Hiring a Virtual Assistant: What to Do Before, During, and After

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In today's busy world, more and more people are finding that they need an extra set of hands to help them with their work. That's where virtual assistants come in. 

A virtual assistant is a highly skilled professional who provides administrative support from a remote location. Virtual assistants can handle a wide range of tasks, from scheduling appointments to managing social media accounts. As a result, hiring a virtual assistant can free up your time so that you can focus on more important things. In addition, a virtual assistant can be a great asset in growing your business. With their help, you can reach new heights and achieve your goals.

In this episode, we'll discuss what you need to do before, during, and after hiring a virtual assistant. So if you're looking for someone to help lighten your load, consider these things in hiring a virtual assistant. You won't be disappointed!

Read the Full Transcript

Atiba de Souza: So you've decided to hire a virtual assistant, now what? Right? What do you do before you actually create a job post and put it out there? What do you do during the time that your job post is out there and you are interviewing and what do you do after you hire them? What do you do after you hire 'em?

Well, guys, that's what we're going to jump into today on Build Your Team. Hey, everybody! Welcome to Build Your Team. I am your host, Atiba. And today we're talking about the process of hiring a virtual assistant. What do you do before, what do you do during and what do you do after? But before we jump into that, do me a favor, hit that, like, and subscribe button down below, and now let's get started.

Alright. You made the choice. You're going to hire a virtual assistant. Now, what? Well, the first thing that you've got to do and I've got, what is it? Five things. I got five things I'm going to share with you today. Five things. Okay. The first thing that you've got to do is, and you've heard me say this already.

If you listen to any of my other videos, you've got to hire for fit. You have to figure out who you're looking for. You have to figure out who— and when I say who you're looking for, I'm talking about personality wise. Who is this person? What are they about? Because they have to compliment you. It has to be somebody that you're going to want to work with. Is it going to have to be somebody that you even want to want to get to know. If you're just hiring someone to do tasks and their personality annoys you, it's only a matter of time before you get frustrated with them in the virtual environment. So, hiring for fit is number one. And the way you hire for fit is figuring out who you are and who you like to work with best. What are those personality traits? What are those character traits that you like to work with best?

So that's the first thing. The second thing after you figured out who does you want to work with? Is you got to figure out what they're going to do. What are the tasks? What are the tasks that you're hiring them for? You have to be really, really clear. I see a lot of people saying, "Hey, I just want a general virtual assistant who can do—" and then either they don't list what people can do, where they are looking for, or they list so much stuff.

I want you to walk my dog, check my email, answer my social media, do my sales calls, handle my client complaints, manage my calendar, pick up my kids from school, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And it's just like, there's no way one person could ever do all of that. Especially in a virtual environment, they can't walk your dog or pick up your kids.

And so we have to be really, really clear about what are the tasks that we're looking for this person to do. And does it make sense? Does it make sense? Just because you need to get it off your plate doesn't mean you should give it to one person. Maybe you need multiple virtual assistance. Okay.

Maybe it is that you need, like, for example, if you're hiring someone and because you need accounting help, bookkeeping help, guess what, that person who's a bookkeeper and an accountant is probably pretty poor at social media. It takes two different types of personalities to do those two different jobs. And so you can't hire one person to do both.

So you have to be clear about the tasks that you're hiring for the next thing, number three, is consider how you will communicate with them. What's your communication channels? Are you going to use email only? Are you going to use text messaging? Are you going to use WhatsApp? Are you going to use Zoom, Google Meet, or are you a Slack person?

 What is it? How are you going to communicate with them? You have to be really clear with that upfront. Understand what your expectations and what your desires are upfront for communication. Okay. That's not just communication in terms of the physical communication, but even in document storage, are you going to use Google Drive?

Are you a Dropbox person or do you use the Microsoft Suite? What's— how do you commute? You've gotta be clear. Okay. Number four, number four. Number four is I'm looking at my numbers on here and I can't count guys. Number four. How will you compensate them? Before you start to hire someone, consider how you're going to compensate.

