Nov & Dec i’ve decided to change a LOT of stuff i do. I’m re-organizing my banking, taxes, hiring a new book keeper, paying more to completely rid myself of any tax related work, fixing my desk lol, etc… It’s a BIG list, and I’m 1/4 done. The goal is when i’m completely done i’ll be more focused on what makes me the most money AND have more free time and less stress from an unorganized life.
One of the bigger things on the list was hiring my first employee!
I mostly need this employee to handle programming, but i ideally wanted someone who can do a few other things as well. During my interviews i made sure my main focus was programming, and asked a couple other questions related to things i may want them to do in the future.
One of my biggest problems on hiring was deciding if i should go local or outsource. After reading a bunch of stuff on the forums i decided someone from eastern Europe is almost a mix of both. They’re outsourced, but the communication is a lot better (i also noticed this from my own experience hiring small programming jobs in the past). So i only interviewed eastern Europeans.
My plan is:
Interview a bunch of candidates, do a few tests with the top 3-5, then hire 2 for the month. Then choose 1.
Step 1: I decided between a bunch of outsourcing sites, and just went with Odesk because i already had an account.
Step 2: Made an ad, i kept it simple and only wrote the core info that i needed done. So i kept it strictly to programming with basic design skills.
Step 3: I’ve now narrowed it down to 6, all 6 are currently in the middle of doing some programming tests for me
– Hire 2 for the month based on their test work
– Give them a bunch of stuff i need done (same tasks for both) and choose a favorite after 2-4 weeks.
After this i plan to slowly expand what they do, and it should cover all my basis within 4-6 months.
If you’re looking for a programmer, I have a company in India that I work with that has several programmers on staff so in case your main programmer doesn’t know something he can reach out to the team. They’ll even hire someone based on your needs. They do a good job, communication is good, they’re professional. I use them as much as I need and just pay at the end of the month. The rate is $11-$15/hour. Might be worth checking out unless you’re set on Eastern Europeans.
That’s awesome. Congrats. Life changes immediately when you
have somebody else to handle the "shit that I don’t want to do"
pile. Getting my first assistant a couple years ago was a major
Do you live near a university or college? If so you could probably
find an intern through them.
Quick tip for you though (and this will cut down your learning
curve significantly) – get Perry Marshall’s book, 80/20 Sales and
Marketing. It’s a short, excellent read, and it has a step by step
process for hiring outsource employees.
It will definitely smooth out this process for you.
Keep us updated man, I wanna see how this goes.
For me, I used to use vworker a bunch and there were some seriously talented programmers on there. Vworker was acquired by freelancer and all vworker accounts merged in, so that may be another place to look at if you’re looking to get some more complex stuff done (custom AJAX, etc)
Awesome, thanks for the tips! This has been my biggest weakness for the longest time.
@mcr awesome, i’ll hit you up depending on how this goes
– I narrowed my selections down to 2, I’ve given them 3 programming related tasks and 1 of them has a design aspect in it. My goal here is to see a few things:
a) Quality of work
b) Time frame they complete it in (i asked for 48 hours, and they both agreed)
c) See how well they handle the design aspect
d) How many questions they have, if they ask an unnecessary amount, type of communication, how well we work together etc..
From here i’ll likely give 3 more tasks over the week and then choose 1 who programs well, can handle design if need be, and only asks important questions. So far both look REALLY good, i’m already seeing way to many possibilities
I’ll report back on Sunday
Sounds great. When we’re hiring at the company I currently work then I’m responsible that the developer we want to hire is skilled. I dont know whats your background in programming but maybe my advice will help you.
Usually there are two options. I can tell you what happened at our company:
Option A) We hired first a programmer, he was super fast (1 week) and the software seems to work but as the time went on there occured problems and he seemed to have fixed the symptons rather than the cause. The bug fixing took a lot longer. We never actually know if the software is working the way we want it to work. The software wasn’t designed well and basically hacked together. I had to replace his code. Total time spent: 6 weeks. We’re still not fully satisfied. (he isn’t working at our company anymore… I fired him because he was not willingly to improve his skills)
Option B) We hired then a programmer, he was coding a similiar software in 2,5 weeks. Every component of the software was modular, flexible and could be changed at any time. The code is clean, structured and tested. It took him time to write tests which we can run now at any time (every time we do a "change" it will be checked automatically and reported back to us if something is wrong; it goes live only if all tests are passed successfully). We know exactly that the quality of the software is great and have kind of an assurance (because of the tests). The software was finally ready to meet the users after 3 weeks.
