Posted by on March 10, 2017

Let’s say you posted an online admin job in Upwork and after an hour or so, you suddenly received seventy-five proposals in your inbox. As an employer, how will you hire the right virtual assistant (VA) among this pool of applications?

In the study “Freelancing in America: 2016”, almost 35% of the total U.S. workforce entered the freelancing world in that same year. If hundreds of thousands of Americans join this workforce yearly, what would the results look like if we were to consider freelancers across the globe? Since the trend only appears to be growing for the next years or so, how then are you going to find the right VA for your open position?

This article, therefore, aims to discuss some guidelines on how to hire the right virtual assistant from start to finish. Do you think it would be possible to come up with a meticulous process just so you can find the right VA? We’ll see!

TIP #1: IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS

Why do I need to hire a VA? Can he/she make my business more efficient?

You have to clearly identify your needs by listing down the goals you want to achieve, then ‘backward engineer’ from there to classify the tasks you want to allocate. If you clearly know the direction you’re putting your business into, then, by all means, hire the right virtual assistant out there.

TIP #2: COMPILE A LIST OF APPLICATIONS YOU USE REGULARLY

Do I need to hire a VA who knows how to get around the apps I’m currently using? If not, do I have the time to train the right VA for this job?

This step will surely save you some time for the next tip. With a plethora of applications out there – from financial accounting software, workflow apps, and CRM software – it would be best to list them all down so you won’t forget to mention it in the advert.

TIP #3: CREATE YOUR JOB POST

Now you’re ready to create the job post! However, some employers fail to realize the importance of this step. If you really want to hire the right VA, then your job post should be crystal clear. Quite vague, eh? Don’t worry, we’ll help you through this!

  • Start your job post with a brief introduction of you and your company, an overview of the position, key responsibilities, and its primary goals.
  • A bulleted list containing the tasks you established in Tip #1.
  • List of apps you’re using from Tip #2 and indicate the level of experience you’re looking for, if any.
  • Indicate your estimated weekly hours and times you prefer your VA to be available.
  • A brief job post conclusion including your preferred day & time for a follow-up call.

TIP #4: CONDUCT AN INTERVIEW

While doing face-to-face calls has become the norm, some of these freelancers still tend to become overly nervous during the interview process. How then can you lighten the atmosphere between you and the interviewee?

  • Have questions prepared before the interview. Following one will not only save you lots of time but can also eliminate ‘dead air’ between both parties.
  • Pay attention to tone and attitude. Can you envision yourself working closely with this person?
  • Ask questions specific to the tasks. Does he or she understand what needs to be done? Do they have relevant experience with the tasks or a demonstrated ability to learn quickly?

TIP #5: ARRANGE A TRIAL RUN

Freelancers who are seriously applying for the job understand this step more than anyone else. Think about it as a way to ‘test out the waters’. In this case, it will be about ‘virtually observing’ your newly recruited VA and if he/she actually lives up to your expectations during the early weeks.

  • Assign a task. Use this time to get to know how your VA does an assigned task, if he/she actually finishes the task, or simply getting some grasp on his/her work ethics.
  • Set realistic goals. Of course, you won’t expect him or her to get it right the first time (though that’s what any employer really wants, doesn’t it?). There may be a few hiccups here and there, but remember that in the virtual world, communication is king.

Perhaps it’s safe to say that the freelancing market is getting more and more saturated. And so the challenge is, how will you be able to hire the right virtual assistant out there?

There’s really no hard or fast rules in hiring the right VA for a position. Like any other major decision, you have to take a risk and see how it goes from there. There’s a lot of talented freelancers looking for online work across the globe and it all boils down to finding and training the right one for the job.