Advice on hiring an assistant in Colombia / skillset for assistant?
I have a somewhat unexpected problem identifying a suitable prior professional backgrounds for an assistant. I need someone to help me in Medellin, Colombia (not Columbia however I have talked to many friends here, employment agencies, 'gringo' forums etc. with no luck. In the past 9 months since I moved from Europe to Medellin I have interviewed about 9 lads and ladies. Time is passing and I'm getting nowhere. It seems that anyone with even half a brain (and some English) in Colombia already has a job.
I am happy to pay a good local salary for someone to help with the dull bits of backtesting, statistics, screen watching etc. The reasons 9 potentials of about 30 candidates thus far fell through vary from:
A. I just can't think at 6am for any money (I start early with the European session)
Z. It seems like the money is too easy and I'm a 'Christian' so my personal ethics... I'm not kidding folks. I did explain index futures are not really easy, a lot like catching slippery fish really and many famous people from the bible.. he did not buy that A pity as he was otherwise perfect.
Perhaps I'm being too exclusive looking for maths/IT/electronic engineer types?
The job agencies I spoke to here have no imagination and don't seem to care. I have a 20+ year I.T. background and it must have given me a lot of useful parallel skills as I was significantly profitable quickly. I know electronic engineers are really brilliant analysts as they can usually code and think cleanly.. however they are few and far between here.
I'm perfectly happy to train someone for a month or two but I need to widen my net of local talent.
If you have any suggestions on other careers from which good trading assistants might be drawn I would love to hear?
Last edited by Rory; November 17th, 2015 at 08:40 PM.
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Being in your position before I can tell you for sure you will never get anyone to work for you that will fit your needs satisfactorily. No one will ever be able to do the job as well as you would like them to, or as well as you. Best bet is to just do it yourself. Save all the aggravation.
Just my .02
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Appreciated and your probably correct I suspect.. however need to find a person Friday somehow. In my old I.T. career I hired many people and they liked working for/with me etc. but trading and Colombia is being weird.
I have a spinal injury that is sufficiently annoying to distract me..at usually the wrong times in the day. I've had all the physio I can have. I need some help as I'm missing out on a lot of good opportunities.
I may find my perfect guy/gal soon but any inspiration on source-careers would be great.
I miss Thailand, I guess it helps to know I'd have the same problem there
Cheers, good suggestion on foreign experience, it is on my mind. Even discussing hundreds/thousands of bucks a day causes most here to experience 'The Fear'. I explained that they don't need to worry, they are not pressing the button but it seems to make them want to run to a Yoga class regardless (very popular this year in Medellin). I have already learned the lesson here that a high base salary leads to sloppy work. For some perverse reason of psychology (or previous employer abuse) Colombians prefer to be be paid terribly.. but with lots of little productivity bonuses
I have done some hiring in mainland china, but for a firm. I have had some experience in Colombia (barranquilla / bogota) in a previous life.
We almost always look for people with quantitative, economic and/or maths/science backgrounds. Study abroad for university or masters. We also pay at least 2.5x the local salary with some making 5x - 10x local salaries at different levels.
However due to lack of religion / Christianity and Chinese penchant for gambling there is no moral fear of making money or trading. Actually calling yourself a trader most people either think 1) you are import/export or 2) some old dude sitting in a trading arcade smoking cigarettes. It is not really considered a white collar profession just yet.
The most important thing i found is that they want to be there not for the money, but because they are genuinely interested in finance/trading/systems/ whatever field that their position reflects. Its harder to train someone to do your process and work hard if they are only in it for the money. Which if you are paying 5x local pay, a lot of people will be doing just that. Only work for the paycheck, do the bare minimum and be a body in a chair.
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My answer is probably not too useful since it's coming from a U.S. context.
1. Sort of. The problem is that you're currently working alone. The first person you need to support you is probably going to fill a technical role, not an assistant role, as you've correctly recognized. And it's extremely rare to find people with technical skills in the set of people who are applying to assistant jobs. You're probably not going to find what you're looking for because you're effectively looking for an engineer in a pool of assistants.
2. Associated with the above... these are really interesting and difficult problems, I certainly won't entrust it to an assistant who's paid $40-80k per year (most assistants in the U.S.)
3. If you really want insist on hiring an assistant, you should consider narrowing and simplifying your criteria. You're not going to magically find someone who is (a) a lowly paid assistant, (b) has financial skills or can pick it up fast, (c) has good IT skills, (d) has the right personality and skillset to deal with statistical problems, (e) is smart - which I gather are your criteria from your post.
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