Hiring a virtual assistant can be a great way to take some of the load off of your plate. But, if you hire the wrong person, it can turn into a nightmare instead of a relief.
No one is perfect, and that goes for virtual assistants (VAs), too. Sometimes, things just don’t work out, and you end up having to let go of the person you thought would be a good fit for your business. Or worse, you realize they’re not only a bad fit but working with them has become a nightmare.
So how do you avoid hiring a nightmare VA in the first place?
Here are five tips to help you hire the right virtual assistant for your business and avoid stress early on.
1. Be smart on asking for referrals
The usual advice is to get referrals from your network. Where do you get referrals in the first place? But you have to remember that in asking for referrals, you have to be smart about it.
It’s important to ask for referrals from sources you trust. Seek help from a reputable Virtual Assistant company. One that has done the training and filtering for you so you’re sure you’re working with a pro.
2. Check their qualifications
Don’t just hire the first person who seems like a good fit. The usual advice is to find out their skills, knowledge, and expertise. But don’t just stop there.
While these are all important, the qualifications I’m referring to are more about their personal and professional attitude rather than skills.
Skills can be learned. But attitude is more important. Look for one that has grit and commitment.
3. Set clear expectations
Before you even start working with a virtual assistant, make sure that you communicate your expectations clearly.
Be clear on your goals so that you know what tasks to assign to your VA. Make a list of all the tasks you need help with and be as specific as possible. This will help you find a VA that is a good fit for your business and avoid any misunderstandings down the road.
It’s also important to realize that you’re the leader. You’re the captain. You’re the one who will give directions to your VA. No matter how smart and diligent your VA is, they won’t be able to steer your business in the right direction if you don’t know where you’re going.
Also, set expectations not only for your VA but for yourself, too.
Jeff’s Facebook post on this is spot on:
“If you need someone to make marketing decisions for your business, you need a Marketing Expert.
If you need someone to build processes for your business, you need a Business Development Manager.
If you need someone to manage your team and business, you need a Project Manager.
If you need a Marketing Expert, a Business Development Manager, or a Project Manager, hire one.
But don’t expect your VAs to be your Marketing Expert, Business Development Manager, and/or Project Manager.
The point is, expectations need to be set when you hire VAs and to do that, you need to make sure you understand the things happening in your business.
Please, don’t hire a VA until you know what you want them to do…
Hiring someone before setting expectations is setting yourself (and the VA) up for failure.”
4. Have a trial period
If possible, try hiring the virtual assistant on a trial basis before making a full commitment. This will give you a chance to see if they’re a good fit for your needs and if they meet your expectations. This will help you avoid any surprises down the road.
Also, Be sure to ask about the virtual assistant’s availability before hiring them. You don’t want to hire someone who isn’t available when you need them.
5. Be aware of early warning signs
For example, do you see a pattern in their work history? How long did they stay with their previous job and what are the reasons they left? Do they show up and submit work on time?
As much as possible, reach out to their references.
Also, instead of merely emailing or chatting, talk with them over video. Ask them about their personal life, too not just about their work. Don’t go overboard though. The purpose of asking personal questions is not to pry but to get to know about them as a person. What motivates them? What are their values? And how will these values affect their work?
Over To You
These are many important factors to consider when hiring a virtual assistant. It can be a stressful experience if you don’t know what you should look out for. So keep these tips in mind when you’re hiring. You can avoid making a costly mistake by taking the time to do your due diligence.