How to Hire a Virtual Assistant in The Philippines

Building your team using Virtual Assistants in the Philippines Series:

  1. Reasons Why Virtual Assistant Philippines Based Is Best
  2. What does a virtual assistant do?
  3. How to hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines
  4. Best Virtual Assistant Websites
  5. VA Interview Questions To Find Your Best Virtual Assistant
  6. Best Practices For Managing Your Virtual Assistant
  7. How to Become a Virtual Assistant with no Experience
  8. Qualities of a Good Virtual assistant
  9. 10 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Virtual Assistant
  10. What Types Of Virtual Assistants Are There?
  11. 13 Basic Skills A Virtual Assistant Need

Hiring a virtual assistant is a great way to help get on top of a busy work schedule. By taking on a freelance virtual assistant to help handle administrative tasks, you can free up time at work without making a full hire.

A virtual assistant doesn’t have to be based where you are, in fact, they don’t even have to be in the same country.

In this article, you’ll find out all about hiring a virtual assistant from the Philippines, a country where there are particularly many.

Hiring Process

Finding a VA

Start by looking at our article of the list of companies where you can find a potential Virtual Assistant.

Virtual assistant hiring is common in the Philippines, so the most straightforward way to do it is through one of the many VA platforms which are particularly focused there.

Step 1: Look for a VA platform

To start looking for the right VA for your team, you can either post a job or search for ideal candidates in a legit VA platform.

We have listed the Best Virtual Assistant Websites in the Philippines to help you find a VA easier.

Step 2: Job post

If you find a Virtual Assistant website that suits your needs, you can now post a job or search for ideal candidates.

Some virtual assistant companies utilize Filipino professionals to help your business with tasks such as administrative support, accounting, data entry, writing and social media marketing.

While other virtual assistant websites will require you to post a job and just wait for applications.

While posting a job requirement, sneak in a small instruction in the middle of the post. For example, “Start your application with the word ‘Elements’”.

So when you receive hundreds of applications, you can find obedient virtual assistants by searching for ‘Elements’.

You can also ask them to respond via email.

Step 3: Sort out

Divide the candidates and separate those who have followed your instructions.

The obedient virtual assistants will now have a chance to do the next part of the hiring process.

Step 4: Paid Task

After you gather ideal candidates, you now have to give them a paid sample task. 

Email them your instructions and deadline. Remind them that it is a paid task to be able to motivate them and not waste their time and yours too.

This paid task should not be overwhelming and should be connected to the exact tasks you will give them daily, when hired.

Doing this step will help you further sort out the best of the best, so you can proceed with the interview process.

Interviewing a VA

The best thing you can do is be prepared by arming yourself with the right questions and the right evaluation points to weed out anyone who isn’t a fit.

Step 1: Prepare Key Questions

Look for our article on how to interview a virtual assistant and you will find a list of key questions where you can get the most value from, and reasons why you should ask them.

Step 2: Schedule

The interview scheduling email you send to your candidates should be clear, concise and detailed.

Try to conduct the interview using a video conferencing service like Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype. 

Here is a sample template of an email you can send.

Hi (Name of Applicant),

Thanks for applying to XYZ Company.

We reviewed your qualifications for the Virtual Assistant position and we wish to extend an invitation for online interview through (Zoom/Skype/Google Hangouts/others)

You will be meeting with (name of person in charge of the interview).

The interview should last approximately one hour and we’ll be using the time to further discuss your background, details about the VA position, and information about our company.

Let me know what interview time works best for you and we will send you an invitation link.

(or)
Let me know if you are available for an interview on (date and time).

I look forward to hearing from you!
Regards,Your NameRecruiter, XYZ Company

Step 3: The Interview

When you schedule the interview, pay attention to how punctual the candidate is.

Ask your key questions and pay attention to how the candidate answers your questions and how long it takes them to respond.

Notice if there is any pushback to this, whether it’s related to an unwillingness to try video or to a technological issue.

You set the tone of the interview and you have the opportunity to give your candidate a real first impression of who you are.

After the interview, you can proceed with the trial phase.

Trial or Training phase

An employment trial period is a short-term arrangement in which you work for a company on a paid trial basis before being permanently hired.

Usually, these arrangements last for up to 90 days. However, this will depend on the employer.

Some employers give 1 week paid trials, while others just train their VA and check if they are doing the task efficiently.

A trial shift is an opportunity for both the applicant and the employer to see if you’re right for the role, as well as members of the current team deciding if the candidate fits in.

Hiring a VA

Once you have chosen a virtual assistant, discuss the payment terms, payment method,  work schedule and contract before proceeding with the training or project.

No matter what you decide for your own business, every contract engaging a virtual assistant should include specific payment terms. Be sure to include:

  • The amount to be paid by the client ($30/hour, $500 per project, Etc.)
  • If a deposit is required to start (Be sure to include refundable/non-refundable deposit terms!)
  • How the VA will be paid (PayPal, Credit Card, Cash, Check, Etc.)
  • Whether an invoice is required prior to payment
  • The payment timeline (Weekly, Monthly, Per Project, Etc.)

For most virtual assistants, payment is usually handled in one of the following ways:

  • Flat fee for a full project or installments for the achievement of certain phases of a project
  • Time-based, such as hourly or monthly

Skills to Look Out For

Here are a few skills to look out for during training and the probation period to decide whether you should keep your virtual assistant or it’s time to hire again.

Ability to Follow Instructions

Your VA should be able to follow your instructions precisely for things to run smoothly.

Check for this trait by sneaking instructions on the job post and by giving them a task during their application process.

Takes Initiative

Virtual Assistants work on essential yet repetitive tasks daily. You don’t need to issue instructions every day.

