How to hire, a step by step guide
- Determine Skills
First, you need to identify the key skills required to do the tasks you want to outsource. Just like with any other job posting, this is a very important step in the process to ensure that applicants can be filtered down to specific characteristics.
- Create Job Description
The job description will have to outline exactly what tasks you want to outsource. The more specific you can be the better, and this should include any software systems that are required.You also want to list the skills required from step 1 above. It’s also helpful if you list these as must-have and nice-to-have skills. This will later help in screening all the applications.You also want to define a few questions upfront that you would like them to answer as part of their application. The questions should be directly related to the tasks and skills you require and will help you better screen the applicants.
- Post Job Description
There are quite a few places where you can post job advertisements. Two of the most common ones are Upwork.com and OnlineJobs.ph. While the systems they use are quite different, they essentially allow you to set up an employer profile and then post job offers.These are then viewable by applicants who can directly apply for the job on the respective systems. You then receive a message for each one and you’re ready for the next step.
- Screen Applicants
No matter what service you use for posting the job, you will likely receive dozens of applicants. You don’t want to waste time interviewing every single one of them, and there are two steps you can do to narrow your list down to less than 5.First, come up with 5 to 10 general questions you would like the applicants to answer. Then create a submission form using Google Forms and send this to all the applicants, asking for a response by a certain date.Once you have received responses you can view all the applicants answers in a convenient spreadsheet. Then it comes down to highlighting those where the answers closely match your expectations. The result should be a short list of people who you will interview in the next step.
- Interview Top Candidates
The only main difference to interviewing a VA is that this process will take place on video chat, most likely Skype, rather than in person.You will want to prepare some questions about the applicant’s CV, answers provided from the screening step and try to get a conversation flowing.The idea is to find out how many of the required skills they have, and whether you’re able to build a rapport within that relatively short conversation. Your final decision should come down to a mix of verified skills and a personal impression you got from the interview.
- Make An Offer To The Top Candidate
Once you have chosen your top applicant, then it’s time to offer them the job. Generally, you would aim to have a 2 to 4-week trial period to make sure that they are able to do the work and that they work well with you and your organisation.The offer should also include the hourly rate and an agreement over the pay period. Initially these can be weekly, but it’s most common to offer paying twice a month after the initial trial.
- Train For Systems And Processes
Once you have chosen the right person from all candidates and they have accepted, it is time to make sure they get the necessary training.The best way to do this is a combination of Skype and screen sharing where you can show them exactly the process for each individual task.When you have shown the task process on screen, then it’s best to have them demonstrate that they have understood the process and individual steps. That way you avoid any confusion.This training process can take a few weeks to complete depending on how many different tasks you are outsourcing.Make sure you plan and prepare for this training in advance by having fully documented processes.
- Monitor Assignments
It’s best practice to create an assignment list with daily, weekly and monthly tasks that you want to have complete with a deadline for each.As each task is completed your VA should notify you, or maybe send a short daily report about what has been worked on and what has been completed.This way you can keep track of and review completed assignments to make sure that it is done to your expectations. In the first couple of weeks you should pay close attention in order to fine tune the process and make sure that all steps are followed and completed.
- Provide Feedback
All forms of feedback are very important to ensure a good working relationship with your new assistant. If you find mistakes in the work that is being done, then make sure you approach it in the right way by presenting it in a constructive way.Having such a feedback loop established from the start is very important as it creates a way for you to provide advice and updates and the VA to ask any questions.Even once you think your VA has mastered the tasks and can work independently, you want to make sure you have regular weekly meetings. Even if it’s just a quick conversation about upcoming assignments, it’s a good practice to have with people who work remotely.As you can see from this high-level guide to hiring remote assistants there is quite a lot involved before you can start freeing up some of your time.You may even need to go through this process a few times if you don’t succeed in finding the right person first time around.
Be Prepared For The First Couple Of Weeks
What a lot of people don’t plan for enough is the time it will take to do the on-boarding and training.
You might think that as soon as you hire someone you can start planning to do other more productive tasks from the first week.
This is not the case, and a common mistake.
Until your VA is fully trained, you will have to factor in that you will continue doing the admin tasks, plus you need the time to spend on training.
This means that for the first few weeks you will likely end up working more hours, before you start seeing your time being freed up.
You also have to account for dealing with questions that might come up in the first few weeks.
These can take up a bit of time but are very important to deal with immediately to ensure that your business processes are observed.
By carefully planning the training phase and handing over tasks one by one, you can ensure that this critical part of the process runs smoothly and effectively. And always keep in mind that it is a temporary stage and if done right will pay off a lot in just a few weeks.
How Do You Pay Your VA?
