Managing Filipino workers

by DaveSmith2020 48 replies
I just hired a full-time Filipino yesterday to do some link building for me. Working hours are 3pm to 11pm their local time.

Today, I ask for her to send the work in that she has done and she says that she only just got to the workstation (which is not at her house). The time was 6pm. I asked why and she said she had to go to her home because of the bad weather and see that her family are ok.

Also, it took her 4 minutes to reply to my "hi" on Skype.

Is this normal? Any comments?

Dave
#main internet marketing discussion forum #filipino #managing #workers
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  • Profile picture of the author jplazo
    Sounds like you got someone with poor ethics there
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  • Profile picture of the author DaveSmith2020
    I checked online and there is some flooding in that area. Also, she just sent me a message saying she thought we were starting again at 7pm, like on the first day. So, since it is not 7pm yet, I can understand in a way. Your thoughts?
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  • Profile picture of the author MartinPlatt
    It can be. Did you set out the rules of engagement before she started?

    Does she know that she will only get paid for results, and that being reliable is important.

    I had an experience like this in the past - lots of excuses, very little in the way of delivery. Keep and eye on the situation, and pull the pin quickly if things don't improve. Not worth the effort to keep nagging.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaveSmith2020
    Do you still have full time Filipino workers?
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  • Profile picture of the author tdanz
    Where did you find her? Hire someone on freelancer.com and rather not by hours but by the amount of work to be done. You need 100 links? then pay for the links not for the hours the worker wastes.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Barber
      I have employed someone foe 2 years and you get a lot of excuses and boy do they have a lot of public holidays.

      She writes articles for us and other content writing, all of which is to a very high standard. initially all the 'excuses' and lack of productivity got to me and I thought about pulling the plug because I was not getting the numbers I was after and we originally agreed.

      I then looked at it differently. What was each article costing me and was it value for money, (even accepting that it was not what was originally agreed) and it was.

      Since then she has done some cracking work, but still needs chasing to keep her on her toes. I go for daily reports emailed to me.

      Watch out for the 100% Christmas bonus in December, which I understand is a legal requirement! (I have contracted round it)

      Let me know if I can help further.

      Cheers

      Paul
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      • Profile picture of the author Beatinest
        Originally Posted by Paul Barber View Post

        I have employed someone foe 2 years and you get a lot of excuses and boy do they have a lot of public holidays.

        She writes articles for us and other content writing, all of which is to a very high standard. initially all the 'excuses' and lack of productivity got to me and I thought about pulling the plug because I was not getting the numbers I was after and we originally agreed.

        I then looked at it differently. What was each article costing me and was it value for money, (even accepting that it was not what was originally agreed) and it was.

        Since then she has done some cracking work, but still needs chasing to keep her on her toes. I go for daily reports emailed to me.

        Watch out for the 100% Christmas bonus in December, which I understand is a legal requirement! (I have contracted round it)

        Let me know if I can help further.

        Cheers

        Paul
        I totally agree with this. We have had one working for us going on 3 years now and even though he has been a headache, or just plain difficult, at times at the end of the day he is extremely valuable to us. So valuable in fact he even strong armed us into a $100 per month raise and we agreed to it in order to keep him on board.

        With that said, good ones are hard to find so if you luck out like Paul and myself it's wise to accept a little bit of headache.
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  • Profile picture of the author Moneymaker2012
    You can pay her as per her performance instead, this way she would herself take care of timing and work.
    where did you find her?
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  • Profile picture of the author JessZ07
    They do have terrible rain falls and power outages quite often, I would try and be understanding of that.

    You could try asking for a start of day and end of day email to give you a quick few points on what he/she plans to do and what he/she has done. Just like working with anyone, this helps people feel accountable for their work.

    Be flexible with work time and set defined expectations with regular skype chats (once per week would be my suggestion).

    On another note .... "took 4 minutes to reply to my Skype message" is probably a good thing if the skype conversation wasnt planned .. I know I'm not overly productive when I have messages popping up all the time. I generally ignore them until I'm finished the task I'm working on.

