In this episode of the OTTP Podcast, I present several tips on the subject of hiring a professional outsourcing company, also known as a remote staff recruitment company, (for those with slightly larger requirements), as well as listing down the most important questions to ask virtual assistants when interviewing them.
You’ll hear Chris discuss, among other things:
- Why its so important for outsourcing companies to provide references.
- The importance of partnering with a flexible virtual assistant Philippines outsourcing company.
- The top five questions entrepreneurs forget to ask on interviews.
- Why you need to ‘get personal ‘with your Filipino virtual assistant applicants.
- Loads more tips, tactics and lessons on finding the perfect Filipino virtual marketing assistant and other essential information on how to outsource virtual assistant or remote staff.
In this episode, we mention the following Virtual Assistant Philippines and Remote Staff Recruitment resources:
Podcast Transcription & PDF Download
Well, hello everybody and welcome to the Episode 3 of the Outsource to the Philippines Podcast; the number one resource when it comes to outsourcing for entrepreneurs all around the world. I’m your host Chris Ducker and thank you very much for tuning in…
So, today it’s going to be quite an interesting show. What I have done is I’ve take in questions that have come through to me over the last year or so, mostly by email or twitter. These are questions that are being asked by entrepreneurs and business owners that are in the process of getting going with their outsourcing for the first time or maybe they just wanted to take their current outsourcing model to the next level.
So, today what we’ll gonna be discussing is How You Can Identify a Outsourcing Partner or Professional Virtual Assistant or whatever you want to call them. So, I’m gonna start up by looking at this thing more from a company or corporate stand point very, very briefly. If you are a company owner you know small to medium size company and you’re looking to outsource virtual assistant or outsource marketing to virtual assistant Philippines or a certain part of your business whether it be your telemarketing or customer service particularly or whether it’s just admin support. If you look into getting involve with an outsourcing partner or a company in terms of how you will gonna be able to take your outsourcing at the next level, there are really three or four key elements to make sure that you pick the right company when you start looking for people.
What I’m gonna do is just lay down sort of these three or four major tips that I have in regards to working with outsourcing companies before we go into the more entrepreneurial way of outsourcing which is working with home-based Virtual Assistant; and obviously as with everything on the show this is all laying towards Outsourcing to the Philippine or definitely offshore, alright?
So, when you’re looking at teaming up with an marketing outsource virtual assistant company, there’s one major thing here above and beyond everything else and that is a proven track record. This is quite simple and quite obvious for some people but others kind of struggle with it and they might get sucked into the hype of sales speeches that are out there either online or whether somebody gets you a call back after an inquiry goes through from their website or social media or whatever the case maybe.
References and Testimonials
But, bottom line is any remote staff recruitment company that‘s worth its weight should be able to provide you with the references and testimonials that you need to make yourself fell more comfortable that doing business with them. And my kind of rule on that is that, if an overseas company cannot give you references to talk to, then, that’s kind of a clear sign to the fact that they haven’t really satisfied any of their customers well enough. For somebody who runs outsourcing company myself, if anybody ever ask me for references, then I can quite easily give them the names and number of two or three of my clients coz I know that we are doing a great job for them. So, really the first thing is to look for a company with a proven track record.
Ideally, you also need to get to the point of looking for someone that’s at least been in business for three, four years because I know myself, when I first started outsourcing company even if though I’ve been involved in the outsourcing industry for several years close to a decade at that point. I still made mistakes in setting up my company and I still learn from those mistakes. If you get to the point of talking with a company whose only been for a year, maybe a year in a half or maximum of two years, they probably still in their learning phase themselves. And I would suggest that you perhaps not get in bed with a company like that. Unless you know somebody who’s already working with them and they are comfortable and they are happy and things like that. So try and look who’s been in the industry for a few years at least.
You should also absolutely look to get involved with an outsourcing company that really puts a lot of emphasis on the development of their employees. You know they should really be able to provide real solid, comprehensive and more importantly ongoing training and coaching. Because developing of employees particularly in the Philippines is very, very important; I feel as someone who has hundreds of people working for me. Not only that but I found that as you go up the corporate ladder it becomes even more important to continue to develop your staff. Some of my management staff consistently get trained and developed by my executive management which includes me. They must at least do training 10 hours of training every month which is new to them or recapping what they’ve done in the past. So looking for a remote staff recruitment company that has a very solid emphasis on training and development of its people is absolute paramount as well.
