Every small business owner faces a time when the heaps of tasks overflowing their daily to-do lists seem too heavy for them to finish. They have several dozen emails needing urgent replies, several pending client conversations, different marketing campaigns waiting for their approvals, etc.
In such scenarios, they need to hire an assistant in the office to help them with all this. A better solution to this is also looking at hiring virtual assistants.
Virtual assistants (VA) have become tremendously popular for helping business managers and administrators complete loads of tasks efficiently. Ask any leading app development consultant in the USA, and they will tell you about the increasing popularity of virtual assistants for remote app development projects.
Working as remote service providers, they can also be specialists in some administrative or managerial tasks or master different types of business tasks.
But how do you hire virtual assistants with the right attitude, skills, experience, and expertise?
We provide some essential tips to employ skilled and efficient virtual assistants.
Prepare a requirement document.
Before hiring the virtual assistants, it is crucial to prepare a requirement document with a detailed list of all the tasks that will be delegated to the Virtual Assistant. Some of these task descriptions should also carry the Standard Operating Procedures to guide them in completing the tasks.
When hiring Specialized Virtual Assistants, you can also set expectations for each task. You need to prepare a detailed document showcasing the results from completing the tasks listed by you.
Explain the virtual assistant roles and tasks
It is essential to write detailed job descriptions for each virtual assistant role for all the tasks you need to delegate to individual virtual assistants. When preparing the document for the general virtual assistants, the unique skills should not be included.
The job description for virtual assistants should incorporate the following information.
- Details of the business background specifying the industry niche, saleable products or services, the target customers, and the key competitors.
- The required education level, job experience, and particular skills.
- A comprehensive list of tasks and responsibilities.
- A complete list of tools and software applications the VAs should use.
Know where to find virtual assistants
Among the many ways to find virtual assistants, the easiest is to seek references from business peers and people in your close network. You can also make a headstart by posting the requirement on LinkedIn or on relevant Facebook groups where entrepreneurs share similar conditions. Try to be specific in posting requirements to get the best quality referrals.
The second most common way is to reach out to a virtual assistant service or
online agencies that provide virtual assistants with different skills. This will reduce your effort and labor in sourcing virtual assistants.
The third most common and credible way to access skilled virtual assistants is to hit the freelance marketplaces. All you need to do is post the tasks to be contacted by qualified freelance professionals with their skills, experience, and rates in these online marketplaces. Job posts often get as many as 100 or more bids on these platforms. Task Pigeon, Guru, and Freelancer.com are some of the most well-known online marketplaces for freelance virtual assistants.
Don’t make a hurry for hiring.
Now that you know the basic steps of hiring and the places to look for your skilled virtual assistants let’s provide some helpful advice to prevent you from committing errors. The first advice will be to take things slowly and diligently instead of hiring in haste. You need skilled professionals who can just free up your time, not the ones who will create more problems.
When you hire virtual assistants in haste and only get some semi-skilled people on board, you will likely create more problems for the project. Sometimes, this may completely put your project in the doldrums. As per the latest studies, more than one-third of business software projects just taste failure because of the wrong team selection.
You can evaluate their previous work samples minutely, which may take some time. You can also go through the past client reviews and consider to what extent they are helpful. When you go through several rounds of checks and reviews, you are more likely to hire the right experts you need.
Validating experience & track record
There is great importance in hiring the right professional to finish a project within the deadline. The best way to evaluate the competence and capabilities of virtual assistants is to check what experience they have and what projects they have already completed.
It is essential to ask particular questions about the project and the required skills to hire someone. For example, when hiring an Android app developer, one should ask the following.
- Can you code with both Java and Kotlin?
- What are the Android app projects you have worked on earlier?
- Can you build An android or cross-platform app by using Flutter?
- Why would you prefer this tool instead of that?
You need to ask several such questions to verify their domain expertise, experience, and skills.
Ensure accessibility & ease of communication
For any collaborative project, easy and smooth communication is of extreme importance. This is why virtual assistants having excellent communication skills enjoy more demands. So, for hiring VAs, you should start by checking their communication skills.
To check communication skills, get around explanations and ask them several questions that require effective communication to come up with a convincing answer or apply a test for communication skills. The communication should be polite, to the point, and highly relevant to the specific requirements.
Another crucial thing to check is whether they give timely replies and detailed workflow strategies. Apart from viral or written communication skills, the virtual assistants should also be available for prompt responses. You can ask the virtual assistants to give more details about their workflow strategies to check this further.
Evaluate their skills
If some tasks require checking skills through practical tests instead of just interviewing candidates, go ahead with the test. A practical test covering particular tasks will quickly explain how they work on projects. Giving them test tasks to evaluate their actual skill is the best way to make informed decisions for hiring virtual assistants.
For instance, when the task is to integrate third-party tools with the ERP software, give them a test task of integrating one small software tool with the existing ERP system and check how they do it. This will clearly show their experience level, skills, and work style.
Post-project collaboration & help
For hiring virtual assistants for many projects, you also need to consider continuous support. For example, it is essential for software and app projects where developers are generally committed to delivering post-development support and fulfilling maintenance obligations for the project. Some projects also require long-term association with the hired professionals.
Professionals who are not interested in staying in touch with the company after finishing the project are not suitable for such projects. In such cases, skills and post-project commitments should matter for hiring virtual assistants.
These days, most technically challenging business projects prefer hiring professionals ready to work for the long term instead of just completing a set of tasks for a given timeline. Though virtual assistants are hired remotely for completing specific tasks, in many cases, they tend to become reliable, professional service providers for their client companies.
Consider pricing as the last priority.
When hiring virtual assistants, businesses often mistake giving more priority to the pricing rather than other aspects. If you think of virtual assistants as the low-priced employees who work remotely, you may hire non-professionals or unskilled staff.
Instead of hiring someone charging $2 per hour, you should look for skilled professionals who will deliver more high-quality output despite charging $10 per hour. Pricing should be the last consideration when all other evaluations are done and all parameters are checked. Only among the top quality professionals can you opt for the competitive rate.
Summing It Up
When you hire a skilled professional as your virtual assistant, you will get relieved from some of your recurring tasks and responsibilities. In addition, you will benefit from better efficiency and professional output. Since skilled virtual assistants can boost efficiency and production significantly, it is better to spend a better budget on them instead of sticking to the general skills.
Virtual assistants are the go-to solution for small businesses and entrepreneurs, so make sure you hire one. You will soon notice a gradual positive change in your workflow and the organization's growth.