    Hope that helps. Just my opinion!
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    • Profile picture of the author sonjay
      I am a Filipino.

      I have been providing web-based services for a decade now.. and it really pains me to read / learn about stories like this, about how some of our countrymen tend to belittle this new age career which has helped so many.

      There is a Facebook closed group of online workers from the Philippines which may help you with getting great services at manageable costs. Yet, a problem you may encounter is that many of these service-providers may really have hands full most of the time, because of repeat clients coupled with the desire to perform well to land more work enough to last them a lifetime. There is a growing trend among these people of the "opportunity" to grow and receive more responsibilities, as this confirms the continuity of income and that they are trusted and needed.

      I am in favor of paying for stuff which may easily be measured and tracked, like outputs. Still, it is also true that this is "case-to-case".. but I believe I can proudly claim that Filipinos are hardworking, loyal, and able to provide high-quality services. More than half of the educated people in the Philippines are working or involved with Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies today, which is a major factor for almost all kinds of businesses the world over. That's saying something.

      Or maybe I said a lot already.
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  • Profile picture of the author natebunger
    I agree with the rest that pay her per performance and not the time. The weather there is really not good I've seen on the news. Power outage and lost of internet connection are very common there so you'll have to be flexible on that but be sure to communicate with her well. Be clear on your terms and what you expect from her. Just observe for some time and see if she delivers well or not. If she's more on excuses than work, then I think you should hire someone else.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stefan Shields
    Originally Posted by DaveSmith2020 View Post

    I just hired a full-time Filipino yesterday to do some link building for me. Working hours are 3pm to 11pm their local time.

    Today, I ask for her to send the work in that she has done and she says that she only just got to the workstation (which is not at her house). The time was 6pm. I asked why and she said she had to go to her home because of the bad weather and see that her family are ok.

    Also, it took her 4 minutes to reply to my "hi" on Skype.

    Is this normal? Any comments?

    Dave
    They do regularly have bad weather over there and hundreds if not thousands of people die every year from extreme weather.

    Don't be surprised when this happens because chances are it will happen a lot.

    Also they have significantly slower broadband than we do in the west so the 4 minute delay on skype is probably normal.

    you have to expect problems like this if you are hiring people from the Philippines.
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    • Profile picture of the author DoubleOhDave
      I tried outsourcing to the Philippines but when 8 responders in a row told me they couldn't understand the simple cut and paste work I was looking for, even after me recording a video to show exactly what to copy and where to paste it, I gave up in the end. It was nothing but a waste of my time
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    • Profile picture of the author digitalsapien
      Originally Posted by Stefan Shields View Post

      They do regularly have bad weather over there and hundreds if not thousands of people die every year from extreme weather.

      Don't be surprised when this happens because chances are it will happen a lot.

      Also they have significantly slower broadband than we do in the west so the 4 minute delay on skype is probably normal.

      you have to expect problems like this if you are hiring people from the Philippines.
      This is so true. Bad weather in some parts of the Philippines is very normal. Also their broadband is slower.

      I have a Filipino assistant and I think he's doing great. I am working with him since March 2012. Just be sure to check their background first and previous works. Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jean Clemens
    Personally I would never hire a full-time or part-time Filipino or cheap outsourced worker from any other country. Always hire them on pay-per-result with bonusses.

    So as an example, I would say to my outsourced Filipino; Please do 100 links according to my instructions. I pay you $XX for this, and if you do them within 7 days I give you a bonus of X%.
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  • Profile picture of the author teresarothaar
    I agree that it's better to pay for completed tasks as opposed to by the hour...regardless of where your employee hails from. I'm in the U.S., and I far prefer being paid by completed task. I'm a copywriter, and it's very difficult to quantify writing work by the hour. When I was a transcriptionist, I likewise got paid by the task, in that case x cents per character (that was another job that would have been difficult to quantify by the hour).