And what I mean by that is in the virtual environment, depending on where they are in the world. There may be different ways that you can pay them. Some people pay through PayPal. Some people pay through Wise, some people pay through Remitly, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. There are tons of payment services.

You've got to decide which one you're going to use. Now that answer, maybe taken out of your hands depending on the answer to number five. And that is considering where you're going to post your job. There are tons of job boards and I've done tons of reviews on the different job boards, you can click the card above to see some of those.

There are tons of different places that you can go post your job. For example, if you post your jobs, say on OnlineJobs.ph and you're hiring someone from the Philippines, then when you hire that person, then you also have to figure out how to pay them, what service you're going to use to pay them.

Versus, if you use a service like Upwork. Well, when you hire someone through Upwork, Upwork actually forces us as employers to pay through the Upwork platform to protect the employees. So then you don't have to figure out how you compensate them because the platform handles that for you. Now, there are pros and cons on both sides.

The big con with Upwork is they charge you a pretty hefty fee for that. Okay. They do versus Online Jobs. You've got to manage it all yourself. So pros and cons on both sides. So those are the things to consider. Those are the five things to consider. Before you actually post the job on a job board to hire someone.

Let me run through those again. Number one, consider the type of person, you've got to hire for fit. Who are you looking for? That's going to fit well with you. Number two, define the task, know what it is you want them to do and make sure it's realistic for one person to do them. Number three, consider how you will communicate with them.

Consider how you're going to communicate, what platforms you're going to be using to communicate. Then number four, consider how you will compensate them. Do you need your own way to compensate them? Or based on number five, where are you going to post your job post? Does the job post— the job board have a way for you to compensate the employees?

Or do you need to figure that out on your own? So those are the five things to consider before you actually post a job on a job board.

Now, now that we've done that, what do we do during? What are the things that we need to consider after we've posted our job on a job board and we're trying to hire a virtual assistant?

There are really two things. I was going to say three, but they're really two things. There are two things that you need to consider. Number one, what questions are you going to ask? So, in your interview process, what do you want to know? What do you want to know? Now I'll tell you what we do. And this is a system that I learned from EOS, which stands for, I forget, Entrepreneurial Operating System, I think is what it stands for, to be honest with you.

 But you can look it up EOS worldwide. This is where we got this from. And there are three categories of questions that we ask, and there are three categories of areas that we want to make sure that this person fits into and we're evaluating based on. And here they are, Get It, Want It and Have The Capacity To Do It.

So number one, Get It. Do they actually understand what it is this job is all about? So we're going to ask questions, whether that's through email or in the in-person— not in-person, sorry. Virtual in-person interview. Do they actually understand what this job is about? Do they actually get it? Do they get what we're trying to do?

Does it make sense to them? That's number one. Number two, do they want it? So we ask questions to figure out, do you actually want what we're offering? Sure. They may be looking for a job and they'll say, yeah, I want it. But we're asking probing questions to see, is this something that you really want? And now with that, are you excited about doing this type of work?

Are you excited about doing this type of work for me? And are you excited about doing this type of work for me for the amount that I'm willing to pay you for? I'm looking for answers to those questions to figure out, do they actually want this possession? Because if they don't want it, I don't want them. Period.

If they don't want it, I don't want them. And then the last place will we—or category where we ask questions is, do they have the capacity for it? Because there are a lot of times when people understand what you're looking for, they may want what you're looking for, but they don't have the actual capacity to do it or grow into it.

That's where I'm trying to evaluate there. Okay, give you an example. I put out a job description sometime ago looking for an accountant who had a strong history in accounts payable, and it was a nice job description and everything. We put it out there and we have people respond. And I had lots of responses, but one person in particular stood out to me because she completely got it.

She understood what we were trying to do. She was able to articulate back exactly what we were trying to do. And she's like, you know, I really want to do this. And she had all the reasons why she wanted to do it. And she said she wanted it. And then in the capacity, she said, "You know, but I've never actually done this.