We had once the problem where one component was very slowly because the database size has grown dramatically. It wasn’t a problem to "upgrade the code" at all. (Option B))
Now, Option A) programmer sounds a lot better at the first glance but as a CEO who would you rather want to hire? It’s obvious that you would pick B). Therefore I would take a look at the results carefully.
What do you think?
Just make sure you are very specific.
Keep in mind if you haven’t worked with employees or taught this stuff before you have a ton of knowledge. And as you tell people things to do make sure you’re not operating from a place of lots of implied knowledge.
For 2 reasons:
1. They won’t want to looks stupid, so they won’t ask
2. They will assume they know what you’re talking about and build the wrong thing.
You need to be very specific in you detailing of what you want. Best is
1. Word description
2. diagram/wire frame
3. process flow
4. Give them a chance to review and then have an actual phone call and let them explain the scope of what you have given them. Be very specific and walk them through.
I’d go read the posts of I’ve made over the last few weeks, if you haven’t already, they should help a lot.
In 1-2 weeks I’ll be doing a post on how to be prescriptive to employees and outsourced workers to get the results you ACTUALLY want.
And congrats, that’s a great first step.
Awesome – will be waiting for this one.
Maybe I am going about this wrong…but last week I "hired" around six Philippinos for a small test job. The test job was installing the prosper202.
These were my exact instructions:
Go to prosper202.com and download the file.
Upload and install it to subdomain.x.com (you will need to create that subdomain).
Login in to cpanel here: x
I made the instructions brief, and not like I was holding their hand through every step of the way. Why? I didn’t want to employee someone who didn’t take initiative, and wanted their hand to be held every step of the way. I also wanted their to be some room for potential mistakes. I felt if I was to descriptive, everyone would of completed the job rather easily, and I wouldn’t of found the kind of personality I was looking for.
The results were:
1 guy: Didn’t complete it.
3 guys: Took between 2-6 hours to complete.
1 guy: Was asking a question every step of the way, "do you want me to create the mysql database", "what username and password do you want me to use for the 202 login", etc etc.
1 guy: Completed it within 5 minutes, no questions asked. He is now one of my superstar helpers.
@Mr Green – great approach! Having the ability to Get Shit Done without asking a hundred questions is vital. Joel Spotsky (genius software guy) has a rule that anyone he hired should a) be smart and b) get things done – and that’s pretty much all he cares about.
Personally, when doing face-to-face interviews in the past I’ve done something similar with great success.
One rather good test is from Google’s interview process: ask them something like "how many manhole covers are there in New York City?" (and don’t let them Google it). You don’t actually care about the result – you care about how they try to work it out. A bad candidate will sit there with a blank expression on their face. A good one will start saying something like "hmm, OK, so I know that New York’s about, what, 10 square miles across? OK, so if I was designing a sewer, how often would I need access points in there? Hmm…".
Obviously that’s a rather mathsy question which you need to modify for non-programming tasks, but the same general approach works for pretty much any job.
caurmen this isn’t directed at you, you just mentioned Google and it reminded me that they admitted some time ago that those brainteaser interviews were not useful at all in predicting good hires.
It seems counter-intuitive because like you say they allow you to gauge how candidates think on their feet. But I guess Google has enough volume to make that determination.
When using outsourced workers I’ve found it much better to use diagrams and short video recordings to show exactly what I want done, particularly for design.
I use Snagit and either take a screenshot or make video of the site then add instructions and arrows showing precisely what should be done. Remember to read
through your instructions to make sure they are foolproof!
I’ve found it’s saved a huge amount of time and reduced errors considerably.
Wow this makes no sense at all. I rather he comes clean about it and says "i have no clue" the ones that start rambling on about some bullshit. "Why didn’t you finish this task?" "I didn’t have enough time" vs. "Oh you see the code you asked me to design was not interacting well with the new HTML 5 protocols so I had to ensure that your customers wouldn’t run into issues when you launched your website, so that is taking a little longer than usual but once it’s done it will be flawless"
How many manholes in NYC? "Who gives a shit? Google that shit up" would be my guy. No bullshit, straight talk. (i’m going to do some hiring next year and that’s how i plan on doing the interview, setting apart the real solid guys from the bullshitters and my gosh, some of these guys on odesk will bullshit you ALL DAY LONG)
The questions you ask totally depend on what you want your employee to do. As well as what kind of personality you are looking for.
