7 Mistakes To Avoid When Hiring A Virtual Assistant

Les Brown, a famous motivational speaker, and politician, once said,

“Ask for help. Not because you are weak but because you want to remain strong.”

Hiring a virtual assistant online is slightly different from hiring a regular employee. Although some steps might be the same, there are some very recurrent mistakes that business owners often make.

Formulate A Plan Before Hiring

Formulate A Plan Before Hiring

Once you have decided to hire a virtual assistant, your subsequent steps must ensure that you achieve the desired goals. That requires a little planning.

A very important step is to spend a week analyzing what tasks you perform. Make a list, categorize it and analyze it. It might seem like a mundane task, however, performing this step is essential. This will ensure that once you have managed to hire a VA, their performance will actually serve the purpose that they are meant to serve.

Don’t Forget The Basics

Don’t Forget The Basics

Oftentimes business owners hire too hastily because either they are desperate or they find the thought going through several potentials before finalizing one too daunting. This might result in you ending up with someone who instead of increasing productivity would result in creating hindrances and well…eventually a headache.

Make sure you have enough communication with them through various means before even considering them a prospect. After all, you will be entrusting them with matters related to your business.

The following are 8 tips to make sure you can sift those who will prove to be more dedicated and passionate as compared to the rest.

  1. Read through that resume carefully. Bring up questions you might have during the next step.
  2. Conduct an interview if not several.
  3. Browse through their profile in detail on the platform they have uploaded their job posting on.
  4. Have enough communication to get a sense of their personality. Virtual assistants need to be flexible, skilled, and above all trustworthy.
  5. Browse through their social media.
  6. Have some casual talk.
  7. Video chat
  8. Don’t make the hiring process too easy. Have them work for it.

Prepare Yourself Too

This step might surprise you a little since it is commonly ignored. Before you even go on to find someone to help you with your business, you might need to take some steps to learn your business better.

Suppose your business involves a home-based baking company, however, due to you being overwhelmed by your business growth, you might decide you need to hire a virtual assistant.

The problem: you lack the knowledge that you require in order to communicate with your virtual assistant to stay in touch with them.

Perhaps you might need to take a few basic lessons on the latest apps and tools that you may need in order to stay in touch with your virtual assistant. They may include using tools like time tracking, video chatting, cloud-based document sharing, using screen share and remote computer access, and popular apps such as Slack and Hubstaff.

Hiring The Wrong Type of VA

Do a little research on the types of virtual assistants that are available on the online market. Some examples include:

  • Data Entry VA: may do tasks that require inputting large amounts of information in databases, entering/deleting notes, managing calendars
  • Administrative VA: responsible for business and personal administrative work. May perform tasks such as bookkeeping, emailing, social media management, etc.
  • Graphics design VA: can assist in graphics design such as logo designing, web page design, and web page management
  • Bookkeeping VA: creating and maintaining accurate records
  • Amazon virtual assistant: Helps you with managing, growing, and scaling your Amazon store.

Sift the Best From the Mediocre

Sift the Best from the Mediocre

Virtual assistants are basically meant to save you some time and time, to a business owner, means money. To make sure you don’t end up with losses, do not hire a virtual assistant online without vetting and verifying. Online marketplaces offer some guidance on how to go about hiring virtual assistants. However, there are certain steps that you may further take to ensure you hire the best from the bunch.

If you think simply looking through their resume or having one interview with them would suffice, you are highly mistaken. Take those extra steps you need to make sure the potential VA is not just trained but experienced too.

Here are some ways to check their potential:

  • Conduct a questionnaire
  • Skills test: you may have them perform some tasks that will allow them to fully display the skills and expertise they claim to possess. These may include skills involving using Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Google, writing emails, handling phone calls, etc.
  • Technical Skills test: have them perform some practical tests designed specifically for your business niche
  • An oral competency test

All this, ties into the point mentioned earlier: have them work for it. Only a dedicated and hardworking virtual assistant will make an effort to perform well in all or some of these tests.

Not Giving Them Enough Time To Adjust

Sift the Best from the Mediocre

Often times employers, once they have hired a virtual assistant, forget that at first a training period is required regardless of the VA’s skill and experience. Everyone has their own manner of conducting tasks and this time period will allow both parties the chance to understand what to expect of the other.

In the beginning, you will be required to train your virtual assistant, meanwhile, you must remain patient and understanding. Everyone makes mistakes and however, over a period of time both will eventually learn to adjust to each other’s needs. Although at first, you might be the one teaching your VA to do tasks for you, however, over time they might learn to do it better than you.

When outsourcing your virtual assistant, you should always pay heed to other concerns that arise often such as social, cultural, and time differences. One way to handle such concerns is to always plan in advance.

Ask For Their Feedback

This step is rarely ever taken. Most business owners tend to assume they know it all. While that may be true sometimes, often it does not do well to underestimate others.

Feedback can be taken two ways: during the hiring process and after it. During the hiring process, you can do so by asking them how they would choose to respond to various situations or complications if they were to come up while working for you.

You might find they know more efficient ways to handle some matters as they have had experience with such situations or may have even worked for someone with more experience than you in a similar industry

Furthermore, once they have been working for you for some time, every so often has the confidence to ask them about ways or steps they might suggest to make their work or your communication with them more efficient.

It may be that you may have been not communicating well enough for them to perform their best, or have been giving them too much to do or not enough. Either way, miscommunication will eventually lead to a breakdown in your relationship with your virtual assistant.

The Benefit Of Taking These Extra Steps

If done right, you can end up hiring a virtual assistant that would prove to be highly beneficial for your business. You can even go further to calculate the ROI (return on investment) and you might find that your benefits exceed much further than freeing up your time so you can conduct your business more efficiently.

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