Hiring Your First Virtual Assistant: The Hiring Process

5 Min

Introduction

It has been incredible! My first week with a Virtual Assistant has been amazing. So far, my VA has helped me write summaries, aggregate research for blog posts and started to manage my social media.

After reading The Four Hour Work Week, I decided to try and find a VA that could assist with some business tasks that I had been doing, but no longer had the time to complete. I’ve had friends and and other business owners tell me they’ve tried to outsource work to a virtual assistant with no luck, saying it took more time to explain how to complete the task than the task itself took.

My Hiring Process

With all that in mind, I started by doing research into where to find VA’s, what hourly rate I should expect, the hiring process, etc. I quickly found that the first thing I had to do was to create a job requisition and define what I was looking for. Here is the actual job posting I used to find a VA.

There are dozens of places to post your job rec online- I narrowed it down to two:

  • UpWork.com – This is where I started freelancing, so I thought it might be a good place to post a job for a VA.
  • OnlineJobs.ph – This site is dedicated to Philippine workers. Filipinos generally speak good English and are well educated.

I decided to focus on OnlineJobs.ph. It cost $50/month for 3 job postings. I only used 1 of my 3, and found the job posting process to be simple and well worth the cost.

After posting my job at 3:00pm EST, within about 30 minutes I had 3 or 4 applicants, which is 3:00 AM Philippines time… It was great! I also used the search feature built into the platform to find some candidates to reach out and personally asking them to apply.

Within a week of having the job posting up, I had 93 applicants and over 1,300 views of the job. As someone who knew exactly what I was looking for- I found it fun to narrow down the applicants! In order to help me narrow down candidates, I included a little task in the Job Rec. I asked anyone applying for the job to “summarize the job post” in their application. This simple task helped in a couple ways.

First, it weeds out the 60% that are just copy-pasting the same body of text into every job posting they find on the site. It also allowed me to judge two key skills required for the job, their ability to speak fluent and cohesive English, and their ability to concisely summarize information.

I was able to weed out 70 – 80% of the applications based on the results of this simple task. It’s possible I skipped over the best candidate in the group, but this method saves a TON of time by throwing away anyone that didn’t read the job application, and couldn’t concisely summarize a job rec.

For the remaining 20 – 30% of applicants, I went through each of their applications and read what they had to say. If their application matched what I was looking for, I went to their profile and checked their social media to make sure what they applied with matched the research I found. This narrowed it down to 10% of the total applicants. With these 9, I sent them a few additional follow-up questions.

  1. Are you looking for long-term employment, or short-term? 2 of the 9 were looking for short-term employment and not long-term.
  2. In my job description I described the compensation to be $600 a month for 30 hours of work each week. What are your thoughts on this? 2 of the 9 thought this was just ‘ok’ for their level of experience. And to be completely honest, thats almost certainly true- however I was looking for someone that was excited for the pay.
  3. Can you describe your workspace, internet, and computer? This one didn’t remove anyone from the pool directly, however I favored candidates that had internet at 5Mbps, a semi-quite place to work, and a Mac computer (rare).
  4. What’s your favorite type of work & what are your future career goals? This is by far the most important question I asked. I wanted a candidate that was looking to grow, had aspirations and dreams. My favorite candidate answer being: “My goal is to write for a well-known travel magazine such as the NatGeo”. That’s what I’m talking about!

I ended up with 6 potential candidates. I ranked them in order and interviewed the top 3. The VA I went with was #2 of the 3. They did a few things to really make me feel comfortable with them. After I set up an interview with them, this candidate candidate sent me a reminder the morning before our interview as a confirmation and update. Similarly, after interviewing this candidate followed up with a screenshot showing me they were getting acquainted with some software I mentioned I used in my business. The initiative was so impressive, I would be dumb to hire anyone else. They were working for me before officially working for me!

On March 30th, I sent Glaze an official offer letter from Apollo Studios. She accepted the same day.

In Part 2 of this post, I’ll explain why my first week was so successful!

BusinessOutsourceSeriesVirtual Assistant
Author Avatar

Wesley Vance

I spend my time helping small businesses, validate, design, develop and code their wildest ideas. I spend my time helping small businesses, validate, design, develop and code their wildest ideas.

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