You can hire a typical VA, a "yes sir" man. Someone who follows your every instruction. If in doubt he will come straight to you and ask you for clarity. You can ask a few simple questions to figure out if his English, internet connection and asking wage is decent. Then just throw some heavy documentation at him and he will be good as gold.
However, the interview process has to be different if you want to hire an independent minded VA. These are the kind of people I’m interested in hiring. Someone that can follow instructions, but he will also question some of your processes, with the possibility of improving some. If in doubt he will try to do some research and figure problems out for himself before contacting you. Yes he might make a few mistakes, but he might figure something out that you hadn’t thought of before. The interview setup questions for these kind need to be a bit more abstract then just step by step documentation. I’m not saying ask them an answerless question, but you have to filter them out with more than just a step by step documented tasks.
Yeah, I read that Google hadn’t found those questions useful. That completely baffled me, because I’ve gotten most of my best employees and contractors with a very similar interview technique. I’ve worked with some of them for nearly a decade now!
It probably does depend a lot on what you’re looking for. I tend to prize people who can think, and think clearly, particularly on tasks that aren’t easily Googleable.
Interview technique is also important. I wonder if this is where Google went wrong, because these questions demand interviewing skill and I think they were using them as a cookie-cutter approach for the entire company. I agree, someone who straight-up says "I don’t know" is better than someone who tries to bullshit: usually in that case I’ll say something like "That’s OK, I’m not expecting you to know the answer immediately: but how would you go about figuring it out?".
If they sit and stare blankly at that point, that tells me something important about their ability to solve non-trivial problems. If on the other hand they start approaching the problem logically, I know I can expect them to do the same thing if they’re hitting a difficult server error, or a programming problem, or a new graphic design challenge…
It’s important to tailor the question to the personality of the person you’re interviewing, too. I’d ask a coder a question like this – if I’m interviewing a non-technical artist, for starters I’ll probably ask something that requires more emotional intelligence or spatial awareness rather than math skills. It’s the "have problem, get to solution" ability I want to see in action, not specific cognitive areas.
And finally, I wouldn’t recommend using this question on its own – I have a list of ’em, ranging from asking them to design me a house (with some non-standard requirements, like being intended for hyperintelligent mice) to something very similar to MrGreen’s install question, designed to test how they do with tasks that are in their area of expertise but they haven’t practised in advance.
Very interesting discussion!
Read most of your recent posts and theyre in perfect timing of my life crunch! Been fixing a lot since early Nov. So thanks for them.
I’ve talked a lot with BBrock too who has lots of outsource experience and he explained the importance of being specific, detailed etc..
This is actually why i chose the 2 programmers i’m currently testing out. I tested them with specific and non specific instructions, these 2 did both perfectly. Had them implement their own ideas into 1 of the pages i needed and both had great ideas!
..just read this and i did the EXACT same thing and it’s working out very well so far!
I’m not sure how many tasks i left off with, but i gave them a bunch of new things on Friday and then again on Sunday. Both are almost always available (even though i haven’t officially hired them yet) and doing everything above and beyond how i’ve asked.
Just to elaborate on the discussion above… the X factor these 2 employees have is the ability to get things done without many questions. This is because they’re smart, creative and can fill in my blanks which is one of the most important aspects to me for an employee, i don’t have the time or mental capacity to hold their hands on everything.
Currently i’m still testing my 2 favorite employees. I think i know the 1 i want to go with, but i don’t want to risk losing the other. I’ll be giving a few more tasks while i figure out 100% who i want to hire and then my other problem below…
I don’t have enough work at all to keep even 1 of these employees busy for 5 days a week. I’ll almost be working more myself just to feed them stuff to do.
Realistically i only need 1 of them for 2 hours a day, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to pay them full time and only give them 2hours of work a day (if i even have that much). This stuff takes me a LOT longer then it takes them.
I’m not sure what else i should have them to at the moment. Currently they’re both doing some design and lots of programming. Even if 1 of them took on both of these things full time (which is the eventual goal by month 2) they’d still have lots of time throughout the day.
