Is it a good idea to hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines? Pros and cons, next steps, employee vs contractor considerations, recruiting tips and more.

Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant in the Philippines?

You can try to hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines by yourself, but be prepared for high turnover and lots of time wasted in trying to find a quality candidate. Alternatively, you can work with an experienced business process outsourcing (BPO) firm like Jobstob who already has a roster of pre-vetted, experienced, fluent, English speaking virtual assistants who are ready to start.

If you want to hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines right away and don’t want to waste time trying to reinvent the wheel by outsourcing yourself, then skip this article and schedule a time to speak with a recruitment process outsourcing specialist at Jobstob right away.

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Are You Willing to Set up an Office in the Philippines?

The first step in deciding whether it makes sense to hire direct vs going through a business process outsourcing firm like Jobstob is to ask whether you’re willing to set up operations in-country.

Remember that hiring someone full time typically means they will be classified as an employee. If the employee is based in the Philippines, you’d have to comply with all local reporting, tax and labor requirements, rules and regulations which can be quite onerous.

For example, you might be surprised to hear that employees in the Philippines enjoy unique protections such as the right to rest days, 13th month pay and other forms of leave that employers must honor. 13th month pay is a uniquely Filipino concept, and is essentially an extra month’s pay that is paid at year end in the form of a bonus. Filipino employees also enjoy the protection of various anti-discrimination laws and even restrictions around termination, something that you might see in a country like Sweden.

Furthermore, being classified as an employer, even if you are employing workers based in a foreign country, might incur tax compliance and other legal obligations on the employer in their home country.

Lastly, if you do decide to incorporate in-country, you’ll need to navigate the labyrinth of Filipino bureaucracy to set up your company and comply with all tax and reporting obligations. Plus, you’ll likely need to find and set up an office since you’ll need an address, even though you were originally planning to hire remotely. How ironic!

What About Classifying Filipino Workers as Independent Contractors?

This is certainly an option, but remember that there isn’t a black and white test for determining whether a worker should be classified as an independent contractor or an employee. For example, check out the IRS’s 20 Factor Test for determining whether someone should be classified as an independent contractor or an employee. Needless to say, there are serious risks involved if the tax authorities find out and rule that you have misclassified your workers.

Even if you risk it and decide to hire virtual assistants directly as independent contractors, you should still make sure that your hires are staying in compliance with local tax and reporting requirements.

For example, online freelancers based in the Philippines still must register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and comply with the country’s onerous tax and reporting obligations. Reporting obligations are known to be more frequent than those of the United States. You might see monthly, quarterly and annual reporting requirements to the BIR vs only annually in the United States.

Save 70% When You Outsource With Jobstob

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

Are You Willing to Pay Philippines Job Site Fees?

Pretty much every job site you’ll come across in the Philippines will have a pay wall to scale, meaning you’ll need to pay a fee upfront in order to fully access the site. For example, you might have to pay as much as several hundred dollars just to get your job listed, or to have the ability to contact candidates or simply to search for resumes.

Even worse, which job sites are actually worthwhile paying for? You’ll have to do in-depth research before signing up and paying, because many of these Filipino job sites are little more than shells with little to no traffic.

Lastly, be very careful because many dedicated job sites for the Philippines will have language specifying that job postings are “only for legal Philippine entities.” Many times, they won’t even disclose this fact until after you have signed up, and possibly paid for an account.

How frustrating will that be to find out after you’ve gone through their lengthy registration process that you can only post a job if you have a proper company already set up in the Philippines? Will you be able to provide proof of your business registration?

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.

Screening for Quality Virtual Assistant Candidates

The truth about business process outsourcing is that there are always way more willing candidates then there are jobs available. The trick is being able to separate the wheat from the chaff, to be able to screen out the multitude of totally unqualified candidates out there.

Writing Skills – Can the candidate write well? The easiest way to screen candidates is to quickly scan their cover letters or introductory emails. Many will be poorly written and very short. You can toss these resumes into the trash because if the first impression they’re making is one of poor grammar, spelling or sentence structure, how can you expect them to write well for you on the job?

English Fluency – Does the candidate speak fluent English? The last thing you’ll want to do is to hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines who will end up answering your main office line in broken, barely comprehensible English. The easiest way to screen for English fluency is to watch an introductory video submitted by the candidate. Fortunately, you can browse hundreds of candidate video resumes on www.jobstob.com, all of whom are pre-vetted and speak excellent English.

Night Shift Experience – Does the candidate have prior experience working a graveyard shift? What about prior experience working the night shift as a virtual assistant or some other remote based role? Remember that it’s not easy to get used to working the night shift, and it’ll be pretty hard for someone used to working regular hours to adjust their sleep schedule completely. Furthermore, working the night shift can be lonely, and many people who have never worked a night shift simply won’t be able to stand the lifestyle of working alone at night.

Industry Experience – Does the candidate have prior experience in your industry? This is critical if you want a virtual assistant who will be able to ramp up quickly. Otherwise, you’ll spend weeks explaining to them basic industry terms. For example, a Realtor who hires an experienced real estate virtual assistant won’t have to waste time explaining what a MLS is or what a listing agent vs selling agent is.

Suitable Work Environment – Does your virtual assistant have a separate home office setup? Will your virtual assistant be able to make and take phone calls at night without disturbing any family members or roommates? Is the candidate’s work environment quiet and free of distractions? These are all important questions to ask when you decide to hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines.

High Speed Internet – Does the candidate have a broadband internet connection with a connection speed of at least 10 mbps? In 2015, U.S. regulators raised the standard for what qualifies as high speed internet in the U.S. from 4 mbps to 25 mbps. While we may not need to hold virtual assistants from developing countries to the same standards, we recommend hiring a virtual assistant with an internet connection of at least 10 mbps so they can download videos and participate in video calls. You can easily vet their internet speed by having them do a speed test while you are on a Skype call with them, and asking them to share their screen while you watch.

