It can be quite tricky for companies to hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) for the first time. There may be an abundance of manpower resources for this position, but the recruitment process entails careful selection. To choose the right virtual assistant, the following steps should be followed:
- Defining the scope. Like any other recruitment procedure, it is necessary to enumerate the specific tasks of the VA and the skill set requirements for the job. Doing this will answer the following questions:
- Based on the job description, does my business need a VA or would another position be more suitable?
- Can the VA be hired as a project-based, part-time or full time employee?
- Is it necessary to hire a local VA or can the capability be achieved offshore?
- Considering integrity and professionalism. Apart from skill sets and availability, integrity and professionalism are just as important. Business owners believe that one of the main problems when hiring a VA is that they would suddenly bail out on them without any notice. Regardless of the reason, this will leave the staff handicapped with some of the functions of their business. It might help to check the experiences of the VA’s previous employers.
- Researching the rates. It is vital to research the going rates of VA’s and their associated skillsets. Expect that rates may vary if the skills include a certain specialisation. There may be cases where there isn’t much of a difference in costs when compared to hiring an office-based employee. Take into consideration that when VA’s are asking for a higher rate, it does not always imply better quality of work.
- Knowing where to find your virtual assistant. Some businesses recruit on their own or hire an online freelancer while others choose to be supported by an outsourcing firm. Best to start looking for a VA within the business network. If the choice is to partner with an outsourcing firm, assess all of the terms and conditions from payroll to local management of the virtual assistant. Also consider the measures put in place by the firm to protect your intellectual property. The company, particularly management, should be involved with the recruitment process, especially during the interviewing.
- Carefully screen the candidates. To select the candidates, make sure you gather the following information during the interview or from your outsourcing partner:
- Their fees and payment preference.
- The amount of experience handling the main tasks listed.
- Their ability to work on tasks within a time frame.
- The communication mediums for updates.
- Samples their work (if necessary).
Once the deal is sealed with the VA, be sure to establish the communication and performance assessment procedures. Setting the expectations will be easier if these are prepared initially. This will provide a common guide for both the manager and the virtual assistant on how they can achieve the set deliverables.
Most people fear that hiring a virtual assistant may be more of a liability in the long run, but if the business is able to formulate a stable operational procedure with the VA, higher expectations can be achieved.