Any recommendations on what to do?
I don’t have enough work at all to keep even 1 of these employees busy for 5 days a week. I’ll almost be working more myself just to feed them stuff to do.
Realistically i only need 1 of them for 2 hours a day, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to pay them full time and only give them 2hours of work a day (if i even have that much). This stuff takes me a LOT longer then it takes them.[/QUOTE
This is what has always stumped me on getting an employee, I have no idea what to pass onto them and how to keep them busy enough? I mean you could just ask for 100+ banners a day lol, but are you really ever gonna get round to split testing it all. Depending on how cheap you can get them for a week, you could justify only 2 hours a day work if its keeping you out of frustration.
But yeah man this is definitely where I always get stuck, I have no idea what tasks to pass onto them I too would love to hear recommendations!
share the employee between a few of your trustworthy close affiliate friends and split the cost. Personally I have quite a bit of work that I need outsourced to a skilled coder (not html/css, advanced js/php) and I just haven’t had any luck finding someone up to the task. You could potentially sell their time to other people, for a profit even, since you know / can vouch that they are skilled and have already done the hard work of finding them.
@stack: Not completely the same situation, but I have 1 fulltime designer & 1 fulltime developer in the office currently. They create LP’s/ads/setup tracking as priority #1 but it’s very hard to keep them busy with this 5 days / week for these tasks alone.
My longterm goal is to not only rely on campaigns for affiliate income, but I’m also interested in creating assets within the company that have a value and generate affiliate income as well on a CPS basis. Therefore we’re creating websites which rely on SEO and Adwords traffic (mostly comparison websites in various niches like travel & insurances where CPA’s are upwards of $100 if you target the right countries in Europe). Whenever they don’t have any to-do’s for the campaigns, they’ll work on these projects. I have a copywriter and SEO guy as well who handle everything post-launch.
This is something you have to want to do though. It will require some time for you in the beginning to research what niches you want to target, but after that you’re good to go. Let the programmer(s) create the websites, outsource the texts & SEO and you’ll start creating your passive income empire which has an actual value you can sell too!
Just my $0.02
@stack – some tasks you could give them.
– Work on tools and scripts. Custom ad uploaders for your traffic sources etc.
– Up skill them by giving them guides to read about affiliate marketing. It could be about optimizing tracking, landers, creatives etc.
– Give them some creatives or landers that work for you, and try to get them to improve them.
– Get them to design and build landers for STM 😛
Definitely agreed with all of Mr Green’s suggestions there!
One more idea: start making a note of ANYTHING you do during the day that’s annoying or repetitive. Once you have a few of those tasks, talk to your employees – as they are programmers – and ask them if they could make you a tool to make that task easier.
I have, no exaggeration, saved hundreds of man-hours doing this in the past. It’s amazing what you can automate.
I’m done the hiring stages! Hoorah!
I’ve officially hired my first outsourced employee. It feels great, and I’m instantly benefiting from it. This guy takes care of everything i need when it comes to programming, and he contiuously shocks me with such amazing design. When i asked him originally he said "i’m ok at photoshop". Turns out he’s quite the boss. He spits out work in a few hours and asks "whats next".
I won’t end this thread yet, but for now the hiring stage is 100% complete.
For the longest time i feared I’d be wasting my time hiring someone who isn’t local. I kept thinking someone local would be easier to communicate with, but even more important i thought someone local who would ‘read my mind’ and fill in the gaps i forget to mention. Turns out this guy does it quite well himself.
..anyways if thats a fear you’re having, you’re wrong. Just interview/test a lot of people to find the right one.
NOT KEEPING YOUR OUTSOURCED EMPLOYEE BUSY?
– @keepitsimple I considered the sharing idea, but i don’t want to share just yet for privacy issues.
– @scito I also considered having him build out SEO sites, and that longterm passive income idea is something i’ll definitely be looking into a bit more in a few months. There’s quite a few routes to take with this: content sites, seo affiliate sites, ecommerce sites, etc..
– @mrgreen uploaders, tools, etc.. is my current winning plan.
– @caurmen i did this as well last week, and for now i want to keep him away from the more personal side of tasks that would be taken over by a "personal assistant". Everything else that was repetitive is pretty much program/design.
