Where to Find the Ideal Candidates

You’ve decided it’s time to outsource some of your business tasks to a virtual assistant but now you’re wondering where to find him or her and once you do find likely candidates what is the hiring process?

Since this is a virtual position you probably won’t get the response you want by placing an ad in your local newspaper. Besides, does anyone actually read them anymore? Obviously, you are going to start your search on-line.

Start by asking colleagues and friends.

This is one of the best ways to find experienced candidates. Professional virtual assistants with years of experience get most of their clients via recommendations or “word of mouth”.

The good news is that many of the people you are connected with on social media may work with a virtual assistant. Start by asking for recommendations from them. Be straightforward about your needs and what type of help you need. They will be happy to give you recommendations.

However, remember that just because Sue Jones is perfect for your colleague doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll be a good match for you. As much as you might have in common with your them, you have different personalities, goals, needs and management styles.

Don’t forget to ask members of your mastermind group. It’s possible that some of the members are virtual assistants and the bonus here is you’re already familiar with their personalities.

Check appropriate professional virtual assistant forums.

Both IVAA.org or VaNetworking.com are valuable resources in finding professional virtual assistants. These organizations are global networking platforms for virtual assistants to connect with each other and utilize resources to help them improve their businesses and find more opportunities.

These organizations allow you to submit a Request for Proposal (RFP) outlining who you are searching for and what your requirements are – much like an employment ad. Qualified professionals will then come to you (your inbox) with information on how they can meet your needs.

finding a virtual assistant

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Do a good old fashioned google search.

This is probably the least reliable and most time-consuming options. No need to explain how to do a google search right? I would recommend you include your keywords in the search instead of just “virtual assistant.” Some terms you might include:

Virtual Assistant based in the USA
Virtual Office Assistant
Coaches Virtual Assistant
Real Estate Virtual Assistant

When you find someone who looks interesting, you need to actually explore their website. Does it appeal to you? Is it professional? Does their public face look like your initial impression of them? And, of course, do they have the skills you need? You should be able to answer all these questions by visiting their website.

Look for information on rates but don’t be put off if you see messages like “contact me for a quote.” All this tells you is that this contractor has found projects highly variable; in which case flat rates don’t work.

Selecting the Ideal Virtual Assistant

Once you’ve found some possible candidates, it’s time to move on to the selection process.

Pick your top 3 candidates and contact them.

Inquire if they are currently accepting new clients. If they have openings, send them a description of what you are looking for and areas of your business you need assistance with.

Ask them if they meet these qualifications and where there is a gap if any. If you are having them do any correspondence tasks for you, this is a great way to evaluate their writing and grammar skills.

A few important criteria you should consider:

  • What is her communication style, does it complement yours?
  • Where is she located and will time zones be an issue?
  • Is this a solo VA or a multi-VA company? If multi-VA, will you have one point of contact? Having multiple people to communicate with can actually be quite frustrating, to say the least.

virtual assistant

Photo by Javier Sierra on Unsplash

Now it’s time to speak with your top choices.

This call is basically a ‘get to know you’ call. Look for things like:

Is she personable and did you quickly establish a comfortable conversation? This is especially important if your VA will have direct contact with your customers. It’s also important for your relationship with her. Most virtual assistants become an integral part of your business and you will work very closely with them.

Does she sound like she knows her ‘stuff?’ It’s unfortunate but some virtual assistants who look and sound great on their website, fall short when it’s actually time to work. Ask her some questions specific to the tasks you will be delegating. Pay attention to how knowledgeable she is in her replies.

What are her terms of service? Remember virtual assistants are entrepreneurs too and will have specific terms of service. This can include items such as length of the contract, payment policies, and cancellation policy.

What are her common business hours? This can vary widely with virtual assistants. Most of them work from home and may actually do work at unusual hours. Consider if her hours will conflict with the tasks she needs to complete. For example, if you need her to contact your clients on weekdays between 8 am and 12 pm, make sure she can accommodate this in her work schedule.

When you make your choice, all that’s left is to sign the paperwork. Ahhh! That feels good, doesn’t it?

Your “Ideal VA” should send you a complete contract and invoice for your first payment. When the paperwork is complete, you are ready to go.