How to Hire a Good Virtual Assistant

How to Hire a Good Virtual Assistant

A Good Virtual Assistant Will Propel Your Business To New Heights—Here’s How To Find One

You clicked on this headline because, let me guess, you are almost ready to hire a virtual assistant, right? But you feel uneasy about bringing someone else into your business because, frankly, how can you trust that person? How will you know that someone you hardly know gets what you do and supports your work in a professional way?

The truth is: You won’t know. You just can’t be sure. Ever.

But what you can be sure of is that you did everything to ensure that you find a virtual assistant that is a perfect match for you and your business.

So before you start your search, do three things:

(1) Get clear about what you wish to delegate and how you would like your VA to get those tasks done. Think about what systems you put in place in your business and how you manage them. Make a list of tasks that you absolutely loathe doing. This is the list of tasks you should delegate.

(2) Get clear about what type of personality your VA should have. So for example, if you are the type of person that generates ideas like there is no tomorrow but freezes up when it comes to technical implementation, a tech-savvy VA with strong organization skills is the best fit for you. So, just think about the qualities that would compliment your own character. These are the qualities you are looking for in a VA.

(3) Get clear about what expectations you have in regards to your VA’s working style, typical turn around time, what computer systems she uses and how many hours per day you need her. Think about what time zone she should be in, if you need daily or weekly meetings with her or if you want to be able to pick up the phone whenever you need to talk to her.

Summarize your findings from (1), (2) and (3) in a concise ad, very much like an ad for a job opening. List the skills and personality traits you are looking for. Detail your expectations and everything else that came up for you. Have a clear vision of that person in your head while you write your ad. This will ensure you don’t miss any essential points.

Got your ad written? Now distribute it!

Tap into your professional network and put the word out that you are looking for a VA. Create a hidden page on your website containing your ad and contact information and distribute the link on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Just putting the word out on Twitter saying that you need a VA will get you swamped with all kinds of people applying for the role. Reduce the admin by being specific upfront with a link to your ad.

Other places where you can post your ad:

  • The IVAA (International Virtual Assistants Association) website has a directory of virtual assistants and it allows you to submit a RFP.
  • The ACA (Administrative Consultants Association) website allows you to run a search for a virtual assistant. Check out their directory.
  • Elance! I have tried oDesk and Guru.com and find Elance the best website to find highly qualified contractors. You can post your ad there and have people bid on your job proposal. Make sure you select someone with high ratings. A lot of completed jobs with no ratings is often a glowing red warning sign.

Now. You have a list of candidates. How do you pick one?

Always ensure the VA provides the following:

  1. A clear and concise answer to your job ad detailing exactly what experience they have and how it can be applied to your requirements.
  2. A link to her website (make sure you look at it, it tells you a lot about how her/his personality).
  3. At least three references, two of which should be current clients.
  4. A confidentiality agreement and a contract.

Set up a phone call with your chosen candidates and talk to them. Ask yourself: Would you get on with this person in the long term? Does s/he understand your business? Can you fulfill her/his expectations?

Listen to your intuition.
Then choose, sign the contract and assign the first small project.

Congratulations, you have just hired your first virtual assistant.

Written by Kat

Kat Csengo is the CEO and Chief Virtual Assistant at PaperclipFox.com, a virtual assistant company specializing in online marketing. Kat supports her clients in launching new websites, products and services and is here to assist them in running the day-to-day management of their highly successful online businesses. You can find Kat on Facebook and Twitter.

8 Responses to How to Hire a Good Virtual Assistant

  1. Hi Kat, I always like to include one or two very specific instructions about what to include in a response to my job posts. That way when I get responses I can immediately weed about people that ignored my instructions. You want a VA with an eye for detail!

    On another note, what do you think is a reasonable hourly rate for a U.S. based (fluent speaking) VA?

    • Hi Geoff, the rate depends on what you wish the VA to do. The price range is between $17 and $50+ per hour. The more skilled the VA is (techie skills, project management superstar etc.), the more she will charge. If you’re looking for basic admin, you’re looking at the lower end of the price range.

      • Actually, the average price range for a U.S. VA is $30-$75/hr. regardless of the support solutions provided. VAs that specialize or only offer support in the technology field (IT, social media, web design, etc.), the average range is $75-$125/hr.

        Should you find VAs with hourly rates less than $30/hr., I recommend finding out/asking how long they have been in business, if they are solvent, and see if they have client testimonials on their sites. If a VA doesn’t have a website, be wary!

  2. Hi Kat, great write up. I think you’re spot on regarding the completed jobs without feedback being a red flag on Elance. A lot of people seem intimidated to post honest negative feedback for some reason, which means a lot of contractors ratings are inflated. (I’ve been burned by this before!)

    I also recommend to show a lot of personality in the job post, use slang, industry terms, etc. That way it’s easier to tell when you get a candidate that really “got it.”

  3. I love your post, you really elaborate on how to hire a good virtual assistant, specially we can’t see the person, so we must shot we got the right person to handle our business.

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