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How to hire a rockstar virtual assistant

At Get Staffed Up we like to say “delegate your way to freedom”. The big picture here is that we are just emphatic about delegation as a means of increasing your productivity and your quality of life. If you are looking to grow your business or just want to have more free time, that’s our key component. We’re offering help on how you can look for a virtual assistant that’s going to fit your needs, so we’re happy to jump in. We like to talk about a three-step process for searching and then hiring your virtual assistant.

Those three steps are to analyze the needs of the position, create a job description (being clear on what you are looking for) and test test test. Why do we say ‘test’ three times? The reason is, as I learned a long time ago from Kristen David with her book Uplevel Your Business, Uplevel Your Life!, you should be testing all the way through the process to not only save yourself a lot of time and screen-out all of the applicants that you know are not going to fit the position but to really get down to the top one, to 3% of job applicants. That’s what we pride ourselves, finding the best Global Talent and placing them with business owners in the United States to just do a kick butt job.

1. Analyze the needs of the position.            

After several years of owning and refining, instead of having a list of 30 different specific positions that you can use a virtual team member for, we broke it up into three categories:

Clerical Staffer

This is a person who’s helping the owner, meaning probably you or a staff member, by giving additional support. This staffer can handle organizing files, scheduling to-do list reminders, follow-up emails,… and this can be done either helping around the office with maybe like phone duties in the legal world, setting court dates, or scheduling lunches, helping a staff member that probably has the same position in-office. For example, at one of my other businesses my personal assistant has a virtual assistant to take some of the workload that I like to just, you know, push on her quite a bit. Also, the virtual assistant can help the owner with Uber, travel, or restaurant reservations, sending gifts, sending follow-up cards and emails. You can give all of those tasks to a virtual assistant, even though sometimes it feels really good to be really busy and get things done, what you’re getting done matters. 

Learn more about our Clerical Staffer HERE.

Dynamic Staffer

The second position is the Dynamic Staffer. By the way, if I use the term ‘Staffer’ I mean a virtual assistant, that’s the way we like to call them. A dynamic staff member is going to be on the phone, so this could be a receptionist. It could be somebody doing your intake and scheduling your sales meetings, doing confirmation calls or doing client outreach — not only to your current clients but to former clients. You definitely want to distribute the phone duties between the person answering the phone and the actual sales person; so, if you don’t want to hire all three positions on-shore and add a lot of money in your monthly overhead, you can add a virtual staff member into this situation (we’re going to talk more about this later). It’s very important to know that if you’re going to be hiring someone to be on the phones, it’s going to be a much different job description and skill-set than somebody who needs to have a lot of good attention to detail and be really good at writing if they’re handling your email.

Learn more about our Dynamic Staffer HERE.

Marketing Staffer

The third position is the Marketing Assistant. Look, you probably had four ideas before you had the shower this morning and they all sound great in your head, but then all of these ideas and things you want to attack just gather dust, and until you have someone to say ‘let’s try this, let’s try that’, those ideas are never going to get done. Now, not everything you get done is going to work out. Of course not. Have you heard that famous quote “50% of our marketing works… if I only knew which 50%”? So, getting into more of the details, there are companies that will charge you $1,500 a month for maybe two block posts and 10 or 20 social media posts… we’re talking about a full-time virtual Marketing Assistant, who is going to be at least 10 times the output of a part-timer person.

A virtual Marketing Assistant can handle your social media, some email marketing press releases with the right template, some video editing — although that is a different skill-set, and if you really want that you’re going to have to list that prominently in the job description. Just remember, a Marketing Assistant is not a Marketing Director and not a Marketing Coordinator, those are two very different things, and you have to be careful because we do get a lot of calls from people saying “I want to find someone and just give away all I want to do”. The thing is, you can’t advocate you or your vision because as the owner of the business it’s in your head and you do really have to own that still. That can cost you a lot of money and it can turn out to be a mess that will take a year to fix.

Learn more about our Marketing Staffer HERE.

2. Create a job description, but be clear on what you are looking for (person and skill-set).

The number two is to create the job description. But, please, be clear on what you are looking for. First you’re going to list all of the technical duties of the position, then you’re going to list personal skill-sets — and we’re not talking about familiarity with Microsoft Office, we’re talking about what is your firm or office culture and how do you want that person to fit in. Do you want someone brilliant who has low energy to answer the phone? Or are you looking for someone who’s cheering and bubbly? That would be the first impression of your firm.

We’ve been able to find really awesome receptionist for some of our clients and that’s an important thing to mention because when somebody thinks they’re getting hired for a clerical position but then two weeks later you say “oh! by the way, I need you to make a hundred calls and I need you to set people up for consultations and for sales meetings”… may be that assistant, who may not like the phone, is likely going to say “that’s not what I signed up for”. In our experience sometimes you can find that unicorn that would gladly do the phone calls, but most of the time you can’t, so the more specific you are, the better.

3. Test, Test, Test. 

There are statistics that say that every time you hire someone it costs you like $5,000, internal and external costs included. So, imagine having to do that four times a year for the same position because you didn’t find the right person! What we do at the very beginning is when we place the job ad we hide a test in there somewhere like: “In order to apply, please either click this link or send an email here and put this specific word or phrase in the subject line in all caps”.

It can be whatever it is you can set up an email filter to automatically light out anything that doesn’t have that exact thing you asked for, so if 100 people apply, maybe you’re going to get about 20 that do it the right way. That’s the first test and it will tell you if the candidate has good reading comprehension skills and attention to details. Then, we give a quiz that we recommend you to be a written quiz that you can develop for that specific position you want to fill. For example, if it’s for a dynamic virtual position you can ask “Please film yourself on your phone 30 seconds of why you want this job and send it back to us along with 5 to 10 other written questions”; if it’s for a marketing assistant you can ask “Please design 10 different Facebook post and 10 different Instagram posts and tell us why you designed each one”. Of course, don’t give the candidate a whole week’s full of work, just two to three hours and from that 20, now you’re looking at the test results from probably three. The last test would be the interview. From these three interviews, you can hide the last test and the one who gets it right will be your next assistant and, most importantly, the RIGHT one.

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