Recruitment itself is not an easy task because it entails a lot of layers to consider when selecting best-fit talents for certain positions. But when you’re recruiting remotely, the challenge goes several notches higher. How do you ensure that you’re getting the best people to do the job when you’re not meeting them personally? This is where an expert like Anna Shcherbyna comes in. Anna is the founder and CEO of Remotivate, a company that helps online businesses hire remote staff from all over the world. In this conversation with Paul Higgins, Anna shares some valuable information about which countries are hot to hire from at the moment, why you need to really create a vision for the role (as opposed to just a job description), and how you can look for the soft skills and motivation that are going to be the game-changer for anyone you take in.
Optimizing Remote Recruitment With Anna Shcherbyna
Build Live Give. Mentoring With Paul Higgins
Welcome to the show. If you’re a first-time reader and you love what you learn, please subscribe. If you’re a regular, thanks for your support. Both of you, if you’ve got any questions or questions you want to ask the guests or me, you can go to PaulHigginsMentoring.com/questions. Leave your questions and I’ll reply. Also, feel free to take notes. There are lots of great notes to take in this interview with our guest. Our guest is someone that is lived and worked in more than 30 countries. She has been hiring or recruiting remote workers ever since she started to work. She knows a lot about this space.
She’s not someone who’s got on the wave of lots of people moving remote because of COVID and other changes in the world. She covers at least three things that you should focus on. One is the countries that are hot to hire. The second is how you need to create a vision for the role and it’s different from what you might think when you think of the word vision. The third is how do you look for those motivational habits, those soft skills that are important? She’s got a unique aspect of looking at that. What I’ll do is I’ll hand you over to Anna Shcherbyna from LetsRemotivate.com.
Anna Shcherbyna from Remotivate, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you here.
Paul, it’s nice to be here. Honestly, thanks for having me.
We’ve had some wonderful conversations including the one that we had before coming on. I feel like this is our second episode. You’re such a joy to listen to. I know you’re going to share lots of wisdom. When someone asks you what Remotivate does, how do you best describe that?
At Remotivate, we help online businesses. We mostly hire remote staff all over the world.
When you say all over the world, is it only English-speaking? Is it multi-language?
We do focus on English-speaking candidates but we hire them anywhere. We’ve had candidates from Nigeria, South Africa, all over Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Central America. The list goes on and on. We’ve hired from many different countries. We have a little map on our website about that as well. It’s for English-speaking companies.
Normally, there are seasons of countries that are hot. The Philippines has been that for a long time and they’ve developed. There was a little bit of Vietnam that was coming up. I know myself. I’ve been doing a lot on Latin America especially because of the time zone into the US. Are there any pockets that may be coming up as opportunities to hire from that?
Like India, the Philippines and Pakistan, I feel like a lot of those Asian countries were something popular. It’s still popular but there are some upcoming areas. I feel like Eastern Europe is no longer a secret. I won’t even mention it. Some areas that people are not as aware about are Latin America and Central America. First, it’s close to the US. The English level of the candidates is much higher than a lot of the European candidates, which is surprising. Most of them are going to American schools and all of that. In those places, you get qualified candidates, amazing salaries, affordable salaries for smaller businesses that are starting and they can get high-quality candidates that have a great English level and has a desire for growth. I highly recommend those places.
Any particular countries within those?Skills can be taught, but soft skills and motivation can’t be learned. Click To Tweet
I’ve hired from a lot of the Caribbean islands. Surprisingly, the Bahamas have been awesome. We’ve hired from smaller Caribbean islands, that’s one. We’ve hired amazing people from Mexico, Argentina, as well as Chile. Surprisingly, they’ve been awesome countries to focus on.
I have to add those to my list. We’ve been more on Venezuela, Colombia. Especially there have been a lot of Venezuelans, which is sad with what’s happening in their country that has moved into Colombia. The US dollar is incredibly important to them and their families. We’ve certainly had some success there. You’re talking about hiring, remote only and full-time remote only, which is great. It’s topical. What do you know about hiring remote full-time people that many people miss or don’t understand?
