Beware of local job sites and salary markup scams. Quantity is easy, but quality is hard. Guide on how to find a virtual assistant, screen them and more.

How to Find a Virtual Assistant

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Finding a virtual assistant may be easy, but finding a competent, trustworthy virtual assistant who will stick with you long term is an extremely difficult endeavor. The truth is, there are far too many potential candidates in developing countries like the Philippines and India who would love to work as a virtual assistant, and far too few employers in the Western world to employ them all.

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Hire a Virtual Assistant for $6 Per Hour

Save 70% when you outsource with Jobstob. Highly qualified virtual assistants, designers, video editors and more for a fraction of the price of a domestic hire.

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Separating the wheat from the chaff is extremely difficult when learning how to find a virtual assistant for the first time. There are literally thousands of virtual assistant agencies, business process outsourcing firms and job sites out there.

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Furthermore, if you decide to hire locally by yourself, perhaps after setting up a branch office in the Philippines or India, you’ll be flooded with resumes and job applications as soon as you post a job advertisement. The mass of humanity in these developing countries is simply too great, and the supply of jobs simply cannot hope to meet the demand.

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As a result, we caution you from experience to not jump too lightly into outsourcing virtual workers if you haven’t done it successfully before. You can easily waste months of time training a virtual assistant only to have them quit on you, or because you have to fire them for gross incompetence or truancy.

Just remember, finding virtual assistants isn’t the hard part, it’s finding quality virtual assistants who are serious about working a permanent job that’s extremely difficult. We recommend working with an experienced business process outsourcing firm like Jobstob who will handle the entire outsourcing process for you, from recruitment process outsourcing to time-tracking, payroll and compliance. Get started by checking out our wide selection of pre-vetted, virtual assistant candidate video interviews at www.jobstob.com.

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Pro Tip: Traffic is notoriously congested in cities like Manila in the Philippines, and many workers will spend three or more hours per day, each way, on their daily commute. As a result, the opportunity to earn above average wages by working remotely, and without having to commute to an office, is extremely attractive to people in developing countries.

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Local job sites in developing countries such as the Philippines and India will all promise the world. However, you’ve got to be very careful if you decide to hire direct and use one of these job sites. That’s because many of these sites are nothing more than cloned versions of each other, with little to no traffic. Furthermore, don’t trust blogs that claim to rank the top job sites for a certain country. Those rankings are all typically paid for by the job sites being ranked.

All job sites will have some sort of paywall, meaning that you won’t actually be able to post a job, contact candidates or browse resumes without paying first. This leads to a bit of a conundrum, because how are you supposed to know which job sites actually have traffic and are real if you can’t use them without paying first?

Furthermore, many of these local job sites have hidden, onerous local business registration requirements in order to activate your account. For example, one site that claims to be the biggest job listings portal in the Philippines will only tell you after you’ve signed up for an account that you need to provide proof of local business registration in order to activate your account. This can be quite frustrating if you’ve already paid to sign up. Good luck getting your money back from the Philippines!

We’ve tested many of these job sites ourselves, and we can definitively tell you that the vast majority of them are absolute garbage. We’re convinced many of the sites that claim to be geared towards local virtual workers are nothing more than plagiarized versions of each other, with much of the traffic being duplicative, low quality or even fake. For example, we see far too many one sentence responses to job ads, often from the same email address. What’s more, this same applicant will never actually respond or follow up. That smells like a fake applicant, likely a virtual assistant hired by the job site to give a pretense of traffic on the site.

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You can work with an outsourcing firm or virtual assistant company if you’d rather avoid the whole recruitment process. However, which virtual assistant company should you choose?

There are literally thousands of small mom and pop shops out there, with prices that range all over the place. For example, you’ll see some virtual assistant firms mark-up salaries to the point where it’d cost the same to hire someone in the US.

Furthermore, the range of services offered by all of these virtual assistant firms will vary all over the place. Some will be little more than scams, while others will think it’s reasonable to charge a perpetual mark-up of 50% or more after having done little more than finding a few candidates for the employer to interview themselves.

What’s worse, many of these virtual assistant services will have the gall to essentially make the employer write the job posting, because the job posting that’s written by the recruiter (who is a virtual assistant himself) is so poorly written as to be unusable.

