Hiring A Virtual Assistant

Businesses these days are getting harder to manage as technology advances and red tape with compliance grows. It requires a new breed of professionals to take on the challenge of the online world.

Hiring a virtual assistant can be one of the keys to success of online businesses as they provide immediate and efficient assistance.

What is a virtual assistant

An independent contract worker who provides administrative, creative or technical services which means handling the same types of tasks as an office secretary or manager, but doing them from a home office, using the virtual assistant’s own computer equipment, software, phone and Internet connection.

Some of the general tasks that a virtual assistant can complete are:

  • Management of contact lists and customer spreadsheets
  • Data basing
  • Social media
  • Prospecting
  • Updating of calendars and setting up of meetings
  • Transcription and correspondence handling
  • Travel arrangements
  • Billing and accounting
  • E-mail handling and management

Since working as a virtual assistant means performing tasks remotely, the VA will need skills and the technology that makes this possible. The basics would be to own a fast computer and internet connection and to have email and Internet skills.  However, specific requirements for this job vary widely, as each employer or client requires a different hiring standard.

Most clients and employers will expect the virtual assistant to have skills with office productivity software, including word processing and spreadsheet programs. Oftentimes, virtual assistants attend conferences and meetings online, so familiarity with several online meeting software will prove a plus. Bookkeeping, marketing, organizational, written and verbal communication skills will prove critical as well.

In hiring a virtual assistant, these core competencies are highly recommended along with the drive and determination to see clients succeed. Moreover, the ability to work as part of a team, excellent customer service skills, basic understanding of business operations including budgeting, creating business and marketing plans, contracts and agreements and time management, willingness to admit and correct their mistakes, respect for others’ intellectual property, good spelling, grammar and punctuation skills are also essential.

Hiring virtual assistant can be tough. When you post a job on outsourcing websites you’ll often be flooded with applications from people that have clearly ignored most of your instructions. Avoid dealing with applications from inattentive virtual assistants by requesting some quick and simple tasks in your job listing. Ask your applicants to include a specific phrase, for example, in their proposal to see how well they pay attention to details. Another good way to weed out time-wasters and inattentive virtual assistants is by requesting references from previous employers. Most outsourcing websites make this easy by including a list of ratings and reviews from previous customers. While these techniques won’t completely eliminate low quality applicants, they will make it far easier for you to weed out bad proposals from quality ones.

Should you hire a virtual assistant?

When planning on hiring a virtual assistants, it is very important to put together a good, concise, virtual assistant job description. A quality job description for what you are looking for in a virtual assistant will help you attract the best virtual assistant available, while maximizing their productivity as your new hire.