The biggest thing that people miss out on is the vision. We call it the vision. Most people call it creating a job description. Let’s be honest. When we say vision work, it’s taking the time to figure out what the role is. In the past, in the corporate world, the naming of a position was pretty standard. It has changed, the name of a role of responsibilities, what it looks like, salary, expectations and all of that. What ends up happening is a lot of people that are looking for remote staff post a job description with what they expect, what they think they want and need. The response they get, whether it’s not enough candidates or not the right candidates is not the best usually. They have to start it all over again.
We always say start with the vision, which means figure out what does success looks like? Get all those details, interview your staff. Get all the information you need for an important long-term role. Go out and do the research. A lot of companies don’t do that. Even as a recruitment agency, we’re doing hiring daily. We still do our research for every single position based on requirements because every company is different. It’s extremely important to start with a vision and figure all of those details out before venturing into hiring and attracting those candidates.
Give us some examples of that vision. Paint the picture a little more. I get the vision. I get the research. Maybe even flop an example or something that gets us to say, “Now I understand what that is.”
Something that’s the most obvious example that’s not always obvious is the name of a position. For example, we had a role that a client said, “We need a customer success manager.” I’m like, “That’s great.” We called it that. We put together a great job description and we put it out there. What’s surprising is the people that we got in were customer support where they were looking for someone that’s going to be talking to clients and handling customer success but from a client perspective. A month goes by. We’re trying. We’ve gone through hundreds of candidates. We’re like, “What’s going on?” We do our research all over again. We’re figuring out what’s happening and we realized, “What if we position it as an account manager? What if we renamed the title?” This happened years ago. You won’t believe it, we hired within a week after renaming the role. Nothing had changed on the job description. The name of the position changed everything.
We have a golden rule. We do so much research before starting a position. We’re doing a lot of inviting manually, candidates across different job boards. If we don’t see success in a position, if we’re not getting at least a 10% to 15% conversion rate on our invites, we rename the position. I am not kidding you. This is something that most people don’t realize. A lot of the success is based on a name. We’re doing UI and UX designer. We have many applicants because it is a clear understanding of what the role is. There are many great applications and qualified applicants. That’s what’s important. That’s a simple example of it but there are many. Salaries not in alignment, we’ve had that before. The job description is not in alignment with the position of the role. People start reading and they’re like, “What is this?” It sounds like it’s senior but then it’s a junior.
I talked to somebody who posted head of partnerships and I’m like, “This sounds like a C-level position.” Going through their job description, I was like, “This sounds like a junior role, communicating with influencers and writing emails.” On the call with the client, they said, “This is something that a VA can do.” I’m like, “Why did we call this the head of partnerships? You’re going to get people that are looking for $100,000-plus salaries. This is completely off.” That’s the thing with a lot of business owners and even HR managers, they don’t realize it. It’s a common mistake and it’s something that can’t be avoided sometimes, which is why I say do your research, launch the position but also iterate. Be aware of what’s happening. Are candidates applying? Are they good candidates? Sometimes it has nothing to do with the sourcing.
I must admit, even for myself, I find it hard sometimes to come up with a title. We’re all running online businesses. There are certain tasks that you want someone to do. If you decouple those tasks, that makes a lot of sense. It’s like, “How do I queue that?” For example, I’m after someone that will do my social media, our webinars and also do some other things. It’s a combination of tasks but it’s a combination of skills in a way. What do I call them? Do I call them media managers? In a situation like that, any advice on how someone looks at all the tasks they do to then come up with like, “What am I going to call the top?”
I’d say prioritize. You probably have a list of tasks you want them to do. Their priority, most likely, is not going to be a 30%, 30%, %30. They’re going to be probably 50% this, 20% this and then 30% something else. Figuring out your priorities and then being able to do the research. I can’t say this enough, research is big. Why? You’ll be able to see other job descriptions that have similar responsibilities or priorities. What was the name of that title? How did they name that role? Let’s say the majority of what you want them to do is going to be social media. Name that as social media. What ends up happening is they’re going to be an expert in the majority of what you need to do. Sometimes they’ve touched base on other things and you want to make sure that social media expert with experience in X, Y and Z. The title will still be social media expert social media manager. In your requirements and your process, you’re going to add the other pieces that you need.