How Can You Establish Trust With Your Virtual Assistant?

It’s one thing to hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines, it’s another thing to find a candidate who’s willing to be loyal, trustworthy and is interested in working for you permanently.

How will you be sure that the virtual assistant you hire from the Philippines isn’t some sort of fraudster who will sell your company’s data and secrets on the black web? For that matter, how will you know that your Filipino virtual assistant has basic integrity and will actually try to do what’s best for you and your company?

We recommend asking your virtual assistant for at least two references from people they have worked for before. We recommend getting phone numbers, names, titles, company names and email addresses. You should do some due diligence on the reference and make sure that the information given to you actually matches that of a real person, and isn’t just the contact information of a relative who’s pretending to be a reference.

If you really want to be thorough, you can even order a local background check or credit check on the individual. A credit check might reveal character flaws or simply personal financial difficulty or irresponsibility. For example, if your credit check reveals that this person has consistently defaulted on their debts, it might not be a good sign that this person will be responsible when it comes to your business when they can’t even handle their own finances.

Pro Tip: Most people ultimately either ask for a few references, or hire based purely on their gut intuition. Does the person seem friendly, professional and responsive? Does the candidate exhibit a good attitude? Did the candidate follow all of the application instructions in your job post? If you decide to hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines on your own, the surest bet is that finding the right candidate will take a lot of trial and error.

Save 70% When You Outsource With Jobstob

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

Sample Filipino Virtual Assistant Job Descriptions

Executive Virtual Assistant to Head of Marketing – Night Shift – NYC USA

Join an established, fast growing media company based in NYC as a work from home virtual assistant. Seeking only the most serious of candidates who are interested in a permanent, long-term position with our group of companies. Competitive pay and benefits including paid vacation days.

To apply, please email us a short, introductory video about yourself. Please talk about your work experience, educational background as well as what tools and software you are familiar with. The video should be 2-3 minutes in length at a minimum, but no longer than 5 minutes. Please email us the actual file, either directly over email or via DropBox.

Job requirements:

– Previous experience working from home
– Previous experience working a night shift
– High speed internet connection
– Quiet home office free of distractions
– Ability to make phone and video calls at night
– Above average typing speed of 40 words per minute or more
– Strong attention to detail
– Computer savvy
– Ability to learn new tasks and skills quickly
– Fluent spoken English with a neutral accent
– Excellent English writing ability
– Ability to work full time, from 9am to 5pm ET, Monday – Friday
– You are not working or involved in any other jobs, gigs or businesses

The following skills are preferred; however, we’re open to candidates who are willing to learn on the job:

– Previous experience with WordPress
– Previous experience with e-signature software
– Previous experience with Google Drive, Sheets and Docs
– Graphic design experience (i.e. Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator)
– Video editing and animation experience (i.e. Vyond, Adobe After Effects)

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.

English & Spanish Speaking Virtual Legal Assistant – Night Shift – Texas, USA

Looking for a fluent, English and Spanish speaking virtual assistant with excellent writing ability and an attention to detail (perfect grammar, spelling, punctuation, using the same font etc.). No prior legal experience required. Candidate must be able to work full time, from 9-5pm US Central Time, Monday through Friday. Candidate must be able to pick up VOIP phone calls during the shift.

Duties including answering the firm’s main phone line, answering emails, document processing and editing and adding pages in WordPress. Candidate must have above average typing speeds and a broadband internet connection. Ideal candidate will have worked a night shift position before, and will be already adjusted to a night shift schedule.

To apply, please email a short, 2-3 min introductory video about yourself addressing the requirements above. Please remember to tell us a little about your work experience, your educational background, your home life, what software/tools you’re familiar with and why you want this job.

Additional Information:

Employer is a small law firm based in Del Rio, Texas that illegal as well as legal immigration cases. The law firm is based on the border with Mexico, and as a result sees a lot of illegal immigration related cases. Most legal immigration cases deal with Chinese or corporate situations. The firm also does some civil litigation work, mostly regarding contract law. The firm also does occasional divorce related legal work.

Schedule jail visits or appointments to come to the office.

Document processing work will involve mostly editing, merging and uploading Word documents. For example, you might have to edit the contact information and case information name, date of arrest, place of crime etc.) and then merge documents in word before uploading the combined file into a case management database.

Answering a VOIP phone. Familiar with Nextiva a plus as employer currently pays for 4 lines on it, which means multiple people can be on the phone at the same time.

Law firm uses Firm Central which is a popular legal software. Pro Doc is another software that the firm uses for non federal court cases. Federal cases always comes first, you must learn to prioritize in this role. The lawyer can face fines or even jail time if federal court appearances are missed.

Virtual Assistant W/ Graphic & Video Skills

Offering a permanent, long term virtual assistant position with a stable, US based employer. To apply, please email us a short 2 to 3 minute video (5 minutes maximum) about yourself. Please talk about your background, work and educational experience as well as what tools/software you’re familiar with.

Please email us the actual file, or send us a DropBox link or some other cloud storage link that doesn’t require a password.

Job Requirements:

– Speaks fluent English with excellent written and spoken comprehension
– Strong attention to detail, likes to double and triple check work for mistakes
– High speed internet connection
– Quiet, home office free of distractions
– Experience with working the night shift
– Ability to make calls at night
– Graphic design skills using tools such as Photoshop to make infographics, cover images, banner ads, etc.
– Video editing, design and animation skills using tools such as Vyond/GoAnimate and Adobe After Effects CC
– Familiarity with WordPress

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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