The Essential Guide to Hiring a Virtual Assistant (My Top 9 Tips!)
Tell me if this sounds like you.
You’re struggling to manage everything in your business on your own.
You’re starting to realize that you’re overwhelmed and you need to make some changes ASAP before you burn out…again.
Your to-do list is a mile long, deadlines are quickly approaching, and you just… can’t….. keep….. up.
I get it! I’ve been there!
So I thought it would be super helpful to do a breakdown of my experience with the process of hiring my first VA intern because I know I’m not the only one who needs support in their biz.
Let’s get started!
My Top 9 Tips for Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Tip #1: Get Clear on What You’re Hiring a Virtual Assistant For
Whatever you’re hiring for needs to be crystal clear in your mind before you start the hiring process.
Because it’ll help you be more specific when looking for your VA. PLUS, it will help you realize who doesn’t meet the qualifications.
Now think about what exactly you need to outsource and delegate. Is it your social media engagement? Your inbox of client inquiries?
Getting clear on what EXACTLY you need will help you find the perfect VA for you. And if you haven’t downloaded my outsourcing worksheet yet, [[here it is]]!
Tip #2: Know Your Budget and Time Priorities
Knowing what’s important to you and how much you’re willing to invest into hiring help is the next step in finding your perfect VA.
Crunch your numbers and figure out what makes sense for you to be investing in a VA each week.
For me, that budget was between $15 – $25 an hour. I’d say that anything less than $15/hour, no one’s going to want to work for unless you’re outsourcing to another country like India or the Philippines.
But remember… you’re not just investing in an assistant… you’re investing in YOUR time and growth!
Tip #3: Decide if You Need a Beginner or Expert
Are you hiring someone to learn alongside you and grow your business? Or are you hiring an expert who can quickly manage tasks for you to save time?
This is an important question to ask yourself because hiring a virtual assistant with the wrong skill set can be super frustrating.
Maybe you need help in a specialized area like Pinterest management or paid advertising. Or perhaps you just need a general admin assistant to start with your email inbox and scheduling.
Figure out if you’re hiring more on the specialized skills side OR hiring for more general tasks before you start looking at candidates. This will help you in the interview process!
Tip #4: Create Your Application Form in ClickUp
Creating an application form in ClickUp is THE best thing to keep your interview process streamlined!
ClickUp is my favorite task management tool because it’s super easy to use AND has powerful integrations. (Hint hint.) Basically, I use it to pretty much manage my entire business.
You want your hiring process to be as easy and streamlined as possible.
So instead of sifting through the applications in your inbox, trying to find that one resume or cover letter you liked, create an application form in ClickUp. This will keep everything in one organized place and make it easier to assess who the stronger candidates are.
For the application form, here’s what I used that you can put in yours:
- First and last name as the “task description”
- An email field for their email address
- A text field for their Instagram handle (completely optional but I like to see if they have a business profile where I can learn more about them and see their work)
- A text field to link their portfolio so you can review their work samples
- A file field to upload their resume to
- A text field to share their current location, so you know where they’re based for timezone purposes
- A drop-down menu to select how long they’ve been a VA for (I list a few options like 0-6 months, 6-12 months, and 1+ years)
- A long-text field to explain their work style will help you know how they like to receive direction and critiques
- And one final long-text field asking if there’s anything else they’d like to share with you
You can use the hiring form in ClickUp to easily collect applications and then compare everyone in one place.
This way, you don’t have to go through hundreds of emails when hiring, which can be extremely time-consuming.
Tip #5: Create the Job Ad
Now that you have your hiring form set up, it’s time to create the job ad that you will share with the application link!
Here’s how I created an eye-catching job post…
Include a short blurb about what kind of person you’re looking for and how they can help you. This part includes what they will be doing for you and why they would be a good fit.
List the pay range you can provide so applicants know what to expect monetarily.
I like to mention a brief hiring process so candidates know what to expect for the overall timeline.
Be sure to mention the application deadline so candidates know when you’ll stop accepting applications. This way, you don’t get overwhelmed with too many submissions.
Don’t forget to include the ClickUp application form URL in the post, so applicants have a way to submit their apps easily!
By including these elements in your job posting,your hiring process will be much more effective! And once you’ve posted everything, you can sit back and let the forms roll in.
Tip #6: Review the Application Forms & My ClickUp Application Process
Here’s the EXACT process I follow that’s a no-fuss way to review, compare, and leave notes for each applicant.