    Someone in another thread mentioned that one of the drawbacks of hiring workers located in developing countries is that Internet outages are common. You have to remember that they don't have the infrastructure we do here, and bad weather can muck things up there more quickly than in the U.S. Hell, look what happened to the Jersey Shore and parts of NYC last year, despite our infrastructure. There were people who didn't have power--let alone Internet access--for weeks.
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    • Profile picture of the author DaveSmith2020
      List of things gone wrong:

      * No report on first day
      * No report on second day, despite asking again
      * No updated Word document sent despite asking
      * Was not at PC at 3pm on second day
      * No message on third day to say you are at your PC when she arrives, despite asking for her to do this.

      She said she thought she was starting at 7pm on second day, although I don't really believe this.

      Is this normal or typical of a Filipino candidate?
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      • Profile picture of the author techservice
        If you pay peanuts you get monkeys. If your too poor to pay someone a decent wage to do a decent job then do it yourself.
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        • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
          Originally Posted by Big Energy View Post

          If you pay peanuts you get monkeys. If your too poor to pay someone a decent wage to do a decent job then do it yourself.
          Yep Quit looking for miracles...
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        • Profile picture of the author DaveSmith2020
          Originally Posted by Big Energy View Post

          If you pay peanuts you get monkeys. If your too poor to pay someone a decent wage to do a decent job then do it yourself.
          Don't really get that. No one knows what I am paying them.
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      • Profile picture of the author Robin Blinds
        Originally Posted by DaveSmith2020 View Post

        List of things gone wrong:

        * No report on first day
        * No report on second day, despite asking again
        * No updated Word document sent despite asking
        * Was not at PC at 3pm on second day
        * No message on third day to say you are at your PC when she arrives, despite asking for her to do this.

        She said she thought she was starting at 7pm on second day, although I don't really believe this.

        Is this normal or typical of a Filipino candidate?
        I dont see what your problem is?
        If she is not doing what is required of her, then move on.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brady Partridge
    Why would you specifically hire a Filipino to write content for you, anyway, unless you wanted it dirt cheap?

    Actually, I shouldn't complain. If they're writing content for you, they can't be calling me on the phone, claiming they're from Microsoft and that my computer is infected with a virus that has to be removed per their instructions post-haste lest the earth crumble into cosmic dust.
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  • Profile picture of the author teresarothaar
    We all know the going rates for Filipino VA's: between $350-$500/month, which works out to $2.88/hour or less over a 40-hour week.

    As Brady pointed out, there is no reason to hire an offshore VA other than to pay very low rates. (Another reason would be if you needed content written in the VA's native language, but I don't think that's the case here.)

    Nobody hires an offshore VA and pays U.S. wages; that defeats the entire purpose of offshoring the work.

    If you need someone to be available during specific hours, you need to hire someone who is in your time zone or within a couple of hours of it. Additionally, as has been pointed out several times in this thread, 3rd World nations do not have the same infrastructure we have here in the U.S. I have American friends who lived in Mexico for a couple of years; they were always having problems with their Internet going out and whatnot, and when problems happened, they were fixed on "Mexican time." =) This is another factor that makes it difficult for an offshore worker to be available during certain hours; they may not have consistent Internet access.

    I agree with Big Energy. If you cannot afford to pay a U.S.-based worker U.S. wages, you might be better off doing the work yourself, or maybe getting a kid who is looking for his first job to do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaveSmith2020
    They aren't writing content for me.

    But lets pretend they are. The other person said you need to pay a decent wage. But I am. Decent for someone living in the Philippines.

    Why does Apple get iPhones made in China? Cheap labour. But that is only relative to the US. Cost of living is cheaper in China. Come on, this is very basic stuff!
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    • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
      Originally Posted by DaveSmith2020 View Post

      They aren't writing content for me.

      But lets pretend they are. The other person said you need to pay a decent wage. But I am. Decent for someone living in the Philippines.

      Why does Apple get iPhones made in China? Cheap labour. But that is only relative to the US. Cost of living is cheaper in China. Come on, this is very basic stuff!
      So now you're Apple? LOL.

