Hiring a virtual assistant (VA) can give your business an advantage. A VA can take care of mundane and administrative tasks, so you and your team can focus on core functions and strategies. As a result, your business enjoys a boost in efficiency and even a long-term increase in profits.
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is a person that performs various tasks and provides certain services to businesses from a remote location. Depending on their experience and training level, they can do both generic tasks and more specialized, industry-related activities.
One of the significant benefits of hiring a virtual assistant is that the necessary but low-priority tasks can be accomplished while keeping costs relatively low. In fact, compared to a full-time employee, a full-time VA can save your company as much as 78%. A study by Stanford University also reports that remote workers take fewer sick days and fewer breaks, resulting in a 13% increase in productivity
Indeed, hiring a VA provides businesses with more accessible opportunities for growth. Read on to learn how to find a virtual assistant that can accelerate your business growth.
A Complete Guide to Hiring a Virtual Assistant for Your Business
1. Identify the type of virtual assistant you need
Managing a business includes doing tasks that are not directly revenue-generating but necessary to keep operations running. VAs can get many of these tasks done with the right training and specialization. With the different types of VAs, it’s a matter of finding one that best fits your business needs.
Generally, VAs fall under two categories:
- Administrative or General
The administrative or general VA takes care of the tasks that sustain your everyday operations. These are often processes or actions that are repetitive and mundane. Examples of these include encoding data, managing the business calendar, scheduling appointments, and filtering your inbox.
The specialized VA is equipped with a specific skill set that allows them to take over more specialized business tasks. The advantage in hiring them is that they are already experienced and experts in their field like bookkeeping and social media marketing.
Another good example of specialization is the tasks Real Estate virtual assistants can do. Real Estate VAs are already familiar with the industry and know the ropes of property listings, real estate ads, and other industry-specific tasks.
2. Decide on what you want to outsource
With a general idea of your business needs, the next step is to make a list of all the things you will outsource to a virtual assistant. Depending on the type of VA, you can approach this in two different ways.
You can create a list of specific tasks and processes that the VA will handle to give them a good idea of the scope of work. This works best for general VAs, as they will be taking on many different tasks on the job.
For specialized VAs, it’s better to focus on specific outcomes rather than tasks. Since they are hired to handle a particular aspect of your business, they are already familiar with the tasks involved in that line of operations.
Given that you can rely on their expert knowledge, it’s best to have them work towards a specific goal. Outcomes can include boosting your social media engagement, increasing the number of property listings uploaded, and so on.
Once you’ve decided on what to outsource, prepare the appropriate training materials. These materials will help the VAs familiarize themselves with your business’s specific practices, including your standard operating procedures (SOPs). Having these materials ready will make onboarding easier and faster, allowing the VA to start with their tasks sooner.
Make sure that the training materials and SOPs are detailed and up-to-date. While some things may be second nature to you, they may not occur to a new addition to your team immediately. The more detailed and specific your SOPs are, the easier it will be for the VA to adapt to them.
3. Look for qualified and skilled virtual assistants
There are many ways you can find a virtual assistant, starting with creating a job description and listing.
Describe and explain your prospective VA’s scope of work in detail, expected working hours, salary range, and other relevant information. Post your job listing on freelancer marketplaces and online job boards where interested freelancers can apply.
The downside to creating public job listings is that you may get too many responses to sift through. Additionally, some responses may come from bogus applicants who will waste your time. You can avoid this problem by posting only on reputable and reliable marketplaces.
You can find a VA by contracting an outsourcing provider like Outsource Access or asking for recommendations from your network. Both methods can increase the chances of hiring a VA who is reliable and qualified for the job.
4. Review and process applications
Once you’ve received several responses to your job listing, it’s time to sift through them and find the promising candidates. Depending on the type of VA you need, you can use different qualifiers for candidates.
For example, if you’re looking for a general VA, candidates with previous experience handling administrative tasks or similar jobs are likely to be the right choice for you. For specialized VAs, keep an eye out for industry-related experience, prior training or certifications, and the like.
Then, conduct a video interview to give you an opportunity to observe the candidate’s communication, language, and interpersonal skills. You may also gauge their quick thinking, logic, and problem-solving through behavioral questions and hypothetical scenarios. The goal is to learn more about a candidate’s capabilities and vet their qualifications.
The interview also allows you to clarify and explain the job opening to the candidate. This prevents any future misunderstanding and helps the candidate set their expectations for the opening accordingly. From there, you can narrow down your options to the candidates with the relevant experience and stronger skill sets.
5. Test your top candidates
You will be relying on VAs to get their assigned work done in a timely and professional manner. Giving your top candidates a test can help you evaluate their capabilities and judge whether they are a good fit for your business and workflow or not.
Testing can be done at two stages of the process: a preliminary evaluation and a trial hire. Design a preliminary exam to test essential skills for the position. Candidates should be able to back up their credentials with equal or exceptional performance in the exam.
Before fully committing to hiring a candidate, you can also consider a two-week paid trial. A trial period allows you to evaluate the candidate further. Pay attention to their work ethic, reliability, consistency, and overall fit with your business workflow. You can hire the successful candidate after the trial period and let go of the unsuccessful candidates.
The Outsource Access Process
Outsource Access has mastered the process of finding and hiring the perfect virtual assistant. Even before a client signs on, Outsource Access has cultivated a full roster of top-tier talents. These professionals have passed rigorous testing and vetting to ensure that they meet the standards needed to provide exceptional service to clients.
Each client also goes through a needs assessment system to determine critical business requirements best solved through outsourcing. Using this information, Outsource Access matches a client with a VA with compatible personalities, skills, and industry knowledge. Finally, Outsource Access works with each company to create a solid onboarding plan that brings VAs up to speed in no time.
Get Ahead with a Virtual Assistant
Many business processes can eat up time that you could be using to focus on revenue-generating tasks. With a virtual assistant, you have someone who can accomplish mundane and repetitive tasks necessary for day-to-day operations while you work on opportunities that can grow your business.
To learn more about Outsource Access and its signature VA hiring process, book a call now.