Killer Strategies to Successfully Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Killer Strategies to Successfully Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Hiring a virtual assistant is great, except so many people fail the first time around… here’s why!

 

Hiring a virtual assistant has become so popular these days that lots of business owners have taken the initiative to outsource the help they need.

 

It’s no wonder—virtual assistants are adept at handling such a variety of everyday tasks that business owners are only too glad to delegate to them. Gone are the days when entrepreneurs have to worry about sorting through emails, organising cloud files, following up with potential customers, and posting on social media—their online assistants can take care of these things in their stead, giving them essential time back to focus on strategy and growth of the business.

 

Hiring a virtual assistant

And with the availability of online project management tools like Asana and Trello and CRM applications like Hubspot and Ontraport, virtual assistants have grown even more skilled so employers can now entrust them with more specialised tasks, which in turn makes things in the business more organised and thus, more efficient.

 

But ….. yes there is a BUT!

 

Due to the rising popularity of hiring virtual staff, the world of virtual services has grown into a very competitive one in recent years. If you’re just starting the journey of employing a VA, you’ll discover that there are now millions of VAs globally with different skillsets, specialities and even industry focus. The whole hiring process can seem quite daunting if you don’t know what to do first or where to look.

The hiring process can be quite daunting if you don't know what to do first or where to look. Click To Tweet

 

One important thing to consider when getting a virtual assistant is this: you can either hire freelancers online, or you can go through an agency.

 

Hiring a freelancer vs. going through an agency

Hiring a virtual assistantThis is the part where entrepreneurs hiring their first VA can often get really stuck.

Getting a virtual assistant is not a simple process, despite what the online world will lead you to believe!

 

For people who prefer to oversee every little step in any project, hiring a freelance remote assistant does have its charms. It means complete control over the whole process and the cost is of course lower.

 

If you decide to go the freelance route, expect to do the entire thing yourself. That means investing your time in putting up job adverts, sorting through applications, interviewing candidates, and then training them once they are hired.

Hiring a VA through an agency saves you time because they take care of everything for you. Click To Tweet

 

While this route offers you more flexibility in terms of cost, it can also lead to exhausting and, very often, frustrating results.

 

On the other hand, the process of hiring a virtual assistant through virtual assistant companies, though slightly costlier, is more streamlined because virtual staff companies take care of everything for you—from finding the right person, to interviewing, and right down to training. This method saves you time as well as it ensures that you get the best candidate possible.

 

“I have time. How do I hire a virtual assistant online?”

If you choose to go through the process of recruiting a virtual assistant on your own, you should prepare a number of things before your search for a candidate begins. 

Hiring a virtual assistant

Just like hiring personnel in any kind of business, it’s imperative that you know exactly what you are looking for. You should be very clear on what tasks you are planning to assign to your virtual assistants and what specific skill sets you would need from them. Without a clear picture of what you want, you will find yourself in a situation where you would expect a lot of things from a person who is completely unsuited to the job.

 

In order to avoid this mistake, before hiring a remote assistant, make sure that you’ve already set a system of how things run in your business and that you’ve documented ways to implement them. That way, when you do manage to find the right person and have succeeded in training them, the delegation of work will be snag-free.

 

The step-by-step process of hiring a virtual assistant

Once your systems (and expectations) are solidly set, you can hire your own virtual assistant by following these four steps:

 

1. Create an effective job advert

Hiring a virtual assistant

There are a number of websites now where you can set up an account and post job listings for remote assistants. Do research on which websites have created the most successes in terms of freelance VA recruitment—you’ll find comprehensive reviews about this in several startup blogs if you do a quick Google search.

Remember that your job advert is the beacon in the whole recruitment process. This means it should not only be well-written but also detailed.

 

Your job listing should include a clear-cut description of:

  • What the work entails
  • The skills and other qualifications you’re looking for
  • The duties you expect them to perform
  • How many hours and days per week you require (including whether you’re looking for short-term or long-term help)
  • The online platforms and tools you use in your business.
Your job advert is the beacon in the whole recruitment process. Click To Tweet

 

This list will serve as a filter for the right applicants. Be sure to avoid making it sound too clinical—this is an advert, after all. Write your job listing in a way that would appeal to your potential candidates. Nobody wants to respond to a job ad that sounds demanding and autocratic from the get go.

 

2. Shortlist and interview candidates

When you’ve received a sufficient number of responses to your ad, you can now start sorting through them. This will be the most time-consuming part of the process, because while you’ll find that there are people out there who seem right for the job, most of the applications you’ll get will be from people who don’t qualify.

 

So how do you effectively sift through the responses?Hiring a virtual assistant

 

Make a list of things or qualities you can’t hire a VA without—by this time in the process you should already have one—and use this list of ‘non-negotiables’ as a guideline. Generally, this list will consist of your expected skill set from a VA, their length of experience, their knowledge of or familiarity with the systems you use, and their going rate as virtual assistants. With your list, you’ll be able to narrow down the number of candidates that you can schedule to interview.

 

Reach out to your shortlisted applicants and arrange for an interview via a video call. Video call interviews will enable you to assess their communication skills, their command of English if they’re from other countries, their personality and the way they present themselves. Make sure to ask them questions that would let you know if they are able to work well independently and how they respond to potential issues—knowing these things will make your decision making easier later on.

