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The complete guide to hiring A+ quality outsourcers from the Philippines

It's an amazing thing that many people in online business still don't grasp the fact that we are in a global market, where skilled people can be hired to work with you from anywhere on the planet.

I think part of the problem with this blind spot is that business people wonder if they can trust somebody from another part of the world to do key tasks reliably, so they disregard it as an option. It may also seem really difficult to hire someone who is right for you and to manage them when you've never met them.

But to spin it round, if you get that initial effort and relationship right, then you will save an awful lot of money. It's not unusual to save around 50% of the cost of hiring a freelancer from a more developed country.

Although this guide is specifically written with Filipino worker hiring in mind, everything I say here is perfectly applicable to hiring freelance workers in any country.

Why Hire An Outsource Worker From The Philippines?

There are two key reasons why seeking to hire someone from the Philippines can offer benefits over hiring people from other parts of the world.

This is not to be detrimental to people in any other part of the world, but it's about looking hard and cold at getting the best person to put in place for your business, as quickly as possible.

In some other countries, although the work force is perfectly intelligent, there are barriers which can present issues that you really don't need.

The first benefit of hiring a Philippine freelancer is that most Filipinos have English as a strong second language. Not only that, but it is a very practical English rather than incomplete or formal English. This makes them ideal for handling everyday communication tasks, such as email tasks with people other than yourself.

You may not understand this benefit immediately. But when you have dealt with freelancers from around the world, you will quickly realise the benefits of hiring someone who understands the nuances of the English language, and can understand the true meaning of the words, rather than the literal meaning.

The second benefit is education. The Philippines is a young country, where the major demographic is under 40 years old. This means a large percentage of the population have a strong and modern level of education.

The job market in the Philippines is incredibly competitive because of this large percentage of the population being at peak working age. With employment running close to 10% at times, it means there are lots of young, intelligent and digitally skilled people looking for work outside the country.

This makes young Filipinos ideal for technology related assignments.

Another reason why so many young and intelligent Filipinos look for work outside the country is that they get a better quality of work than they can by working for an employer in their own country.

As well as the other obvious benefit of being their own boss, it's easier for them to get work outside the country because of the low cost entry point. All you need is an Internet connection and a laptop and you can work for anybody, anywhere.

Should You Hire An Outsourcer From The Philippines?

There are many benefits to hiring an outsourcer from the Philippines as we have already discussed.

You can save money and get a reliable and loyal worker.

But there are of course barriers to employing outsourcers from different countries generally. There will always be cultural issues, understanding can sometimes be problematic and make management difficult at times.

So at times it is a trade-off between money saved while doing an acceptable job, versus paying more and getting things done spot on all the time with less investment on your part.

Another thing to consider is the type of work you want done. For example, although general virtual assistant work can be very competently done by a Filipino person, if you are in a specialist industry where your virtual assistant needs to be reading between the lines and making decisions then you may need to hire a local person, or at least somebody from the same country.

If it's content or design work, you also need to consider what type of work needs to be done. Although the potential freelancer may have enough knowledge to produce general written content, or generally good web design, their understanding and standards may not be quite right for what you are looking for as there can be gaps between the standards of Western internet culture and other parts of the world.

Although you can of course train these people or get them educated more within your industry, this can often not be worth the effort. So it's important you look at what you want your virtual worker to achieve and then search for them in the right area.

Where You Should Hire Your Filipino Freelancer From

The obvious place to hire any freelance worker from is one of the large and trusted outsourcing websites.

The best known are:

  • Freelancer.com
  • oDesk.com
  • Elance.com
  • Guru.com

I would recommend you do your initial hiring through one of these websites because of the safeguards they provide within the feedback mechanisms, portfolio and the resume options included.

Once you have hired someone and they have completed a trial period, I would suggest a month is a good amount of time to allow someone to settle in and show you what they can achieve, then you may want to consider moving the payment process outside of these websites.

Once trust has been established between both parties, paying your Filipino freelancer weekly directly through PayPal, or another method should they wish, will save both of you money. The reason for this is freelancing websites charge a percentage fee to one or both parties. This fee can often be as high as 10%, which over time can be significant to whoever is paying it.

How Much Should You Be Paying Your Filipino Outsourcer?

Unfortunately, this question, as with so many questions about online business, really has a "How long is a piece of string?" Answer.

But generally, you get what you pay for.

So don't look at the lowest priced workers and assume they will be acceptable to do anything much at all. You are looking for somebody who has ideally got some relevant experience, is intelligent, has a good command of the English language and can work when and how you want.

To give you some idea, the general cost of hiring a full-time virtual assistant from the Philippines, assuming a 40 hour week, is somewhere between $250 and $600 per week. As I said, you get what you pay for, so very basic admin work you may get away with a full-time employee for just $250 a week.

Considerations When Hiring A Filipino Freelance Worker

The best way to go about hiring a Filipino worker is to simply put a project advertisement on one of the big freelancing websites.

It should be a simple advertisement saying something similar to this:

Job description:

I am seeking a full-time virtual assistant (OR WHATEVER YOUR REQUIREMENT IS) from the Philippines. The successful candidate needs to be available for eight hours per day, Monday to Friday. Please do not bid on this project if you cannot be available at any time during an agreed eight hours per day period.

