How to Hire a Virtual Assistant
Whether you’re a budding startup entrepreneur or just a busy executive, it’s likely you need help in your day-to-day work activities that is why you need to hire a virtual assistant.
It’s common for people in these positions to feel pulled in multiple directions at once, and it can be challenging some times to prioritize and organize your tasks and schedule. People are so busy these days at work (and in their personal lives) that it’s probably no surprise that about 67 percent of employees and 28 percent of entrepreneurs experience moderate to severe feelings of burn out.c
But good help is hard to find, as they say. Hiring an assistant is tricky because they can be relatively low-paying jobs (secretaries and administrative assistants average about $39,000/year in base salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), while also demanding a variety of skills and a decent level of experience.
What’s more, hiring a person full time may not be in the budget, or if it is, companies are limited to those in their immediate geographic area. What if the people applying for jobs in an area don’t meet the requirements or the company culture?
Like many job roles, technology has enabled many assistants to go virtual, and in the gig economy, demand for virtual assistants (Vas) have risen dramatically in recent years. While there’s no official tracking, it’s estimated there are well over 100,000 virtual assistants worldwide. And with the coronavirus pandemic forcing more people to work from home, it’s likely there will be a significant growth in the number of VAs.
Additionally, be sure to include what skills you need. Do they need to be a native English speaker, or at least demonstrate a high level of English? Do they need to be able to use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, or some other business software? Do they need to have good phone skills or understand social media? As with any job, you want to be as explicit and clear as possible to ensure your expectations are clear.
Look for Industry Experience
If you work in a specialized industry, chances are you need someone with industry-relevant experience. Sure the job’s day-to-day tasks might be doable by anyone with any type of VA experience and skills. But having someone who understands you industry is likely to benefit you more, as they’ll likely be able to get up to speed quicker on their duties as well as be able to bring additional knowledge and insights to the table that could prove helpful.
Interview and Check References
Just as with any other position you might be hiring for, it’s always good to both interview the candidate and check their references. In addition to the skills the candidate brings to the table, it’s good to get a feel for who they are to see if you have any chemistry. Employees need to fit your company culture, and that’s no different when they are virtual. Checking references is also important, as it can give you insights into the candidate’s work quality, personality, and skills.
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