      The point is you're trying to get the 'cheapest' labor you can find. You will get it, too. Cheap, unfocused, unskilled labor.
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  • Profile picture of the author preets
    The better option is to pay per task as per your guideline/requirement.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alastair Hayward
    If you are looking to outsource your work this site will be a good place to start. Agents of Value - Webmaster Staffing Company
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  • Profile picture of the author DaveSmith2020
    To say that Filipinos are unskilled is based on what? They have plenty of university graduates.

    Once again, saying they are cheap is trying to imply that cheap=rubbish because the cost is low. You can get coke for 50 cents per bottle out in the Philippines. Its the same stuff as everywhere else, but its cheap. This destroys the cheap comment emphatically.

    Or, to put it another way, if someone employs a a VA from the US but they live in the Philippines, that VA is expensive. Does it mean they will be good then? Why should it? They might be cheap relative to the average US wage but expensive relative to the Filipino wage. I'm sorry I have to spell this basic stuff out.
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    • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
      Originally Posted by DaveSmith2020 View Post

      To say that Filipinos are unskilled is based on what? They have plenty of university graduates.

      Once again, saying they are cheap is trying to imply that cheap=rubbish because the cost is low. You can get coke for 50 cents per bottle out in the Philippines. Its the same stuff as everywhere else, but its cheap. This destroys the cheap comment emphatically.

      Or, to put it another way, if someone employs a a VA from the US but they live in the Philippines, that VA is expensive. Does it mean they will be good then? Why should it? They might be cheap relative to the average US wage but expensive relative to the Filipino wage. I'm sorry I have to spell this basic stuff out.
      You could have left the condescending part about 'spelling basic stuff out' out of your defensive, ego-driven post.

      Go ahead and outsource Pinoy and Pinay. Be my guest. You seem like a 'really smart guy' and you'll have no problem understanding how to manage overseas workers from the comfort of your home. Knock yourself out ;D
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  • Profile picture of the author DaveSmith2020
    @Beatinest I think its a great idea to raise the wage of someone who is good. You want to keep the good ones. May I ask what you are paying them? And why are you finding him so valuable?
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  • Profile picture of the author DaveSmith2020
    And I will ignore your comment about me thinking I am Apple. It seems you dish it out but can't handle it in return. Sad.

    Lets get this thread back on track with intelligent answers rather than trolling. We can all learn a lot from one other by sharing ideas about how to get the best from Filipino workers. Labour arbitrage is a great opportunity for many of us.
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  • Profile picture of the author BizQ
    You should read that ebook from that guy on here who talks all about outsourcing. I am not talking about the paid book, there is a free sample report he offers in order to sell his services of helping you learn to outsource to the Philippines. Anyway, the free report has some useful tips.

    I wish I could be more useful and tell you his name or website, but it escapes me right now. But someone knows what I am talking about. Who is that guy with the course about how to effectively outsource to Filipinos? Find him, and sign up for the free report.
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    • Profile picture of the author DaveSmith2020
      Originally Posted by BizQ View Post

      You should read that ebook from that guy on here who talks all about outsourcing. I am not talking about the paid book, there is a free sample report he offers in order to sell his services of helping you learn to outsource to the Philippines. Anyway, the free report has some useful tips. .
      Are you referring to Chris Ducker?
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      • Profile picture of the author BizQ
        Originally Posted by DaveSmith2020 View Post

        Are you referring to Chris Ducker?
        I found the report on my computer. No, his name is John Jonas and his website is replacemyself
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  • Profile picture of the author chamaltatis
    Hello Dave, I'm a Filipino and sorry to hear your experience. While Filipinos are hardworking and loyal in general, there are also criteria that you need to look at before hiring a Filipino VA. Not because he/she said he/she's a Filipino, you go ahead and hire that person. Here are some things you need to consider first:

    Work station

    Here in our place, not everyone has a personal computer and internet connection. You might not know but some of the VAs you hired might just be working in an internet cafe. You should only hire someone who has a personal computer and internet connection.

    Place in the Philippines

    I live in the Northern part of the Philippines and we experience less problem of floods and what not here. Thus, while most of our countrymen are suffering from floods or power outage and what not, we normally have a better situation. Thus, ask first if where that Filipino is staying.