Requirements of the job:

You will be required to be available for eight hours per day and on your PC

You must be available for one or more daily video meetings on Skype

You must have excellent spoken and written English skills

You must be able to multitask and manage conflicting priorities

You must be able to conduct online research projects

You must have general technical abilities around using software such as email

You must be able to construct reports from data as required using Microsoft or similar products

You must be familiar with, or able to learn quickly about platforms such as WordPress

You must have some existing experience of elements of the role as outlined

Trial period:

After a successful interview, the chosen candidate will conduct a one-month trial period with a trial weekly salary. During this time we will interact in more detail than usual to ensure you are trained to the required standard. On completion of an initial month trial period, your pay will increase by 20% (or whatever increment you feel is appropriate, but it's always wise to have a lower trial rate).

A little top tip I would suggest when posting your project is to include a line at the bottom that says something like:

Please include the words "Sunday afternoon" at the top of your bid submission so that I can be sure you have actually read and understood the requirements of the job.

This will stop "drive-bys". This is where people simply copy and paste the same generic job application text into hundreds of different projects every day in the hope of landing at least one.

Always Conduct An Interview With Your Potential Filipino Freelancer

Once you have found some suitable candidates for the job structure you need, I strongly recommend you do some remote interviewing.

The best way to do this is simply to interview them using Skype. Just add them as a contact and arrange to have them call you at an agreed time.

Always have a set of questions written out in advance so that you can conduct a structured interview.

This will also help you to see how well the candidates can speak English, interact generally, think on their feet and display a general grasp of what you want them to achieve.

By seeing how you interact face-to-face over Skype you will be able to get a "gut feeling" for how they are as a person.

Conducting your interview in this way will also allow them to ask questions and get a feel for you. You should always remember it is a two-way relationship, you are not hiring a robot or an inferior human being, so always be constructive, positive, courteous and nurturing.

Managing Your Filipino Outsourcer

In terms of software, we've already talked about Skype. I would also recommend you are both using the same office suite. Although many people have Microsoft Office, this can be incredibly expensive to somebody in the Philippines. There is a free alternative called Open Office which is basically the same, and you can save word processor, presentation, spreadsheet and drawings in the relevant Microsoft formats.

I would also recommend some screencasting software. Screencasting allows you to visually presents to another PC user in real time, allowing you to express things in a different way.

Whatever tools you do use, the vital thing to always remember is that you're dealing with another human being. Don't be afraid to share a bit about yourself, and ask questions about that persons likes and dislikes as well. Building a relationship right from the start will build trust and loyalty in both parties, which is essential for a productive relationship.

The biggest tip I can give you is to manage all their tasks, especially initially, on Skype. By using video you can express your ideas fully, and vitally see how your virtual worker is responding. It will allow you to make sure they fully understand in a way nothing else can.

I would also recommend that at least initially you video chat with them twice per day. Chat with them at the beginning of their day, so you need to be aware of the time difference, and again at the end of their day. This will allow you to set daily tasks and to check on progress at the end of each day as well. It will head off many of the issues with non-completion or poor completion that many people find with remote working.

You should always start by assuming that the remote worker knows absolutely nothing about what you want them to do. Make sure each task is described in minute detail, gone over several times, questions asked and then follow-up via email to make sure they understand. By undertaking this due diligence in the beginning, you set standards and create a good working environment.

After you have caught up with on Skype the end of the day, always get them to follow-up with an email containing a summary of what you had discussed, including any tasks they need to continue into next day.

Although in the beginning this is labour-intensive for you, training is vital to making the most of the relationship. You will get the best value for money from your virtual worker if you invest time and effort in training them and building a strong personal relationship with them.

Vitally, you must always remember to not get frustrated with your virtual worker and send a nasty email, or attack them while speaking on Skype. Just don't do it.

You must always remember that they are people and they don't want to let you down. 99% of the issues you will face are down to miscommunication, or misunderstanding. When you look back, most of the issues you will face initially are really down to you not conveying your needs fully, expecting too much of them, or assuming they understand the topic you are discussing.

To help manage things, you might want to consider some software. There are several SaaS (Software as a Service) options out there that can help you collaborate better, and I highlighted some of the best ones in my post titled 10 Productivity Tools To Make Your Online Business Smarter Every Day

And finally, when it comes to managing your remote worker, don't forget the time difference! This can be significant between some countries and can make that initial trial period difficult to manage.

Are You Ready To Get More Time To Run Your Business?

So as you can see, hiring a Filipino outsourcer can save you a ton of cash and free up loads of time for you to invest productively elsewhere.

On the other side of that coin, the initial learning curve for both of you can be steep.

I would even suggest that you need to prepare yourself for letting one or two people go before you find that person who understands what you want and who you want to build a relationship with.

The key points to take away from this piece are that you need to thoroughly investigate them prior to hiring them, always have a limited trial period and make sure you closely manage them during the initial couple of months.

And it's a great time to look at your own people management skills. Nobody is perfect, and we all act badly towards others at times. You will get more out of your Filipino freelancer if you treat them with respect and invest time, effort and include structured feedback sessions into the relationship.

Just in case you haven't started your business yet, and thinking that it would be great to get some freelancing help from day one, then we need to speak. I have several solutions that can support your business ambitions, plus I am very experienced at hiring and managing freelance workers globally.

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