For example, in the UI and UX designer position, we’re looking for somebody with a limited or a little bit of experience in product management, which is not a direct thing. It’s something that a lot of UI and UX designers touched based on. We’ve added that to our questionnaire. We removed it from our title, I have to be honest. We had to remove that because it’s scaring people away. What we ended up happening is by having UI and UX designer, they go through the question and they said, “We’ve had a year of experience in product management.” Because it’s not the majority, it works out perfectly of attracting the right candidates. That’s what I recommend, figure out your priorities. What’s important to you? Name the role based on the majority of what they’re doing and test for the remaining.
That’s great advice. You tie in a lot of 6 to 7-figure online businesses. Our community, the people reading, they’re normally service-based business owners, similar sizes. You can always go and hire a VA either directly through an agency, etc. What are some of the roles that you find that you’re best to use a company like yourself for?
If you’re going to go for an agency, go for an agency when it’s managerial leadership positions. With a VA, you don’t need a complex process and it’s not going to be long-term. Unless it’s a super vital role for you, go for an agency when you need a key position that’s going to be super important for your business and take the time, invest a time into that. If you don’t have the time, it’s better to invest a little bit of money with an agency that understands and knows whether it’s remote or not depending on the needs of a business owner, putting in that time. Some of the most popular positions that we do and something that I see all the time with service businesses, agencies, are the operations manager and marketing manager.
I’m saying that in a more general way. There are different levels to it. Operations managers, head of operations, operations assistance, you name it, we have it. It’s a whole range, the same thing with marketing. Managerial or at least candidates who are self-sufficient and independent are able to make decisions and independently manage campaigns, I already see those as mid to senior-level positions. It’s not somebody that you have to say, “A, B, C, follow exactly these directions.” It’s like, “Here’s something we need to do. Go figure it out.” They need to know how to do it and you need that level of a candidate. If you need someone independent that is going to have that initiative, I’d say use an agency if they’re going to play a key role in the company.
I suppose timing is one of the biggest things. When I worked in Coca-Cola, you always had the funds. It was a matter of asking for a budget and then you can go and hire. The small business, often it’s like, “When do I do it? Do I do a pre-revenue?” What are some tips you can give on when the best time is to hire someone?
I have the same thing. When is it time to hire? It’s when you’re scaling. Something that came up for my business as well because I’m a service business too is the chicken and egg problem. When you start having a lot of clients, all of a sudden, you’re like, “I need more people on the team. How do I do this?” It is a chicken and egg problem because if you don’t have the clients, why would you hire the staff? Due to this problem that I’ve been facing myself in the terms of scaling, I saw somebody posted about this and I was like, “This is brilliant.” Have an open-ended role that you need consistently.
Let’s say you consistently need new account managers once you hit a certain mark of clients. Having that position open and continuously and slowly sourcing for it and slowly having candidates move through your process, that way, anytime you need it you’re like, “That’s right there. They were going through it. They finished that process. They’ve been waiting a few weeks and now we can bring them on.” This is going to be a great piece of wise advice because even I have gone through this, have something open-ended. That way, you’ll have those people available to pick out when you need them. It does come down to scale. Understanding when you’re scaling or at least anticipating when that time is and that’s when you need to start bringing on people.
When it comes to leadership, that’s a whole different conversation. It depends on how much you want to delegate, how much you can handle and that’s a whole conversation on being self-aware. Let’s be honest, that’s about being self-aware of letting go of responsibility and letting go of a part of that leadership. Business owner to business owner, it’s different times. I’ve talked to people who are ready to let go at staff number one person and prefer the employee. I’ve had people with 100 employees and no leadership team whatsoever. I’ve had it all. It comes down to the business owner.By digging deeper during interviews, you’re not going to get to someone’s soul in 30 minutes, but you’ll get close enough. Click To Tweet
My wife still says that I was delegating. I was born a delegator in my team. I could account for that. There are a lot of freelance experts versus hiring someone. For example, around marketing, etc. There are a lot of marketing experts and you can hire them for specific skills. They can work with your team versus bringing someone full-time into the business. What’s your experience when you go one versus the other?
