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How to Hire a Virtual Assistant

If you’re at the point of asking Google “how to hire a virtual assistant”, pat yourself on the back because that means your business is doing well.

Not all business owners have reached this point yet. Many still juggle executive work with administrative tasks and refuse to acknowledge an extra pair of hands will keep their business afloat. So if you’re thinking of delegating tasks now, it means your business is growing, and you want to make sure it continues growing sustainably.

Luckily, we’re here to help you do just that. Read our step-by-step process on how to find the best virtual assistant for you.

How to Hire a Good Virtual Assistant: A Step-by-Step Process

Every company’s recruitment pipeline is different. 

However, if this is your first time hiring a virtual assistant, knowing the general process speeds things up. And that’s precisely what you want — to have a VA assist you as soon as possible. 

To make sure this happens, use this step-by-step guide on hiring virtual assistants and adjust it depending on your needs. 

female virtual assistant
Image credits to Canva

Step 1: Create a list of duties for your ideal candidate. 

Figuring out the work you want your VA to do is the first step.

Itemize the tasks you require help with and categorize them according to urgency. This isn’t an official list. It’s a brainstorming session where you identify your expectations for a virtual assistant. Do you need someone to encode information across file types? Answer queries on your website? 

If you’re stuck doing this exercise, try using search engines to see what tasks you can assign. 

Step 2: Identify the type of virtual assistant you need.

Now that you’ve figured out the help your business requires, it’s time to specify who you need. Whether it’s a data entry specialist, bookkeeper, tech support agent, or administrative assistant, you have to know the professional you’re seeking out. Going into the hiring process without this knowledge is inadvisable.

There are many types of virtual assistant services for businesses. Without a clear picture of who you have to hire, you might end up with a generalist with no background in the work you actually want them to do. Laying out your expectations for your virtual assistant is a great help here.

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The second order of business? Name the type of virtual assistant you need. This helps you to laser focus on candidates which have the right background or experience for your field. Of course, knowing the types of virtual assistants businesses benefit from is a great help.

Step 3: Turn these details into a full-blown job description. 

Formalize the resulting document into a list of the job’s duties and responsibilities, its minimum requirements, and your company’s background. This will make answering the question how to find a good virtual assistant easier, especially when multiple applications come in. Your job description will serve as your guide during the hiring process.

It pays to talk about the benefits of working with you as well. Treat your job description as more than a mere announcement of an opening. View it as a way of advertising your company to highly qualified candidates. 

If you lack time to put this together, try outsourcing the task to someone with more experience. This brings us to the next step.

Step 4: Scour for candidates.

There are two ways you can source qualified candidates:

  • Independent hiring. The first option is to go on recruitment channels like LinkedIn, Indeed, and freelancing sites and review the profile of each potential candidate. In doing so, you can get in touch with them directly. Simply post your opening on these platforms (which may require payment), and wait for applications. Actively reaching out to candidates will help make the process faster.
  • Outsourced. An alternative route is to find candidates through reliable outsourcing companies. To know whether they’re reliable, find out how many years they’ve been in business, how many and what types of VA services they’ve rendered, and what their company culture is like. A perk of choosing the outsourced route is you instantly team up with a qualified candidate without you having to spend hours on recruitment channels. With your job description draft, you can also have the outsourcing company polish it for you, and they will be the ones to source quality candidates on your behalf in case you want to check out VAs outside their talent pool. 
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Step 5: Review the candidates.

Once you have your shortlist of qualified candidates, it’s time to do a background check. Look through their resume, work history, educational background, or cover letter to see which of them meets your minimum requirements.

Step 6: Test the candidates.

  • Independent hiring. When screening potential VAs face-to-face, you can ask them to elaborate on their work experience, skill set, and how much they charge. This is the part where you get to tell the candidate what your expectations are in a virtual assistant and find out whether they’re a good fit for you.
  • Outsourced. On the other hand, working with a virtual assistant outsourcing company will allow you to bypass the interview process since you have a talent pool and a recruitment team handling this part of the process. If you’re planning to outsource, you’ve already communicated your needs and requirements to your outsourced partner in Step 4. But if you want to assess candidates further, tell the outsourcing company you want to screen a potential VA yourself. 
two men shaking hands
Image credits to Canva

How to Know if a Virtual Assistant Hire is Actually the One You Need

Now it’s time think about the most important question in this process — which candidate will you choose?

Among the qualified professionals on your roster, you may require only one or some to augment your team. So to help you narrow down your options, we recommend assessing your candidates according to these areas:

  • Cultural fitness
  • Budget
  • Experience
  • Problem-solving skills

Our article on the benefits of outsourcing to companies in the Philippines explains why cultural fitness is a vital factor in outsourcing success. This also applies to VA positions — or any position — you’re hoping to fill.

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Communication goes a long way when you’re working with a VA. If you don’t see eye to eye, the partnership may become disastrous. But it doesn’t have to be. One way to ensure this is by hiring someone who has a lot of cultural similarities to you. 

For example, a study notes how Filipinos and Americans have greater cultural similarities than differences. This means the likelihood of a harmonious business partnership between them is high, and working with each other is equally likely to result in great returns and minimal error.

Budget, on the other hand, is easier to determine. Is the candidate’s ask price higher than your intended rate? Are you willing to adjust to the rate they’re asking?

As for work experience, you can quickly find this information on their resume. However, it’s helpful to remember not all quality VAs may have prior experience. In this case, you can gauge their attitude toward the job and eagerness to learn.

Moreover, you can assess their compatibility with the job by asking them hypothetical questions on issues that may arise at work. Knowing how they’ll handle these issues will give you an idea of their thought process.

In Summary

For first timers, we hope this guide answers how to hire a good virtual assistant.

Remember the following steps when you start your hiring process:

  1. Create a list of duties for your ideal candidates.
  2. Identify the type of virtual assistant you need.
  3. Turn these details into a full-blown job description.
  4. Scour for candidates, which you can do independently or through outsourcing.
  5. Review the candidates.
  6. Test the candidates, which again can be done independently or through outsourcing. 

Make sure to adjust and streamline according to your needs. And if you’re absolutely ready to work with qualified virtual assistants, you can also try outsourcing virtual assistant services to experienced companies like NarraSoft.

For a free consultation or if you have any inquiries, send an email to sales@narrasoft.com or message us on our chat box below or our contact form.