How to Hire the Best Virtual Assistants
Before hiring a Virtual Assistant, employers should have a more in-depth understanding of what virtual assistants do and how you can benefit from them. When it comes to running a business having an assistant, regardless if it’s in-house or virtually assisted, has such a big impact on the smooth business operations. Hence, virtual assistants are in high demand as entrepreneurs and small firms that spans across industries are increasingly becoming more dependent on what this specific type of service provides.
What do Virtual Assistants do? A virtual assistant, also called as a virtual office assistant, is usually self-employed or part of a bigger firm that deploys these type of service. They provide professional administrative, technical, creative, and often socially related, assistance to clients remotely from practically any part of the world; some conduct their services in the comfort of their home office.
Virtual assistants function more like independent contractors rather than employees, so clients are not responsible for any administrative, HR, or even employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits; with the exception that some have indirect expenses that are already included in the virtual assistant’s fees.
With the progressive technological advancements in recent years, the services offered by virtual assistants have steadily made its way to mainstream businesses and further broadened what they can offer. An example would be the advent of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services that enable assistants to remotely answer inbound calls without the end user being the wiser.
In relation to the improvement of technologies and how these are directly correlated to the expansion of the services offered by virtual assistants, it is also important to note that mode of communication also has a key connection to their services. An example would be deliverables. Gone are the days wherein assistants heavily relied on outmoded office tech such as fax machines. Nowadays, these are sent via the e-mail, accessed through shared cloud storage, and even hold face-to-face conferences through online messaging applications that have video call features.
It is apparent that the role of a Virtual Assistant is very important as they ease, expedite and ensure a smooth running operation with efficiency and time-saving methods.
Why should you hire a Virtual Assistant?
As businesses expand operations and take on more clients so does the neverending list of responsibilities double. For fairly sized enterprises and the more established firms, the services offered by virtual assistants is optional. Whereas for small start-ups and the self-employed, it always appears to be more of a common sense choice.
Before even entertaining the thought of availing the services offered by virtual assistants, business owners ruminate on the important question, “Do I really need a virtual assistant?” For some, deliberating on this question takes a short amount of time as it is quite apparent that hiring a virtual assistant would be a major help. Aside from that, here are some reasons why a sizeable number of enterprises, from across the broad spectrum of industries, hire skilled virtual assistants to help with their operations:
- Virtual assistants enable people to focus on important tasks that drive business growth
- They offer a level of convenience and ease in minor tasks that ultimately lead to a better quality work-life
- Virtual assistants are resourceful hence are able to troubleshoot operational issues that fall within the scope of their responsibilities with the use of their expertise and insights.
At the heart of it all, outsourcing even a fraction of the workload to a virtual assistant has a positive impact on multiple aspects of the business and eventually lead to more opportunities.
What skills should you look for when hiring a Virtual Assistant?
In the process of recruiting a skilled virtual assistant, it is important to assess the capabilities of each prospective candidate. Although a candidate’s skill set isn’t the sole deciding factor, it is still important to take note of their competencies. Here are some qualities to be mindful when perusing through the list of promising virtual assistant candidates.
Exhibiting reliability equates to professionalism, which is important for anyone regardless of work or industry. These can be shown by how a virtual assistant responds to the clients, such as making sure to reply back as soon as possible and always answering calls from clients.
In relation to the first quality, being a good communicator is equally important for any virtual assistant as their usual and only mode of contact points are limited. It is important for virtual assistants to keep clients abreast of their progress and establish how and when they would communicate when they start a new task, encounter problems, and when a task is finished.
Manages Time Well
Contrary to popular belief, multi-tasking is counter-intuitive and have been constantly debunked by research. That said, it is important for virtual assistants to be a master of, or at least be adept at, effective time management as they are often responsible for a plethora of tasks.
