At Plattr™, we outsource for almost every single department:
- Email Marketing
- Lead Generation
- Media Buying
- Social Media Marketing & Community Management
- Content Creation, Editing, & Quality Assurance
- Web and App Development
- Graphic Design
- Video Production
- Operations, Project Management, & Virtual Assistants
- Data Analysts
A question we’re often asked is how we are able to have the majority of our departmental tasks operating at full efficiency and quality in the PH? Unfortunately, there’s no secret to how we are able to accomplish this. It takes a lot of time, work, and continued follow up.
The Hiring Phases
We’ve got our hiring process down like clockwork. This way has drastically reduced turnover and the common “just went dark” scenarios that I hear about quite frequently from people who have attempted to outsource overseas. Here are the phases:
Now, onto the nitty gritty:
Hiring the Right People
With all staffing ops, it all begins with the right people for your company. If your culture is fast-paced, independent, and demanding, you want to avoid people who are used to slower work environments and require a lot of micro-management.
The best way to hire the right people is to:
1. Establish and Accurately Describe your Company Culture
Don’t be afraid to be brutally honest. You don’t want EVERY resume. You only want the brave ones who aren’t afraid to make it happen.
In fact, you want to give more reasons for people NOT to send you their resume. That way you have less clutter to deal with as they move down the phases of hiring.
If your culture has problems with communication, be upfront about this: We’re a fast-paced growing culture which means we don’t always have time to hop on a call to explain everything. We’re finding ways to improve communication and looking for those dedicated to proactive communication to help get us there.
2. Establish and Accurately Describe the Position
I’m often surprised at how much this crucial task is ignored by entrepreneurs hiring anywhere. It’s often copied and pasted with very little consideration. This is a big misstep. This describes the job that you’re investing in… yet it’s often considered unimportant (and I blame it, it’s a drag).
To help make this less draggy, here are some crucial questions to answer in your job description:
- What do you want them to be doing first thing in the morning?
- What do you want them to be doing before they close out their day?
- Who will they report to?
- What teams will they be working with?
- What kinds of communication expectations are there?
- How will they be successful in their position?
- What are some of the KPI’s that will be measured?
- What might the meeting schedule look like?
- What kinds of reports will be expected of them?
- Who (if any) will they be managing?
- What kinds of software will they have to learn?
3. Establish the Job Requirements
Does it require a specific degree or experience?
Maybe you’re only hiring people who have no experience but you’re willing to train?
Be specific just as you would for hiring domestically and just like the job description.
It is important to note that more often than not, we take chances on the right work-ethically minded people with no experience in the field. We start them off as VAs or assistants and teach them the ropes and assimilate them into our fast-paced culture.
4. Consider Requiring a Personality Test
I don’t do this for all positions, but when I do, I like to use 16personalities. It’s a great non-invasive test that people have trouble faking. It’s a bit long, which in my opinion works in our favor. The people who are willing to spend the time taking the test are curious about themselves and interested in the position enough to do so.
If you’re using personality tests, make sure you figure out which personality is MOST ideal and LEAST ideal for the positions you are hiring in for. For example: data analysts that spend most of the time in statistics and numbers have a completely different ideal personality type than the project manager who must interface with other team members on a daily basis. Set these personality types internally to make your best possible decision on the hire.
5. Interview with Several Managers and Peers
You wouldn’t have 1 person be the decision maker in your domestic hiring, so why should the outsourced staff; the staff that you will rely on to actually do the nitty gritty nuts and bolts work of your company be any different?
Anyone who will be interfacing with this candidate should spend a few minutes in a 1 on 1 or group interview.
I like group interviews because it sparks questions while applying a little more pressure on the interviewee. The pressure typically gets them feeling a bit awkward, which in my experience elicits a lot more truth than a 1 on 1 setting.
6. Audition your Candidates
We are vigilant about this. Every single person coming in, regardless of what position has to show us their skills. Whether this comes in the form of a code test for our developers (we use Test Dome), a writing sample for writers, a mood board for graphic designers, everyone is auditioned before they’re even interviewed. You won’t be surprised to find star candidates that you end up loving with this method.
It’s important not to just test their technical skills but also their work skills. I like to give an email test to see how well they communicate via written word. Are they writing in WALLS OF TEXT that are impossible to read? Are they easily understood? Can they be direct and concise?
In addition to written skills, I am secretly testing their ability to go above and beyond. The person who will go the extra mile without being asked. This means: I will set a due date, but will be watching when they actually turn in their audition. I will also be watching for quality of work. I am floored by how many candidates will actually do the task at hand but over-deliver with extra details, screenshots, designs, and examples. This isn’t something that you can teach… It’s work ethic. It’s all a test.
7. The Trial Period
There’s no real way to tell if someone is right for you without actually having them work for you. But this goes both ways– you want your whole team to like working for your company. So, we set this trial period where we set CLEAR expectations for the success of this trial for both company and new outsourcee. Frame it so that everyone knows it’s a trial for both parties to figure out if it’s a good fit. If it is, awesome. If not, no hard feelings. They’re paid for their time, and we wish them well.
During this trial, it’s not just about “getting to know each other”. It’s another process in it of itself.
Training is Critical
During this period, train train train. Train with videos, train live, train with meetings. Training ANY new employee effectively sets the course for success. This is the time for them to figure out exactly what your benchmarks are, and how to reach it (and eventually exceed it).
It’s important to train linearly in the beginning to get the most comprehension and understanding for the new position, but don’t be afraid to build on top of training as well. For example: if you teach someone how to pull stats from Google Analytics and they get really good at it, teach them the next thing that builds on top of that skill: how to actually analyze the data. What’s the thought process behind the analyzation and how do you make your judgment calls for your next moves? This is building on top of skill sets, deepening their understanding of their job and role.
Feedback is Part of Training
Then, give feedback regularly. Set a time on your calendar to give feedback. Give written feedback, follow up on the feedback, see their corrections or edits to your feedback and continue the process by congratulating them on a job well done, or provide additional bullet points for fixes.
Expect mistakes and confusion in this trial period from your new outsourcee. Don’t be surprised to find that they either don’t want to be part of your culture or that they will WOW the crap out of you.
If you haven’t outsourced in the PH before it’s important to read THIS ARTICLE on exactly what to expect from the culture and why this piece is so critical.
8. Continue Training and Feedback
Training and feedback isn’t a one-and-done thing. It’s a constant, continuous process. Never stop giving feedback (maybe less after they get going, but always continue this discipline). Continue training by deepening the skill set and teaching your thought process on why you’re making certain decisions.
This turns your outsource force into more than just someone who does menial tasks. This practice turns your outsourced team into valuable assets to the company who can eventually run full departments without the need for expensive domestic hires.
Additionally, the outsourcee who is rarely given opportunities like this to grow, will be grateful for the attention, training, and continued dedication to them and stay with you forever. That’s a win-win if I ever saw one.