How to Hire a Virtual Assistant?

The COVID-19 pandemic set unprecedented things in motion. Most businesses cease to conduct their affairs in face-to-face (F2F) schemes as fear of viral spread looms. Empty office space has become a testament to how workers cope with the pandemic.

Remote work has been normalized to meet the demands and deadlines of tasks. As much as it is a brilliant plan, there are still challenges employers face. This an inherent new scheme that most areas are not thoroughly explored.

1. SEARCH – Wanted: Help!

One such challenge is the worker’s efficiency. We are surprised by the magnitude of the pandemic that we are not prepared for such a dramatic shift. Works are piling up and there is still the matter of checking the well-being of employees. These are just some of the shortcomings of remote workers.

Over 15,000 professionals from a range of different industries in 80 countries were surveyed in the IWG Global Workplace Survey. The following graph displays the key takeaways.

Remote work is the new normal in conducting business. However, as much as it is promising to hire new virtual staff – hiring one can prove to be a taxing task. 

We have devised the 3S process in hiring VA – Search, Source, Screen. This is a comprehensive list of how to find your VA. In this phase, acceptance is the key. Take time to realize what are your needs and expectations made you reach out to finding help.


RELATED: “How to find the RIGHT Virtual Assistant?It’s not just finding the RIGHT person, but also your RIGHT needs.


2. SOURCE – Where to look for VA?

Nowadays, we have a vigorous marketplace to provide for our professional needs. People are more educated and in-demand skills are highly coveted. We have looked from different channels where you may be able to find your virtual assistant.

  • Personal Recommendation. This is one of the tried and tested hiring formulas. Knowing someone with solid skill sets is the key here. Since they are familiar with your future employer, you can gauge what your VA’s strengths and weaknesses are. 

Most personal referrals came from people in the same industry. This is a great advantage as the candidate has worked closely and has extensive knowledge of the nature of the business and its workflow.

  • Employment Agencies. For corporations, this is the go-to solution for pooling talents. They usually already have contacts with private placement agencies in securing vacant positions. Then there are also government-sponsored job fairs in every city usually coincided with labor day or founding anniversary.

Other companies prefer this method as they have amassed diverse talent. They have also tagged them to respective industries according to their skillsets. Employment agencies have a rigorous application process that most applicants can work right away without substantial screening on your part.

  • Freelancing Platforms. Professionals who want to market themselves usually post their profiles on LinkedIn. Others also join job hunting groups on Facebook. Some websites like Upwork are dedicated to providing job platforms for both employers and employees.

Trek with caution. As much as the sky is the limit on this platform, it is saturated with applicants that may not be aligned with your needs. Read on the next step on how to screen online hires.

3. SCREEN – Now what?

The traditional application process has the hiring manager evaluating the credentials, cross-checking the references, and conducting aptitude tests. This is a long and laborious process. In fact, it takes 5 weeks to fill a staff-level position and 7.5 weeks for a management position.

Posting job advertisements will attract a multitude of candidates and decision making, thereafter. Before undergoing an interview or an actual candidate screening, use these next time you post that job ad:

  • Plain Text. The level of detail-orientedness is tested here. You can instruct your candidate that instead of attaching their resume, they have to attach the screenshot of the job posting. Others prefer tricky directions such as just typing in the second letters of the words at the beginning of each paragraph. This also filtered candidates who are sending auto scripts to job ads.
  • Research. Technical job posting requires specialized VA. If you want long term VAs with efficient research skills, you can start by testing them with simple yet complex research tasks. An example of this is for them to watch sample footage and let them create a description with 2-3 reliable resources. 
  • Audio and Video Clip. This is helpful if you want a candidate who will be handling clients directly. You can prepare interview questions or mock business deals. Through this, you can assess how they conduct themselves in rehearsed and spontaneous situations.

Before you solicit for personal contents, such as sensitive documents or video clips, make sure that the receiving end has willingly complied and acknowledged the requirements.

After screening the pool of talent, you must now exert due diligence in determining the top three candidates. Have a personal chat with them to see who will match your own personality. Take into account that you will be forming a professional relationship with this person; hence, your everyday work must not be hampered by a bad hire. Fire if you must! Then repeat Step 1.

The Future is Now…

Virtual assistants are of great help in foraying the digital world and propelling your business. They are equipped with skills from simple clerical tasks to marketing management of your business’s digital presence. They have the proper know-how to navigate the complexity of the Internet.

According to the World Economic Forum, more and more companies are embracing remote work as the pandemic is pushing companies to adapt to digitalization. Computer literacy has now become a common skill across all industries.

At 84%, the need to accelerate digitalization has been a priority of most companies with 83% scaling to remote work. The obvious reason for this shift is to avoid contracting the virus. Aside from that, change in the workforce landscape is imminent as increased productivity is observed.

Outsource with Upsource

Outsourcing has been a common practice among busy people who rather delegate certain tasks. Their time is valuable and would rather dedicate it to tending to matters requiring their specialization. 

Virtual assistants (VAs) are handy in keeping up with all the business dealings. Skilled VAs are an integral part of making any business a success. They keep tabs on administrative tasks and even digital marketing. 

Upsource offers virtual assistance services. We have already screened applicants so you need not worry about quality assurance. We have an excellent support system ready to assist you every step of the way.



Image Credits

·         Empty Office Space (Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/Getty Images)

·         Peter Drucker (Jeff Mcneill / CC BY-SA 2.0