 

3. Onboard and train your virtual assistant

Once you’ve successfully hired your virtual assistant, bring them up to speed on the systems you have in your business. This is where you present them with your documented processes and their personal access to the online tools they’ll be using. Depending on the duties they’re assigned with, you’ll also probably need to give them limited access to your cloud drive and social media accounts, so it’s a good idea to use a type of password management software like 1Password or Lastpass that would let you share your login details in a safe method.

 

 

While most experienced remote assistants already know how to perform a myriad of tasks, it’s also important to note that they shouldn’t be expected to know everything. Not all businesses work the same way, so spend some time training your virtual staff so they can learn the systems unique to your business. This will also provide you an opportunity to get to establish rapport with your VA and be able to assess their willingness to learn new tasks.

Virtual Assistants are NOT superhuman, they can't be expected to do everything. Click To Tweet

4. Manage your virtual assistant

Having a virtual assistant in your team will definitely grease the wheels in your business, but an organisation can only run smoothly if the small parts are well-maintained. Online virtual assistants do work remotely, but this doesn’t mean that you can leave them to work independently for as long as you can – they are not perfect beings, so they are bound to need some sort of guidance at times.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Make it a point to check in with your virtual assistant regularly so that you’re up to date with where things stand. Using a project management tool like Asana or Slack will help you keep track of your VA’s progress, and a time management tool like TogglRescueTime, or Time Doctor will tell you how much time is spent doing specific tasks. Also, keeping in touch with your virtual staff via the occasional audio or video call will give you a chance to personally address any concerns they may have and help them with issues they’re having trouble with.

 

Entrepreneurs who hire virtual assistants on their own find it helpful to give their newly hired virtual staff a trial period in which they are able to properly weigh their VA’s skills and abilities. There is no magic formula to finding the right VA especially if you’re doing it all yourself—sometimes it will take a couple of tries before you find the VA that’s a great fit for your business needs.

Feeling overwhelmed yet?

Hiring a Virtual AssistantTo hire a virtual assistant online requires not only a lot of time and energy but also a well-organised plan of action. Without structure, your hunt for the right online personal assistant will fail.

 

This is why most entrepreneurs turn to virtual assistant companies, because these agencies serve as a ‘matchmaking’ service between business owners and virtual assistants.

 

Virtual assistant companies recruit people with varied skills and experience, and they are often very stringent in keeping their standards high. This ensures that business owners who sign up for their service are paired with virtual assistants that are most suited for the job.

 

One such virtual staff company is…

From hiring to managing virtual assistants, The Virtual Hub does it all.

The Virtual Hub has a dedicated recruitment team that thoroughly screens applicants so they can pinpoint the best candidates before they are employed. This is to make sure that the company has a pool of workers that are professional and very good at what they do.

 

This system is a huge benefit to business owners. Not only does it take away the pain of sorting through applications that can seem endless, it also saves them a lot of time—time that is better spent doing other things.

 

In addition, The Virtual Hub provides training to their virtual assistant candidates so that business owners don’t have to. These training take place before the virtual assistants are matched with clients, and the sessions are closely monitored by experienced training heads to assure that each person’s progress is tracked properly.

 

After the training phase is passed, the virtual assistants are then evaluated and paired carefully with clients that match their skills, strengths, and personality. The company then arranges online interviews via video conference between the clients and the VAs, and the company helps the clients make their choice by giving insights into the people they interview.

And that’s not all.

The Virtual Hub is not just an online virtual staff finder. As a company that values its employees, The Virtual Hub makes sure that their VAs and their clients get all the support they need.

 

Entrepreneurs who get virtual personal assistants from The Virtual Hub can feel free to expect the company to fully manage their VAs.

How?

The Virtual Hub Team LeadersHiring a Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants in The Virtual Hub are assigned to teams that are directly led by Team Leaders.

These Team Leaders act as supervisors who keep track of their time and activities, ensuring that they are being productive during their designated work time. Team Leaders also provide support and assistance should the virtual assistants need any.

The Virtual Hub Success Coaches

In addition to Team Leaders, newer VAs have Success Coaches who mentor them as they navigate through their work during their first few months in the company.

Having Success Coaches on hand guarantees the virtual assistants’ professional development as well as inspires them to have confidence in their work. Confidence can improve their morale and thus increases their productivity.

And, as if having Team Leaders and Success Coaches isn’t enough, The Virtual Hub also has an online helpdesk available to their VAs.

The Virtual Hub Helpdesk

The Helpdesk is where virtual assistants can share ideas, tips, and expertise on how to perform and complete challenging tasks. Not only does this promote collaboration between all the virtual assistants in the company, it also boosts a sense of community, adding more value to their roles and further enriching their experience.

In short, virtual assistants from The Virtual Hub have access to immediate assistance should they or their clients need it.

 

The bottom-line…

The process of hiring a virtual assistant is often long and complicated. It takes a lot of time, work, and patience to be able to find someone who is the right fit for your business, someone you can fully trust with handling the recurring tasks that keep your business running.

 

If you choose to go through the entire process alone, you have to make sure that you can spare the time. It is not something you can rush or have a shortcut for because in the end your business will depend on how well your hired virtual staff performs.

 

 

Signing up for the services of a virtual assistant company is better because it provides you with more wins. But remember, though they make the process of hiring virtual assistants smoother and easier, all virtual assistant companies are not created equal.

 

It’s always best to do your research first and go with a company that offers the most advantages. And unlike most virtual assistant companies, The Virtual Hub not only gives clients exceptional virtual assistants that help make their work lives a little easier, it also gives them a whole ecosystem that works—and that guarantees success.

Sep 15, 2017

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