Wrote up 2 tools i would like, and he’ll be starting them asap. He’s already taking over 50% of my design too. So it’s looking like he’ll be busier then planned.
Great stuff! I’m looking at doing the same. One of my concerns is them working for other people on your time. Any thoughts?
Well, you should look it the opposite way. If he can do all you give him within reasonable time , he can work for as many people he needs.
Actually if you have a Mac, download the app Day One.
It’s basically a journal app, however I use their toolbar icon to create task, keep track of what I’ve done, and any little comments about changes made that should be checked up on.
I’m not much of a forum participator…but Mr Green invited me to participate here so I thought I’d chime in with a couple thoughts:
1. NEVER share your employees with other people unless you can’t afford to hire someone without sharing them. This leads to losing an employee. period.
2. Do whatever you can to have them work only for you. As soon as they’re working full-time for you, and part-time for someone else, they’re only working part-time for you. period.
3. I read
The reality is that the whole “step by step” evaluation process usually is unhelpful. It prevents people from hiring because the prep work takes so dang much effort.
My advice: Go find one person to do 1 task. Something you are currently doing. Something you can teach (yes, I said TEACH) someone else to do. It’s an amazingly liberating experience when you just take the leap and get someone working for you. It’s also very enabling when you successfully teach someone else to do something. You begin to realize that most of what you do in a day can be done by someone else.
4. Get Jing or Snagit. Use it every time you communicate with them. Rather than write a long email, record a video. Your outsourcers will love you for it.
5. The whole conversation about “how do you manage them” is misguided. If you’re having that conversation, you’re not hiring a) the right people, or b) the right type of employee (full-time vs contract). I have 14 full-time people who work for me. Most days managing them all takes 1 hour or less. None of them are contract workers. More explanation in the next post.
Here’s a CRITICAL piece NOBODY is talking about on this forum:
What TYPE of outsourced worker are you hiring?
Whenever someone asks "where do you find people" people always say "It doesn’t matter" or "https://www.onlinejobs.ph" or "www.odesk.com" or "vworker" or "easyoutsource"…
And someone comes in and says "No way!!! Vworker is the BEST!!!"
And someone else says "No way, use 99designs and craigslist!!!"
This is SO WRONG!
Every one of those sites is GREAT, but for a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT purpose.
Before you decide which to use, you need to answer the question:
"Are you outsourcing to get something done?
Or are you outsourcing to change the way you work on your business and the way you live your life?"
If you’re outsourcing to get something done, use odesk, vworker, freelancer…. It doesn’t really matter which one. They’re fantastic. It’s easy. You’ll find the exact same people on each one. Yes, you’re still micro-managing. Yes, you’re still working IN your business. But you can easily get things done with any of these.
If you’re outsourcing to change your business and your life, you’re using www.onlinejobs.ph or easyoutsource.com.
The difference is in hiring a contract worker vs a full-time, long-term employee.
With a contract worker (which is what you get at odesk, freelancer, vworker…) you get something done.
…until you need to get something else done and you have to do the whole recruiting process again.
You can never depend on a contract worker to run a process. You can’t automate entire pieces of your business with a contract worker, because the definition of contract worker is 100% turnover.
Here’s the real key: With a contract worker, your brain shuts off possibilities of what work you can have them do because sub-consciously you know they won’t work for you long-term.
As long as they are a short-term worker, you brain will only focus on short-term work, short-term business, short-term solutions. This is just how your brain works.
Long-term, Full-time employee
As soon as you hire a permanent, long term employee (from onlinejobs.ph or easyoutsource.com or bestjobs.ph) your brain changes.
Hiring a long-term employee IS NOT THE SAME as hiring a permanent contractor (which isn’t even possible).
Hiring a long-term employee throws a switch in your brain which says:
I have this person working for me.
I have to keep them busy.
What can I have them do for me?
What problems do we have? How do I solve them?
All of a sudden your brain starts creating solutions to problems in your business because it has to keep that person busy.
Also, with a long-term person, you’re willing to create training to teach that person how to complete entire systems in your business. This takes you out of the process as the bottleneck.
I have about another hours worth of typing to fully help you guys understand this…but here’s the gist:
Odesk is good. But as long as that’s your primary means of outsourcing, you severly limit your brain’s business growth potential.
Odesk is "out-tasking"
Hiring full-time workers unlocks your brain’s growth potential.
