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Hiring the Perfect Virtual Assistant!

Hiring the Perfect VA! | Written By: Katrina Bragg

Ready, Set, and Rocket to New Heights with a Virtual Assistant Who’s Perfect for You

Congratulations. You’re ready to fuel your success with the hire of your first virtual team member. Asking for help is a giant leap forward, but your focus is clear and you’re over the moon. What’s next?

Step 1: Get ready for Intrusion

Your VA should be “up in” your business, asking nosy questions about how things are going. Are you struggling to pay your vendors? How do others see you in the community?  Where do you see your business growth a year from now?  Are you ready for change? What is not working anymore? Are you going to be honest with me?  Your VA should be part of your business. She will listen to your ideas, question your decisions, change your processes and streamline your systems. Understanding this #1.

Step 2: Clear Understanding and Deliverables

To get started, make a list of the job duties you want your VA to do. Be generic. Remember you are hiring for the position of Administrative Assistant.

o     monthly newsletters
client invoices
ordering marketing materials
managing correspondence
coordinating calendars and scheduling

Add deliverable timelines to your list:

o     monthly newsletters on the 1st Tuesday each month
client invoices on the last day of the month
check marketing materials each Wednesday, order accordingly
manage correspondence by 10am daily
coordinate calendar and scheduling at 8am and 3pm daily

This list is clear and easy to follow. Being specific creates checks and balances for both you and your VA to ensure you reach your goals.

Step 3: Interviewing and hiring

To start, ask friends, family, colleagues, vendors and clients for referrals. Someone in your circle is already using a VA and should be happy to share them.  Secondly, search on LinkedIn and reach out to someone you find interesting. If you decide to use an online search option to find your perfect VA, be certain to read the fine print, do your due diligence, and follow your instincts.

Interview questions: Make this process fun and exciting. You are looking for the perfect VA, and you never know where the relationship will take you. If you are local, ask to meet in person for coffee, lunch or at the dog park in an informal setting.  A good VA will have the perfect answers for all your typical interview questions, have a conversation instead, throw them a curve ball.   During an interview I once asked a young lady to “be comfortable” and she took her shoes off.  We are still friends today! You want to see the good, bad and ugly right up front so you can make the best decision possible.  Here are some great interview questions:

What do you think about my website?
What is the worst and best vacation you’ve taken?
What was your first job?
How do you relieve stress?
What offends you?
What are 5 things you can do with a watermelon, besides eat it?
How would your friends describe you?

You might think these questions are not important, but you can tell a lot about someone by these questions. For example, if they are an out of the box thinker, prepared, able to laugh about a bad experience and if they can manage stress. You can also tell what they think of themselves. Now, isn’t this more fun than asking, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “Where do you want to be in a year?” BORING! Stop asking questions everyone is prepared to answer if you really want to get to know someone.

 Step 4: Managing

You have picked your VA!  Congratulations, you are not only the business owner, you have become a manager. How do you get started? The good news is, your new assistant has a set-up process and can guide you through, so let her. Next,

1.       Start out by delegating one task from your list. Pay attention to the communication method. Did the VA meet the deadline? Does the work encompass your vision? Did you get something extra? If yes, then GREAT, move to the second task. If not pick up the phone and talk to your new VA.  Find out what went well and what went wrong, then start again.

2.       Within the first few weeks have a “face-to-face” meeting. Ask your VA what is and is not working in the relationship.  Talk about what things you are expecting in the near future and ask your VA similar questions.  There is nothing worse than being blindsided!  You should both know about upcoming events, changes, etc. you are on the same team!

3.       It is ok to have an agreement in place. In fact, it is a good idea. An agreement can define the scope of work, milestones and goals, payment terms and deadlines. It can also provide a confidential clause and non-disclosure agreement.

4.     Give yourself 30 days to determine if your new VA is a good fit. If it’s not working, you should be comfortable letting go. It is important not to waste time with a VA that is not a good fit for you, and for your company.  Get busy finding someone who is!

Step 5: Common mistakes made by business owners

1.       When hiring a VA, you are hiring a sub-contractor according to the IRS. Read the rules and follow them accordingly.

2.     Respect your VA. She is another business lending support to your growing company, not your subordinate.
 Most work performed by a VA is under a confidentiality clause, so please don’t ask for examples when interviewing. Instead, ask them to do a small task and see how you like their work.
 VAs do not want and will not be micro-managed. Most have quit full time jobs for this reason.
Introduce your new VA to your vendors, clients and other people in your company.
Offer your VA incentives and appreciation. Most VA’s work alone and are not part of the “office” environment.
Trust your instincts.

 The fact is, a Virtual Assistant is the savvy business owner’s secret weapon. Working with a Virtual Assistant has come a long way.  It’s more than filtering emails, it is about business growth. It is about understanding that you, as the business owner, can grow your business and do a whole lot more with the right VA.  Stop doing it alone. Help is available!

Katrina Bragg, owner of Task Mania is a Virtual Assistant who specializes in Administrative Support. She assists busy business owners like you with administrative, operational and business support services needed to make your day to day functions work like a well-oiled machine. For more info, contact Katrina Bragg @ 828-301-0429, email: Katrina@taskmania.biz or visit taskmania.biz

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