I don't know what it takes. It sounds super exciting. And it sounds like something I would want to learn, but I don't know. And I don't have an accounting background." And so at that point, even though she understood it, even though she may have wanted it, I've got a question, "Do you have the capacity to do it and, or the capacity to learn. It and grow into it?"

And if the answer is no, then I shouldn't hire you. I shouldn't hire you. So during the interview process, When you're considering what questions you're going to ask, what we do is put the questions in those three categories and make sure that we're asking questions and we've gotten answers in those three categories.

Do they get it? Do they want it, and do they have the capacity to do it or learn to do it? Okay. So that's the first thing. The second thing that you have to consider during the interview process. Is whether or not you're going to just flat out hire this person, or are you going to give them a test task, a test task, or are you hiring with a trial period?

Those are three different options. Three different options that you have. Okay. So. The flat-out hire. So you've you interview him. You like him, you say I'm going to hire you. I'm going to bring you on a team. You're going to get started. We're going to start. Great. Wonderful. Not a problem. What about the test task?

So for me, and it may be different for you and that's okay. Right. There are some people that I may encounter. And I may like, but I won't hire you until I've given you do a task that tests your capacity. Okay. For us specifically, that would be anything in the creative field because anybody can talk about, "Oh yeah, I completely understand what you mean and what you want me to do in this job as a video editor" Let's say.

And I completely want to do that. And they may even send you samples of work before, but you have no idea if they actually did that work. You have no idea if they actually did all of the work, cause I've had that happen too. Where people have sent in stuff and they only did a piece of it, not the whole thing.

And so sometimes for some positions, for us at the creative positions, we give them a test task. And say, okay, we like you and all, but here's a task. And we give everybody the exact— everybody who's applying the exact same task because we want to see what they produce as compared to their peers and as compared to what it is we're looking for and what our standard is.

Okay. So we give them all the same task. Now, personally, if I'm going to give you a task, I'm going to pay you for it. So I do pay people for test tasks. Some people would say, "Oh, you should never pay people for test tasks" I do. That's my own personal belief and it has worked fabulous for me to this point, matter of fact, we pay people before they do the task.

So if I like you and I want to give you a test task, I'm going to send you money in order to do the task. And a lot of people said, "Well, what if they just take the money and run?" Guess what guys, I've never had that happened to me ever. And then other people say, "Well, you're going to spend a lot of money doing that."

Yeah. I am. I'd rather spend a few hundred dollars on tests tasks to ensure that the person, especially in the creative field that I'm hiring, can actually do what I want. Because it's a lot cheaper to do it that way than to hire somebody, which I've also done, hire somebody realized they can't do what they said they can do and then have to decide, do I fire you?

And then go look for somebody else. Do I send you to training? What do I do with you now? So test tasks are one way that you can test your employees, your potential employees' capabilities, and it's something that you need to consider during the hiring process. Are you going to do that? The third option is trial period.

So you can create a trial period, which is similar to the test task, but just over a period of time, right? And you're saying, Hey, for your first two weeks, or however long you want it to be, this is going to be a trial. I'm going to pay you for the work that you do during this trial period. And at the end of the trial period, there'll be an evaluation and we'll decide and you can, at the end of the trial period, say, "Hey, I don't actually like working for you."

And you can walk away, no hard feelings, or I can say I don't like you working for me and I can walk away, no hard feelings. So that's another way that people do it, is the trial period. I personally don't do trial periods, just me. But a lot of people have had a ton of success. So the two major things that you have to consider

in the process of hiring your virtual assistants are, number one, what questions are you going to ask? And I gave you three categories for those. Do they get it? Do they want it and do they have the capacity for it? And then number two, how are you going to hire them? Are you going to just straight out hire them?

Are you going to give them a test task? Or are you going to use trial periods? All of those work and work really well. Just depends on what you want, but those are the things that you have to consider during the process of hiring a virtual assistant. So, now that you've gone through the process, you've decided you've put out your job description, you've gone through and you've chosen someone, someone won the battle.

