Startup guide: Step by step guide for hiring VA’s on Upwork

Startup guide: Key findings for hiring VA’s on Upwork

One of the key long term goals of Orion is to educate & train talent from emerging markets and to provide them with business opportunities. Because of this reason, we use platforms like Upwork a lot. Today we will help you hire the right talent for your company in a very effective manner.

A lot of the work that needs to be done in organizations can be done through virtual helpers. The use of the internet is growing every day with more and more talent available online. For startups, this is a very good way to get tedious and repetitive aspects of their business done in order to stay focused on the more important tasks required to grow your business.

Key finding #1

There is a lot of talent available on Upwork however it can be hard to find them –  A lot of talent from emerging markets focus on 100 different things at the same time. They are data-entry specialists, online marketers. back-end developers and so on. Usually, this means they have little knowledge of many different things and we are usually looking for a specialist on a certain task that needs to be done. Skip the people that are specialists in everything and focus on the people that focus on just one or a few skills.

Key finding #2

Be very clear in your job description – Expected hours, tasks, etc. The more time you put into this upfront the more time it will save you when scanning through responses.

Key finding #3

Work in systems – Depending on the task, you need to create manuals & videos in order for them to understand your task. If it’s something less ordinary or it’s very repetitive make sure your briefing is on point. When you have this ready it’s easy to scale it to multiple virtual assistants and it will save you a lot of time when you need to let one of them go.

Key finding #4

Be ready to let go quickly – When you don’t have the feeling that someone is focused on your task and does too many things at the same time, let them go quickly. In countries like the Philippines, you work with complete families and groups of friends. Oftentimes, your task is being completed by someone other than the one you actually hired. You will also find that most people don’t really care when you let them go. If quality matters to you, try to focus the dedicated people.

Key finding #5

Make the job application process, your interview process – Change the questions in the job application process, ask a few extra questions and give a micro-task. This will filter out the people that are responding to hundreds of different jobs every day.

The micro-task can be the following.

SEO Specialist for an animal product site:

Please share the top searched animal product keywords in the USA over last month. Share the top 3 in the answer field.

Questions like this will help a lot as it’s specific to the task. It will also tell you if they are able to perform the task and it will show they are reading the job description diligently.

Pro tip: ask them to attach their CV as one of the questions. This is different than the usual steps and will filter another big part of time wasters.

Key finding #6

Don’t go too cheap – The talented specialists in emerging markets will always be cheaper than in the west. That does not say they don’t know their value. Quality costs money and that is the same on Upwork.

Key finding #7

Split test. When you have a certain task you can always split it up into two tasks. You let two people work on the same tasks and you test who does a better job. This can be the following:

SEO Specialist for an animal product site:

Person 1: Write an article based on keyword research on product A

Person 2: Write an article based on keyword research on product B

Quality should always be more important than speed of delivery.

Key finding #8

Try to learn from them & show interest – Their cultures are different and that doesn’t change very rapidly. On top of that, certain things will never change. Read about the culture from the country you are hiring from and try to adjust your own leadership methods to fit that. It is better to change yourself than to try to change the world.