It comes down to what you need. It’s realistic. It’s like, “Do I need a marketer for this campaign?” That’s a freelancer. Whereas, “I need somebody consistently helping with my marketing.” For example, for us, we’ve grown a referral base. Marketing is something that we’re touching base on. I need someone full-time on my social media. I tried going in that direction by myself and I was like, “No way. I’m delegating this.” I figured it out. We’ve built all the moving parts. I’ve gone into it where I need to be and I’m like, “It’s time to step away.” I need that person consistently month after month. It’s being realistic and understanding which parts of your business need to put out a fire and where is this person is going to play a major role for the long-term?
I know you’ve said the importance of research, which I completely agree with. I know around hiring, you have a great five-step process. If you had to pick out a couple of things that people normally miss or skip that you know are important, let us know that.
The first thing is research, for sure. Vision work in general. When I say vision work, I don’t mean research in a job description. I mean identifying the keys to success. What does success look like for your position? A lot of businesses are hiring for the fires rather than, “What is this person going to do after the fires?” That’s why I always say, “What does success look like within a month?” In six months, it’s like, “What does that look like?” What kind of person is going to be able to do what you need now as well as in the future? When you identify that, you can put that in your process. We put that in our questionnaire. We put that in our soft skills test. We even put that in our video. We want to see certain types of people. We’re looking at certain criteria or soft skills and we’re able to see that across their different touchpoints that we have in our process. It’s extremely important to identify what success looks like.
Something that is important is motivation and I can’t say that enough. People don’t realize that soft skills and motivation can’t be learned. Skills can be learned. If somebody doesn’t know Facebook ads, they can take a course and become an expert. It’s fast. It’s easy to learn. You can’t learn to have loyalty, character and independence. You can’t learn to want to do something. I always say that motivation is important and it’s the key to long-term success. If somebody is motivated by making a difference in the world especially if a company needs that, if they’re motivated by personal growth. They want to grow. If they’re not telling you like, “I want to start my own business in a year.” Will they be sticking around if they’re saying that they want to be a business owner? There’s nothing wrong with that.
I always encourage candidates, like, “What are your dreams?” I ask candidates on interviews, “What will make you happy?” That’s important. By understanding and supporting them through the interview, you’re able to see not what you need but what they want and then be able to understand whether that is in alignment with what you can provide to them. Most of the time, you’ll find that there’s going to be a mismatch in what they are looking for and what they can provide to a company in the long-term. Motivation speaks.
With your title, no doubt, Remotivate. That’s something you’re passionate about. Do you use certain tools? How do you tell someone’s personality, some of those soft skills? What are the ways that you’re using to identify those?
We do have a soft skills test, which we created. We have a list of questions based on the type of personality and certain traits that we’re looking out for. I always tell everyone to read between the lines. If a candidate responds with a one-liner, how much energy is he putting into that? It’s important to watch how they respond to the questions you ask. When it comes to motivation, the interview is the ultimate test for it. All the other pieces are spread out. We’re looking into that. The interview gives you a lot. One, they’ve gone through the entire process, that’s the first indicator for me that they care. I always say caring is important to the motivation piece.
Two, during the interview itself, you’re able to ask those questions. You want to be able to dig into their why. If they say, “I want a $70,000 salary.” I’m like, “Why?” Dig three sense deeper. Go three times deeper. If they say, “I’m looking for a job where I can do Facebook ads or I can do operations.” I say, “Why?” “I’ve done this in the past and I want to keep growing.” “Why?” “I want to be an expert in X, Y, Z.” You’re not going to get into their soul in 30 minutes but you’re going to get close enough. if you create a comfortable space for people, if you make them feel like there’s no wrong answer, if you make them feel like that they can truly share with how they feel and what they feel, they’ll give it all the way. It’s listening. Asking a question, making them comfortable and listening. That’s what’s going to be the tell in terms of motivations and why they’re there.
The last question is around pricing. I must admit, I haven’t been in the corporate for years. Whenever I hear recruiting, there’s a 25% fee that the person will want. It’s the highest salaried role. That’s not what I’m used to from recruiting remote people where you’re tapping into different economies. Success for them in a salary is different to some other countries. Give us a little bit of an insight into that. I’m sure a lot of people reading are thinking, “This sounds great, Anna. I keep thinking of my corporate days and this is going to cost me a bomb.”