Innovation and flexibility
Innovation and flexibility as far as I’m concerned, is incredibly important when you deal with business with somebody with innovation concept. One that can provide a great deal of benefits to you and your business particularly in regards to technology coz that is more important today than it has ever been before in the past. In regards to being flexible, your outsourcing partner really needs to be a company that’s run by management that can really move and kind of flip the switch on the way that they do business with you and for your customer as well, first and foremost at a drop of a dime. I’m not talking about you being a sort of dictator things like that but somebody who is flexible enough to understand that there’s going to be times when you need to make swift changes in the way that you doing the work together and the way that they’re performing for you. Somebody who can prepare staff members and employees very quickly for changes; without any major floss; and deliver all those changes in a positive and productive manner rather than a negative one.
And really that kind of just wraps up those three or four major tips in working with outsourcing companies obviously some whose result driven is given as well.
Now, what I want to do is move on to the identifying of a Virtual Assistant Philippines. Somebody who’s gonna be working for you from home full time. We obviously seen a lot of this through Virtual Staff Finder which if you don’t know is my match making company; where we set entrepreneurs up with very qualified Virtual Marketing Assistant that work from home here in the Philippines. This is something that has really kind of evolved over the last 5 or 6 years where the market has become incredibly buoyant over here for Filipinos that work from home. And the one major change in regards to that market is that Filipinos now know that they are genuinely in demand. And because of that, obviously salaries have gone up. They have not gone through the roof or anything like that, but number one without fail they definitely are getting paid a lot more that they used to before. But more importantly than that, the essence of finding somebody very professional and with a certain amount of experience has become more important for the entrepreneur because with demand comes numbers obviously and there are more people here in the Philippines working from home that it has ever been before. Unfortunately there’s a lot of time is wasted and there are a lot of bullshit out there who claim to be able to do things but they actually can’t or they think that they can maybe learn how to do those things on the job . So, with Virtual Staff Finder we really focus on the looking for those very experienced people that really truly do match the requirements of our clients.
What I want to do here now is lay down literally eight, nine, maybe ten questions that you can ask your potential Virtual Marketing Assistant. This is regardless what they will be doing for you whether it’s Virtual Admin Assistant or web developer or SEO Virtual Assistant, freelance content writer, video editor, offshore graphic designer, whatever the case maybe. These are questions that you can ask your potential Filipino VA within the interview process to get an understanding as to their personality, mentality and professionalism towards work and all that fun stuff. Now, a lot of these questions are gonna seem quite obvious, but believe it or not these are the type of obvious questions that I know a lot people miss out on when they are in the process of interviewing their VAs.
So, I’m just gonna sort of give you a few obvious ones straight of the back:
- Why did you leave your last job and why you’re looking to leave your current job?
- What do you know about my organization and what I do as an entrepreneur?
- Just tell me about yourself? What do you like to do on the weekends?
- What are you looking for in a new role? What do you truly want to get out of working for me?
- What experience do you have in relation to what I do and what I need done by my Virtual Assistant?
Very obvious questions obviously, but questions believe me that will bring about very clear personality traits from your potential offshore virtual assistant. So, they should not and cannot be left out. And a couple of more obvious ones as well; “do your skill set actually meet the requirements that I have for my VA at this time?” Now, you ask this particular question because you might not want to have to worry about training your virtual staff all the way from scratch.
Understand however, some kind of training is always required even if it’s just a very simple training telling them how you want things done and how you want things put together and presented and things like that as well. “So does your skill genuinely match the job?”Do they genuinely match the role of which they are applying? That’s a very important and simple question as well, and a few other question to wrap this section up.
And I find these are great questions more towards the end of an initial interview. First and foremost, “What have you done in the last 12 months to improve upon your knowledge in your working field?” So if you’re are Home-based SEO specialist for example, what have you done in the last year to learn and educate yourself in the ever-changing landscape of search engine optimization?”A pretty complex question to ask a Filipino because a lot of them will just kind of learn off the hook so to speak. But I find that by doing that, you can kind of ply a little bit more info out of people and it really does set the job hunters apart from the job getters, if you understand what I’m saying.
