8 mistakes to avoid when hiring a virtual assistant online

Running a business brings about plenty of workload on your shoulders. To completely focus on your core and major business activities, you’ll need to hire a virtual assistant online to handle the rest of your minor tasks that you don’t have the liberty to perform. Because the seemingly minor tasks are just as important for your business and you’ll need a skilled virtual assistant to perform those tasks efficiently.

However, most business owners make a few common but major mistakes while hiring virtual assistants, which can have a huge impact on your business. The following guide on how to avoid such mistakes will help you out through the hiring process and save you from a bad hire:

1. Failing to identify your need to hire one

The very first mistake business owners make is the failure to identify their need of hiring a virtual assistant. You need to identify exactly what tasks are taking too much of your time which could be used elsewhere, and what tasks need to be outsourced to your virtual assistant.

Hiring a virtual assistant online hastily without any previous planning can work out to the worst of your intentions and cause more problems and workload for you than ever. 

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If you’re just blindly following the trend of entrepreneurs hiring virtual assistants, or you’re overthinking your need to expand your business. Stop right there. You might not need a virtual assistant at this point of your career, and hiring one right now will be a huge mistake when you’re not even sure why you need one. Hence, hiring a virtual assistant with proper strategic planning is crucial.

2. Absence of fully structured qualifying criteria

The second most common mistake business owners make is underestimating the hiring task and avoiding going through proper hiring procedures. Go past the standard hiring procedures of going through candidates’ CVs and just holding interviews. Avoid hiring solely on the basis of a candidate’s CV. Test their skills. Break down the testing of skills into three criteria; fundamental skills, technical skills, and behavioral skills. Conduct various tests throughout the hiring procedure and hire candidates on the basis of these tests.

Additionally, ensure thorough assessment for functions like outsourced payroll services by incorporating tailored evaluations beyond traditional methods. This ensures that you select candidates who are not only qualified but also aligned with the specific requirements of your business, promoting the expertise of your client in this area.

3. Looking for the same skills in candidates

Hiring the first candidate you encounter possessing the required skills isn’t the best strategy. Since a virtual assistant handles your social media profiles, professional email exchanges, file managements, manages your daily meetings and appointments, your travel bookings, and writes documents for you. Make sure to test such handling skills along with conducting interviews. Choose at least 6 to 7 candidates with completely diverse skills to finalize and hire one final virtual assistant. In addition to these crucial assessments, incorporating advanced technology into your recruitment process can drastically improve its efficacy. An example of this is the use of sophisticated tools like the Affinda resume parser, which uses artificial intelligence to scan and analyze the candidates’ resumes. It extracts vital information, enabling you to streamline your selection process and identify the most qualified individuals. 

4. Failing to review your virtual assistant’s work

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After you’ve hired a virtual assistant, don’t sit back after delegating the tasks to them. Regularly review their work and point out areas where they can improve. This will help you stay updated and track any future problems that might occur. This way, you get to shape the virtual assistant’s skills according to your liking as well. 

Therefore, monitor their progress regularly in the beginning, and after a while of enough experience, you’ll get to leave all those tasks completed to the virtual assistant and solely focus on your own business activities. This also helps in avoiding the repetition of tasks.

5. Lack of Communication

Entrepreneurs new to the concept of virtual assistance think the biggest drawback of hiring one would be a lack of communication. This is exactly where they’re mistaken. The key objective of hiring a virtual assistant is to hire a quality and worthy assistant, ignoring distances. Virtual assistants might work remotely and in different time zones, but the communication lines remain the same. 

Modern digital technology provides us with various online programs and applications where u can regularly communicate, hold virtual meetings, and exchange work materials easily with your virtual assistant, ignoring the time zone differences. These programs include:

  • Skype Business
  • Slack
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Viber
  • WebEx
  • Google Hangout
  • Salesforce

6. Overlooking language and cultural barriers

This is a key area which business owners fail to recognize. Hiring overseas virtual assistants is actually very cost-effective. Aside from being inexpensive, it brings quality work with high efficiency to your table. Working with a person who comes from different cultures and a whole different world brings a diverse perspective to their work. Therefore, to avail of such benefits, you need to understand and work around such language and cultural barriers. Give them detailed and precise instructions about your work to overcome this barrier. 

7. Failing to train your virtual assistant

No matter how skilled your virtual assistant is, their skills might seem shortcoming if they’re not properly trained. You’ll still have to train your virtual assistant according to the way you like to do your work. Provide them with instructions on a step-by-step basis. Supply them with reference materials regarding the work that needs to be done. This training will help you out in the long run and make you stress-free of such tasks.

8. Overestimating your virtual assistant’s capabilities

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A single virtual assistant won’t be able to cover each and every one of your tasks. Humans have their limits. You can’t expect your virtual assistant to exceed their limitation, despite how high their skill level might be. You’ll need to arrange your job description in a way that won’t exceed the virtual assistant’s capabilities.

Keep realistic expectations from your virtual assistant, and don’t overwork them. Expecting to hire a candidate to be skilled in every aspect is a huge mistake that you should avoid at all costs. Convey your expectations to the candidates before you hire them to get the right fit.

Consider your virtual assistant as just another employee at your office. The only difference between an employee and a virtual assistant is that the virtual assistant works remotely. Therefore, make sure you’re hiring a virtual assistant when you absolutely need to. Train your virtual assistant and constantly review their work. Hiring the wrong virtual assistant will have more than a financial impact on your business. Make sure you avoid all the mentioned mistakes during the hiring procedure, and you’ll find the right person for the job in no time!