After a week, you notice that your virtual assistant from the Philippines doesn’t start the same task without your instructions.

Micromanaging your VA is time-consuming and exhausting. Your employees should be able to work without being pushed.

Ability to meet deadlines

It can be frustrating if your employee is unable to finish their allotted work on time.

Not to mention, slow workers can be a hindrance when trying to grow your business.

You can check this trait during the trial phase and the training period.

In the beginning, you can impose tight yet reasonable deadlines for your employees to test their speed. Say for example – Writing a 1,000-word article in 4 hours.

Once you are satisfied with their productivity, you can relax your deadlines, so that you don’t stress them out.

Keen Learner

If you want to grow your business, your virtual assistant’s skills should also improve. They should be able to step out of their comfort zone.

However, most virtual assistants from the Philippines prefer repetitive and easy work for a comfortable income.

The chances are that they may not want to face difficult challenges that can help them learn more about their industry.

Fortunately, many virtual assistants are willing to improve their skill set within the industry, and you can give them a chance to excel under your conditions.

Hiring a VA from the Philippines: Pros

High Education Levels

For one, the population is highly educated.

With a growing literacy rate and an ambitious young workforce, outsourcing to the Philippines means work well done.

The Philippines is a powerhouse in the outsourcing industry.

According to UNESCO’s Literacy Rate statistics, the country’s literacy rate is 98.22% as of 2015.

Due to high literacy and therefore, top communication skills, Filipino remote workers have been in high demand over the past few years.

English Competency

English is part of the core curriculum in the Philippines. Many Filipinos are fluent in English, meaning a lower chance of experiencing a lack of communication skills.

Prior Experience

Further, because call center jobs are typical in urban areas like Manila and Davao City, and now in many other cities and even provinces, many of the Filipinos you will interview already have experience with Westerners.

Time Zone Advantages

As with outsourcing to other countries in Southeast Asia, the time zone difference can be a huge plus for businesses trying to carry out processes around the clock, such as 24/7 customer support.

Work-Life Balance

And for the most enjoyable benefit of hiring a virtual personal assistant,  from anywhere for that matter.

A better work-life balance for both large and small business owners and employees!

Hiring a VA from the Philippines: Cons

Power Outages

Don’t be alarmed if your virtual assistant disappears mid-conversation. He might just be facing a temporary power outage.

The Philippines has scheduled power outages as a result of weak infrastructure. In these outages, one area at a time will be without power for some time.

If you have multiple virtual assistants from the Philippines, it’s entirely possible that they might not be able to work simultaneously.

Without power, your VA can only engage in offline tasks through their laptop, severely hampering his/her productivity.

Fortunately, in some areas Filipinos receive a notification when their area is due for a power cut.

You can use this information to plan a working schedule around the power outage. Prepare a list of offline tasks which your virtual assistant can do while waiting for the power to return.

Slow Internet Connection

Are your virtual assistant candidates taking a great deal of time to finish their trial tasks?

It’s unlikely that they are lazy or they don’t want the job. The VA may have a poor internet connection.

If you do hire them, the slow and unreliable connection will make the work very difficult.

If you do need them to have a stable internet connection, you can ask your candidates whether they have a fast, reliable Internet connection at home. You can also request a screenshot of their SpeedTest results.

No-Show Assistants

Every so often a virtual assistant will go, well, virtually missing. For whatever reason, they cease all communication and leave the job without notice.

Such an occurrence could be due to cultural shyness or passiveness, or just general misunderstanding and confusion.

Therefore, it is vital to cultivate frequent communication and an open door policy. As with any new employee, mistakes happen!

Ensure that employees feel comfortable asking questions when they are confused or make mistakes.

13th Month

More than a disadvantage, this is something to know and keep in mind.

In the Philippines, the 13th month is a custom that mimics a Christmas bonus in the United States.

In the Philippines, however, this “Christmas bonus” is mandatory and is equal to one month’s salary payable before December 24th each year.

Whether or not you would like to acknowledge this custom is up to you.

Time Zone Difference

I mentioned earlier that the time zone difference could be a great benefit for companies that perform processes around the clock.

For those who don’t, however, managing the time zone difference can be a challenging experience depending on your location.

The Philippines is 13 hours ahead of Eastern time and 16 hours ahead of Pacific time.

For Australians, the time difference is minimal. For Americans, however, the gap is much more significant.

Less Education

Most college graduates in the Philippines complete their studies around the age of 20 years old. 

This means they have two years experience less of studying, creating the possibility for lack of education.

Less time studying may not mean an educational lack in all Filipino virtual assistance, however.

Learn about your prospect’s skill set and understand their typical mistakes by giving them a trial task or two during the interview process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do Filipino virtual assistants make?

For entry-level VAs, the lowest rate they can go for is around $3 per hour.

For experienced VAs, their rate usually goes at $5 to $10, depending on their mastery of the task and experience.

How much does it cost to hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines?

Hiring a full time, entry-level virtual assistant will cost you between $350-$450 a month.

On the other hand, hiring experienced and more specialist virtual assistants, it will cost you between $450-$650 a month.

Conclusion

Like with any sort of hiring, it’s vital to take the process seriously and respect everyone involved.

With more talented Filipino workers looking for online work, searching for a VA has become easy.

Online assistant services and job boards allow you to hire a Filipino virtual assistant in a week.

Moreover, Filipino workers are educated, efficient, and proactive – traits that are highly valuable in a virtual assistant.

Whether you are in real estate, manufacturing, or graphic design, let your virtual assistant from the Philippines handle the repetitive yet essential jobs for you, so you can focus on building a successful business.