Hiring a virtual assistant can be one of the most valuable investments you make into your growing business. To make this investment as meaningful as possible, consider these important points when hiring a VA to manage day-to-day tasks and ongoing projects like social media marketing, customer service or client relations.
A great working relationship between you and your VA is often far more than just you assigning tasks to an independent contractor - it's a kind of partnership, so here we can clearly see how finding the right person is the first step to developing and nurturing this special relationship.
Your virtual assistant should have at least some knowledge of your industry or a willingness to learn about it. As a representative of your business, your VA should be able to speak with customers and clients with confidence while providing accurate information about your business.
So when it comes to hiring, make sure you hire a VA with the experience, skills and work ethics to complete business tasks correctly, first time. Create a list of these tasks before conducting any interviews. This way, you'll know exactly what you're looking for. Sometimes though, in unusual circumstances, you may want to consider training a virtual assistant if you think they're really worth the effort, possibly because they've expressed keen interest in working with you and learning new skills.
Furthermore, you may also want to ask for professional references in the form of testimonials you can personally verify, so you can have a high degree of confidence that your new VA has the skills, experience and expertise to complete all necessary tasks in a timely manner - or at the very least, is a fast learner!
Time Management Skills
In many cases, your VA will be able to complete the tasks you assign in less time than a full-time, in-house employee. When hiring a VA, ask specific questions about their work habits, productivity and how much time they can give you each week or each month.
Since some tasks will obviously take longer than others to complete, provide a copy of your task schedule to potential VAs to review before you make a final hiring decision. Don't forget to hire the VA that meets all the other criteria, and who's actually able to accommodate your schedule too. For example, if you need to maintain frequent contact with your VA by phone, online chat like Skype of Slack or via email, consider hiring someone who lives within your time zone.
You Get What You Pay For
An experienced virtual assistant typically charges more for their services than a novice VA, which makes perfect sense. Keep this in mind when hiring an assistant. However, if you're willing to train your VA and are looking for a lower hourly rate, consider hiring a person with less experience. On the other hand, if you just need someone to jump in and start completing tasks without much supervision, then consider hiring a virtual assistant with the necessary skills and experience to get the job done, and don't worry about their higher rate.
The same principle applies when hiring a VA who lives in a different country. Where a VA lives can influence how much they charge for assistant services. Keep in mind that time zone differences along with a language barrier can - and usually do, affect overall communication, especially restricting the scope of client facing services and in some cases, even influence how well business tasks are completed.
The good news for small business owners and start-up companies though is that you can usually hire a virtual assistant by the hour or by the month. So although some VAs require that you pay for a minimum number of hours upfront, others are happy to work on a per-project basis. If you're on a budget, definitely let prospective VAs know straightaway as this will save you a lot of time during the interview process.