Exeleon Magazine

10 Useful Tips to know before Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Hiring a Virtual Assistant Exeleon

Is your business expanding to the point where you have too much to do and not enough time to get it done? As a business owner, you may be getting bogged down by day-to-day administrative duties, trying to do too much at once – which can be detrimental to your company’s prospects for growth. Business owners as well as job aggregators such as Jooble have realized the value of hiring a virtual assistant (VA) to help alleviate this problem.

A VA can help free your time to concentrate on what matters most – running your business. Herein, we have joined hands with experts from job aggregator – Jooble – to take a closer look at 10 useful tips for successfully hiring a virtual assistant.

The Benefits of Hiring a VA

Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants, or VAs, are assistants who are typically self-employed freelancers who work remotely from a home office to assist clients with administrative, technical, or creative tasks.

Virtual assistants can handle almost all of the tasks that keep a small business running, including daily administrative tasks, social media management, analytics, project management, lead generation, web research, customer care, and more.

But is working with a virtual assistant the right choice for your business? Here are ten tips to give some insight into hiring a virtual assistant.

1. Do you need a virtual assistant?

These are the questions you need to ask yourself before deciding to hire your first virtual assistant:

  • Why do you need a VA? (For example, overloaded with repetitive administrative tasks that take up too much of your time, or the need to hire someone with specific skills, such as a social media manager or video editor)
  • What special skills or experience are you looking for in a VA?
  • Do you have a plan already worked out for the tasks they will need to complete?
  • What skills do they need to perform the duties you require?
  • Will hiring a VA be cost-effective and beneficial to your overall productivity?
  • Can you set enough time aside to onboard them properly?

2. Be sure to know what you’re looking for in a VA

When hiring a virtual assistant, it’s crucial that you know exactly what you’re looking for – just like recruiting personnel for any kind of business. Be very particular about the duties and abilities you require of your virtual assistant. You’ll need to have a clear idea of what role you want your VA to play in your organization. Do you require a blogger or a proofreader? A web designer or a content writer? Someone to take care of emails, or accounts?

Consider the following points before hiring a VA:

  • Your type of business
  • The type of work you require of a VA
  • The skill levels required

3. Create a job description

The exact duties you require of a virtual assistant should be known before you begin the hiring process. Every single task you need them to complete should be listed. After making the list, decide what abilities/expertise each task requires. Write a job description listing all these duties.

Your job description should include:

  • Background information on your organization (your type of business, your products/services, and your customers)
  • Required level of education, training, skills, and expertise
  • Tasks and responsibilities list
  • A list of any software, tools, or applications they need to use

4. Take the time zone into consideration

Virtual assistants usually work remotely, and often globally, and may not be in the same time zone as you. Are you willing to hire someone who lives in a different time zone? This could be problematic as your daytime working hours may be in the middle of the night for them. Would you rather they work for you at a specific time? These are important aspects to consider.

5. Determine whether you need a full-time or part-time VA

Your VA may have other clients besides you. This may present a problem if you require a full-time, assistant who is at your disposal whenever needed.

A virtual assistant with shared services can be used if your workload does not require the full-time services of an assistant. There is no minimum number of hours needed to hire a freelance VA.

6. Set up a means of communication

Consider the logistics of interacting with your VA. Will you be using Zoom or Skype, and how will you provide the files they require to complete their tasks?

A channel of communication should be established beforehand. Knowing when and how to connect with them is important, as is using cloud apps to share data as well as project management software to keep track of their work.

7. Know where to start

Are you employing a virtual assistant for the first time and unsure of where to begin? If so, you may consider asking business associates for recommendations, posting a request in a Facebook group, or using an online virtual assistant hiring agency. Some of the websites and directories that you can use to find a VA are:

  • Virtual Assistant Assistant
  • QuickMonday
  • Priority VA
  • Guru
  • Virtual Staff Finder

8. Conduct interviews

Learn as much as you can about the individual you want to work with. Conduct a face-to-face Zoom or Skype interview to go through the specifics of the position. Ask questions that will reveal whether or not they can work effectively independently and how they might react to working to deadlines.

Here are some pointers when conducting interviews:

  • Make a list of questions you need to ask in advance
  • Ask about their experience, skill set, expertise, etc.
  • Ask for references from previous/current clients

9. Know how to track your VA’s performance

How can you make sure a VA is performing their job competently?

Many companies employ screen monitoring software in order to check a virtual assistant’s productivity. You may consider incorporating this in your agreement terms to track their work accurately and actively in real time. This will enable you to snap screenshots of their desktops, be notified when they are not at their computers, and see how many hours they have spent on a particular task overall. The websites they visit and the programs they use will also be visible to you. This encourages accountability, which will boost the VA’s productivity.

10. How much should you pay a virtual assistant?

VAs will often have a definite figure in mind for the work they perform. If not, here are some points to consider:

  • What are the market rates for the work you need to get done by someone else?
  • Will you be paying them a monthly/weekly wage, an hourly rate, or a set sum per completed task?
  • What degree of skill can you afford to hire? The rule of thumb is the greater the skill of the VA, the more you will pay.
  • Would you be open to recruiting a VA from another country?

It may be useful to note that in the Philippines and India, for example, you can hire VAs at reduced rates. The reason for this is that it is less expensive to live in those countries.

Final thoughts

When hiring a virtual assistant, it is important to plan ahead. Create a workflow and communication structure they can use, as well as a performance evaluation system. Hire the candidate who best fits the position and demonstrates enthusiasm for the work, even if it’s only for a few hours each week.

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