How to hire a Virtual Assistant

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:

Post your jobs on: Connect with candidates on:
FlexJobs Guru
Remote.co Upwork
Remotive Virtual Assistant Assistant
Skip the drive Virtual Staff Finder
Working Nomads  Zirtual

Looking to get your job advertisement in front of the right candidates? Try Workable for free to quickly post to all of the top job boards and social media and manage the full hiring process.

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.

Looking for an all-in-one recruiting solution? Workable can improve candidate sourcing, interviewing and applicant tracking for a streamlined hiring process. Sign up for our 15-day free trial today.

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Christina Pavlou

Christina is a writer and researcher at Workable. She writes about HR trends and reports on the shape of the things to come. She tweets @ChristinaPaulou.

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