Virtual assistants will be asked to do a multitude of tasks that are beyond their wheel of expertise or even comfort. As a part of their services, they are required to provide solutions and solve problems for clients. That is why virtual assistants need to have the ability to be able to work around a problem and troubleshoot the said problem as this is an important sign for their efficacy.
How much is the usual rate for a Virtual Assistant?
Portrayed below is a comparative illustration of the average annual and hourly local rates of Virtual Assistants from four different countries. All information about annual and hourly rates are based on the PayScale website.
|Average Virtual Assistant Annual Salary||Average Virtual Assistant Hourly Rate|
|United Kingdom||GBP 23,984||GBP 21.00|
|United States||USD 32,240||USD 15.64|
|Canada||CAD 27,600||CAD 20.33|
|Australia||AUD 48,000||AUD 28.06|
To be more efficient in operation costs and recruitment process, a lot of new start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and freelancers from the four aforementioned countries often opt to recruit virtual assistants from outsourcing providers.
Here at Cloud Employee, we understand the need for businesses to find alternative solutions that effectively reduce costs and time without sacrificing their limited resources. To make IT outsourcing in the United Kingdom and throughout the world more accessible, we offer competitive industry rates for hiring the best offshore Virtual Assistant in the fastest amount of time possible.
What interview techniques should you use to hire the best Virtual Assistant?
Hiring a virtual assistant that is best-suited to a businesses’ based on their needs and requirements is not a simple thing to do. Those that desire to enlist the help of a virtual assistant have to do a thorough assessment of their skills and know-how. Here are some sample questions and in-depth explanations that take the guesswork of choosing which virtual assistant is a good fit for your business.
Question: What are your primary skills and expertise?
Explanation: This is necessary for obvious reasons. If you expect to do things like design a website then common sense dictates that you choose the person who knows exactly what they are doing. Otherwise, what’s the point of hiring someone who cannot perform the role you want them to fill in? As such, it’s important to determine if a prospective virtual assistant is qualified to assist you and has the specific skill set that matches the job description.
Question: What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Explanation: This isn’t about the answers themselves but more about the way a candidate answers the question. For any capable person, it is important to be self-aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and is able to answer this question with sincerity and honesty.
If the applicant believes that they possess no weakness, then it is best to move on to the next candidate. This basically means that that candidate is stagnant, not open to growth. They could possibly have problems with accepting accountability or constructive criticisms in case they make mistakes.
Question: Have you had a client who had difficulty describing his needs?
Explanation: There are employers who aren’t as eloquent on well-versed when expressing and try to explain what they want and expect from the hired virtual assistant. By asking an applicant this question, you can gauge his capability to solve problems when faced with a similar situation. You can test his initiative and determine how he would react in case you want something done but can’t provide enough details or don’t have the knowledge on how to accomplish it.
Question: What are your interests? What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Explanation: This question gives you an insight on what the candidate virtual assistant is passionate about, which is something that can be quite handy in the future, and also shows about kind of employer you are.
It essentially enables you to be genuinely interested in knowing the person and forge a strong work bound on a professional level. The mere fact that you took the time to ask questions that aren’t deeply work-related gives the candidate the impression that you’re someone who’s approachable and easy to get along with.
Interviews are a vital aspect of the hiring process. They enable you to discern which candidate is best suited for your company and your needs and requirements. So it’s important to always be thorough and take note throughout the interview period as this shows more aside from what the candidate virtual assistant is frankly capable of doing.
How can Cloud Employee help you?
From start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and freelancers working with limited resources like time and money is the glaring reality. When the goal is to save time, energy, and more importantly costs, utilising modern technology is a common and standard practice. Almost everything is done online these days, hiring the services of an offshore virtual assistant is a natural option for a lot of small companies and independent contractors.
Cloud Employee connects you to experience professional virtual assistants in the Philippines. If you’re having a difficult time hiring local virtual assistants who are competent and able to comply with your requirements and budget, then consider hiring an offshore virtual assistant.
