If you are reading this article, then you are probably on the verge of deciding whether you need a virtual assistant or not. Maybe you also want to hire an employee — someone to regularly be at your office to do tasks for you — but which one will be worth your money? Let me talk about hiring your first virtual assistant.
The virtual assistant industry has grown since it first started in the early 2000s. Mothers and fathers loved the idea of being able to generate decent income from working at home as freelancers or putting up their own virtual assistant businesses. They love that they can be with their families and still be able to work professionally. But not many entrepreneurs, small businesses, and medium enterprises know why they exist.
If you are an entrepreneur, a small business owner, or you have a medium-sized business, then you may have an idea of how to go about hiring your first employees. Hiring your first virtual assistant may be similar to hiring an employee, but not everything about it is the same. If this is your first time, then read on and I will give you some of my own tips in hiring your first virtual assistant.
I am a virtual assistant myself and I’ve hired other virtual assistants to help me in short term, long term, and one time projects. So, let me help you get started with these few tips.
Hiring your first virtual assistant requires you to do the following
Assess the candidate’s communication skills
Once you put up that job post saying you need an assistant to help you with your office work or business projects, applicants will come flocking in. You will find it hard to decide who to work with if you received more than one great candidate. Conducting an initial interview will help you assess the candidate’s communication skills.
The interview happens on Skype most of the time. You may choose to have a video interview or just voice interview — make sure you include that in your job post. The interview process will gauge how good your candidate’s communication skills are in writing, by email or chat, and in speaking.
There are some virtual assistants who do not have the native or near native English accent but their grammar and spelling are impressive. So don’t be quick to judge just by the accent because there are those who have native accents but their spelling and grammar sucks! Can you believe that?
Why do you need to assess the candidate’s communication skills? Well, it’s simple. You’ll be communicating with your virtual assistant until your project is completed. You wouldn’t want to work with someone who cannot follow your instructions written in English!
What’s your candidate’s commitment level?
If you hire that virtual assistant, would he/she be working with you only or does he/she have any other clients? Most virtual assistants have multiple clients because many of the projects may only need a few hours’ work a week. If you are offering a full time job and you want a dedicated virtual assistant, make sure this arrangement is clear between you and your virtual assistant. If you are not sure how long or how much workload you need, then allow your virtual assistant to work on other projects, too. A person’s got to eat and pay the bills, too, right?
Gauge your virtual assistant’s “real skills”
In my tenure as a virtual assistant and as someone who has hired virtual assistants and trained virtual assistant aspirants, I’ve encountered people who pretended to be writers, web designers, etc. Giving them a quick test will help you scrub out the fake ones. How quick should a test be? Well, I usually give a test after the interview and ask the candidate to submit in a very short, but reasonable, timeframe.
For instance, you need someone to write you a unique article on health. After the interview, ask your candidate to write you a short article about your given topic and send it to you within 1-2 hours. The time pressure will also help you assess whether or not they can do urgent tasks on time and according to specifications.
Be clear about what you need and why you need a VA
Virtual assistants aren’t superheroes with superpowers. So be clear about what you need them to do for you and what results you are looking for. You do not want to get an output that does not meet your criteria, do you? You would not want to waste money on unproductive, ineffective virtual assistants, too!
Discuss about the rate
Be fair and square when it comes to discussing about the rate. You have a business to grow but your virtual assistant have mouths to feed, too. Acceptable rates vary from country to country, skill to skill, and experience to experience.
These are five important areas you need to consider when hiring your first virtual assistant. What are your thoughts?