    Dedication

    In general, Filipinos are dedicated to work but individuals are still different. You have to make it clear that you are strict in getting the things done in time or else, you'll not continue to work with that person. Of course, you can be lenient at times as well
    I agree with the suggestion of others that you just have to pay per performance and not for time.

    Age

    Fresh college graduates at early 20s here are usually more diligent to work. But it's not a bad idea to hire someone at early 30s too (hey I'm turning 30 next year and I guess I'm a diligent guy )

    Sex

    Females are usually more trustworthy but many guys (like me) here are great as well.

    On you part...

    Well, of course everything is really up to you as well. What I just wanted to say is that, just pay the person what is due. I know a lot of internet marketers hire Filipinos since they are a lot cheaper and you can get quality works. However, I guess it's not also bad to pay your VA well so that they can work well. Think about it, if people just pay you for a cheap price, will you do your work properly?

    I'm a Filipino and while I offer services for cheaper prices, I'll always see to it that I won't go too cheap. In that way, I can have the drive to do my job. In that way, my customers and I are all happy

    I'm actually planning to train a team of VAs here soon and refer them to my fellow internet marketers. I've been doing internet marketing for a while now and I guess I can be a great "bridge" to IMers and Filipino VAs. This will be a 2-way help as well since I can help my needy countrymen while I can refer quality and trustworthy VAs to some of you guys as well. Well, I don't know for now but if the demand tells me so, I might pursue this idea.

    Hope this helps!

    Cham
    A Filipino Online Video Marketer
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  • Profile picture of the author DaveSmith2020
    @Cham, thank you for your reply. If someone in the US paid someone in your country an average wage for someone in the Philippines, do you consider that cheap or average? I ask because you said, "Think about it, if people just pay you for a cheap price, will you do your work properly?"
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    • Profile picture of the author chamaltatis
      Originally Posted by DaveSmith2020 View Post

      @Cham, thank you for your reply. If someone in the US paid someone in your country an average wage for someone in the Philippines, do you consider that cheap or average? I ask because you said, "Think about it, if people just pay you for a cheap price, will you do your work properly?"
      You"re welcome Dave!

      In general, it will be an average but, well, it is really hard to answer this question since it also depends on the work you are letting us do. For example, I can charge only $5 each for my article writing job but I charge $30 per a minute video for my video creation. Thus, it is better to pay according to the load and hardship of the task and not according to time.

      It is possible that some Filipino VAs are not having that drive to work anymore because they feel that what they are gaining is not enough compared to the works that they are doing. I personally experienced this before. I was so excited to work for someone and I thought I'll be making good money. But when I was already doing the tasks, I realized that I'm doing a lot of things compared to the money I'm receiving. Thus, I learned my lesson and I changed the rules.

      I just learned from one IM course I signed up to that you guys are paying like $2 per hour to Filipino VAs. Compared to the normal wage here in our country, that is already good enough for most of us. What I mean in what I said is that, if your VA is doing well, why not pay just little more so that he or she can be encouraged to work? Some of my clients give me "money tips" when they are glad with my work. Because of just a little extra, I'm like a child who's on fire to work for them again.

      I hope I answered your question. Feel free to ask further if you still have concerns...
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Willy
    I am a Filipino, but to tell you honestly, these kinds of excuses are gonna happen whether you like it or not. If he or she says something about (accident, hospital, family matter, emergency, bad weather, brownouts, ISP server problems, etc.), now that's something serious and you should respect that.

