If you’re a busy entrepreneur (and I’m sure you are), then hiring some help would be a great idea. But renting work space for the extra hands could be pretty expensive.
The good news is, you can hire remote workers to handle the extra tasks for you. These workers are known as virtual assistants, and they can speed up your productivity in ways you can’t imagine.
However, the problem for first-timers is hiring the right virtual assistant!
Keep reading, as I’ll be listing out 6 common mistakes to avoid when hiring a virtual assistant.
1. Failing to identify your business’s needs
Before you hire a virtual assistant, make sure you have clearly defined your business’s goals, and the skills needed to meet them.
This involves evaluating the talents your business already has, and the ones it lacks. Once you have done this, then it will be easier to hire the right virtual assistants according to their skills.
For example, it doesn’t make sense to hire a social media manager when you already have the skill and time to handle the task. In this case, your business does not need another social media manager, so you hiring another one will be a waste of resources that could have been used to procure the skills that are lacking.
2. Absence of a qualifying system
Taking a look at your applicant’s curriculum vitae is a good step to take when hiring a virtual assistant. However, hiring based on what is written on a CV alone could backfire in the short run.
This is because applicants can falsify their skills on their CV, and produce less-than-impressive results when it’s time to do the work you have hired them to do.
For this reason, it is best you have a qualifying system in place. This system should also be based on your business’s needs, and should be implemented in the hiring process of your potential virtual assistants.
Your hiring system could include the following –
- A preliminary interview
- Testing of fundamental skills such as MS Word and MS Excel
- Handling of emails
- Basic use of written and spoken English
- Basic letter writing
- Customer relations
- Technical skills
Putting your applicants through this system will tell you instantly if they are right for the job or not.
For instance, if you need a virtual assistant to create weekly blog posts for your website, you can give them a relevant topic and ask them to write a short article.
Review their submissions and hire the ones that delivered the best content (according to your specifications).
The hiring process might seem hectic, but it will be worth it in the long run!
3. Hiring the first applicant
Hiring a virtual assistant isn’t the same as being on an ATM queue, where people are attended to on a first come first served basis. Just because a virtual assistant submits an application first, doesn’t mean they should be hired right away.
What if there are other applicants who are more qualified for the job? What if the first virtual assistant you come across is a scam?
You need to exercise the right amount of patience when hiring. Take out the time to review each application and carry out the relevant tests or interviews to determine who is best suited for the job.
4. Expecting your VA to be a Jack Of All Trades
Another common mistake employers make is expecting their prospective virtual assistant to have all the skills in the world. This is not even possible, as individuals have their unique talents, and are stronger in some areas than they are in others.
Keep in mind that a lot of applicants can claim to have multiple skills. So expect a “Yes” when you ask them.
It’s great to have a virtual assistant that can perform in more than one area, as that could reduce the wages you will have to pay. But it’s even better to hire a virtual assistant that is an expert in one field, as this will ensure that you get the best out of them.
5. Offering too little pay
Developing effective cost-cutting systems is a great way to ensure that your business makes a good profit. Hiring the best hands in exchange for the fairest wages is also advisable.
However, you need to be careful not to undervalue the skills of your virtual assistant by offering them too little pay.
Keep in mind that a desperate applicant could accept low wages just to get by. But that could cause them to underperform, which will in-turn hurt your business.
So how do you know the right wages to pay?
It’s simple, just go online and Google search the average pay per skill you are trying to hire. You can arrive at a conclusion after you have compared the prices shown in your search.
For instance, if you’re planning to hire an email marketer, Google search “how much do email marketers charge”. The search results will give you a fair idea of what you should pay.
Another danger of underpaying your virtual assistant (especially a really good one), is that they could leave you for another client who offers more. And this could happen at a time when you need them the most!
6. Hiring too many VAs for a small business
Your business may be small today, but who knows, it could be as big as Microsoft in future. But for now, you have to call it what it is – A small business.
Now that you’ve come to terms with the size of your business, do you really think you can afford the wages associated with being over-staffed?
No you can’t, which is why hiring too many virtual assistants for a small business is a big mistake.
Hiring a virtual assistant can be good for your business. Just make sure that you take the hiring process seriously, so you don’t hire the wrong hands, or hire more than your business needs.
If your hiring process is done correctly, your business will enjoy the smoothest operation possible.
Thanks for reading!
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