Once you have your hiring form up and running, you’ll probably get a lot of applicants, so it’s best to review them on a rolling basis.
And if you follow this part step. by. step. in ClickUp, I promise you it’ll make your life and the app process a breeze!
- In ClickUp, as applications are submitted, they automatically go into the new applicant status that I create..
- And as each applicant’s form and materials are reviewed, I then move them to the materials reviewed status.
- Once I go through all of those materials, I either put them into not a fit status, or first interview status.
- The first interview status is for the people that get sent a Calendly link to the interview.
- After I conduct my first interviews, I’ll move those people to my final selection status in ClickUp.
- Anyone who’s not a fit gets sent a thank you email. Once that email is sent, I move them into the sent a thank you status, just so I can keep track of that process.
- Then after my final picks and interviews, I’ll make an offer to someone and move them into the offer sent status. Once they’ve accepted, the final applicant gets moved into the hired status.
PRO TIP: The most important thing is to create specific statuses and update them in ClickUp. So after reviewing an applicant’s materials, you want to keep updating that applicant’s status until you decide to hire or not hire them.
Once you’ve finally got your hiring pipeline in place and it’s working well, automating the ‘hire’ status is a HUGE time saver.
Tip #7: Book Discovery Calls
Now it’s time to get to know the applicants!
The discovery call allows you to see if an applicant is a good fit for what you need and if their energy can match yours.
Here’s how I like to set up the calls:
PRO TIP: If you don’t have a Calendly account, you need to create one so that you can set up these interviews in the easiest way possible.
I set the calls for 15-30 minutes. You can choose which days and times you’re available. So for my interviews, I did Monday through Wednesday, from 6 – 7:30 PM in 30-minute windows. Although looking back, I definitely only needed 15 minutes per person.
These were back-to-back interviews so staying on schedule and organized was key. I had about 22 applications and narrowed them down to 8 women I interviewed.
They all scheduled those throughout the week, but only on days and times that I allowed them to.
Then I emailed them a Calendly booking link. After they booked those, they were emailed a confirmation with the zoom link for the call that went directly into my Google calendar.
Now… if an applicant isn’t available for a discovery call during your designated times? It’s up to you whether or not you accommodate their schedule or you simply explain to them that these are the specific days you are conducting interviews and that you are not available during other days.
And remember… you specified in your job posting when the interviews were going to be taking place, so they’ve had plenty of notice.
Tip #8: Prepare Questions for Your Virtual Assistant Interviews
Now, you need to make sure you get your questions organized! I like to hone in on a few specific questions that I ask each candidate that pertain to the job description and give me insight into their past experience.
For me, I had my questions prepared in advance. They were pasted into the task description of each candidate in ClickUp so that I could take notes during the interview.
Some of the questions I asked were:
- Tell me about yourself
- Explain your VA journey up until this point
- How can I support you in the internship if you were to get this position?
- Then I asked them if they had any questions.
PRO TIP: Make sure you’ve already looked through their application materials. So for me, I’m only talking to the people that I liked from going through their portfolio work.
You want to look at the interviews as a chance to see if you’re a good fit energetically with them.
Consider these questions to ask yourself while speaking with each candidate:
Will I enjoy working with this person? Are they friendly? Are we going to get along?
Tip #9: Decide Who You’ll Hire
Now comes the most crucial step…hiring someone that you click with and who understands you. Not just as a person, but as a brand and company!
SPOILER ALERT – I already knew who I wanted to hire before I even finished all of the interviews.
Because when you click with someone and they just *get you*, you know you want to commit to them, too.
Something that stands out is when applicants ask me questions about what they would be doing daily, how they would grow with my company, and what success looks like for this specific role.
After you’ve narrowed down your pool of applicants to that ONE person, send your offer email outlining the terms of the position (start date, pay rate, etc.), ask them if they have any questions, but most importantly ask them to reply with an acceptance by a certain date.
And once they reply with a resounding “OMG YES!”…Congratulations! You’ve hired a virtual assistant!
The next steps would be training, onboarding, etc., which I’ll be sure to share with you in a future blog post!
So that’s my hiring process in a nutshell! I hope you’ll find it helpful.
If you have any hiring-related questions, drop your comments below! I’d love to help out if I can.
To see this whole thing in greater detail, check out this throwback IGTV post where I break down my hiring process step by step.
And that’s it! Once you have your whole application process set up, hiring a VA will be a breeze!
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