The past week or so I have been trying to hire a virtual assistant.
I have quickly learned that it’s not a fast process and it shouldn’t be. Much like hiring someone for a brick and mortar job you need to make sure the person is the right fit.
So I jumped onto odesk.com and onlinejobs.ph. I setup my advert and let the applicants come rushing in for the role of a virtual assistant. FULL TIME EMPLOYEE.
I decided right off that I wanted to try my hand at hiring someone at onlinejobs.ph simply because it looked less expensive and I have never used the site before. I have seen it recommended a lot over the years and noted that if I ever needed a VA, I would check it out.
Now I never knew what a good price was for a good VA. I set my price to $400-$600 a month. Unsure though, I jumped onto the Laboratory Facebook group and asked in there.
Apparently $600 is way too much and I should be looking at $80 a week max. I quickly changed my job application salary requirements.
I also got people in the lab recommending me their past VA’s, people who can manage 10 Facebook pages for $50 a week! Crazy. Upon the recommendation I spoke to the VA on Skype and immediately hired them on spot. Not a good choice.
I took this someones recommendation over my own judgement and I soon realised after setting them the task of actually doing work they wasn’t competent. I needed their written english to be great and it was average at best. Words were in the wrong places and they had terrible misspellings. What was I expecting for $50 a week right?
I went straight back to onlinejobs.ph and started to sift through people who seemed more suitable for the role. Slightly pricier at $300-$350 a month but it’s still very cheap.
People who seemed worthy of the role were sent my Skype ID so I could interview them further. My first potential employee on Skype had great english and was very keen to get started. From this first conversation I built up a script.
Overall in a couple of hours I had interviewed five people and gave them all the same task. The task was basically the job they would be doing. I was testing their english and ability to follow instructions.
Four of them messed up on instructions. They were all given the same material and we all had the same conversation. One girl did everything right.
I have hired my new VA, we discussed payment on a weekly basis via Paypal. I gave her all the material she needed to get started and left her to it. I told her to take the next day to learn everything and do some research. I didn’t want to overwhelm her straight away.
Everything seemed perfect about her until….
I left my computer for an hour and I come back to a well drafted message on Skype. I don’t want to disclose the whole message here but she spoke about life problems and basically asking me to pay her two weeks in advance so she could survive. Uh oh…..
Honestly, how was she coping before I came along less than 24 hours ago?
I have spoke to this person for two hours on Skype, I am not sending over $180 to a stranger. Man the audacity of it. I told her we’re sticking with our original agreement of weekly payments.
I can’t help feeling slightly annoyed. Is this person going to take me for a ride? It’s something I am very aware of and I have read the horror stories online.
This screams scam, back the hell away and get a new VA. Curiously I contacted onlinejobs.ph to see what they had to say. Here’s their response:
“Thank you for your email. You are correct in not prepaying/forwarding money. Though, the Philippines is a culture of negotiation…..so I wouldn’t necessarily think that they will be a bad worker b/c they attempted to negotiate a prepayment of salary. I would just see how they do during their trial period.”
So…I have a decision, ride it out for a couple of weeks with this person and see how they perform or follow my gut instinct and try looking for new people. If I trial her out and she turns out to be a scammer this will be a waste of two weeks and could cost me a lot of money since at the moment the tasks I need to be done are going nowhere.
I am going trial her out. I am not happy about it but I don’t want to waste other peoples time and my own if it’s not necessary. Let’s hope this was a minor hiccup. She will only get paid for doing the tasks I have set her so I won’t lose out on anything.
If you’re thinking of hiring a virtual assistant I would say interview at least 10 potential people who you think could be capable of doing the job. Make sure they are asking for a wage you’re willing to pay and have a task ready for them to do that is similar to the job they will doing for you on a day to day basis.
Make sure you pay them weekly after a weeks work has been carried out. This way you are only paying for work that has been done. They can’t take your money and run without doing some work first.
The rest will have to be continued in a later post. Will this person turn out to be legit? Only time will tell…