It requires more up-front work (because you HAVE to provide training).
The recruiting time is the same on both.
PS. I own www.onlinejobs.ph. It’s the best place to hire a full-time worker and not get scammed. take this advice with a grain of salt (because I own it).
Sick post John thanks for that. I’ve struck out many times on onlinejobs.ph becase they keep dissapearing when I give them a detailed task. Any advice?
I have a couple guys that I work with all the time (one design , one coding) and they are amazing. I love using ODESK, because they take a screen shot every 5 mins and I can make sure they are on task. The payments are simple and easy on odesk too. I tried freelancer and fiver and got really mixed results.
In fact it wasn’t until I decided I was going to buckle down and find some talent (cracked a beer and spent 4 hrs going through resumes, pretended I was a sports scout looking for that diamond in the rough) that I actually found some keepers. Went through about 3-4 guys that were really sub par before than. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of really searching for those winners. When you find one your life is immensely easier … although I won’t share my personal worker friends if anyone wants a really awesome optimizer feel free to msg me. He does it for about $50 and is always the last guy I go through for wp sites, css/html sites anything to make them fast as hell. He increases load times big time.
Cheers, outsourcing rules! haha
@francis – Advice, yes.
When they disappear it’s because they’re scared of losing face.
They lose face when they’re embarrassed, don’t know what to do, going to let you down, scared of disappointing you.
If you’ve given them a detailed task and they disappear 99% of the time here’s what happens:
1. your instructions aren’t as good as you think they are
2. they can do part of it, but they’re stuck on some piece that they don’t know how to do
3. because they look up to you so much, they don’t want to disappoint you and tell you they don’t know how to do it
4. they say nothing because they don’t want to disappoint you.
I know…I know…if they really don’t want to disappoint you they would say "I don’t know how to do this and I need help" rather than disappearing.
However, that’s not what they do.
If someone in the Philippines disappears it’s not because they’re lazy, crappy, dumb…
It’s because they don’t know how to do something.
You job as a manager is to seek this out. Ask them "what are you stuck on?" or "What do you need help with?" or "I know you are stuck on something, what can I do to help you?"
Doing this not only helps you solve the current problem at hand, it also instills long term trust of you in that Filipino worker. The more you do this, the more they trust you. The more they trust you, the more likely they are to find solutions to things on their own.
If they don’t trust you yet, they’re scared to try to find solutions on their own because they think they’ll find the wrong solution (even though most of the time they’ll find the right solution). They REALLY don’t want to disappoint you.
Building trust is key.
Hey John – thanks for posting! I remember reading about your site awhile back, when I wasnt even in AM full-time and I remember you writing about them disappearing when theyre stuck.
Question: how would you go about searching for the really talented and self-dependent programmer?
I.e. my approach would be: sending my candidates some tricky problems I need solutions for that require a little out-of-the box thinking AND research. Meaning they will get stuck .. more likely than not.
So is it better to test them using easier tasks – and then allow them to improve their skills AFTER they;re hired – or keep looking for that individual that will be close to "perfect" employee already? We can use optimizing mobile sites as an example; or writing bots for automating something… These are relatively new and specific "skills" most coders will not have developed yet;
How likely new potential candidates would take that challenge to prove themselves – given they’re REALLY good? How would perfect hiring scenario look when you;re looking for a tech coding/html/automation/optimization/server go-to guy? I’m on the verge of droping everything I do and actually hiring one (using your site btw, its a choice I already made long time ago lol) cause Im stuck much too often with a ton of tech stuff I grew to hate doing.. Because time.
I hired my first person from your site a week ago. Been going well.
How would I stop them from doing part time and other jobs outside of work hours? It’s the same as a music teacher doing private lessons on their weekends.
Right now, I’m focused on building that trust and working relationship with them. So they know their regular pay cheque comes from me, and working with me is a positive experience. Other than that, I really have no control over what they do in their own time.
@nefig – this is hard.
I recently hired another programmer. In recruiting I did all the things I thought were right to find a great programmer. I asked lots of questions, administered tests, looked at code.
In the end, I had to let 3 different programmers go before I found a great one. And…he’s GREAT!!!
But it just took time.
Here’s the thing about the Philippines. This GREAT programmer will work for me forever (I hope). Once I find someone great I keep them employed even if I don’t have much for them to do because it’s so affordable. Because of this, I can go through multiple people trying to find the right person.
