There are several benefits of working with a virtual assistant. An important one among those is that you get a lot more brains than one. No, a virtual assistant or a VA isn’t some exotic creature with two heads! But s/he can manage your website, draft emails and sales letters, make your brochures, maintain and file your taxes and do hundreds of odd jobs which you’d otherwise need to assign to several people. Virtual Assistant teams often have many people skilled at different kinds of jobs so you can get a lot done for your organization while keeping everything on one bill. There are many different platforms to help you find a VA. So if you have been considering finding a VA here are some ways to go about it:
1. Use outsourcing companies
These are staffing companies that rent out employees for different jobs that you need to get done. There are pros and cons to using outsourcing companies for finding virtual assistants. The downside to hiring a VA from an outsourcing company is that it can be expensive as the company takes up a chunk of profit for each VA they rent out. Also, you cannot really bond with the virtual assistant you hire since s/he isn’t really a part of your team but has been hired by the outsourcing company. There is also a chance that the company could go bust overnight leaving you with no staff the next day. On the other hand, the advantage of using outsourcing company for finding a good virtual assistant is that they tend to have many employees. So in case you aren’t satisfied with the VA you can demand another one.
2. Use job posting sites
This is one of the best ways to find a virtual assistant for your business. Many job posting sites exist today and there are some famous global ones that are doing very well. These include Upwork.com, Craigslist, and even LinkedIn. Careerbuilder, Jobs.com, Monster.com and US.jobs are some other sites each with its set of pros and cons. Many of these sites operate globally in over 40 countries. Some sites are US specific. They send you profiles of virtual assistants and also have customer service representatives that can help you in your search (for a small fee). Many sites are free for organizations looking for employees. These include Indeed, Ladders and PostJobFree. Once you post your requirements, you can get resumes of Virtual Assistants working remotely from other countries of your country. You can specify if you do not want a VA from non-English speaking nations.
3. Use Freelance sites
Thanks to recent economic downturn, many people have started their own freelancing or contractor businesses. They post their resumes on sites like Freelancer.com, Guru.com or Fiverr. These sites have a large database of VA resumes and you can even search for specific skills. Prepare to pay more for on these sites for individual tasks or time logged than on job posting sites.
4. Create a job posting
Once you have settled on getting a VA from a freelancer site or a job posting site, you need to come up with a specific job description. Now you might think that this is the easiest thing to do. The thing is: the clearer you are in writing your job description, the better your experience would be in hiring an experienced VA. So be as specific as you can. List down all the jobs you need to get done. Mention the budget of the job. Specify the dos and don’ts for each VA and the number of hours they are expected to work. Post your job description (after creating an account on one of the outsourcing sites or freelancing sites mentioned above). You will need to mention a price/budget you are willing to pay. There are several kinds of jobs in this category and some may be paid on hourly basis while others could be fixed price jobs. You must negotiate with your VA to come up with pricing suitable for you both. Some sites like Upwork require you to pay an escrow amount along with service fees for every job or milestone you assign to your VA.
5. VA recruiting services
These days, there are other ways of finding virtual assistants. You can approach a recruitment agency where you fill up a requirement form about things you may be looking for in a VA. Once you have given your requirements, you can sit back and focus on running your business, while the recruiting agency does all the scouting, sifting through various resumes and interviewing candidates. They then present a list of finalized Virtual assistants and you can interview these and select the most suitable one. The best part of using a recruitment service is that you don’t have to do any legwork and you can benefit from the experience of these placement experts who do this kind of work on a daily basis. The VA becomes a part of your team and is directly employed by you. This method can help you avoid hiring wrong people.
6. Use Social media
If you have the time you can also find your virtual assistant by announcing it on your social media pages. You can use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the job. Prepare a short post and announce that your company is looking for VA. You are sure to get many leads in this manner.
7. Consider some important things
If this is your first time hiring a VA, make sure you assign a small task first. Also consider the following things:
- Go through several resumes – Once you have created a job post, be prepared to be flooded with several applications. The great thing about job posting sites is that you can go through reviews for each applicant. This will give you an idea about past work potential candidates have done and experiences their clients have had with them. Once you have zeroed in on a good applicant, interview him/her, hire one and set a milestone. You can now begin working on your projects.
- Ensure that the VA discusses his/her method of working. Good freelancer virtual assistants would want to establish a good, ongoing relationship with you. But there are also VA that want to work with multiple clients. In such cases, they have to turn out a high volume of work as a result of which, their quality of work could suffer.
- Note that the more experienced your VA is, the greater would be their rates. So be prepared to pay more if you want quality. Also on sites where freelancers advertise their services, you might find opinionated and less flexible VA than you’d on job posting sites. It is good to know these things upfront to avoid disputes. Sites like Upwork offer assistance to settle disputes, should you have a bad experience.
- Remember, your virtual assistant may be sitting in Philippines or India. So you need to communicate clearly. They may have different customs; cultures and holidays and what may be acceptable to you may or may not be acceptable to them culturally. So communicate clearly with the virtual assistant before and after hiring.
Whatever method you use to find your assistant, it is important that you chat, ideally video chat, with your potential candidates. This way, you can understand his/her personality a bit more. You can use SKYPE or Google Hangouts. This face to face conversation can turn out to make all the difference between hiring and not hiring someone to do this job.