Virtual assistants can be a lifeline for some businesses. When you get into the day-to-day tasks of running your business, you often run out of time to do the more meaningful work. That’s where virtual assistants come in. Businesses hire virtual assistants to manage tedious, everyday tasks like scheduling, bookkeeping, and even social media management. While scrolling through Twitter and Facebook feeds on the clock seems like it would be fun, it can keep you from doing more important tasks. Virtual assistants do have their drawbacks. Time differences, for instance, can put a damper on hiring virtual assistants. Before you decide to hire your first virtual assistant, here are 4 things you need to know beforehand:

1

The job specifics

What are you looking for in a virtual assistant? What are you going to have them doing? Get together a list of tasks you expect your virtual assistant to do every day and cultivate a thorough job description. Make sure you list any requirements they need. Do they need to meet a certain degree requirement? Do they need to have access to a certain kind of software? Make the job specifics known upfront in the job description. Also determine what kind of boundaries your virtual assistant will need to follow for later. Are there certain tasks that they are not to touch at all?

 

 

2

The rates and hours

This goes hand in hand with the job specifics, but deserves its own category for a number of reasons. The rate which you pay your virtual assistant depends on what you can afford, but keep in mind that different pay rates will attract different applicants. If you are looking for a true professional with a lot of experience, they may be looking for a higher pay rate from the get go. Make sure your applicants understand the rates and method of payment upfront. Also make sure what hours you expect them to work is obvious upfront. When hiring virtually, you will have to contend with different time zones and assistants that might not be awake when you are.

 

3

Where to hire

There are several websites dedicated to helping businesses hire virtual assistants specifically. Websites like GetFriday (http://www.getfriday.com/) and AskSunday (http://www.asksunday.com/) make finding a virtual assistant very easy. Both sides are dedicated to virtual and personal assistants, so finding qualified applicants would be a simple task. Other websites like iFreelance (http://www.ifreelance.com/) and Fiverr (http://www.fiverr.com/) focus on hiring freelancers. This gives you more variety in what you are looking for than just narrowing the field down to virtual assistants.

 

4

Evaluation standards and assessment

How are you going to assess your applicants? Create a test of sorts as you write your job description. What kind of standards will you hold your applicant to? How do you expect them to meet those standards? This assessment you create should include several interview questions to determine how well applicants meet what you are looking for in a personal assistant. Also get to know them, who they are, and why they are applying to your position. It helps you get to know who you are hiring better and establish a working relationship from the beginning.

Hiring a virtual assistant can save you a lot of time and trouble, but it is a big business decision. You should put as much time and effort into deciding whether it is time to hire a virtual assistant as you do determining what you need a virtual assistant to do for you. If you carefully consider all of the items here, you can prepare yourself for the new addition to your team.

 

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