If your business has grown beyond the point where you can’t manage the phone calls, appointment setting, and bill paying on your own, it’s probably time to hire an assistant. If you don’t work out of a regular office space, however, it can be difficult to find a personal assistant who will be willing to work from your home or temporary office space. A virtual assistant, however, is able to work from his or her own home but still take over a lot of the office tasks that you just don’t have time for.
If you’ve never had to hire a virtual assistant before, don’t worry. Many new business owners hire a virtual assistant as their first employee; it’s common not to have any experience being on the other side of the interview table. Follow these guidelines to help you decide who to hire.
First, before you do anything else, have a job description in mind. At the very least, have a very clear idea of the tasks you need them to perform. Are you looking for someone who will be able to work with you on a long-term or short-term basis? Will they handle the same set of tasks every week, or will they be assisting on different projects? Do they need to have any special skills?
Next, think about the type of virtual assistant search tools you want to use. There are several different ways to find the right VA for you.
- Virtual assistant databases. These are online databases of potential 1099 or temporary employees. Many of them are available only for short gigs, such as help with a temporary marketing project or filling in for a regular employee who is out. While some of these databases will provide employees for the long-term, it usually isn’t the best way to hire an employee you plan to keep around for a while. The interview process with these database companies tends to be very short; most potential employees are looking for quick work that they can complete and move on to the next project; they don’t want to waste time on interviews and complex instructions.
- Freelancers and traditional hires. You can always place an ad yourself and hire candidates. While this may seem like the cheapest option at first glance, however, it can cost a business owner hours to sift through resumes, contact candidates, and conduct interviews. If you have never hired someone before, it can be hard to know what to ask in order to assure that you get a quality employee. In the event that your choice doesn’t work, you’re back to square one.
- Staffing agency. A staffing agency combines the best of both of these options. We can narrow the field down to pre-screened candidates that meet your needs. Our screening process insures that candidates will be pre-selected as qualified for the specific tasks that you need them to do.