At Jobstob, we don’t believe in these fly by night tactics which are little more than salary mark-up scams. You can’t justify a salary mark-up of 50% or more if all you’re doing is sourcing a few candidates that you didn’t even bother to vet yourself, and then simply handing them over to the client to interview. Plus, these firms will often combine this with sneaky contracts that you only have to agree to by email, but which bind you indefinitely to their salary mark-up scheme.

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Save 70% When You Outsource With Jobstob

Full-time, fluent, English speaking virtual assistants, designers, video editors and salespeople for $6 a hour.

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English fluency is the single most important criteria to screen for when hiring a virtual assistant. You’ll want someone who is able to speak English fluently, ideally with a neutral accent, who will not only be able to communicate with you but also communicate and represent you when speaking with your customers.

Furthermore, don’t just test whether your virtual assistant can put on a good show and speak fast. You’ll need to make sure they have a high level of spoken and written English comprehension. After all, you’ll need to be able to communicate tasks for them, and have them quickly comprehend what it is that you’re asking them to do.

We’ve found that the single best way to screen overseas based virtual assistants for English fluency is to watch short, introductory videos produced by the candidates. In fact, we’ve pre-screened thousands of fluent, English speaking candidates from across the world and put their videos on Jobstob.com. You can browse introductory videos from candidates with experience in all industries and with all types of skill sets, from the ability to design infographics to familiarity with WordPress.

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Hire a Virtual Assistant for $6 Per Hour

Save 70% when you outsource with Jobstob. Highly qualified virtual assistants, designers, video editors and more for a fraction of the price of a domestic hire.

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One of the most common methods for how to find a virtual assistant is to find someone who has a proven, fast internet connection. Now, it’s quite typical to ask a virtual assistant to send you a speed test summary, or even a screenshot of an internet speed test summary.

However, we think actions speak louder than screenshots, and we recommend simply doing a Skype video interview with them. Is the video quality and sound quality clear with no lag? If so, then it’s pretty obvious they have a high speed internet connection. However, if the connection is very laggy or the video and sound quality is very grainy, then perhaps they don’t have the fastest internet.

Regardless of how much you like a candidate personally, it’s of critical importance that they have a broadband, high speed internet connection. After all, their entire job and connection with you will be based online, so how can they operate with a slow internet connection?

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Sometimes a virtual assistant will be able to speak English fluently, but for some reason never learned to type quickly. To get the most bang for your buck, and to make sure your virtual assistant is able to work efficiently, you’ll need to make sure to find a virtual assistant that has at least an average and hopefully above average typing speed. This is typically defined as being able to type greater than 40-50 words per minute.

This is important, because of the most frustrating experiences once can have is to ask an employee to do something, but it simply doesn’t get done, or takes hours to do because the employer is typing at a snail’s pace.

Save yourself the angst by verifying the virtual assistant’s typing capability prior to hiring them. We recommend testing this real time during the Skype interview. Simply ask them to share their screen, and then watch them complete a free typing test online.

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Save 70% When You Outsource With Jobstob

Full-time, fluent, English speaking virtual assistants, designers, video editors and salespeople for $6 a hour.

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If you want to learn how to find a virtual assistant, you’ll need to learn to thoroughly check each candidate’s work experience and education level. This means not just asking each candidate what work experience they have and where they went to school, but actually verifying that information with references.

Furthermore, you’ll need to make sure that the work experience they have will be relevant to what you’ll be expecting them to do. For example, are you a Realtor looking for a real estate virtual assistant? If so, you probably don’t want to spend hours of time explaining basic industry jargon like the MLS or a listing agent vs selling agent to them. In this case, you’d want to screen for candidates who have previously worked in the industry with either real estate agents or investors.

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Pro Tip: Make sure your job offering won’t be the candidate’s first night shift work experience. Working the graveyard shift is a very different life experience, and can literally cause some people to go crazy if they’re not used to it. For example, a young single person who’s never worked a night shift may quit in 6 months after realizing that they don’t want to be alone in their home office every night, when all of their friends are out partying. If you’re hiring for the graveyard shift, make sure your virtual assistants have experience with that kind of lifestyle, and are used to and comfortable with it.

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Hire a Virtual Assistant for $6 Per Hour

Save 70% when you outsource with Jobstob. Highly qualified virtual assistants, designers, video editors and more for a fraction of the price of a domestic hire.

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