This is the person that I am going to happen. I'm— not going to happen. Then I'm going to hire. What next? What next? What happens after you hire them? I've got three things that you have to consider after you hire a virtual assistant. Three things. Here they are, number one, you have to know onboarding is key.

What is your onboarding process? You have to systemize your onboarding process. Think through all the things that they need to know, all the things that they need access to. How are you going to train them in all of those areas? Everything from how they get paid to tracking their time, to what hours you expect them to work to.

When do you expect deliverables? Everything needs to be considered in your onboarding process. Now, are you going to get it right the first time? Absolutely not. Absolutely not. Matter of fact, we tweaked our onboarding process literally after every hire, because after every hire, someone asks a question that we hadn't considered in our onboarding process, like, huh?

We are gonna add that in next time. And that's okay. It's a process that continually grows and evolves. And as your business grows and evolves, and the different areas that people work in grow and involve, then your onboarding process needs to do that as well. The next thing that you have to consider, and this is for you personally. This is for you personally, and I'm telling you, this is one of the hardest things about managing virtual teams.

Consistency is key. Consistency. The consistency in the way that you respond to them and your communication, the consistency in what you expect from them, the consistency in the way you treat them is key. You have to manage, and I'm going to say this bluntly, your emotions, because they're not here with you physically.

So they don't always understand what's going on in your environment because they're not there. Likewise, you don't always understand what's going on in their environment because you're not there. And so you have to be consistent. They have to understand that this is how my boss is going to react to things and it needs to be consistent.

They can't be in a guessing game of not knowing which way you're going to be today. That sometimes worked in the in-person environment. Never very well, but sometimes worked in the in-person environment because you can then, walk over and say, "Hey, sorry about that. You know, I had a tough day." or, or they can see when things change.

They can sometimes even see what was the stressor that caused you to react in a certain way. You don't get that in a virtual environment. And so if you know that you're in a place or a head space right now, where you need to communicate with your employee, but this is not the time to do it because your headspace is wrong, then pause and do it when you can, because consistency is key.

They have to know what to expect from you in your environment. That leads me into number three. Which is it's all about the relationship. So after you've hired them, you are responsible for your relationship with them. In traditional in-person environments, oftentimes it can be left up to the employee to forge relationships with the boss in the virtual environment and dealing with virtual assistants, that's not the case. It's up to you. It's up to you to forge a relationship with them. It's up to you to build strong communication with them. It's not up to them. Now, one of the greatest ways to do this, one of the greatest ways to do this is through processes and check-ins. Processes and check-ins and what I mean by that is, creating, so, you know, when we talk about, you got to know a task that they're going to do, great. Now that you know the tasks that you want them to do, how are they supposed to do it? What's the process by which they're supposed to do it? Well, you've got to map that out. You've got to create a standard operating procedure. Those processes, when you can give those to a virtual assistant, do wonders to consistency and building your relationship with them because it tells them clearly what you expect. So, processes. And then I said, check-ins is the other one. And what I mean by check-ins is, hey, don't just start off every single meeting with 'Alright. Let's get to work!' And get right down to brass tacks. Check in with them.

How are you? Pause. And ask, and get a real answer and follow up that answer with questions and more questions to really understand how they are. What's going on? What are wins in their life, their personal life right now? What are wins in their business life right now? Find out what's going on in their life.

Build that relationship. Build that relationship. So, the keys to having a successful relationship with your virtual assistant and building a good virtual assistant team after you've hired them. Number one, onboarding. Number two, consistency from you. And number three, building a solid relationship, which is based in communication check-ins and having solid processes.

Alright, everybody. I hope this was able to help you. And I hope that as well, that this brought up some new questions for you. And if it did, do me a favor, drop them down below. I want your questions. I want to answer your questions. Let me know what your questions are. And let's have a chat. I've been doing this since literally 2013, 2014 of hiring virtual staff.

So, I've seen almost everything and would love to share my knowledge with you. Alright, everybody. Talk to you soon. Bye bye.

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