Today in Part 5 of this series, I want to go over some simple steps you can take to hire the right virtual assistant for your business; I want to dive right into the actual hiring process.
Like a lot of other things, we tend to make the screening and hiring process a lot harder than it actually is.
Let's go over the first four pieces of this puzzle we have covered so far:
- Creating a “Master Plan” for Outsourcing
- Figuring Out What to Outsource
- Finding an Affordable VA or Part-time Person
- Paying Your VA
I think this 5th piece is crucial; the actual hiring process. It’s always difficult to hire someone that will be a good fit for you and for your business. It’s a difficult job even in the best of circumstances. But it’s even more difficult if that person isn’t physically in your area; especially if you are looking for a virtual assistant. Sometimes the individual will just be in a different city or state. At other times, they might be thousands of miles away in another country.
I know someone that has a group of retired ladies that answer his phone from about 8:00 am until 8:00 pm each day. These ladies decide among themselves who will be on call on any particular time or day (a true sub-contractor situation). They don’t live in his city, but that really doesn’t matter. He has found that this works very well for him and I might add, that it works very well for this group of women. They are running their own little business according to their needs.
Whether you are interviewing someone in a remote location of the US or even in another country, the same procedures will work. When I started looking for someone on Odesk, I posted my job and waited to see who applied. Then I sorted through those online applicants in the same way you would if they were actual job applications sitting on your desk.
I looked at the skills they had listed to see how closely they matched the job I had to offer. When I had 4 or 5 interested job applicants that I thought might work for me, I emailed each one of them. I had a list of questions specific to my job which was transcription such as how long they had been doing this type of work, and how long they estimated it would take them to complete the transcription of one 30 minute video/audio. (I told them I had both formats to they could choose which one to work from). You will notice I didn’t ask them about their typing speed. I’m pretty sure the answer would have been “I am very fast”.
Narrowing Down the Applicants
When each one of them answered my question about the length of time it would take them to transcribe one 30 minute video, this is where I started to weed out folks.
One gal’s answer was 3 ½ to 4 hours. OK; that was way too long for a 30 minute video. One told me about 2 hours which was also too long. I got 2 people that said they should be able to transcribe a 30 minute video in approximately the same length of time or around 30 minutes. That was the answer I was looking for!
The Next Step
I went back at this time and looked at their “resumes” again, and I also sent each one an email saying I would like to do a “Skype Interview”. Doing the Skype interview made my decision much easier. One of the people I was most interested in had indicated that she worked just over 2000 hours for one person the previous year. (Hours worked is actually tracked by Odesk on their site). This was ultimately the person I chose in part because of her ongoing relationship with one employer. She also had a number of other jobs listed she had done for other employers. All of the reviews on her work were excellent.
One of the biggest reasons I chose her though was due our Skype interview. So what did I learn from this?
- Her English was very good. This meant there was a good probability that her transcription skills would also be excellent.
- She presented herself as an intelligent, very professional, detail oriented person that wanted to do a good job.
- She was a good fit for me and my business. Her skills would give me the opportunity to use her in the future for other types of tasks. I was looking to establish a long term, ongoing relationship with one or more persons over time.
Have I Ever Regretted My Hiring Decision?
Never! She was the right person for me. One other important question for you to ask is your candidate is, “What type of work do you like to do best? If they say math and you are looking for an article writer, well … you need to keep looking; at least until you need some bookkeeping done.
I believe the next piece of the puzzle is what really makes the biggest difference in your success or failure with this hiring decision, and that is properly training your VA or part-time worker. How can anyone expect them to succeed if they aren’t property trained?
Setting your VA up for success will largely rest on your shoulders. So let’s get down to business and figure out what you must do to create the proper procedures and systems for them to follow. You want to do this work once. “Set it and forget it” as they say.
Creating procedures and systems for success.
If you missed one of the other parts of this series you can find the links below:
- Part 1: Creating an Outsourcing Master Plan for Your Business
- Part 2: How Do I Figure Out What to Outsource
- Part3: Where Do I Find An Affordable VA or Part-time Person For My Business?
- Part 4: How Do You Decide How Much To Pay A Virtual Assistant?
If you haven’t already subscribed, be sure to do that today so you don’t miss any of the business building tips I have coming your way. I want 2013 to be your best year ever! And if you enjoyed this article, please share it.
I haven’t, but I haven’t been doing this for a long time. That’s a good question though. I don’t think I would consider even consider hiring someone that refused. That would be like a job applicant refusing to come into your business for an interview to work in your office. It would just be unacceptable.
I have only worked with 2 people so far, and they both treated the process just like they would any job interview; very professionally. They were eager to interview and get the job.
It’s been interesting for sure.
Using Skype to interview your VA candidates seems like a great way to finalize your selection.
Has anyone ever declined to be interviewed on Skype?