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Virtual Assistant Hiring Mistakes To Avoid

Hiring your first VA is one of the most exciting developments in your business. Also, even if it’s not your first time hiring a VA, there is still a certain excitement you feel. It is no secret that VAs are like fairy godmothers that help you with your business.

The process of hiring a superstar VA is a simple one, but with small details that are easy to miss. These details, once missed out, can negatively affect the whole hiring process. This impact in turn has a major significance on the quality and type of VA you will hire.

Your business depends on your VA or your team of VAs. This means that if you hire a VA who’s incompatible with how you work, or a VA who doesn’t have the right skill sets, it could hit your business in a not so good way. Imagine paying a VA who doesn’t deliver the outputs you are expecting. It will be an unnecessary and an unpleasant cost. Of course, you would want to pay someone who will deliver or even exceed your expectations.

With that said, we at Global VA Solutions make sure that we provide the best possible hiring experience to all candidates. This way, once we endorse the VA, our clients are guaranteed to have a VA who not only performs as expected, but also shows a great character.

Now, of course I don’t want you to experience the hiring woes I experienced in the past. So I’m here to guide you on lessons I’ve learned - hiring mistakes that all business owners should avoid.

This list is in no particular order. These are all significant and small details that most business owners tend to miss out. Let’s go!

Not Detailed Job Post

When creating your job postings, what details do you normally indicate? Do you provide details regarding the position you’re hiring for? Do you indicate the crucial skills you are looking for?

Your hiring process starts with the creation of your job posting. Most business owners do not take the time to create a detailed job posting. In their minds, they will just explain everything with the candidate once the candidate’s already scheduled for an interview. The problem here is that these undetailed job postings attract very few potential candidates. Because of it, the pool of talents a business owner has to choose from will be significantly small.

If you’re not sure what details you need to put on your job posting, then research is the key. Surf the web and look for similar job postings. Use these job postings as inspiration for you to have an idea on what to indicate on your own ad.

The bottom line is to make your job advert as detailed as possible.

  • Put a description on the role you are looking for

  • Indicate the skills and relative job experiences you need

  • Likewise, indicate your other prerequisites and preferences e.g. knowledge on certain software/apps

  • Indicate the type of employment you are looking for: long-term, part-time, contractual, etc.

  • You also need to let applicants know how to apply for the position

  • And if an applicant has queries, let them know how they can contact you

Checking Of Skills And Experience

Once you’ve put out your job adverts expect applicants soon after. Applicants will range from qualified to unqualified ones. Yes, believe me, there will still be applicants who will inquire or try to apply even if their skills and experiences do not match what you’ve put on the advert. It will be easy to sort out qualified versus unqualified ones though.

However, there will be applicants who will put your required skills and experiences within their résumés to slip through your initial screening. Sadly, there are people who do this. We can’t blame them though. With the amount of people who got laid off from work, a lot resort to this tactic to land jobs.

With that said, you won’t be able to initially know who is being honest with their skills and experiences, versus those who are not. There are a lot of ways for you to distinguish the real ones, but we will be focusing on just two.

  • Interview - this is the perfect avenue for you to ask discovery questions. Ask necessary questions relative to the skills and experiences you are looking for. You could ask questions relating to their job experiences. Minimise close-ended questions. Let applicants speak up and recall their previous experiences.

  • Assessment - you can create assessments based on skills you need. An example would be creating an Excel-based assessment if you are looking for someone who has intermediate Microsoft Excel skills. This assessment can have questions about which functions are needed in certain situations.

You can include these steps within your hiring process to narrowly filter your pool of applicants.

Ensuring No Other Job Applications

When an applicant applies for a job, normally they only apply on one job opportunity. This cannot be said for all though. There are job seekers who would apply for multiple job vacancies. As an applicant, this is not a bad thing though. Imagine applying for multiple vacancies and getting job offers from most of them. It will be an applicant’s dream to choose the best one from these offers. I say it’s not a bad thing because who would not want to get the best offer, right?

With that said, it can be sort of a cause for concern for a hiring manager. Think of it this way: you interview an applicant, you liked this applicant and you send a job offer to them. Only to be turned down because they’ve either received a better offer, or your offer came in a bit late. That’s hours wasted only to be turned down by a potential VA.

You can avoid this kind of situation though. How? By asking the right questions during the interview. During the interview, do not forget to ask if the applicant has other pending applications. This is a simple step but could potentially save you from wasting hours. You could also include this question within your application form.

However, this step is not entirely fail-proof. Some applicants might tell you that they don’t have other pending applications when in fact they do. When this happens and this particular applicant turns down your offer, you can’t do anything about it but just move forward. At least you’ve done your part as a hiring manager to check if they have applications with other vacancies.

Not Asking Situational Questions

This one’s somehow related to the previous two points. When conducting your interview, make sure that you take as much time as you can to ask all the necessary questions. Again, minimise close-ended questions. Only use close-ended questions as a confirmatory question. It is in your best interest to really let the applicant speak up and give their insights.

When trying to discover an applicant’s background and how they think, ask situational questions. For example, ask them what they would do in certain sticky situations and you are not around to help them out. Asking questions like this, you will have a grasp on their sense of resolve.

