How to Hire a VA Regardless of whether you’re engaging a recruitment agency or going through the process yourself, knowing how to hire a virtual assistant (VA) is key to…
Introduction to Virtual Assistants
Providing exceptional support that is tailored to a business’s unique needs, virtual assistants can play a pivotal role in the success of entrepreneurs and industry leaders alike.
With remote work increasing in popularity, VAs can now offer a broad range of services.
So, how can you go about for your company? These are our top tips.
Understanding the Role of Virtual Assistants
A virtual assistant’s role usually echoes the responsibilities of a personal assistant, with the difference being that they work remotely. They may simply work in another city, or on the other side of the world, and can assist with anything from diary management to bookkeeping, to copywriting and social media management.
A VA’s responsibilities will depend on the nature of their employer’s requirements. The most common tasks include phone handling and email management, scheduling meetings, arranging travel, providing customer support and basic IT assistance.
Virtual assistants provide support in a range of areas. Many act as a remote PA and carry out administrative tasks, while others specialise in areas such as finance, customer service, marketing, technology or creative support. While some VAs offer temporary support, others commit to permanent roles on either a part-time or full-time basis.
Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant
A great VA can be an invaluable resource for a company, able to work unusual hours and provide support across a broad range of ongoing or ad-hoc tasks. It is common for SMEs and entrepreneurs to favour hiring VAs, as their versatility suits the fluid nature of new and smaller businesses.
Hiring a virtual assistant can save a business time and money. This is mainly because their role can entirely be designed to suit your business’ unique needs. Whether you need someone for the length of a specific project or to permanently provide customer support at unusual hours, there will undoubtedly exist a VA whose expertise and availability can fit your requirements.
Working to an hourly rate and generally managing their own overheads, a VA can be more cost-effective than other types of staff. In addition, VAs tend to be specialised experts, which can minimize hiring costs associated with bringing on a new employee.
Where to Look for Virtual Assistants
Virtual Assistant Agencies
Virtual assistant agencies such as Tiger Recruitment specialise in matching exceptional VAs with employers. Agencies can quickly tap into their network and database of VAs to find the perfect shortlist of professionals for a role. Agencies will generally handle the initial screening and reference checking to ensure they are a good fit for your requirements.
At Tiger, we can also handle the payroll administration if required.
If you’re wondering where to find a virtual assistant, get in touch with us today to begin the process.
Online Virtual Assistant Marketplaces
Virtual assistant Marketplaces are essentially job boards specifically for VAs. Employers can post vacancies for professionals to respond to, and individuals can list their professional services. These can be a great way of checking out the available talent and familiarising yourself with the role of a VA.
Here are some of the most popular marketplaces right now:
Fiverr is a popular freelance marketplace with a wide range of VAs.
Upwork is the largest freelancing marketplace in the world, allowing you to post roles, review proposals and hire VAs.
Freelancer allows VAs to bid on your job posting, and provides a secure payment platform.
Networking and Referrals
Utilising your own professional network can be a valuable tool in sourcing top VAs. Ask around for suggestions of top VAs who could fit your needs. It might also be worth posting on LinkedIn or other social channels to extend your reach of recommended candidates.
Key Considerations When Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Defining Your Virtual Assistant’s Role
A clear project brief or job specification is the first step to success when looking at how to how to hire a VA.
Make a detailed outline of all the tasks your VA will be taking on and the associated skills and experience required. Do you need someone who can work unusual hours or is an expert with excel? This will ensure that everyone involved in the process knows what to ask about and check in the interviewing process. If you’re working with an agency, this detailed outline will also ensure that your recruiter only sends the most appropriate candidates to you.
Assessing Skills and Experience
Once you have clearly defined your VA’s role, you will have a clear outline of what skills and experience should be required. If you’re recruiting through an agency, this is something that they will consider when shortlisting jobseekers for you.
Soft skills are particularly important when hiring a VA, as communication, organisation and work ethic are all the more important in a remote working environment.
Communication and Language Proficiency
Communication is paramount in making remote working successful. Both employer and VA must be on the same page and able to communicate clearly and effectively. Pay attention to how well you communicate with an individual throughout the interviewing process, as this will be a good indication of how things will be moving forward.
Language proficiency is also something to consider if hiring an international VA who will be working in their second language.
Time Zone and Availability
Time zone and availability are important logistical factors to address early on. You don’t want to get to the end of an interview process only to realise that your prospective VA isn’t available when you need them!
Working across different time zones works well for global businesses, but some might find it too challenging. Consider how much back and forth will be involved in this role, and whether this will dictate the location of the person you hire. Some VAs will be willing to work unusual hours to match your working day to help with this.
Interviewing and Onboarding Virtual Assistants
Conducting Virtual Interviews
Most VA interviews will be conducted online. When recruiting VAs, we recommend following your business’ established interview process. For larger businesses, this could look involve multiple stages of online interviews with key stakeholders.
Creating a Smooth Onboarding Process
As with all new hires, a smooth onboarding process can be the cornerstone of success. Even though your new hire is working remotely, it is still important to introduce them to the team and to make them feel welcome.
Putting extra resources into ensuring an effective remote onboarding process to clearly establish communication and expectations will save you time in the long run, so try not to rush things here.
Managing and Optimising Virtual Assistant Relationships
Establishing Clear Communication Channels
Managing remote staff can be challenging. Whether your VA will be taking on secretarial duties, administrative tasks, or content creation, establishing clear communication channels is key. Make sure it is clear when it is appropriate to email, message, and call, and how to do so.
Having regular video calls is important to maintaining a healthy working relationship with a remote staff member. Your VA won’t be around to socialise or have chats around the watercooler, so ensure you take the time to get to know them on these calls.
Setting Expectations and Deliverables
When you’re unable to walk to a colleague’s desk for quick clarifications, things can quickly unravel. Before starting your new VA on their projects, run through their list of deliverables together, ensuring a shared understanding of each. It is also important to discuss expectations for things such as deadlines, feedback, and processes.
Monitoring Performance and Providing Feedback
Establishing how you will monitor the performance of your new VA is one of the final things to set you up for success. Work with your VA to develop a process for providing feedback that will be effective for both of you. Make sure that they know when and where to expect feedback, and what actions they should take in response. With a new VA, daily check-ins are often useful for providing regular feedback. As they settle in, these can sit within your weekly catch-up calls.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the best place to find a virtual assistant?
As each VA role usually requires a highly specific set of skills and availability, outsourcing to VA recruitment experts is generally the most efficient course of action. An agency will have a database of professionals to look for professionals who match your needs. If they do not have suitable individuals on file, they will usually reach out to their network and advertise for the role.
The nature of remote roles means there will be less day-to-day interaction with a VA. This decrease in face-to-face communication makes it all the more important to make the right hiring decision! An experienced recruitment agency can provide you with peace of mind that you’ll find the perfect person for your business.
If you’re wondering where to find a virtual assistant, start by making a hire request.
What is the average cost of a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant in the Switzerland earns between CHF 40 and 55 per hour depending on the level of responsibility.
Where to find clients as virtual assistant?
Registering with a VA recruitment agency is a great way to find clients as a virtual assistant. An agency can match you with employers whose needs match your skills and experience. If you’re a VA looking for work, submit your details here.