Ready to outsource some time-consuming tasks and increase your productivity? A good virtual assistant can make your daily schedule manageable rather than overwhelming, freeing up your valuable time and eliminating mental clutter that can make creativity feel difficult. This quick step-by-step guide is designed to help you avoid common mistakes and choose the best person for the job.
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Step 1: Determine your needs.
Which specific tasks would you like your VA to handle for you? Are there any personal traits you find desirable? About how many hours per day, week, or month do you think you’ll need help? Are there any technical tasks that require special experience or education?
What are the language requirements? What will your virtual assistant need in terms of equipment? Failing to clarify any of these points is a huge mistake that will probably lead to a hiring disaster and the need to repeat the process over again.
Step 2: Consider compensation.
What is your budget? Salary requirements vary from one place to the next; for example, English-speaking virtual assistants from the Philippines can live comfortably on far less than an experienced, well-educated VA from the United States or another western nation.
While you want to stick to your budget, be sure that you carefully weigh costs and benefits that come with hiring virtual assistants from different areas. If you want to hire someone who charges more than you can reasonably afford, consider picking him or her up for a few hours a week and assigning vital tasks.
Use a cheaper VA to handle simper jobs, and you’ll be able to enjoy the best of both worlds. When possible, choose the best you can afford and provide financial incentives to boost motivation. Your virtual assistant might be located far away, but he or she will be playing a vital role in your company’s success.
Step 3: Search for the right virtual assistant.
Create a detailed job description that includes a call to action such as “mention past experience when you apply” and then begin your search. You may want to look for local candidates, however it’s a good idea to widen the pool of candidates by using websites like Upwork, Indeed, Virtual Assistant USA, and FlexJobs to search for the right person.
It’s a good idea to take your time with this phase and carefully interview candidates in writing and by phone, looking for compatibility and signs that certain applicants are more motivated than others. If prospects are located overseas, don’t skip the conversation: Use a VoIP service to make inexpensive international calls .
Once you have narrowed down your choices, check their references or online work portfolio and select three to five final candidates for a second round of interviews. Note that someone from another country may not have the social presence or poise to handle complicated, highly sensitive tasks. Be sure to take things like culture, life experience, and maturity into account.
- Determine whether your candidate has a good grasp of English or other desired languages.
- Talk about experience with specific types of software.
- Determine how comfortable and confident the person seems with the tasks he or she will be expected to carry out.
- Talk about compensation in a frank, straightforward manner and do not attempt to shortchange your candidate. Fair pay is highly motivating, and a VA who is not beset by constant financial worry will do a better job for you.
Step 4: Clarify expectations.
Once you’ve chosen the best candidate(s) for the job, take some time to meet in person or online and clearly define your expectations. Be personable! People like to create rapport with others and they’ll do a far better job if they feel a connection with you.
You want your virtual assistant to work in sync with you, and you want to feel confident that he or she will always carry out your wishes. Find out what your candidate needs and expects from you, and determine whether you can reasonably deliver. Even when hiring freelancers, there’s a need for lots of give and take. Talk about:
- How you’ll communicate.
- How often you’ll check in.
- What you’ll expect on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.
- How you’ll handle unexpected setbacks and emergencies.
- How you will provide compensation and how often you will provide payment.
- When and under what parameters you will offer pay raises.
Step 5: Select the best candidate and offer them the position.
Your search is over! After you’ve interviewed your best candidates at least twice, and after you have checked references, it’s time to offer employment. Put your offer in writing, along with a list of duties and expectations. Create a simple contract using Docusign or a similar tool, and have your candidate sign it if necessary. If you’re using a referral site, you may be able to skip this step.
Step 6: Welcome your new virtual assistant with appropriate training, access to software, and more.
Once your new virtual assistant has been hired, it’s time to help them learn the ropes. Failing to do this will lead to productivity problems, so be sure to set time aside and be completely present throughout this step. Provide your VA with everything they need, and be sure to ask if they need access to resources that you might be able to provide. If you use proprietary software or apps that require access permissions, then help them get started.
It takes some time for a new assistant to get in sync with your routine, so be patient and helpful. Someone with lots of experience will typically take less time to train; in fact, he or she might be quite intuitive when it comes to meeting your needs. Be sure to take advantage of online virtual assistant tools that help you collaborate and streamline tasks.
Monitor progress, particularly in the beginning. Be sure that your requests are reasonable, and provide appropriate feedback, taking a kind, approachable stance. Make it clear that you’re available for questions, and with time, you’ll build a pleasant, efficient working relationship.