How to Hire a VA: Complete Guide for Busy Entrepreneurs!
If you’ve a business to operate, getting assistance virtually at a very low cost is a great idea! With a reliable VA team, you can offload a few things and assign them to the VAs to complete under your guidance and supervision.
But how do you find the right VAs from so many wannabees and inept individuals that the industry is full of now?
We’re to help you with that!
What Is a Virtual Assistant?
Virtual assistants are remote contract workers that can be hired for specific tasks and projects both long-and short-term.
Most virtual assistants work remotely and handle administrative tasks. Some companies also provide large-scale virtual assistant services. The concept of automatizing parts of the business process is becoming more popular day by day.
If you have repetitive and crucial tasks such as answering emails, arranging meetings, updating websites, data entry, or basically any other task you need help with; hiring a virtual assistant will take the load off your shoulders so you can focus on the more important business activities.
How to Hire a VA?
Unlike the traditional recruitment process, hiring a virtual assistant comes with a more open approach. Instead of facing an interview board, the employee will have a clear goal and a predefined set of tasks. You’ll be able to evaluate their performance before making the final decision.
Here are the steps on how you can find the best potential candidate to become your virtual assistant.
1. List the tasks you want to be done
Your first and foremost duty will be to list all the tasks you want to be done and how. Create in-depth training documents aka Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for that task. If you want to hire a specialist, make a list of outcomes you want instead of SOPs.
The more in-depth your SOP is, the better. Point out the responsibilities and your expectations alongside necessary guidelines. This will help you to sort your tasks according to priority and you’ll be able to set a clear pathway for your VA to follow.
2. Create a clear job description
Once you are done creating the list of tasks/outcomes, the next step is to create a job description for your virtual assistant. A good job description won’t be over/underly priced and contain information like:
- Your company information (What it does, what’s your goal, etc.)
- Level of skills required
- List of duties and responsibilities
- List of expectations (for specialists)
- List of tools you’ll be providing
You should also mention the additional skill set you’ll be needing from your VA. If you work with data, you’ll probably require some skills in MS Excel or Google Sheets. Photo editors will require familiarity with photo editing platforms. Share your preferable skill level clearly.
Mention all the tasks you need to be done and the tools you need them to use. This will help you attract better-well-qualified candidates.
3. Publish your job description online
Once you’re done with the documentation, it’s time to publish the job description online and start receiving applications. There are many platforms where you can publish your job inquiry. You can also take help from tools like google forms to softly filter applications.
Here’s a pro tip. Add a hidden keyword or Easter Egg in your job posting so that you can find out who read the whole job description and who didn’t. The Easter Egg should be hard to find, but easy to answer.
You can also include a test in your application for filtering the applications even further. The test should demonstrate the applicant’s skill level. These practices will help you weed out the competition that is not detail-oriented.
You can use platforms like freelancer, Fiverr, People per hour, Upwork, Linkedin, and many others to share your job circular around.
4. Arrange an interview
When you have a satisfactory number of applications, you need to start sorting and filtering them to get the right candidate. You can arrange an interview online to talk to them directly.
Review the applications thoroughly and make a list of 5-10 potential candidates. Ask your candidate about their goals, their hobbies, how they like to work, and how they like to be managed. That way, you’ll have a clear understanding of their communication skills.
Don’t make the mistake many of us did in the past by focusing too much on the academic qualification rather than the skill set. Try to figure out how communicative and organized they are.
Questions like these can help you assess the candidate better:
- How do you manage tasks with different priorities?
- How do you structure your workday?
- Tell me about the last time you faced a stressful situation and have been able to manage it. What did you do and why?
5. Takes some tests to filter candidates
This is the final filter. You should have around 3-5 candidates after testing them. Give them tasks that you are already doing. This will help you to get an idea about how they’ll work and by when. This will help you to find the top candidate for your specific business needs.
