How To Hire A Virtual Assistant

how to hire a virtual assistant

By the time entrepreneurs and small business owners are ready to expand, a growing list of administrative tasks often bogs them down. This means they spend way too much time dealing with logistics, prohibiting them from the tasks required to grow their business. 

Hiring a virtual assistant is transformational, freeing up business owners to get back to their core mission and improving products and services for their client base. 

Hiring The Right Virtual Assistant For Success 

Virtual assistants are educated, trained professionals who customize their services based on your needs. For some, this is a part-time or intermittent contract created so a business owner can attend a conference or take a true “unplugged” vacation, knowing the business will continue moving productively forward. 

Part-time or seasonal virtual assistants are also used to provide extra support during the busiest times of a company’s workflow or to help with the planning and execution of a trade show, conference, or other professional event.  For others, virtual assistants are used consistently, fulfilling all of the needs that an in-person virtual assistant would - minus the in-person contact.

7 Steps To Hire A Virtual Assistant 

When you’re ready to hire a virtual assistant (VA), these steps can ensure you hire one who is qualified, can carry out the current needs, and is equipped to meet changing demands.

Be prepared to delegate

Many first-timers bringing on a virtual assistant or receptionist find it harder than they think to delegate. You’ve brought your dream to fruition, you do things a certain way, and change makes us vulnerable. For that reason, it can be harder to delegate tasks than you might think.

However, not delegating means you’re spending valuable time and energy doing things someone else can easily take over. The first step in hiring a VA is opening yourself to the prospect of delegation. This will help you turn over the reins once you’ve found the ideal candidate.

Keep it legal

The last thing you want is to hire a virtual assistant and get taken to task because it wasn’t done legally. Virtual or in-person, paying employees to work for you comes with inherent obligations regarding tax responsibilities, minimum wage and overtime pay, working hours, time off, benefits, etc. 

If you hire an independent contractor, that’s one thing. But, if you’re hiring an employee, you must do everything to the letter of the labor and IRS laws. Using a virtual service provider - or agency - is one of the best ways to simplify things on your end. As with a temp agency, virtual services providers take care of the financial and legal logistics, so you reap all of the benefits of a virtual employee without the headaches or employee labor law responsibilities.

Identify the repetitive tasks that consume precious time

Start listing and tracking the repetitive tasks that consume precious time each day. This means tracking time spent in a log so you have a clear idea of how much time you’ll free up (and how many hours of VA support you'll need).

Tasks to consider include:

  • Answering phones and returning messages.
  • Reading and answering emails.
  • Basic data entry.
  • Creating and uploading new content.
  • Keeping up with social media.
  • Responding to online reviews.
  • Creating and tracking invoices.

Imagine gaining all of that time back - and more. These are the starting points for your virtual assistant’s job description; they’re just the tip of the iceberg. 

Consider how a VA can support you in the future

Chris Ducker is known as a serial entrepreneur, bestselling author, and THE authority on the subject of virtual team building. When it comes to the very common delegation struggle, Ducker says, “One of the things we can do to avoid burning out is to become more effective delegators. At first, it’s hard letting go, but trust me folks, once you start letting go of the steering wheel a little, you’ll want to hire a full-time driver sooner or later!”

So, as long as you’re practicing the baby steps of letting go and handing over some essential daily tasks, consider all of the ways you might use your VA down the road. Virtual assistants can also be hired to support you with:

  • Calendar management.
  • Scheduling appointments.
  • Taking notes during key appointments and meetings.
  • Create reminders or reschedule appointments.
  • Screen emails and respond to general queries or customer service questions.
  • Handle first-line customer service concerns/requests.
  • Manage and update contacts.
  • Making travel arrangements.
  • Helping with new hires and simple HR tasks (eventually, you can hire a virtual HR pro to take this part on).
  • Design presentations.
  • Assemble reports.
  • Make personal reservations, research, and purchase gifts, create grocery store orders, etc.
  • Support you with managing your personal or family calendar.

And the list goes on. 

Determine whether you need seasonal, part-time, or full-time help

You also want to hone in on how many hours of VA time you need. Remember, in #3 we recommended tracking how much time you spend on certain tasks. Round that time up by at least 10% to 15% or more, as there are bound to be more things you’ll use them for. 

If you can imagine growing their responsibilities and work hours in the near future, that should be stated. Some VAs appreciate very part-time or seasonal work - and aren’t interested in working more than a set number of hours per week or per month. Or, they only work during a certain time of year. You want to hire someone who can meet growing demands.

Create a basic job description

Now that you’re clear on the tasks you want now and those you may want later, it’s time to create a basic job description. If you’re working with an agency, this can be very simple because they already have a pool of virtual professionals to choose from. 

If you’re hiring a VA on your own, you’ll want to place ads in online job posting services that outline exactly what the person will be doing for you - and the skillsets you want them to have.

Set up interviews 

Finally, as with any new hire, you’ll set up interviews to get a feel for the most qualified candidates. If you use a virtual services provider, we’ll schedule these interviews for you. If you are hiring independently, you’ll use Zoom, Google Meet, or a similar platform. 

If you’ve never run an interview before, do some research.’s 38 Virtual Assistant Interview Questions is a good place to start, and you can tailor questions to your brand’s needs and voice. 

Finally, decide on a trial period. Most people start with a 30-, 60- or 90-day trial, at which point they determine whether or not it’s a good fit.

Let Zen Resources Find & Hire A Virtual Assistant

Would you like support finding the right virtual assistant for your company or needs? Contact Zen Resources. We partner Bay Area entrepreneurs and business owners with their perfect-fit virtual service providers. Let us help you find your virtual assistant to take your business to the next level - and with greater ease and peace of mind.

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