03 Aug Step by step guide to hire a Filipino Virtual Assistant
WHY HIRING A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
and how to do it step by step
If you’re a freelancer or running your own company, chances are that you will want to grow and make more money at some point. In order to do that, you will either need to work harder and longer hours to get more things done, or you will need to hire people to do them for you. Staff is one of the largest expenses in any business and when you’re small and don’t have cash to flash; it is very important to manage your dosh properly.
Hiring a virtual assistant from a country where your currency is stronger makes a huge difference in the balance as you can see from the table below. You could end up with a full time for sometime the equivalent of 25% of a salary you would pay here.
For anyone working from a coworking space or a small studio, this also means keeping cost down as your staff will work remotely for you and you won’t have to spend more money on office space just yet.
In a nutshell how-to Hire a Virtual Assistant
– Place and ad on onlinejobs.ph and auto email invite
– Create a funnel to filter through all the applicants using Gmail and Google Forms
– Test 1 via Google form
– ‘Auto’ select candidates
– Test 2 via Google form 2
– Pick 4/5 best remaining candidate
– Pre-written Skype Interview
– Choose candidate / sign contract
– Train them and start working
What you can expect to get
In the recent years, outsourcing has become more common knowledge and easier to access than it used to be. The candidates are getting better trained and more in demand. The going rate for a simple virtual assistant full time used to be $250/month for someone you would have to train 100%. Salaries went up and you can find below an idea of what to expect to pay for various skills.
All in all, from my many chats with other entrepreneurs, it seems that most need to hire virtual assistant with general VA skills to do the easy but time consuming tasks so that we can concentrate on the fun, income generating ones.
Paying your Staff
Once you’ll have hired your virtual assistant, there are many ways to pay your staff but the easiest way is still paypal.
The charge (around 4%) is more than some other website but it’s fast, easy to use and most people you will employ will already use it. Unless you’ll be employing many more staff, it’s the most convenient to use.
Just make sure to pay the fees of course, don’t pass it on to your staff.
I pay my staff in arrear every 2 weeks as I use them on a part-time basis.
It is up to you how you negotiate your payments terms with your staff.
Let’s Hire a Virtual Assistant
STEP 1 – Place an ad on onlinejobs.ph
Register an account on the above website.
There’s 3 different options –FREE / PRO / PREMIUM
- FREE – this account will let you place an ad and you’ll be able to see the amount of people responding but you can do nothing more. Please note that someone will have to review the ad and they won’t accept ours as we have links to forms etc…
- PRO – You will need the PRO account @ $49/month in order to contact workers and / or place our ad. You can pay once you’ve finished creating your funnel.
- PREMIUM account is really for heavy users, there’s a few add on such as a coach for your worked but I don’t really recommend that unless you have a few workers.
Please note that you can cancel your subscription at any time and we recommend to put an alert in your calendar to stop it before a month has passed, you will definitely have found your worker by then.
Here’s an ad I used as example:
I also create a video that I place in the ad to show the applicant who the would be work with:
STEP 2 – Create the Funnel
We now need to create our funnel using Gmail and google drive.
– Very important – whilst redoing this tutorial, I create a NEW Gmail address to keep thing clean and found out after a few hours a hair pulling that the technic we use do not work with brand new email address – so please use an existing Gmail address.
Setup your Gmail account by Enabling ‘Canned Repsonse’ and setting up ‘Filters’
Follow this procedure to enable ‘Canned Response’
Create an email ‘Canned Response’ by Composing a new email.
Once the email box open, click on the down arrow in the bottom right corner as per this image:
Give a name to your Canned Response. This is just for you to remember which one to use. I use ‘Response 1’ or ‘test 1’ etc… When creating the 2nd canned response, i’ll name it Response 2 or Test 2. You get it.
And copy-past or write you email response.
See below the type of response I use.
Create filters so that you only get the responses you need
Now we need to create filters so that only people following instructions (if they can’t follow a simple instruction you do not want them as staff) will get through. The others won’t even reach you.
