Virtual assistants are remote employees who take up administrative tasks and – no matter the distance – ensure they run like clockwork. Since you trust these employees with important and sensitive job duties, like managing your calendar or customer relationships, it makes sense to be extra careful when recruiting them.
Here’s how to design a hiring process so that you attract, evaluate and hire the best virtual assistant:
Define the position
When you decide to hire a virtual assistant, first clarify details regarding:
- Employment type. Do you need to hire a permanent team member or a freelancer who can help with a specific project? And is this going to be a full-time or part-time position?
- Compensation plan. What’s more cost-effective: paying per hour (for small, independent tasks), paying per project (when there’s a specific deadline) or offering monthly/annual contracts (when you’re hiring long-term employees to handle various duties)?
- Skill requirements. What skills are necessary for this position? For example, should you hire a generalist who can perform a wide range of administrative tasks or is it best to look for candidates with expertise in tasks like bookkeeping or online research?
Create a Virtual Assistant job description
Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to communicate that to job seekers. Here’s how to create a clear, well-structured job description for a virtual assistant:
Provide your company’s details. Since there are no location boundaries, your job ad may be seen by people from all over the world who might not be familiar with your company. Make sure to include useful information, like your mission and values or a quick description of your teams and key clients.
Describe the profile of your ideal candidate. Considering your new hire will work remotely, think what skills they need to be productive, beyond the typical job requirements. For example, it’ll be useful if they’re familiar with collaboration and task-management tools, like Slack and Trello. Also, mention essential soft skills, like communication skills and the ability to work independently.
Explain your way of working. Encourage job seekers to apply by sharing important job details and any information that’ll help them determine if they’re a good fit. Be clear about expectations, compensation and work schedule. Also, be transparent about trial periods, if there are any.
Highlight your selling points. Are you providing remote employees with cutting-edge tech stack? Are you paying for coworking spaces at their location? Are you offering fully flexible, customizable working hours? Mention any perks and benefits that’ll capture potential candidates’ attention.
Post your jobs and find Virtual Assistants online
To hire virtual assistants, go where they are. Maybe not physically, but virtually, by advertising on job boards dedicated to remote work. There are also websites that aim to connect employers with virtual assistants, remote workers and freelancers. In this case, you usually pay a fee to get access to a candidate database or share your requirements so you can be matched with qualified job seekers.
Here are some of the best places to look for virtual assistants:
Evaluate Virtual Assistant candidates
Hiring remote employees can be challenging, as you don’t get to meet and interact with candidates in-person. Instead, you can use video software like Jobma and Spark Hire or simpler tools like Hangouts and Skype. Here’s how to get the most out of your interviews with virtual assistants:
Assess communication skills. Communication is a big part of a virtual assistant’s job. They need to communicate well on your behalf (for example when they contact clients or make travel arrangements), but they should also be able to touch base with their remote team quickly and effectively. During the hiring stages keep an eye out for candidates who:
- Grasp your guidelines quickly
- Ask follow up questions when they’re unsure
- Express themselves clearly both verbally and in writing
Use job-related assignments. A good way to evaluate soft skills, like organizational abilities or attention to detail, is to use assignments that simulate real job duties. For example, ask candidates to research options for a software type you consider buying:
- Qualified candidates should analyze and present different products considering prices and features.
- The best candidates will create a detailed list where you can easily compare options.
- Give extra points to candidates who go one step further and recommend the top products based on characteristics and requirements.
If you need help creating assignments for your candidates, use recruitment assessment tools that offer a wide range of pre-employment tests to help you make better hiring decisions.
After you’ve attracted and evaluated a pool of candidates successfully, you’re ready to hire a virtual assistant. The next step is to onboard and train them for the position. To make this process easier, use tools like HelloSign or DocuSign to manage employment documents. Videos and digital manuals are also useful when you want to explain your company’s procedures from a distance. Once your virtual assistant is fully on board, they’ll take a lot of important administrative tasks off your shoulders, helping you focus on other aspects of your job.
Frequently asked questions
- What is a virtual assistant and what tasks do they handle?
- A virtual assistant is a remote employee who manages administrative tasks, ensuring smooth operations regardless of distance. They handle sensitive duties like managing calendars or customer relationships, requiring a careful recruitment process to ensure they are trustworthy and competent.
- What are the key considerations when defining a virtual assistant position?
- When hiring a virtual assistant, consider the employment type (permanent team member or freelancer), compensation plan (hourly, per project, or contract-based), and skill requirements. Decide if you need a generalist for various tasks or a specialist with expertise in areas like bookkeeping or online research.
- What should be included in a Virtual Assistant job description?
- A clear job description should provide company details, describe the ideal candidate profile, explain your way of working, and highlight your selling points. It should mention essential skills, work expectations, compensation, work schedule, and any perks or benefits that can attract potential candidates.
- Where can I find virtual assistants online?
- Virtual assistants can be found on job boards dedicated to remote work or websites that connect employers with virtual assistants, remote workers, and freelancers. Some popular platforms include FlexJobs, Remote.co, Remotive, Skip the Drive, Working Nomads, Guru, Upwork, Virtual Assistant Assistant, Virtual Staff Finder, and Zirtual.
- How can I effectively evaluate Virtual Assistant candidates?
- Evaluating remote candidates can be challenging. Use video software for interviews, assess communication skills, and use job-related assignments to evaluate soft skills. Tools like HelloSign or DocuSign can manage employment documents, and videos and digital manuals can help explain company procedures from a distance.