However, keep in mind that you are hiring a virtual assistant, not a full-time employee. It wouldn’t be wise to expect the same loyalty, in-depth knowledge, or rapport from your virtual assistant, as you do with your in-house employees.
Keeping a realistic set of expectations will help you find and maintain a healthy working relationship with your VA.
6. Opt-in for a trial period
Once you’ve found your top contestant, sign them up for a probationary period (30, 60, or 90 days). That way they’ll feel an urge to perform better and get a permanent position in your company.
Once that trial period is over and you’re satisfied with the service, move into a more secure employment program.
But if things don’t work out, don’t be afraid to terminate them and move on quickly. Neither do you have the time nor the energy to waste here? Try to recruit another VA instead.
How to Manage a Virtual Assistant?
Just like the hiring process, managing a virtual assistant is a bit different than most other jobs. Here’s that best practices you can follow to generate more fruitful results through your VA:
Provide time for onboarding
Everybody needs a little time to adjust to a new environment and your VA is no different. Additionally, there is also a good chance that your VA is dealing with a couple of clients. That’s why It would not be natural to expect your VA to be fully ramped after just 1/2 week.
Depending on the work type and weekly time, It may take your VA even a couple of months to fully grasp the context of your business. What you can do to speed up the process is provide well-structured training and help your VA to go through your company values and practices.
Communication is crucial in the first few weeks of the appointment. Remember, just as you don’t know much about your VA, they also don’t know much about you or your company. You should communicate with your VA frequently. Provide them with all the info they need.
Ask them how well they’re settling, this will comfort them. You can also go through the work of each day and explain how things work under your command. Over time, the frequency of your communication will reduce, but it should maintain regularity.
If the assistant is okay with it, you can also set up a number of apps through which you’ll be able to monitor the employee and check the progress. Some most popular employee tracking apps are: InterGuard, Time Doctor, and ActivTrak.
However, you shouldn’t create such a working environment for your VA, where you wouldn’t be interested to work yourself.
Your VA will also require a lot of documentation. This is the time you showcase your SOP to your virtual assistant. Tell them who to contact for specific questions and provide them information on each task they’ll be performing.
It’s better to create in-depth SOP and how-to guides before you even start the hiring process. Allow them to keep the training documents, and provide them with comprehensive training sessions so that they can quickly adapt to your unique business setting.
Have realistic expectations
As told you earlier, your virtual assistant is not your full-time employee and they most probably have other clients. As a result, it would not be wise for you to expect that much loyalty and devotion you expect from your in-house employees.
However, you can expect your virtual assistant to communicate with you about their availability and performance. Set your goals accordingly, and try to maintain a realistic, healthy, and professional work experience.
This might be true that your virtual assistant isn’t part of the core team, but this is no reason you should make them feel less welcome working for you. You should treat all your employees like you treat your clients. And highlighting their achievements can give you a good morale boost.
Maintaining healthy communication among your employees will provoke a healthy working culture and make the member feel more connected. Host a welcome event and introduce the new member to the team.
Know when to hire full-time
If you frequently end up booking extra hours of your VA, that is a good time to think about a more permanent solution. Talk to your VA to check if they are available and interested in a full-time job or not. If they agree, consider upgrading the employment terms.
One of the common issues entrepreneurs face frequently is burnout. For steady growth, it is required that you don’t burn yourself out by trying to do everything yourself. Relying on a qualified VA can make your growth look seamless and help you become more efficient.
Quick Tips for Hiring the Best Virtual Assistant for Your Business
- Look for somebody that has industry experience
- Check if they can own their mistakes
- Verify given references
- Look for someone who understands social media
- Check if they ask relevant questions
- Look for management capabilities
- Your VA should understand your target audience
- See if they are willing and eager to learn
- Search for the one who’ll keep you updated
- See if they provide detailed project reports
1. How much does a VA charge per hour?
Ans: Depending on the task, a virtual assistant can charge you anywhere from $10 up to $60 per hour. The global average is $16.13. Most popular VA service providers charge about $30 per hour.