How to hire virtual assistants
From fielding phone calls to scheduling meetings to data entry, if you’re drowning in the minutiae of running a business, a virtual assistant could help. So how do you hire a virtual assistant? Read the tips below to learn more about hiring top virtual assistants on Upwork.
How to write an effective virtual assistant job post
To start, there are a variety of virtual assistants available, some with specific industry experience, some accustomed to working with executives, some strong in customer service roles, and so on. You can get more qualified proposals and speed up your search by being more specific with your needs.
With a clear picture of your ideal virtual assistant in mind, it’s time to write that job post. Although you don’t need a full job description as you would when hiring an employee, aim to provide enough detail for a contractor to know if they’re the right fit for the project.
An effective virtual assistant job post should include:
- Scope of work: From booking travel arrangements to data entry, list all the deliverables you’ll need.
- Project length: Your job post should indicate whether this is a smaller or larger project.
- Background: If you prefer experience working with certain industries or tools mention this here.
- Budget: Set a budget and note your preference for hourly rates vs. fixed-price contracts.
Sample Job Post:
Title: Virtual assistant needed to respond to customer surveys and light data entry
We need someone to help our product team perform a backlog of tasks including data entry, responding to customer surveys, and writing emails. We manufacture kitchen gadgets and at times, you may be asked to test a product and provide your opinion.
- Via email, provide thoughtful responses to 500-600 customer surveys. Responses are about 1-2 paragraphs each.
- Update basic Excel spreadsheets
- Basic knowledge of Excel
- Customer service experience a plus
- Available 20 hours per week for 5 weeks
- Include the word “blue” in the first line of your cover letter
Please submit your proposal by month, date, year.
Did you notice the unusual item under requirements? Yes, asking to include the word “blue” in the cover letter. Adding things like this is optional, but when you need someone detailed, it’s a good way to see if they’re observant and follow instructions well. It’s also a quick way to filter through a pile of proposals.
How to shortlist virtual assistants
As you’re browsing available virtual assistants, it can be helpful to develop a shortlist of the freelancers you may interview. You can screen profiles on criteria such as:
- Technology fit: From project collaboration tools (e.g., Trello) to teleconferencing services (e.g., GoToMeeting), you want a virtual assistant who can slide right into your existing workflow.
- Organization: Virtual assistants are perfect for administrative tasks such as organizing company files and folders and assisting with document control.
- Reviews: Check reviews from past clients for glowing testimonials or red flags that can tell you what it’s like to work with a particular virtual assistant.
VIRTUAL ASSISTANT FAQs
What is a virtual assistant?
A virtual assistant is a remote office assistant. Such assistants can provide the same administrative, clerical, and support services to your business that a secretary might do in person. From booking appointments to handling travel arrangements to taking meeting minutes and even handling project management, if it can be done remotely, a virtual assistant can help. Virtual assistants help businesses reduce administrative overhead by serving as flexible, reliable, and resourceful sources of talent.
Why hire virtual assistants?
Do you need help with simple administrative tasks such as scheduling meetings and answering phone calls? Or do you also require industry-specific experience such as knowledge of government standards for document control? The cost of your project will depend largely on your scope of work and the specific skills needed to bring your project to life. The trick to finding top virtual assistants is to first identify your needs.
How much does it cost to hire a virtual assistant?
Rates can vary due to many factors, including expertise and experience, location, and market conditions.
- An experienced virtual assistant may command higher fees but also work faster, have more-specialized areas of expertise, and deliver higher-quality work.
- A contractor who is still in the process of building a client base may price their virtual assistant services more competitively.
Which one is right for you will depend on the specifics of your project. Learn about the cost to hire a virtual assistant.