    But the worst case scenario is that they can easily fake that with those reasons and excuses. Sorry to say that more than 98% of the Filipinos are having this kind of attitude in making excuses, whether fake or real.
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    • Profile picture of the author DaveSmith2020
      Originally Posted by Jeff Caceres View Post

      Sorry to say that more than 98% of the Filipinos are having this kind of attitude in making excuses, whether fake or real.
      Jeff, what do you mean when you say that 98% of Filipinos have "this kind of attitude in making excuses"?
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  • Profile picture of the author Monja
    hi dave,
    i have some philipino workers from odesk and i tell you i really need to be behind them. i set clear deadlines and ask for specific tasks with an outcome. but i don't think that is because they are philipinos. that is about managing your assistants ;-)
    beside that, there are heavy rainfalls at the moment and i guess you need to be a bit generous. my workers also couldn't do as much as usual this week. if you had to worry that your family would be lost in a flood i guess you wouldn't care much about your job either.
    usually these guys and ladies are hard working and super sweet so well worth to wait for them :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author teresarothaar
    The offshore genie is out of his bottle, and he's not going back in. That's why I think it's a bad idea for Americans to get into the VA business, despite some folks arguing otherwise on another recent thread; you can post-stalk me if you want to see it. The cost of living in the U.S. makes it impossible to compete with developing countries' wages, at least right now. I could see wages plummeting in the U.S. in response to offshoring and automation, and the COL falling accordingly, but this will happen over a number of years.

    Anyway...

    There are people who lie about having degrees when they apply for jobs IRL, even though they know they can get caught (look at what happened at Yahoo last year). With that in mind, I'm certain that plenty of online workers lie about their education credentials; it's even harder to get caught online than IRL, especially if you're located in another country. I wouldn't trust what any online worker says about their education, or even their work experience or skills; it's better to obtain work references and a portfolio.

    If this individual isn't working out, fire her and hire somebody else. Next time, pay by the project instead of by the hour, don't set specific work hours, and hire someone who has references and a portfolio.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shane12
    I tried paying people by hour before with oDesk. You can see screen caps of what they are doing, and half of those showed people doing something other than what they were hired to do. Clearly they were just doing the bare minimum to get by while letting the clock tick down. And the links? Mostly crap forum profiles that probably did more harm than good. I had much more luck letting someone set their own schedule, paying only for results, and paying bonuses for certain milestones.
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  • Profile picture of the author mrtonyp29
    Yea, hey man give her a chance, different cities have different cultures and work ethic. But us Filipinos are hard workers once we put our minds to it.

    I hired 123 employees, and they are Phillipines, but they are worth the money and time, since they are working hard to satisfy me and maintain my site.
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  • Profile picture of the author mialove
    I had a bad experience.
    First girl, was very talented, but she was doing in 8 hours, things that should be done in 20 minutes, so when i talked with her - she just disappeared.
    The others i tried , wasn't good at all.
    At the and, i paid for the same job to American guy, and got much better result with less money. (i know it's sounds ironic).

    I am sure that was just my bad lack, and i will try again soon...but i learned one thing from my expiriance.
    You can't trust them to be paid by hour, you must give them tasc to comlipe.
    Like:
    today you are going to do x,y,z and it's a minimum, if you will do more, you will get bonus.
    Or, i will pay only for made tasks.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Jonas Phil VA
    She doesn't work from home? If she's working from an internet cafe, it's also possible the reason it took her a while to reply is because she has to change workstations or move to another internet cafe because the one she was in was full. Or someone called or tested her on the phone and she had to reply. Maybe she went to the restroom.

    Instead of speculating, I think the best course of action would be simply to ask her why it took so long to reply. It's possible it'll be an indicator of your future work relationship. It's also possible that it had nothing to do with work.
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  • Profile picture of the author namecomp
    That's fail. I hired over hundreds of indian/filipino/vietnam workers before, and only 1 satisify my needs to do work for me. They had too much excuse which I fired them after the day I hired them cause i have too much experience with their unprofessionalism. I dont want to pay them for sleeping at home.
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  • Profile picture of the author celente
    I train and manage my guys with videos, and ask for 48 hour updates. If they do not do this, they are fired! Simple as that.

    its a quick way to sort the wheat from the chaff. Yes it takes a bit of extra energy each day, but do you want quality or tripe. its up to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaveSmith2020
    If any of you guys hire Filipinos and want to chat about management, hiring, talking shop etc, then send me a PM and we can chat on Skype.
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