By Jennifer Goforth Gregory
Part two in a series on the benefits of a virtual assistant.
Once you have decided that a virtual assistant will increase your productivity and revenue, the next step is to find the right assistant for your needs. Since you will most likely be hiring someone without ever meeting them face to face, it is important to spend time during the recruiting process to find the right person for your small business marketing needs.
Determining the Skill Set
Review your list of tasks that you would like your virtual assistant to perform, then write a second list of all the skills your VA needs to successfully perform the job. Are there specific software programs that they need to be proficient in? Do you need someone with experience in customer service? Since many VAs specialize in specific industries, decide if you need someone with experience in your field, or if you require an assistant with more general administrative skills.
Recommendations and Job Boards
One of the best ways to find a great virtual assistant is to ask others in your field if they have any recommendations or use a VA. “I’ve found my VAs through a referral from people I trusted as well as through websites. I recommend starting by asking your own referral network for recommendations,” says Laurie Erdman, founder of Chronic Wellness Coaching.
If you are unable to get a personal recommendation, there are several job boards dedicated to virtual assistants, such as Virtual Assistants Forums and VA Networking. Business owners who are looking for VAs can also take a look at discussions on the various LinkedIn virtual assistant groups to see who is savvy in their fields.
The Phone Interview
Since the candidates will be working remotely, you will most likely have to conduct a phone interview; but if someone lives locally, be sure to meet him in person. Russ Hearl, founder and CEO of Evertalk, has found that using Skype for video conferences works well for interviews. “Even though a VA could be on the other side of the country, or planet for that matter, you want to make sure that you can envision this person working well with you and your team,” says Hearl. “As with almost anything, it comes down to communication, so make sure your communication styles are similar.”
Since the expectations and tasks for virtual assistants vary greatly depending on the client, describe in detail your specific needs and the expectations you have for the virtual assistant. Find out her availability and determine if she would be able to meet any deadlines that you have.
“Discuss the virtual assistant’s accessibility, whether you can contact her through phone calls, online or by texting,” says Jan Udlock, an experienced virtual assistant specializing in working with writers, speakers and coaches. Although skills and experience are important, many owners find that the most successful VAs are the ones whose work style and personality fit within the company. Be sure to check references and then extend an offer to your top candidate.
To establish a marketing attack, download “The Infusionsoft Guide to Sales & Marketing.”