Hiring process of a virtual assistant has risks and this blog post are tips from my own experiences to find the right virtual team member.
I have summarized this process guidelines purely from my experience prospective and please use your own judgment to fine tune my process to hire a virtual assistant of your choice.
There are various agencies available to train and certify virtual assistants before they can be hired but none have come up in a big way. Until we have some global standard to hire virtual assistant, it maybe good to follow certain customized process, procedure and theories to find a virtual assistant.
We can broadly classify virtual assistants based on their working model.
Level 1 – Virtual assistant who are independent and have their own means to operate. These includes facilities to operate like internet, phone and fixed place to work etc. These virtual assistants are similar to remote employees but may or may not be direct employee of a company. Sometimes Level 1 virtual assistants are called “virtual consultants” or “Freelancers”.
Level 2 – Virtual assistant that work for a company and are leased to work for a period by the client. They are normal employees but work for remote client and are not directly paid by the client. The clients who prefer level 2 virtual assistants like to have more security to their operations and prefer to pay more to deal directly with a credible company than an individual.
Level 3 – Virtual assistants who are hired for a task base and not full time. These are virtual assistant who are typically hired to do repeated jobs and less skilled work. Blogging, website designing , logo designing, small applications/programs developers belong to Level 3 virtual assistants.
We will be discussing the process of finding Level 1 – virtual assistants in detail in this post. Finding level 2 and level 3 virtual assistant will be future topics.
Steps to find a right “Level 1 – Virtual assistant”.
- Find and shortlist at least 3 virtual assistants before deciding on one.
- Get their full resume/CV of a person before even considering to be hired.
- Do a formal interview/discussion on the project/tasks that you are going to assign them. Carefully note the feedback and evaluate their personality , language , understanding and expertise. You can also use instant messengers such as MSN or Yahoo to chat with them. Make it a point that you discussed with them at least 20 minutes regarding the job and your intentions.
- Do not make an offer via chat or allow them to negotiate in the first stage of talks. People who are interested in remuneration before they know their job role are either not professionals or just wasting our time.
- Avoid using direct questions when taking a remote interview. There is a good possibility that they have people or Google helping to answer your questions. Asking them highly technical questions is just a waste of time according to me unless it is very specific to the project they have worked on or niche details that cannot be easily found on the internet. If you are particular on technical knowledge evaluations, use sites such as expert rating to evaluate their knowledge in a specific domain.
- Never make instant decision, wait for minimum one week to find, if they try to contact you back. Never go with people who do not have enthusiasm and mentality to follow up.
- Give preference to people who are polite and willing to learn and not to A++ experts. There are various reasons to this. A++ Experts get lots more chances and they have better chances to change jobs. Always hire a person who is good and exact fit for your job, a person who is willing to pickup new technology and adapt is much profitable in long run.
- Be selective to give private information to a prospect virtual assistant. Never give sensitive information to them. It is best to use a call name or display name to initially start the talks. A separate Yahoo/ MSN ID , Email account ( Gmail can handle multiple temporary accounts) is a good idea too. Kindly check this official Gmail blog on “5 tips for using Priority Inbox“.
- Last but not the least . “Trust your instincts“. Never go for a person who cannot be in tune without your thoughts. Do not take risks, if you think that the virtual assistant is not worth the value.
Now that you are armed with theories from my experience and your instincts, you might be wondering where to begin searching for a virtual assistant.
Where to find a right “Level 1 – Virtual assistant”
This is easier than the earlier step of finding “a virtual right”. I trust Elance for this , they have the suitable different categories of jobs.
Posting a requirement is very easy task and is free. I have already a blog post that gives you details on how to find talented people to work in virtual team.
Once you have posted your requirement , you are sure to get lots of offers to work for you. Please read my post “Process of awarding a job in Elance” before you award the job.
Resources and references:
Take a look at my own profile at Elance here.
A Great post on “How to Hire a virtual assistant”.
Check this book out about virtual employees at amazon
The Obsolete Employee: How Businesses Succeed Without Employees – And Love It!
Please feel free to post questions and comments, I will be glad to answer any queries you have regarding posting a job in Elance or awarding it.