A virtual assistant can do wonders for your small business. Hiring a virtual assistant will give you the ability to work on more projects, further develop your products and services, and have more time for your family or a new venture.
How to Hire the Right Virtual Assistant
However, just like there are good and bad apples, there are good and not-so-good virtual assistants. To make sure that the person you will hire is the perfect fit for your small business and needs, you should consider the following tips:
Tip 1: Work on the Job Details
Before finding and hiring a virtual assistant, you should know what tasks you will delegate to that person. You must specify
• How many hours you need your assistant to work in a week
• What kind of tasks he or she will be working on
• What skill sets do he or she needs to have to qualify for the job
• What equipment (e.g., computer, phone, Skype, and DSL internet connection) they must have to efficiently accomplish tasks
• What work values you expect them to have
Tip 2: Consider Location and Budget
The great thing about hiring a virtual assistant is that difference in location and time zone generally don’t matter. However, to get the most out of your working relationship, you must guarantee that you and your assistant are still able to meet online and discuss tasks in a daily basis. It’s also of utmost importance that you have a budget in mind so as not to waste time connecting with candidates with rates you currently can’t afford.
Tip 3: Post Your Job Opening in the Best Places
Finding and hiring a virtual assistant can be tough, especially if it’s your first time doing so. Fortunately, there are now sites and communities devoted to the outsourcing industry. It will serve you well to post your job opening in both your website or blog and these outsourcing platforms. I personally recommend oDesk, but you can also check out other reputable sites such as Elance and Guru.
Tip 4: Weed through the Applications
Reply only to applicants who you believe really fit your job opening. These candidates must have not only a good grasp of your language but also be able to actually follow the instructions you gave. Evaluate their cover letters, gauge their experiences, and check out the samples they provided before creating a shortlist.
Tip 5: Conduct Interviews
To better know your prospective candidates, conducting an interview will be beneficial. If possible, use Skype as it allows users to chat, call, and send files. During the interview process, make sure to ask about everything that may affect your work relationship. That includes the candidates’ work environment, availability, experience, acquired skills, desired rate, and the like. Create a list of questions before your appointment, and do follow-up questions based on the candidates’ response.
Tip 6: Discuss the Work and Payment Process
The success of a small business owner and virtual assistant relationship heavily relies on communication and payment. That’s why you want to make sure that both of those things are taken care of before the first task is given. Usually, businesses create and distribute a task list either daily or weekly. Meetings can be set on an agreed day and time, and reports and deliverables can be sent through personal email, Google Drive, or Dropbox.
As for the payment, you and your chosen candidate must decide if it will be on an hourly or fixed-price basis. If it’s hourly, using a time tracker will be necessary. For fixed-price contracts, expectations for the price and its equivalent work load must be discussed. How the payment will be sent (e.g., by check, mail, PayPal, etc.) should also be tackled.
Tip 7: Start with a Small Project
No matter how great a virtual assistant may seem during the interview, it will still be better to hand over your projects one at a time. After hiring a virtual assistant, start with a small project, and then add more workload based on his or her performance. As time passes by, you can turn your assistant into a crucial part of your business and give incentives for a job well done. Otherwise, you can fire the assistant and look for a more suitable person for the job.
Hiring a virtual assistant can help you succeed faster, but if you don’t do it carefully, you might end up simply wasting your time and money. Make sure you hire only the best virtual assistant by applying the 7 tips for hiring a virtual assistant tips I shared with you today.