If I were you, I would post a job on OnlineJobs.ph. Give some specifics. See what responses come in.
Then start asking them questions. Have them show you examples of their work. Where are they currently working. How much experience do they have.
In general, the more they want to make, the better they’ll be. However, the recent guy I hired wanted to make $450/month and he’s AMAZING. So "you get what you pay for" isn’t always the case…especially in the Philippines.
Just FYI, hiring a programmer was the best business decision I’ve ever made. It’s amazingly liberating.
@quantum27 – It’s hard to do this unless you specify it from the beginning and then use time tracking software to verify.
We recently released TimeProof (https://www.onlinejobs.ph/timeproof) which will help you know if it’s happening or not. Timeproof is free to use (no paid account required).
Beyond that, talk with them about it. Ask them who else they’re working for. Ask them how much they’re making there. Find out about their financial situation. It may be worth it to pay them more to get them to quit their job.
Just be aware that if they have lots of extra time, they’re going to take other work. If you really want them to work only for you, you need to keep them very busy.
I have had about 5 years of experience with outsourcing…hopefully what I share can help!
I have had my share of lows…where you have an idea and the outcome from the vendor was not what you were expecting. I have also experienced quality of service.. where you ask for an update on a project and there are days without a response. The biggest challenge I learned was how to communicate your idea effectively so that the PM, designer, or developer can deliver what you were expecting. Unfortunately, this came through years of pain points. But like an optimistic young go-getter you gotta learn from your mistakes and make the process better! I suggest trying to the following things:
1. Create a scope document. This document will help you get your idea across to the outsourcing company. It will also help them figure out X amount of hours the project would be which means a more accurate estimate for you. Here are some sample questions. Feel free to ask me if you would like to us our full document
List particular features that you want your website/app to include.
Some of these items may be obvious. However it is still advisable to list every feature that you wish your website/app to have, not matter how small.
Are there any other interactive features that you wish your website/app to have? How do you envision them working?
Detail how you wish forms or interactive features to work. Should users be able to sign in and manage their own profile? Will sign in be used to restrict deliver user specific content? How many steps should be involved in event registration and does this need to be tied in to internal company systems?
Data capture – What type of data or information will you want to be gathering from site visitors?
Will your site need to provide forms for signing up to a mailing list, user registration, or for product or service queries? Perhaps you will need an interface for submitting support tickets?
Will you need tools to manage and update website/app content?
Will your staff need to be able to add, update, or modify website/app content? What level of control do you wish to have? What type of content will you want to be providing?
How and where will the website/app be hosted?
Do you wish to host your website/app internally, or outsource it to a hosting provider? Are there any requirements with regards to availability and data back-up. What considerations will need to be taken into account with regards to user data and are the security considerations that will need to be integrated into the website/app?
Are there any external platform considerations that need to be taken into account?
Are there any specific browsers that will need to be supported? Are there particular platforms that the site will need to be accessible from such as tablet devices or smartphones?
Are there any internal platform requirements?
Do you have any restrictions or requirements and to what underlying technologies are used to run and/or develop the website/app? This could be mandating the use of a given Content Management System such as Joomla, Drupal or WordPress, or perhaps requiring it to run on or be built using ASP.NET, JSP, PHP, Ruby on Rails, etc…
2. If the project scope question is not your style, then I suggest creating wireframes and listing features on each page. This really helps any type of designer or developer. Even if you hand draw it, they will be able to get the concepts of everything.
3. You will learn through experience what kind of questions or how to convey what you are looking for. I have read some comments and it brought me back to the days where I had to be so specific.. do x and then y and do z. Unfortunately, I would overlook something and I would get frustrated that they didn’t point that out. For example, a login feature, I forgot to ask for a remember my password feature. OYI. I went through about 4-5 companies that provided this type of "low-service". I expect them to recommend ideas or features that I overlooked. I believe you should work with someone that should tell you NO don’t do that, here is a better solution.
