Hiring a virtual assistant is one of the best things any entrepreneur can do to improve productivity. However, like many other things, it’s not uncommon to make mistakes during the hiring process, which can hinder the desired results.
For starters, hiring a virtual assistant is slightly different from hiring an in-house employee or personal assistant. That’s because your VA works virtually; you never get to work with them physically.
Here are common mistakes to avoid when hiring a virtual assistant:
1. Not Identifying the Need
Many startup entrepreneurs hire a virtual assistant without having an apparent problem they need the VA to solve. Perhaps, they rush off to hire one after discovering how much of an efficiency boost a virtual assistant can bring.
Whatever the case, such entrepreneurs will end up under-utilizing the VA. Consequently, there might not be a significant boost in productivity because they had no idea—or no need whatsoever—why they should hire the VA.
Before hiring a virtual assistant, it’s crucial to identify the reasons you need one—the gaps they can fill.
2. Hiring the First Candidate
It’s common for hasty entrepreneurs to make the mistake of hiring the first VA applicant they encounter.
Like any other employee, each virtual assistant candidate should be properly vetted before hiring. This will help you determine if they’re the right fit for the job. Remember that although they’d be miles away, your VA will become a key component of your success.
It’s also worth noting that virtual assistant companies operate differently and offer different services at varying prices. Therefore, clarifying what works best for you before hiring is advisable.
3. Hiring Based on CV
Entrepreneurs who hire a VA based on their CV may be in for an eye-opener. While the curriculum vitae is a strong basis of qualification, it shouldn’t be the only one. Anyone can say they can do this or that, but you can only verify their claim through a test.
Hence, conducting a fundamental skill test after your interview is helpful, including using MS word or some other relevant software, writing, phone handling, etc. Nothing too serious, but enough to know if the VA is worth their salt. However, a skill test might not be necessary if you’re hiring from the best virtual assistant companies where you get to see the VAs’ reviews and ratings.
4. Using One VA for All Tasks
Business owners make a common mistake of hiring one VA for too many tasks. Although it’s possible to see versatile virtual assistants, most of them are specialized.
A VA specializing in bookkeeping may not be able to manage your social media or email accounts properly. The one handling your blog writing may not do well with travel arrangements. While you may want to keep costs low, it will be a mistake if that hurts your overall output. Ascertain the skills of your VA before delegating tasks.
5. Communication Gap
One of the biggest advantages of working with a virtual assistant is the time zone difference and the ability for your VA to work while you sleep. However, some entrepreneurs quickly point out that the ability to share the same physical space to interact was the most significant loophole in their virtual assistance arrangements.
That is, without a doubt, baseless. In short, there are many digital means to stay on the same page with your assistant throughout your arrangement. Many collaborative tools exist, from Google Chat and Asana to Skype and Salesforce, to keep communication lines open.
It’s a mistake to cut down on communication because your VA is continents away.
6. Not Clarifying Expectations
If you haven’t identified your need for a VA, it becomes easy to fall into this trap. However, you may know what you want but fail to communicate it to your hired VA.
Avoid this mistake by outlining all your requirements in the job description, including:
- The scope of work expected of the VA to handle
- A list of must-have and desirable skills
- Work and payment arrangements, whether hourly or otherwise
- Any specifications or preferences you may have
By clarifying your expectations in the job description, finding the best-fit candidate becomes easier since unsuitable ones are filtered out.
7. Skipping Training
While it’s easy to assume your virtual assistant can correctly deliver because they come with the required skills, they may be unfamiliar with the nuances of your business. Those little bits of information regarding your business you do not educate your hired VA about may result in some inconsistencies. Taking time to discuss where your business is, where it’s headed, and how the VA fits into the goals will help keep your virtual assistant on the same page with you.
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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