6 Tips for Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Last Updated: 

July 3, 2023

Outsourcing and delegating are effective strategies for improving productivity, time management, and profitability. Virtual assistants are skilled workers who take on tasks to help your business get things done. These contract employees are an excellent option for small start-ups, entrepreneurs, and private practice owners.

Choosing the right virtual personal assistants is essential for success. Here are six tips for hiring a virtual assistant that suits your needs. 

Key Takeaways on Hiring a Virtual Assistant

  • Identify Your Needs: Determine the specific tasks and responsibilities you'd like your virtual assistant (VA) to handle in order to find the best candidate.
  • Consider Special Qualifications: Look for a VA with relevant skills, experience, and qualifications to suit your industry or business niche.
  • Seek Recommendations and Reviews: Ask colleagues for recommendations and thoroughly check reviews and testimonials of potential VAs.
  • Establish Systems: Use project management software and create standard operating procedures (SOPs) to streamline communication and improve efficiency.
  • Develop a Contract: Protect both parties with a clear contract outlining the scope of work, payment details, and any necessary legal clauses.
  • Implement a Trial Period: Consider using test assignments or trial periods to ensure the VA is a good fit for your business, while always providing fair compensation for their work.
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Consider Your Needs

First, consider what specific tasks you'd like your virtual assistant to cover. Clarifying your needs helps you determine the best candidate for the job and ensures you have actionable tasks to give them.

Generally speaking, the tasks handled by a virtual assistant should be anything that must get done but doesn't directly influence revenue — like scheduling social media posts. However, you can also hire a VA specialising in customer service to field inquiries and manage customer relationships. Additionally, many entrepreneurs delegate the tasks they don't enjoy or excel at and tend to delay as a result.  

Consider Special Qualifications or Experience

Determine whether your VA needs any particular qualifications or relevant experience. For example, if you have a dental practice, you'd want a dental virtual assistant who understands HIPAA regulations, how long certain services take, etc. Similarly, a realtor might require a VA with experience creating listings or prioritising inbox communications.

Take some time to create a job description that outlines relevant skills and experience so you can find the right fit.

Ask for Recommendations and Reviews

If you know colleagues who work with a VA, consider asking them for a recommendation. They can direct you to their VA or an agency they've worked with. This approach takes some of the trepidation out of the process.

Ask the candidates for reviews and testimonials, taking some time to research and reach out to their references.

Create or Invest in Systems

Communication can make or break a working partnership with a VA. To communicate effectively, organised systems are a necessity.

Choose a project management software and start capturing SOPs to help train your new VA. As your VA gets comfortable in the role, they can update SOPs and offer recommendations about the systems you have in place.

Develop a Contract

Developing a contract protects everyone involved. This contract should outline the scope of work, payment details, and any non-disclosure or non-compete clauses you may want to include. Don't hesitate to reach out to a lawyer for guidance.

Implement a Trial Period

Consider implementing a test assignment or trial period into the hiring and onboarding process. A test assignment is an excellent pre-screening activity to determine whether the person is the right fit. Similarly, a trial period is a probationary period for full-time employees, so you can decide whether you make a good team.

Note that test assignments and trial periods should be paid; this isn't an opportunity to get free work done.

Keep these key considerations in mind when hiring a virtual assistant. Taking your time to find the right person for the role will tremendously help your business.

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