I did however find a great company that charges 1-3 dollars more per hour (13-19 / hour) but their service is fantastic. They utilize Basecamp for projects, they have their account managers reach out to me for feedback, we get a dedicated PM per project (yes the accents very) but more importantly they do a Business Analysis before every project that focus on the user experience and the admin experience and the best way to execute design/development for a project. I have used about 8 projects with them, a few included big brands, and will continue to utilize them. Overtime, they have changed their working hours to accommodate ours.(ie no 12 hour time difference wink wink)
If you find one that your happy with, stick with them! You can then negotiate price overtime. Create the relationship first…. you will tell if the developer is interested in just getting you an estimate (ie offer you the lowest amount just to get it) but sometimes it pays to pay for a little bit more and sell them on the bigger picture of everything. If you would like to learn more about our company just ask, happy to share. I can’t guarantee anything but hopefully you have a great experience like me.
4. Time and Material vs. Dedicated Team
If you want to start and feel out an outsourcing company start with a time and material model. With this model they will give you a fixed price based on the project scope. Cons include you have to be pretty exact with what you want and there is no room for updates or modifications for new features during the project.
If you like a company and have a few projects you are happy with, then hire a dedicated team. With this model you can purchase X amount of hours per month. For example, 40 hours. You then have the freedom to change the project requirements and/or send them different types of projects within the hours you purchased. You can even negotiate rolling unused hours or getting refunded for hours unused. Usually companies have a min amount of hours you can purchase a month. I really like this model and has worked well with the current company we are using. Their entire team can lead the project while I just give feedback or approve things on my end. The best is when I can be at the gym, running on the elliptical, using the Skype app chatting with them. Technology and service baby!!
5. General rule of them – The cheaper you pay, expect that type of quality or service you will get.
6. Do your research. Ask them for client case studies. What is their retention rate with clients? How many employees do they have? How many projects have they completed? How long does it take them to get you a proposal?… An agreement? Drill them a bit on the emails or skype. Kind of like with testing/optimizing, have a 1-3 similar projects and try 1-3 companies out. Explain and be clear with your expectations and see how they react.
Starting to run out of tips but hopefully these helped? let me know if you have any questions happy to share what I know through my experiences.
I just tested my programmer for the first week. This guy is really good, but I really spent alot of time screening for the right person. I gave him 3 coding tasks to do in a week, and he came out with flying colours!
What made me almost jump out of my seat with excitement, was one of the programming task which involved PHP, HTML, jQuery, and MySQL. He didn’t just hack the thing together with code he could have ripped. He actually spent some time to design the thing to be reusable and scaleable. Nothing was hard coded! As an ex-programmer and technical person, I really appreciate that kind of experience and skill.
I had a chat with him about his current situation, and he said he’s enjoying the work but would look at doing other freelance work outside of work hours. He mentioned he would probably do some simple freelance tasks like graphics or simple coding and do most of the hard coding tasks for me. I’m living in Australia, I can easily work with him on Skype, so he knows there’s someone he needs to be accountable for.
I’m paying him $900USD which is good money compared to other jobs. But he mentions he has mortgage payments and other bills, so he needs to get other sources of income. Not sure what the cost of living is like over there, he lives just about 20mins outside of Manila.
I can understand what you’re saying in terms of getting them to only work for me. But if someone wanted to work weekend job in a restaurant, or out there selling drinks outside of work hours. I can’t really do much about it.
Right now, all I can do is give them a good working situation with me, build trust, pay on time, and keep them busy enough to work for me.
BTW. Thanks for your resources on outsourcing to the Philippines, it has really opened my eyes to all the different possibilities!
@buttonedup – I think the type of outsourcing you’re talking about is different than what the rest of us are talking about.
You’re talking about true "out" sourcing…where you just say "this is what I want, don’t bug me until it’s done."
Most of the rest of this thread is really about "insourcing", where you hire people from overseas and bring them into your company…as staff. Like what quantum27 did with the programmer. He’s now part of quantum’s company. He’ll work with the guy to build the system, making sure it gets done right.
Then, when updates/changes/fixes need to be done, the same guy who built it is still doing the work. It makes future changes/updates so much easier.
@quantum27 – you’re right, you can’t prevent him from doing other work on the weekends. I wouldn’t expect you to. I think you’ll have a much better long term experience with this guy having set that expectation from the beginning. Way to go.
@john want to do a webinar ? I have a feeling STMers would love to grill with questions.
I’d be up for that. We could just do an informal one where we just do Q&A or I could do a short presentation and then Q&A?
It’s up to you.
Perfect. 2019’s first webinar!