Send us your Virtual Assistant requirements - specifying particular skill sets, industry and years of experience to name a few. Our team of a dedicated team of recruiters do a local search for highly skilled virtual assistants and suggest a shortlist of candidates to choose from. You can interview your chosen candidates and we can conduct technical tests should you wish to do a more meticulous vetting process. Our custom-recruitment process ensures that you hire the best virtual assistant with the right skills that align with your prerequisites.
The virtual assistant that you hired with Cloud Employee works exclusively for you, reporting directly to you from our offices in the Philippines. They work at mirrored hours so as to be a more effective addition to your methods and processes, and avoid any miscommunication. Cloud Employee provides them with the necessary hardware, software, fast internet connection, full daily IT support, and a clean and comfortable designated workspace. We also handle matters such as HR, general administrative functions, and back-office tasks so you can prioritise on your work.
For important admin tasks such as screening your email and handling your correspondences, scheduling, and confirming appointments, booking travel arrangements, performing miscellaneous research, invoicing clients, preparing reports, and basically managing projects on your behalf, having a virtual assistant is such a big help. They can reduce your workload, help organise tasks, and free up your precious time. A dedicated virtual assistant with Cloud Employee can help you with these and more.
What is the dedicated hiring model?
The Dedicated Hiring Model integrates the dedicated offshore team you choose with your existing in-house development team, basically reducing the chances of any project’s design and architecture.
Because of its flexible nature, it’s considered as one of the best engagement models. You can request for tech talents, resources, and types of equipment at any given time corresponding to the requirements of the project. The Dedicated Hiring Model allows the in-house team to scale up or down with ease.
Another thing to remember is the payment method. It’s now more convenient for you, you would only have to pay once which already includes the offshore team member’s monthly salary and the outsourcing provider’s service fee.
- Perfect for a long-term project, especially for those with constantly changing project scopes and undefined specifications.
- Predictable budget despite an indefinite project scope.
- You will have full access and control over the whole recruitment process, selection of candidates, and management of the offshore team.
- Product quality can be monitored, assessed and guaranteed.
- The offshore team gains more in-depth knowledge and understanding of the client’s objectives, goals, standards, and expectations.
- The offshore team exclusively works for you throughout the project scope.
At Cloud Employee, your dedicated team of virtual assistants is dedicated to you and mirrors your preferred working hours. This means that both you and the offshore development team can work together at the same time, and ultimately reduce any miscommunication issues and foreseeable inconveniences. Your offshore virtual assistance team can also use your preferred software, tools, and standards, making them a more effective part of your team.
Combining the Dedicated Hiring Model and Cloud Employee’s extensive experience in the IT outsourcing industry, we came up with a business model that is truly unique and effective. This business model has simplified the recruitment process, made working practices more flexible, and bridged the gap between in-house and offshore teams, all for a competitive industry rate. We believe that our business model works better than any of its IT outsourcing competition.
WHY HIRE OFFSHORE VIRTUAL ASSISTANT WITH CLOUD EMPLOYEE
"Cloud Employee provided our company, Freebird Rides, with quick thinking and diligent developers. The developers were always willing to undertake new tasks and were inspired and excited to implement techniques and technologies that were new to them. Their work was always completed on time and with the utmost care and professionalism. Though we are halfway around the world their communication with us was always clear and easy to understand. We hope to work with Cloud Employee again in the future and would overwhelmingly recommend them to other tech companies."
Danielle Thompson, Freebird Rides
"Having looked around, Cloud Employee stood out as having a different attitude and we both wanted the same thing: to develop and retain a great team. Cloud Employee engage with our staff on a regular basis and the management ensures that any staff concerns are addressed promptly. Using Cloud Employee has largely removed our developer recruitment problems and saves us a significant amount of time and money in the process. We’ll continue to use them – having technical resource available that doesn’t cost the earth enables us to take on projects that we might otherwise think twice about. The relationship works because our interests are aligned and they’re able to deal with us openly and honestly."
Neil Acworth, IT Governance
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