In your gmail account, go to ‘settings’ and then ‘filters and blocked addresses’. Click on ‘create a new filter’:
In the new pop-up window, put the specific subject phrase the worker will need to write in order to activate the automated response (this is the instruction they need to follow, if they don’t they won’t receive the email with further instruction from you) and click ‘create filter with this search’
Next tick the boxes as shown below.
For ‘Send canned response’ choose the canned response your created earlier. This is the email that will get sent to your applicants.
STEP 3 – Now on to creating some forms
We now need to create a couple of forms at least so that the applicants can go through some test to see if they got the minimum requirements.
Go to google drive (in case you’re not sure where to find it, click on the 9 little squares on the top right side next to your picture or initial if you haven’t uploaded a photo – there’s an icon called ‘Drive’)
Follow the instruction below.
Creating a google form is really simple, everything you do is automatically saved.
Put a title to your form. In the example below I put TEST 1 (I’ve left Untitled form to show you how it is when you get there but you’ll write on top of that)
And then start adding questions / tasks. You can choose the form of response the applicant needs to give using the pop-up list (checkbox / short answer / paragraph answer etc…)
Complete your 1st form. I do not recommend to have too many complicated questions as you might scare them off.
Feel free to check the kind of form I do and get inspired.
As you can see my 1st form is very basic and have simple tasks so that it’s easy for the applicant but I still collect important info such as their internet speed (it’ll be hard for someone to do research if they internet is really slow but bare in mind the Philippines have the slowest internet in Asia) or sometime how fast they type.
Once you’re done with creating your form, copy its link and go to https://goo.gl
There you can shorten your link (so you don’t end up with super long ones) and you will also be able to track the amount of time the link has been used. This is a good tool, try to remember it.
Repeat the process to create your 2nd form with some harder questions / more in depth to test their capabilities for what you intend them to do.
STEP 4 – Filter applicants
Now you just have to wait. You will normally get 90% of the applications within 24 hours, after that your add will go down and some new ones will get the results. With a catchy title hopefully you will have quite a lot of interest.
Go back your forms (on google drive) and click on ‘Responses’ next to ‘Questions’
Then click on the excel icon so that it’ll create an excel (or ‘google sheet’ to be exact) which will make it easier to look at the response.
This is now where you need to start doing a little bit of work. You now need to review the candidates that followed the first simple instruction and then completed the 1st form.
You can see very quickly the one you want to shortlist or not.
I hide the row of the one I know for sure I do not want to employ (the one that give me completely wrong answers), the one I’m not sure I colour in orange, the one I like I colour in yellow.
Now you’ve made the first selection, you need to send the 2nd test (and probably last) to the few you’ve selected. In my case is was 30 applicants.
Go to Gmail again and click ‘Compose’ and then open your canned response n2.
Then in the address, make sure to choose ‘BCC’ so that your applicant don’t see that you’re sending this to more than one person, and copy-past all the email address of the applicant you wish to send Test number 2.
At this point you will only have a hand full of people, the most resilient ones, responding. Most likely 5 to 10. Go through the same process again by checking the response of your 2nd google form and select who you wish to make the Skype interview with.
STEP 5 – The Skype interview
I do not do a voice interview at this point, I use script and I only have to copy-past my questions.
This saves me time but also allow me to see how fast the applicant type, that’s in case they gave the writing speed test to someone else.
For example of the script I use, please download this pdf:
Once you’ve chosen the right candidate, I recommend a quick voice chat via Skype to make sure they’ve got the level of English you need.
You can then issue them with a simple contract so that things are clear between each party.
I use the following one:
This is it. You should now have a Virtual Assistant! Well done.
But do not be fooled, this was the easy part.
As with every staff, you now need to train your virtual assistant.
There are various ways of training your remote staff.
You hopefully already have procedures in place in your business or you can record yourself doing the task on your computer you need your VA to do.
If you do not have procedure in place, you should really start putting them in place.
A good book, although a little long, I recommend is Work the System by Sam Carpenter which will teach you everything about creating procedures and removing you from your business.