Blog,  Business,  Outsourcing,  Virtual Assistant

The Process of Hiring Virtual Assistants

The person behind this website found me on a freelancer platform called Upwork. You either love or hate Upwork, but I’ve had nothing but good luck on this website. However, Upwork is not the only way to find someone to delegate to. I was curious what led him to Upwork to hire his first team member, rather than other places.

We hopped on our second Zoom call. It was straight to business, and I asked him how he ended up choosing Upwork.

“Well, I was going to use my own assistant, honestly,” he said.

He goes on to explain to me that he had previously used a website called 1,2,3 Employee that helped him find a virtual assistant that he’s delegated to for several years now. He asked her if she would be willing to help him on his new project and she told him that it was outside her skill set.

So those are traits that he admires about his virtual assistant. She was an independent thinker and always upfront and honest about her capabilities.

He also explained that he inclined to head back to 1,2,3 Employee, but considering he might build a business that could rival that company, it might not be the best route to go.

Instead, he went to the next best thing: Upwork.

In the past, he had used Upwork to look for writers. He hired two incredible writers for a SaaS company that he built. He also found a coder for the software. Overall, he believed that his luck with Upwork has been great. There has never been a lapse in talent. With that type of track record, he couldn’t find a reason to go anywhere else but Upwork.

Fair enough. But before this meeting turns into a giant Upwork sales pitch, I change the topic.

I remember seeing his job ad. As a virtual assistant looking for jobs, I don’t give every job ad my attention. I do a bit of scrolling before I find an ad that stands out, compelling me to apply for the job. His ad caught my attention.

 

Hiring Virtual Assistants

 

“Did you go into this with some strategy?” I wanted to know if there was a way he worded his advertisement that made it look so appealing.

“I didn’t have a strategy in particular,” he said, “but I do ask questions to weed out the people who aren’t serious about the project.”

His job listing had two precise questions:

  • 1-10 How comfortable are you with WordPress?
  • How would you go about researching my subject matter?

Since these questions were specific to what he was trying to outsource, the person he chose needed to have these skills. He wanted to get inside of how the virtual assistant selected would go about solving problems for him.

He wanted to be as transparent as possible in his job listing, especially highlighting the length of the project and the number of words needed. While he didn’t get many freelancers bidding for the job, it allowed him to get quality bids over the quantity.

I asked him how he decided which cover letters he was going to read. Surprisingly, he read all of them!

He said he wanted to see cover letters that had some substance to them. Some cover letters tend to be canned responses, used over and over again.

As we wrapped up the call, I had one final question for him. This question was something I wanted to personally know because this is a difficult decision for most business owners I’ve worked with.

“Why did you choose to go with two virtual assistants instead of one?”

He admitted that he’s never done this before, but he wanted to think of a lean methodology.

In short, it was more affordable for him to hire someone on a fixed-rate basis (me, per article writing) and then hire someone to delegate the WordPress and social media aspect to (considering an hourly rate).

He also felt that having two different roles will make his team run more efficiently.

So far, separating the responsibilities has been working out.

He gets to focus on delegating. I get to concentrate on writing. His other assistant gets to focus on WordPress and social media. Good judgment call!

We finish the call, and I get an eye-opening glimpse into what it’s like to run things from the client’s perspective. If I ever get into the world of delegating and hiring, these are all points I want to keep in mind.

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Also published on Medium.

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