Disregarding Behavior And Culture Fit

During the entire hiring process, it is also worth noting an applicant’s cultural background and behavior.

If you are hiring someone from the same country as yours, then cultural background wouldn’t be a huge deal. It only becomes significant if you are hiring someone from another country. As a hiring manager, it will be better if you only focus on hiring within one to two countries. Then, do your due diligence of researching that countries’ customs. It will also be helpful to get a background on how holidays work in that particular country.

Regarding behavior, admittedly, it can be quite tricky to decipher an applicant’s behavior. As an applicant would normally put their best foot forward during interviews. Your best bet is to first, again, ask necessary discovery situational questions. This will help you unlock how they react to certain situations. Next is to carefully observe their nuances and mannerisms during the interview itself. Does the applicant stutter when asked a difficult question? Does the applicant look you in the eye when answering? Did the applicant turn in the assessment on time? Was the applicant on time, or even earlier for the interview?

Ask these questions to yourself, and you’ll have a glimpse of the applicant’s behavior.

Sometimes even religious background matters. There are religions wherein a person’s not allowed to work on certain days, or days when they are expected to worship. This matters especially when your business requires you and your team to work potentially on any day of the week.

Lack Of Proper Onboarding

Your hiring process is not just about posting job adverts, screening, and conducting interviews. What do you think happens after you’ve hired a VA? Do you just let the VA work straight away? No. You have to have an onboarding procedure within your whole hiring process.

Onboarding, according to Oxford Languages, is the action or process of integrating a new employee into an organisation or familiarising a new customer or client with one's products or services.

Think of onboarding as a process within your hiring process. There are different steps involved within onboarding your new team member. You could establish your own steps, but here are the general ones that we find essential:

  1. Create your new VA’s company email address

  2. Create user accounts for websites and software that your new VA needs to have access to

  3. Create and send a welcome letter to VA

  4. Let your organisation know about the new member’s start date

  5. Schedule a welcome meeting

  6. File VA’s documents and employment contract

  7. Request for VA’s bank details for wage

These are only general steps, but there are more specific steps in between these. Use this as a guide to create your onboarding framework.

Lastly, onboarding is also your avenue to set proper expectations with your new VA. At the same time, an onboarding experience will make your new VA feel that they are welcome to your team.

Schedule Inaccuracy And Vagueness

During your interview with an applicant, you have to ask if they are amenable to work on your preferred hours of operation. Also, when you’ve already hired the VA, make sure that you let them know again of the days and hours they need to be working.

You can give them specific days and hours when you need them working, like Mondays to Fridays from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. However, you can also set timeframes when you need them to work, like between 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM for at least 6 hours, 5 days a week. This is basically telling your VA that they can choose which time window they would want to work in in between those times, and which days of the week as well.

It is also your task to ask your VA if they have other scheduling questions before you move on to another topic during your onboarding meeting. Some VA’s tend to be initially shy to ask questions. It’s up to you to discover their schedule preferences and other queries.

You also have to let them know if there is a need for them to work during weekends, just to set proper expectations.

Unclear Communication Process

We’ve established within our previous article that communication plays a crucial role within a remote work setup. This also goes true from a hiring process’s standpoint. You have to indicate and let potential applicants’ know how they can contact you in the event that they have queries. And also, during your onboarding process, you have to set proper expectations on which communication channel to use for what concern.

Apart from that, within your own team during the hiring process, you also have to establish a process on who will be responsible for answering which queries. For example, recruitment queries are to be answered by your Recruitment Officer/Manager. Whereas, questions relating to contract details, benefits, etc. are to be answered by you or if you have a Compensations and Benefits Officer.

Failing to do so could cause confusion and unpleasant results. Imagine being an applicant waiting for a long time to receive a response from a potential employer. The delay is only because internally this employer doesn’t have an established internal communication process. This could affect the applicant’s confidence in the employer.

Best Overall Hiring Experience

Finally, all points mentioned above lead up to the overall hiring experience. As a business owner, and a hiring manager, you have to balance your business’s interest, as well as your potential VA’s hiring experience. It helps if you put yourself in an applicant’s shoes. Ask yourself: if I’m applying for this job and experience this, how will I feel?

There are times when your hiring process is treated by an applicant as a glimpse on how you run your organisation. Think of it as an applicant’s first impression in your business. If you don’t have an established hiring process, an applicant will definitely experience and feel this. Of course we want to avoid a potential superstar VA losing confidence in your organisation, and to be hired by another organisation.

Once you’ve already hired and onboarded your VA, it’s now time to outsource tasks that are relative to the type of VA you’ve hired. This is an entirely different topic to be discussed, but we want to give you a heads up on how you can effectively outsource to your Virtual Assistants by downloading our free ebook.

Ultimately, it all starts with an effective and efficient hiring process, not just for your business’s sake, but also for the sake of potential new members joining your team.


Here Are Some Additional Resources

Get Expert Virtual Assistants: Want to build your team of transformational VAs and free your time? Learn more here.

Ready to Outsource? Book a Free Consultation Call to learn how we can help you scale your business through Virtual Assistants.

Need to Understand The Benefits of Outsourcing? Download our FREE guide to get all your questions answered.

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