Those are two questions. I’m going to take them one at a time. In terms of salaries for managerial positions, it goes anywhere from $2,000 and up, which is going to be surprising. I’ve hired amazing people with leadership, either junior with leadership potential at $1,500 to $2,000. You can find managers in that range. The managers are anywhere between $1,500 up to $4,000. I’m talking mid-tier. We’re talking about crazy C-levels. Small to medium businesses.
Are we talking USD here?
Yes, USD. $1,500 to about $4,000 is the junior to mid-tier potential managers or have some background or already managers and have that experience. That’s not going to break the bank. If you’re making $10,000 to $20,000 a month, you can afford a $2,000 manager. That’s in terms of salaries all over the world, I’m talking Latin America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe. The Philippines is even cheaper. I do find that the Philippines, time zone-wise, is not as comfortable for a lot of companies. That’s the first piece.
The old school agencies would charge 15% to even 30% of salary and that’s crazy. It’s corporate. The company tells you, “Go the other way.” There are a lot of newer agencies that are offering reasonable prices. We offer $3,000 to $5,000 per roll and that’s reasonable. We’re hiring for this remote company, a C-level position. It’s $5,000. For them, they’re like, “$5,000?” I’m like, “Yes.” That’s okay. Those prices are absolutely fine. This is not a COO for a nine-figure business. These are small to medium businesses, they’re at 100 or 60 people. For them, a C-level role is different than a company making $250 million. It’s still worth the money because with recruitment agencies, they’re going to be crazy amounts. 20% from a COO salary. You can imagine, it’s not $5,000.
For me, that’s opened up a lot more opportunities TO using someone like yourself versus all that hard work that goes with trying to do it yourself. We’ve all done it. We throw into Facebook groups that we know or we ask peers. Your time is valuable. I always believe that you get an expert to fast-track it.
Recruiters, too. There are recruiters out there that are even cheaper. They’re not agencies. They don’t have as much experience. They’re going to need to be managed a little bit more but they’re even cheaper. Under $1,000, they’re going to help you sort with all the sourcing. It’s possible. You have to know where to look. Do a little bit of research. Find a company that knows and understands what they’re doing whether it’s a recruiter or an agency but it’s worth it than spending $20,000 to $50,000 on one hire.
Remember that cheap is not always the best. It’s time, the quality and the investment of your time as well. We are continuing to learn from Anna. LetsRemotivate.com is her website. Before we go into the live section, I’d like to talk to you about creating a sales machine that’s going to help you deliver 1 to 3 high-paying clients a month. It’s fourteen questions. It will take you about three minutes to go through. You can get that at PaulHigginsMentoring.com/pulse. Honestly, if you’re looking for what is the gap? What do I need to do? Go and fill out this quick pulse check at PaulHigginsMentoring.com/pulse. Anna, what are some daily habits that you do that help you be successful?
That’s such a great question and the reason why I love it is because I’ve had quite a few friends asked me the same thing. They’re like, “How do you get so much done? How have you done much in the last 3, 4 years to build up the business? How do you do it all?” The answer and the thing that I have consistently done seems simple but it has changed my life and that is I’ve learned to show up for myself. Every single day, especially in the mornings, waking up and showing up for myself, whether that’s meditation, journaling, coffee, exercise, whatever it may be that the routine is.
It does change but it’s about showing up for myself because, for the rest of the day, I’m able to show up for others and bring that. When I wasn’t doing that, when I didn’t know about that, I didn’t have the same energy. I didn’t have that same amount of output of giving. I’d say one of the biggest habits that I have learned that has changed my life and has gotten me to where I am is being able to first show up for yourself, take care of yourself and then be able to take care of everyone else.
