How to Recruit and Hire the Right Virtual Assistant
You’d hire someone to help, but you have to keep an eye on your budget – salaries, benefits, taxes – they all add up. Plus, you don’t necessarily have enough space in your office for more people. You’d have to buy additional equipment too. So, you soldier on, trying to find the time and energy to do all that you need to do.
A better way
Well, there is a better way. A virtual assistant (VA) can take over all your mundane tasks so you can concentrate on running your business. A VA isn’t a cure-all for all your business woes, but a good one can take a lot of the load off your shoulders.
Writing up a good job post is the first step. Figure out exactly what you want done, how many hours per week you need help, and what times of the day you expect your VA to work.
Keep in mind that they may live on the other side of the world from you. A 9 am to 5 pm job for you could be the graveyard shift for them.
A good job post shows that you are a professional and will attract professional candidates. List the hard and soft skills the right candidate should have. Hard skills are technical skills they would need to do the job. Some examples are:
- Use Word, Excel, and WordPress
- Program using Java, with some knowledge of Python
- Write emails in English
- Take inbound calls
Soft skills are personality traits. These are some soft skills you might look for in a good virtual assistant:
- Attention to detail
- Patience with customers
- Takes direction well
Write a clear, concise job description with enough detail so that applicants know what to expect, but not so much that you sound like you’d be a demanding, over-controlling boss. And keep your expectations realistic.
The perfect VA – with a wide selection of competencies whom you can hire for a pittance – is as much of a fairy tale as Prince Charming.
You might consider putting a strange request at the bottom of your job post to weed out spam. Something like, “Write ‘I am Batman’ at the beginning of your application.”
Some candidates might ask why you made such a strange request. This can be a good sign, since it shows that they’re paying attention and aren’t afraid to ask questions.
If your post ends up online for a while, make sure it stays updated and take it down when you’ve filled the position. Of course, it might take a while to find the right person. Don’t settle too quickly either.
Once you’ve posted your job listing people will start sending in applications. You can also go to a website such as OnlineJobs.ph or Upwork.com, browse the profiles, and send invitations to workers you like.(PS. These are my preferred choices for recruiting quality people.)
Sift through your candidates
Start with a big pool of candidates. You don’t want to rush this. Finding someone who’s a good fit for you can be tricky and you should have options.
Email or message everyone who looks good and introduce yourself. Show them your job description and talk a little bit about your company. Discuss your goals and values too. The right candidate will be in line with those. We’re talking 20 to 30 people here, so just send a mass email for now.
Not all your candidates will respond – that’s the first round of eliminations. Your correspondence will get more in-depth as you become better acquainted with them. Ask lots of questions, such as:
- Are you currently working? How many hours? How many hours can you devote to my job?
- What’s your expected salary?(in most cases, the contractors post the hourly rate they would like to get.)
- Have you worked with Australians before?
- What experience have you had with this type of work?
- Can you provide references and work samples?
- When can you start?
- How fast and reliable is your internet connection?
- Do you have a computer and headset?
- What city do you live in?
PS. I always speak to them via Skype to make sure they speak fluent English and we can communicate comfortably with each other. Plus, I want to visually see them via Skype as well so that I can read their body language, mannerisms and it tests there internet speed too.
Use the questions to winnow through your candidates. When you’ve found your top picks, set up a small test project to get an idea of their skills. For instance, you could have them write an email response to a customer query or perform one task that would be part of their job.
Picking the right one
Let’s say you’ve narrowed it down to three. They all seem about equally good. How do you choose the right one?
Trust your intuition
Your gut instinct about a person can tell you a lot. You’ll be working regularly with your VA, so you should mesh on a personal level as well.
Ask about conflicting commitments
Do they already have another job? If your position is full-time it will be difficult for them to divide their attention between two jobs, and yours will likely suffer.
Make sure everything matches up
Look for inconsistencies. Does their resume say that they speak excellent English, but they keep making mistakes in the emails they send you? That’s a red flag.
Assess their skills
Good timekeeping is an important quality to look for in a virtual assistant. You need to be able to depend on them to work on their own with minimal supervision.
- Did they answer all your questions during the recruiting process?
- How well did they complete the project you gave them?
Hiring a virtual assistant isn’t that different from hiring someone in person. It takes a little bit of effort, but if you follow these steps you’ll soon you’ll have a VA who takes care of your daily tasks, so you can work on the important stuff.
Since 2007, I have recruited over 100 VA’s around the world for various tasks and yes, I have made many mistakes and have learnt valuable lessons along the way that I can pass onto you if you are considering this as cost saving measures, or simply want to reduce your workload
If you would like help with this, lets book a free consultation and see if I can help you through the process.
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