A step-by-step process (sort of) for hiring virtual assistants AKA VA’s in the Philippines

A quick and dirty guide to hiring that VA you always dreamed about but haven’t pulled the trigger on… 

Where to find these VA’s? 

  • Head to OnlineJobs.ph
  • Make a profile, you can probably get away with a free account using this hiring method but maybe a $69/month pro plan is for you

How to get applicants for your virtual assistant role?

  • Post a simple job post, listing tasks involved
  • Do not mention pay, just hours expected
  • Don’t even look at the applications on there, instead make them fill out a  Google Form or TypeForm
  • Make sure you just tell them that and give them the link, don’t even consider the ones that applied via the platform since they didn’t read or follow instructions (First test) 
  • Here is an example sample form that I have used in the past; Link to first-round Q&A 
  • They will automatically go into a much more convenient spreadsheet for you to edit and sort through
  • Ask questions directly related to the tasks they will be doing to see if they have the skills needed

How do I figure out the right Filipino VA to hire? 

  • First off, don’t worry about finding enough people, you will have more applicants than you know what to do with, 50-100 is common 
  • Turn your form responses into a spreadsheet that you can go through to find top candidates 
  • Here is a sample one I have used in the past; Link to the spreadsheet to use to track applicants 
  • Contact the ones that meet your criteria
  • The criteria are up to you, but typically I am looking for people who fall into the pay range I am looking to pay – $4-7 / hour for typical customer service or email outreach roles is more than adequate.  Some of them may be developers, or have higher-end skills, which may be a good list to start with if you are ready to get higher level VA’s 
  • For all of the ones I like I will then send a questionnaire that asked more in-depth questions that may better speak to their skills.  here is a sample of one I have used: Link to 2nd round Q&A 

I have my top VA applicants, now what do I do? 

  • Gather all that have responded to your latest questionnaire and pick your top 3-5 
  • If you have ones that are close I typically will narrow it down to; who wrote more clearly / had a better handle on writing in English, and people who are cheaper.
  • At this point do a video or phone call if they are going to be talking to customers, 
  • Once you are ready and have it down to a few, you are going to test them with real work
  • Send them an email like this:

Sample Email to send:

Subject: Your Application with [TheBomb.com]

Hello [NAME], first off let me say thank you for taking the time to apply and fill out our quiz.  There were a lot of applicants and we narrowed it down to the top 5, of which you are one of.

Before we move forward we want to make sure you are fine with a few employment items:

– Starting out we would want you to work 30 hours a week with the possibility of more hours once you learn more tasks
– We would start you out at your desired pay with a possibility of it going up after a few months of successful work
– We would also negotiate performance-based bonuses down the road
– We prefer to pay via Wise to minimize fees for both of us
– We track your time via Clockify/Harvest/etc and Trello/Asana/ClickUp, we can train you to use once you are ready

Also, we need to make sure you are comfortable learning these tasks.  As we move forward we will train you task by task until you are ready to rock and roll on all of them.

– use of Google Suite – Google Docs and Google sheets primarily
– Email outreach for the purpose of building links using our templates via LinkHunter and BuzzStream.  Both we will train you to use.
– Email outreach will also entail organizing; guest posts, product giveaways, and onsite guest posts
– Social Media management: finding content, and scheduling posts
– Managing onsite blog posts – basic formatting and posting to WordPress

If you are fine with all this we would like to move forward and have you work a few hours, which we will pay you for, to test out your abilities doing a core task that we will train you to do.

Let me know
Thanks in advance

How to test your potential Filipino Virtual Assistants before you hire them?

  • Get them on Asana or whatever project management tool you use and assign them an actual task they would do – maybe not responding to angry customers, just something that they can do without putting any real business in jeopardy.   
  • Make sure its a task or a few that will take a couple of hours and test the range of tasks that they may be working on 
  • Once done pay them as promised their desired wage
  • Assess how they did
  • I like using my oringal spreadsheet to make notes and grade the VA’s on performance
  • Hire the best one/ones that fit the role
  • If none did a good job, back to the drawing board – rinse, wash, repeat

Best Practices for dealing with VA’s

  • Always put them on a 2-week probationary period, they slip up, let them go
  • Create Loom walkthrough videos and/or google docs with screenshots of how to exactly do the tasks we are asking of them – I like putting my Loom links with a short description as Asana tasks that all live in an SOP project so I can link to any task I am asking them to do that involves the SOP’s
  • Set them up on G-Chat, WhatsApp, or Slack (whatever you prefer) – encourage asking questions so they do it right the first time 
  • Start them out at their base asking salary with the promise they will get a raise after 3 months of successful work
  • Start their training out step by step – teach them one new task a week as to not overload them
  • Always remember to spot-check their work on a daily, then weekly basis to make sure they are not overly relying on templates or doing a sloppy/bad job. 
  • Adjust training documents as things progress with the VA to add on any difficulties they have had
  • They may run through tasks, run out of tasks, or maybe you forgot to assign some (My problem) – so I always like to have some daily tasks for them to do every day or ones they do when out of things to do 
  • A lot of them will give you sob stories to try to manipulate you into giving them more slack, money, etc…  don’t fall for it, I have heard a ton of random stories and most are BS, hold them accountable like any other employee and don’t let them get away with manipulating you

List Tasks in order of importance for your own purposes / when looking for things to assign your VAs 

  1. Email outreach for link building 
    1. Guest blog posts
    2. Promoting content
    3. Reaching out to people we mentioned in posts
  2. If they have good writing skills – Content Creation
  3. Social Media Management
    1. Scheduling Posts
      1. Using HootSuite
      2. Using Tailwind
    2. Making Visuals or getting them made
      1. Pinterest Pins
      2. FaceBook / IG Images
      3. Twitter 
    3. Responding or forwarded messages/comments
  4. Posting Blog Posts to site
    1. Copy and paste content from Google Docs to post on site
    2. Simple formatting of the post
    3. Finding images for the post
  5. Organizing Off-Site Guest Post Opportunities
    1. Using Google sheet to organize all possible opportunities – ranking them from best / cheapest to least
    2. Reaching out to opportunities once the post is completed
    3. Following up to make sure that a link was placed correctly 
  6. Organizing On-Site Guest Posts
    1. Using Google Sheets to organize all incoming opportunities
    2. Make sure invoices are sent and payments are made
    3. Following up with posters once the post is up
  7. Repurposing Content
    1. Either doing it themselves or outsourcing
      1. Infographics
      2. Video
      3. Transcribed Video 
      4. images

Hope you enjoyed this little guide I threw together.

I will be adding more over time (Hopefully) as I cut this post short since it was taking longer than anticipated (More steps than I thought!)