I love that. I’m a huge supporter of Stephen Covey. Sadly, he’s not with us anymore. He wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In that, it’s got two upside-down triangles. They always say look after you first. You’ve got to be the best you before you can go and help others. It aligns with your philosophy there. The next section is the give section. What’s a charity or a community that you are passionate about and why?Take care of yourself first so that you will be able to take care of everyone else. Click To Tweet
I come from Ukraine. I grew up trying to work online. I wanted to work online and I did not know how to do it. Because of my background, I didn’t have a lot of opportunities. I found Upwork and I found this online space and I had no idea what to do about it. I had all the drive, motivation, experience, skills. You name it, I had it. What I did not have is information. I didn’t have anyone who could tell me what to do, how to do it. Give me a conversation that will get me in that door. Since then, I’ve traveled, I’ve built out a business around this. I am helping business owners, it’s something that I’m extremely passionate about. What we’re doing with my team is building out different projects that will help people all over the world learn how to start working remotely. They have the skills. Sometimes they have everything in their arsenal but they don’t have that information. That’s what I’m passionate about. My entire team is working towards that, creating and supporting people who want to start working online and being able to support themselves, especially if in the area that they live don’t have those opportunities.
For me, I support a charity called PurpleHouse.org.au and it provides essential dialysis services to indigenous people in Australia. My book, Build Live Give, all the proceeds of that go to that charity. Also, a percentage of my revenue goes to that charity as well. You can find out more at PurpleHouse.org.au. The last section is a rapid-fire section. We’ll ask you some questions and get some rapid-fire responses. The first one is what piece of tech is essential for running your business?
We have a few but it’s pretty straightforward. We use things like the G Suite, Front, Asana, Notion. We love our project management tools because the better the tools, the faster we can work and the better service that we can provide for our clients. Our entire G Suite is automated. All the databases and everything has been automated. It’s beautiful. Our clients love it. We have an internal system that we have created for ourselves and our clients. It is awesome.
This is not about hiring amazing remote people but what’s your best sales tip?
I love sales. It’s going to sound counterintuitive but asking questions and listening has been the best thing you could do in sales. The less you speak, the better you sell. That would be my key tip there.
What’s the best source of new ideas for you?
Talking to people. I constantly talk to business owners within my community and online. There are amazing sites that have communities of business owners as well. Clarity.fm is great. There is one growth mentor, if I’m not mistaken, as well that you can sign up on a monthly fee and get access to hundreds if not thousands of different business owners and specialists. For me, the biggest source of ideas, growth and learning has been getting on a call and having a conversation. Amazing things usually happen in those moments.
It’s been an amazing tool to tap into that. The last question is the big question and I always leave it at the end for that reason. What impact do you want to leave on the world?
I touched base a little bit on this. I want to help. This is an initiative that has been in my mind, it’s brewing. It’s in the works. I want to help one million people go remote. The ones who have either not gone there or who know about it but have not been able to do it. If I had to choose one thing to change in this world and leave behind, it’s that I was able to have a hand in helping one million people learn how to work remotely and be self-sufficient and create opportunities for themselves.
You can find more about Anna and her amazing team at LetsRemotivate.com. You can also go and get a free 30-minute consultation with that. You can go to LetsRemotivate.com/apply and that’ll take you directly to that. Thanks for coming on and sharing your wisdom, Anna. I love what you’re doing. I’m sure that a lot of people reading will be contacting you. Well done for sharing your wisdom.
Thank you so much, Paul. It was a pleasure being here.
I thoroughly enjoyed that interview with Anna and I hope you did as well. I loved how she talked about how accessible it is. The rates and the fees that she mentioned were very much in favor of someone like you, running your own business. Also, I love the ops and marketing roles. I know they’re the two things that I struggle the most with. Fortunately, I’ve got fantastic ops but I struggle with marketing. Remember that she’s got a free consultation available for you to work through this more. You can go to LetsRemotivate.com/apply. Also, setting up a sales machine to get you 1 to 3 high-paying clients. If that’s of interest to you, go to PaulHigginsMentoring.com/pulse. Please take action to build, live and give.
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About Anna Shcherbyna
Anna Shcherbyna is the founder and CEO of LetsRemotivate.com – a company dedicated to reshaping remote recruitment, from how candidates are screened to helping online businesses build and manage remote teams in a unique and sustainable way.
Remotivate handles all the due diligence relating to candidate communication, arranging interviews, discussing salary expectations and conducting reference checks. This done-for-you service is for online entrepreneurs/businesses with remote teams and uses a customized funnel to filter hundreds of candidates to deliver only the best ones to clients.
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