The selection of a Personal Assistant is hard as it is already – you are choosing someone who will have exclusive access to both your business and your personal life. It’s probably even more difficult when you are hiring a virtual PA. They’re a person existing for you only online, whom you have never even met yet, but who will get insight to all your private accounts from the comfort of their own home.
When you have made the decision of hiring someone as your PA, you have also thereby admitted to yourself that maybe you are really pushing your limits both at work and at home, and that dividing your obligations might be a smart idea.
It’s difficult to think about the necessary qualities a person must have when you decide to hire them as your assistant, as you are essentially selecting someone who needs to both have the skills to handle your paperwork, but also someone reliable you can trust your personal tasks with.
Here’s a list of five things you should do before hiring a virtual PA:
1. Create a task list for your virtual PA
This is a crucial step when hiring any assistant, yet alone a virtual one. Make a list of all the tasks that you are struggling with in your daily routine, and circle the ones that you think could be shared with your virtual PA. Once this is done, you will have a better insight into which fields of expertise and what skills you are looking for in your future PA. If the tasks require booking meetings on your behalf, then hiring someone who has phone call anxiety might not be the smartest thing to do.
2. Do an informal interview with the candidate
Once you have scrolled through the long lists of expert profiles online and spotted one that you liked, don’t jump to conclusions just yet. A virtual PA might mark all qualities on the checklist, but for some odd reason the two of you just can’t seem to click. A good communication is needed to establish a successful partnership, and this is even harder when everything is done behind the screens and misunderstanding is a common occurrence. Chat with them for a little while, give them a voice or video call, and see if you actually like them as a person, and not just an employee.
3. Manage expectations with your VA
Maybe you took on a two-month project that’s interfering with the rest of your obligations, and you simply need someone to assist you through this period. In this case, you will need a virtual PA that is skilled in the field which you are currently working on, but nothing more or less than that. Consider beforehand if you will continue the partnership after your project ends. If not, then let your PA know before hiring them, so that they do not prepare for any long-term commitments.
4. Don’t limit yourself only to local experts
There are endless options when choosing a virtual PA. There is probably a variety of local freelancers that are easy to reach out to, but is hiring local workforce really necessary? If you need someone to order your clothes and groceries from nearby shops, then hiring someone local seems reasonable. However, if you need someone who is talented in business-related fields and knowledge about the local area is not necessary, then you can even hire someone living overseas. They might even be better at their work than local experts are, and with cost-friendly hourly rates, too. The only thing to be considered here is the time-zone difference.
5. Make sure your VA has good reviews
Although there are many independent freelancers offering to work as a virtual PA, hiring them doesn’t necessarily guarantee good quality. The best way of hiring a virtual PA is through working with outsourcing companies (such as Remote Bob) that can offer already tested and great quality workers. If you are new at hiring virtual employees or an assistant, then it might feel more comforting for you if you have a brand standing in front of (and guaranteeing for the quality of) the name of your virtual PA. Sometimes, these companies will also allow reviews on their employees and/or data about their past work, so you are able to get a glimpse into how much these professionals satisfied their past employers or how much experience they really have.