The hourly rate and payment dates should be part of the hiring step where you make an offer to an applicant.
VAs in the Philippines would be paid twice a month, at the start and middle of the month.
For the trial period, it can be a good idea to offer weekly payment, as they may be nervous about completing lots of work and not getting paid for it.
This unfortunately does happen, so offering weekly payment for the first month can help build up that initial trust.
One other thing you will have to factor in is the 13th month pay.
The Philippines has an employment law whereby employees receive an extra month’s pay in December.
While you are technically hiring a freelancer, it is still a good benefit to offer your VA.
Making the payments can be done through PayPal or Electronic Fund Transfer directly to their account.
This should be addressed as part of the offer you make to avoid any misunderstandings.
If you would prefer to not deal with hassle of time tracking and working out how much you have to transfer each time, then teaming up with Outsource Workers is your ideal solution.
You will receive a monthly invoice for the agreed upon number of hours and you can simply transfer to an Australian account or pay by credit card.
We will then deal with everything else including 13th month pay, sick pay and vacations.
It really couldn’t get much simpler than that and you can find out more details by calling one of our advisers today.
Staying In Contact With Your VA
It’s very important to stay in regular contact with your virtual assistant even once they have become experienced in the tasks.
Keeping those regular communication channels will make them feel more like they are part of your team. And you can always use regular weekly meetings to provide updates about your business.
Through those conversations you might find out new and better ways to modify your business processes and even find ways to outsource more work to them.
Filipinos are very eager to learn new tasks and when you find that perfect assistant then building out that relationship will bring you more success.
The best ways to keep in contact are through daily and/or weekly email reports. And you should also be available for Skype text, voice and video chats whenever needed.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Do They Speak English?
Yes, English is widely spoken in the Philippines and all the staff hired by Outsource Workers have been vetted for proficient English skills.
As well as that, Western culture has heavily influenced society which makes it a lot easier to communicate and get to an understanding of what is required.
What Education Level Do They Have?
Even at a school leaving age, Filipinos have a very high-level understanding of the English language.
At Outsource Workers, most of our staff have university level degrees in various fields or a proven work experience.
What Hours Will They Work?
You don’t have to immediately start with full time hours.
If this is your first VA you’ll be working with then part time hours might be a better way to get started.
It’s not just your new assistant that has to get used to the working relationship. You will have to learn the process as well.
Can They Work To My Time Zone?
There is a 2 hour time difference between Australia and the Philippines, and most workers there are able to adapt their working day to provide more of an overlap for certain hours of the day.
For many tasks though it is ideal for them to work in their own time zone, as you will arrive to work to see a stack of tasks already completed.
How Long Does It Take To Hire A VA?
If you go through the process yourself, then it can take anywhere from 1 week to several months, unless you have experience in the process.
With Outsource Workers you can have a VA assigned and ready to go in 5 to 10 days, and you will have a far higher success rate as you can take advantage of our hiring staff and systems based in the Philippines.
Are There Advantages To Hiring Multiple VAs?
Once you have gotten used to working with a VA you will probably be looking for more tasks you can outsource.
Many of our clients often expand the search for admin work to other staff to help free them up to be more Dollar productive.
Building up a team of assistants works extremely well and can be done gradually for a more efficient transition.
What Is The 13th Month Pay?
This is essentially a bonus payment that is paid in December just before Christmas.
Laws in the Philippines require this, and even though a VA is technically a freelancer and not an employee it is something that should always be offered.
With Outsource Workers you won’t have to worry about accounting for this as this is built into the hourly rate you are charged.
Do You Have To Worry About Security?
As with any staff you hire, you want to be careful with providing access to sensitive information and systems.
Filipino workers are very conscientious, and they fully understand security and privacy of data.
It’s also advisable to build up trust and a working relationship gradually to a level where you feel comfortable in providing access to secure information.
Are There Extras You Need To Pay Your VA?
When you hire your own VA then you should account for the 13th month pay, which is a bonus payment in December.
There is no legal obligation to pay for things like social security or health insurance. But if you’re looking to build a long lasting relationship, then those are things to consider.
However, when you hire a VA through Outsource Workers, all those things are taken care of in the hourly rate.
How Do You Keep Track Of Hours?
There are simple tools that allow for monitoring of computer activity. This includes mouse movements, keystrokes, websites visited and regular screenshots.
We use such tools for VAs and they allow us to gather repots to ensure that they are putting in the hours. But the best method of monitoring the work is by assessing the work they complete.
Are You Locked Into A Contract?
The simple answer is no.
If you’re not fully satisfied with the service provided it should be brought to our attention immediately.
We can then either source a different person to work with you or else the agreement can be ended with no penalty.
References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.