The other one is “how long would you expect to work for me if I was to go ahead and give you the job?” I ask this question a lot of the time because the virtual way of working over here in the Philippines is not that permanent as it is if you are to hire somebody as a Filipino corporation. Let me explain why. When you hire somebody as a Filipino corporation there are government mandated contributions and laws and things like that must be paid by the employer such as Social Security, Phil Health allowance , Pag-Ibig loan; a government loan for Filipinos to be able to buy land and property and things like that and there’s two or three other things as well.
They are basically guaranteed of those if they are hired from a Philippine based corporation. You’re an entrepreneur in the United States or else where you’re not a Philippine corporation. So you ask that question “how long would you expect to work for me?”,because you want to make sure that they have long term in mind just as much as you have as well. And I have found that by telling Filipino workers when I speak to them, when I hire them, that as long as they do a great job they will have a job with me for as long as I’m in business. I found that by telling them that very bluntly, it buys instant loyalty and obviously you’ll have to keep that loyalty being built over a period of time but I find just by literally saying that one statement that they have that instant loyalty for you and as long as I have that long term in mind and they hired, it really does enable you to start off that relationship in a really good footing. That is one last question you can ask.
The second last question is “if I was to go ahead and hire you today what would make you an asset to me and my company?” Very clear question to ask, wait for the response, don’t prompt them any further, allow them to think about if they need and let them talk. That question right there, gives them the opportunity really for the first time in the entire interview to really pitch themselves, to really sell themselves as to why you should go ahead and hire them as your new virtual employee.
The last question actually is not really a question, it’s more of a discussion point and that is to generally just ask them about themselves. Filipinos are the type of people that want to think of their boss whether they be face to face or virtual as a nice person. They like to think that they are a human and that they are human and have a life and family away from the business. I found personally from working with Filipinos that if you open up a little bit and you are one of those guys that likes to give a high five and have bit of a laugh and crack jokes every now and then, they really appreciate that, they respect it very much so and I’ve been able to do all of that I believe anyway without separating too much between that employer employee relationship in sort of dealing to that friend relationship.
I like to think that I ‘m very approachable as a boss and I believe I am. I also know for a fact that I manage with that certain amount of fear but it’s not fear as if I’m gonna shout and scream to them for no good reason. It’s a fear along the lines of; well we got to do a really good job for the boss because that is what he expects. He demands that and that is very, very true if you want to work for Chris Ducker, you do have to work very, very well and you’ve got to produce the best quality work possible and my staff know that.
So I think if you just wrap up your interview with them with a discussion point, with a conversation along the line of what do you like to do for a weekend, what’s your family like, what’s your favorite movie, who’s your favorite artist who do you like listening to and these are all pieces of information that you can use at a later date to be able to ferment and solidify your relationship with them. Make sure you make notes. If you find out that they are a big Michael Jackson fan, for example, after one particular project if they have done great job on that project, go ahead and purchase $20 of iTunes gift certificate for them. They’ll use them, they’ll love it and let me tell you something, they will certainly gonna tell everybody on facebook how much a great boss you are, as well.
So these are the little things right at the end of the interview and this is probably only something that you want to get involved with after you’ve had a positive interview with somebody and you feel like you gonna go ahead and actually hire them. That’s a little bit of a finishing point there to finalizing the interview with somebody you feel like you want to hire and want to sort of start to get to know a little bit more.
So, that kind of wraps up this podcast on How to Identify a Professional Outsourcing Partner or an Outsourcing Virtual Assistant Philippines. I hope the tips have been very beneficial for you and if there’s anything that you feel I’ve left out, you can go ahead and drop me an email whenever you want at email@example.com. You can also tweet me at @chriscducker or go ahead and drop a question on the facebook page and we will be more than happy to get back to you on there as well.
So that about wraps up another episode of the Outsource to the Philippines Podcast. I applaud you for your fine decision to have me waffling on in your ear buds today no matter where you are and what you’re doing. Thank you very much for tuning in and in the meantime if you have not done so, please you hop over to The OutsourcetothePhilippines.com; visit the sites subscribed to the list and you’ll get free access to our exclusive webinar which is not online anywhere else which goes Why You Should be Working with a offshore Virtual Marketing Assistant to help build and grow and support your business. We have some really, really good positive feedback on this webinar; not only do you get a video version with lots of cool looking slides but I also provided an audio version for you to downloads as well so you can listen to it on the go to.
So until next time, thanks again for tuning in and I’ll be speaking to you again real soon. Until then, take good care.
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