How to Hire Your First Virtual Assistant

How to Hire Your First Virtual Assistant

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Hiring the right digital team—and, in particular, the right virtual assistant (VA)—can completely revolutionize your business. The process can be intimidating, especially if you haven’t done it before.

Where do you look for talent? What characteristics should you look for? What questions should you ask? How do you know if someone is the right person for the job? How do you manage the interview process when your potential assistant is on the other side of the globe?

Finding the right VA is all a matter of following the right process. And if you’ve never hired a VA before, this guide will help you cut corners and ensure you don’t commit costly hiring mistakes.

Step 1: Know where to look.

The first step to finding the right online team is knowing where to look.

There are a crazy amount of websites advertising freelance talent on the web, but not all freelance sites are created equal. If you want to find the right VA, you have to know where to look. LinkedIn is a great place to start because it is the social media platform for professionals. You might post a job listing on LinkedIn and screen the applicants.

Another good option is to look for outsourcing agencies with an existing pool of virtual assistants. You’ll have better luck finding a reliable and professional Vas this way because the candidates have already been screened by the agency.

Step 2: Write the perfect job ad to find the right VA.

The next step to finding the perfect VA is writing the perfect job ad.

If you want your job ad to attract the right talent, it can’t be about you. It needs to be about them. The whole purpose of your job ad is to attract the right talent. So think of it like an advertisement—and the product you’re selling is the job. Your job ad should highlight the benefits of the position. Do you offer flexible work hours? Are you offering any special training? Do you have an especially awesome work environment? Whatever it is that makes the job special, make sure its front and center in your job ad.

Step 3: Screen your applicants.

Two of the most important qualities you need in a virtual assistant is attention to detail and the ability to follow direction.

And there’s an easy trick you can use to determine which candidates possess those two qualities without ever reading their resume or cover letter—and that’s adding a screener question to your job ad.

Somewhere in your job ad copy, add a specific instruction for candidates to follow. So, for example, you might say “Send a copy of your resume using the subject line ‘Resume from [your name] for VA.’”

Adding this simple line of text will show you which candidates have attention to detail (since they read the entire job ad) and know how to follow direction and will allow you to immediately eliminate the candidates who don’t. This can save you a ton of time in the screening process.

Step 4: Test your VA.

Test projects are a great way to get a feel for whether a candidate is a good fit before making a hiring commitment. Once you’ve narrowed your options down to a few quality candidates, assign each of them a sample project. It’s helpful to give each candidate the same project so you can compare apples to apples, and you also want to make sure the test project is in line with what they’d actually be doing once they’re hired. For example, if you need a virtual assistant to handle research, give them a small research-based test project.

Step 5: Interview.

When it comes to interviewing people online, keep things short and sweet. You basically just want to get a feel for someone’s personality, and whether their personality is going to mesh with yours.

Some things you’ll want to hit on during the interview process include: their experience as a VA, their comfort level with the technology your business uses (like QuickBooks for bookkeeping, ZenDesk for customer service, or Asana for project management), and their availability.

Lastly, find ways to keep your VA.

Finding and hiring the right talent is only the first part of the equation. Now, it’s important that you manage your amazing virtual assistant in a way that keeps them around.

To make sure your VA sticks with you:

  • Invest in their growth: If your VA feels like there are plenty of opportunities to learn and grow within the position, they’re more likely to stick around.
  • Be consistent: If you tell your VA you’re going to give them 20 hours of work per week, make sure you’re delivering on that promise.
  • Respect your assistant’s personal life: Don’t expect them to work off-hours or to respond to emails on weekends, unless that’s explicitly part of their contract with you.
  • Schedule regular check-ins: Meetings to discuss their progress and how they’re enjoying the position will help you stay on the same page. That way, if they have any concerns, you can address them together, sooner rather than later.

Hiring online can be a challenge. But with this step-by-step guide, you have everything you need to find the right virtual assistant

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