As a business owner, the day to day tasks of running a business can seriously drag you down. Not only mentally but productivity-wise too. Running a business takes a lot of work. That’s why many businesses have opted to outsource some of their projects and bring on a second set of hands. A virtual assistant can help you create systems and organization in your business and make your life much easier, but hiring the wrong person for the job can create general chaos. Our goal today is to help alleviate some of the stress when you are looking for your next VA.
See our top 3 do’s and don’ts of hiring a VA below so when you finally pick your next VA - you can rest easy knowing you’ve selected the best person for the job.
WHAT TO DO:
Take your time when looking for the perfect VA
It is not a race when hiring a VA, think of it as a marathon. You don’t want to just pick the first person who comes through your application process - furthermore, you want to make sure you take the time to sit down with the candidate and make sure you really get to know them as a person as well as their business and vice versa.
PRO-TIP: Some important things to discuss when you have your initial call with a potential VA:
Talk about your business - make sure the candidate understands your business. This includes - what you do, who you serve, what makes your business unique and why you are outsourcing for a VA.
Ask them about their business - who do they work with typically? Who are their ideal clients? Who are their nightmare clients? Their strengths and weaknesses.
How do they see this relationship working? How do they tend to work with their other clients? Do they have an onboarding process? What does that look like?
All of these things are going to be important in moving forward. Yes - you are hiring the VA for your business but ultimately you want to make sure they are effective in their business as well and on top of things. Getting to know how they work is equally as important as them understanding how you work.
Clearly lay out expectations
When you are hiring a VA it is crucial that you layout expectations right away. This allows you to have something to reference in regards to the quality of work and the VA a way to measure their deliverables. This should be done before you hire the VA - you want to ensure that they understand and can meet the expectations you layout.
PRO-TIP: Discuss things like:
How you work - are there time periods you absolutely need them to be online or available?
Communication - what do you expect from the VA in terms of this. Is it daily, weekly, monthly communication? By which medium are you communicating - email, phone, text, etc.? Will you have monthly calls?
Turnaround time - How quickly do you expect projects completed? Are their daily, weekly, monthly deliverables?
What do you expect from the VA in general? Do you want them to actively contribute ideas or offer solutions to help your processes?
It’s important to remember that a VA can not read your mind (no one can). You need to set these expectations out as a guideline and roadmap for your new VA. This may also require you to do a bit of inward thinking in terms of what you are looking for.
Get a 360 view of the candidate
By now, you’ve chatted to your potential VA, you have discussed expectations - everything seems to be going along smoothly and maybe you're considering this person for the job. STOP, before you jump on in you want to be sure you understand the FULL candidate. At this point you probably feel as though you have a good grasp of the person and how they work (& in most cases you are probably right) but this is your business and a big decision, one you want to not take lightly. In knowing this it’s time to dive deeper with your candidate.
PRO-TIP Consider asking for one or some of the below items:
Testimonials - who have they worked with in the past and can they provide samples or testimonials? See who they have worked with that is similar to your niche.
On the call - discuss scenarios that your new VA may be in and see how they would handle them. Sidenote... be sure to let the candidate know there is no right or wrong answer here. You are just understanding how they think and put plans into action.
Have the VA do a PAID trial project - while some people may ask for a trial project to be done for free consider this: you are asking someone to take time away from their own business and clients to do something for you. You value their skills and want to begin the relationship with mutual respect. This project does not have to be more than 1 hour - just something to get a feel for their work.
Ask them to send you their enneagram number or to do some other sort of personality assessment - this will allow you to understand how the candidate thinks and reacts on a deeper level and if they will fit into your company culture.
Taking a bit of extra time before hiring a VA to make sure you fully understand your business needs and where a VA can fit in is crucial. Think of this as your prep work - setting the stage to find the best VA, a VA match made in heaven - if you will. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or unsure our team loves brainstorming and strategizing. Schedule a free session here.
DON'TS TO HELP YOU IN YOUR VA SEARCH:
Don't hire for potential
It is all too easy to see the potential in someone and assume that this VA position is going to be the one that brings out the talent built up in a candidate but do not, I repeat DO NOT do this. You are hiring a VA to help you grow your business and take things off your plate - not to be their cheerleader and help them become their best selves (there’s nothing wrong with this - but it’s not what you need to be doing right now). Make sure you know the candidate is ready and willing to get to work and they are the best person for the position based on their past experiences and the skills they currently have.
You are hiring a VA to help you grow your business and take things off your plate - not to be their cheerleader and help them become their best selves.
Don't hire someone inexperienced to do complicated projects
This may sound a bit harsh but it is how you need to be thinking. While you may find someone who is a go getter and very resourceful in their work. It is still important to consider experience.
You can find most answers on google, yes - but there are some projects that do require a bit more knowledge and a small mistake could cost you a lot.
You can find most answers on google, yes - but there are some projects that do require a bit more knowledge and a small mistake could cost you a lot. Sometimes it’s as simple as missing one currency button and having your automated invoice get sent out in the wrong currency - costing you hundreds. This is not to say do not hire someone inexperienced rather - hire the best person for the jobs you are looking to be done.
Don't expect everything to run smoothly overnight
This point is not directly related to the hiring process but it is all too important - and it comes immediately after you make that decision. Do not expect that the moment you hire your new VA that your life will become instantly easier. That’s not how it works. You need to understand that there will be growing pains.
The first month will likely have more calls than you would ideally like and things may not go as planned.
At first it may actually seem like hiring a VA is more work. This is normal - but it is also why you made sure in the initial steps you discussed how the VA onboards new clients and how they start off on the right foot.
If they know what they are doing - they have accounted for these bumps and while they may still inconvenience you. Your new VA will push through them and have solutions in place as issues arise. Being sure you do not put your new VA on a pedestal and expect perfection is key here. You are both humans.
After all is said and done - one of the most important things to remember is that this is your decision, but if you are new to the hiring process then considering these do’s and don'ts is going to save you a lot of wasted time and headaches.
If you are finding yourself still stuck and not sure if hiring a VA is right for your business at the moment, you can schedule a free consultation with us or talk to LEAD Media’s business coach to explore the next steps in growing and scaling your business.
Canada’s Virtual Assistant is our go-to VA service, Founded by Sasha Wallac, and backed by a network of like-minded entrepreneurs and masters of their craft, we take time-consuming tasks out of your workload so you can focus on what YOU need to focus on; your customers, your future growth and your peace of mind are worth the investment. You can talk to them about your business needs here.