor about this, recognizing the work that I put in and that I was willing to learn more to be promoted and continue my career at Appen but he didn't even respond.

This really isn't a company that will promote workers. Everything is based off metrics and if you do end up promoted, consider yourself lucky you had a nice supervisor. Honestly can't see how someone gets promoted unless they get lucky."”

About Leapforce - Appen

Leapforce (now part of Appen), was an online platform that connected independent contractors to do reseach based reviews on a variety of technology platforms. By providing technology companies with a panel of available researchers, Appen gives technology companies the ability to get feedback on their search engines, social media platforms, voice recognition systes, sentiment analysis, and eCommerce sites. Appen provides high-quality data tailored to every client to fuel their machine learning and artificial intelligence initiatives.

Founded in 2008, Leapforce was acquired by Appen in 2017 for a reported $105M. Appen was founded in 1996 and has an approximate 300 internal employees and 400 000 flexible workers around the world. With headquarters in Sydney, Australia, Appen operates in over 130 countries in more than 180 different languages and dialects.

Appen is known for being one of the leading flexible at home work environments in the world, consistently receiving the first place award as the best FlexJob (working from home) in the world.

There are no technical requirements to join the panel of contractors, all you need is good internet and the drive to learn.

Values and Beliefs

Appen dedicates itself to providing constant work for people who want to work remote, and by providing companies with highly trained data testers to train their data sets. Appen strives to help bridge the knowledge gap for countries that are underserved because of the language barrier by providing top technology companies with a staff of over 1 million that speaks over 180 different languages to review or translate their content. Appen reviews and Leapforce reviews indicate that besides these values, these companies do not provide adequate support to their freelance staff, nor do they respect the role they play as part of the organization.

Interview Questions

To apply as an independent contractor for Appen, go through their website and apply to the specific positions posted.

There is no strict interview process, instead there is an extensive three part exam. The questions are based on an over 100 page manual, and interviewees report the answers to be very subjective. The test is recognized as being difficult, especially if you're new to the field of critical analysis of search engines, social media, etc..

Each three part exam is timed to be 2-hours. The first part is 31 questions, each having 4 True or False sub-questions (124 True or False questions overall). The other tests have different sections such as questions about excel, word, the difference between web pages and web sites, etc..

The process to complete these tests is pretty intense as prior to the three part exam they provide you with a four part practice exam that you need to complete in 3 days. Only after completing these tests do you receive the actual exam. No one is aware of how the tests are graded as many questions are highly subjective.


Leapforce was founded in 2007 by a group of veteran search engine evaluators and engineers. They recognized the need of companies like Google to evaluate the impact of the changes they made on their algorithms on the search engine results, and the trend of people wanting to work remote from home, and jumped at the opportunity to bridge the gap. With a small initial seed round funding of $200k, Leapforce grew quickly to be acquired by the dominating search engine evaluator Appen in 2017 for $105M. Appen was founded in 1983 to help companies capture and enrich a wide variety of data types. Over the years Appen has expanded to include speech, text, image, and video in over 180 languages accross the globe. Appen partners with the top technology, automotive, eCommerce companies, and governments worldwide.