Looking to hire a virtual assistant? Here's the step-by-step process of how I did it
So you're up to your eyeballs in work, your calendar is packed and you know if you continue on like this for much longer, you're gonna hit burnout and lose your passion for your business?
Or, maybe you are the proactive type and you've foreseen that your time could be better spent on other areas of your business if you just had someone to pass off tasks to that are less vital to be completed by you?
Either way, if you're looking to hire a virtual assistant (VA) but are sitting there scratching your head wondering . . . 'how exactly do I do that?' then today's post is for you!
I'm showing you the step-by-step process of how I hired my VA
But before we get into that, I have a quick tip for you:
Pro tip: If you have any sort of audience (email list, social media followers, blog readers, etc.) invite them to apply.
When you hire someone who already knows your business, you get someone who truly has an interest in your topic, has a heart for your brand and it's wellbeing, is already familiar with your business (therefore, less training is needed on what exactly your business does), and just generally will be overly stoked to get the opportunity to work for you.
I have 100% determined that for all future positions or contractors, I will only be hiring from those on my email list.
Here are the steps I took to hire my VA
Step 1: Create a hiring page
I created a new page within Squarespace for this. Mine looked like this ↓
Step 2: Write a position description
Of course, you'll want to let your potential VA know what exactly they'll be up to every day and what to expect. So write out a description with the important details of the position (eg. location, hours/week or month) and then exactly what they'll be doing in the role.
Step 3. Create an application
I used Airtable for this. If this is the first time you've heard of Airtable and are wondering exactly what it is, think of it as Google Forms meets Excel, on steroids.
I created a new form within Airtable called 'Applicant Tracking' and popped in all the questions I wanted answers to from each applicant.
Wondering what you should ask your VA applicants in your form? Here's some info I asked for, which might help get you started in brainstorming what to ask as well:
- City and country
- If they were a past student of my course
- What their current work/school situation looked like right now
- Their confidence and ability using some of the programs I commonly use in my business
- How they heard about my business
- Why they were specifically interested to work for me
- What type of work they loved doing/were exceptionally good at
- When they could start
- Desired hourly rate
One thing I should have done which I didn't was ask that they enter whatever email they were subscribed to my mailing list with.
I only wanted to hire someone who was on my email list (therefore, is very familiar with my business). But because a lot of us have many email addresses (I'm guilty too), when trying to figure out how long someone was a subscriber for, I couldn't find some of the email addresses in my email marketing system, because they had put a different email into the application than they subscribed with.
Lesson learned: Next time ask that they put in whatever email they're subscribed with.
Step 4. Embed the application on your new hiring page
If you're using Airtable and Squarespace like me, just copy the embed code from Airtable, add a code block to your Squarespace hiring page and paste in the code. Voila!
Step 5. Notify your people of the position
Wherever your audience is, post the position there. For me, that meant emailing my list. I made the subject line simple 'I'm hiring!' which I noticed had a slightly higher than normal open rate.
In the email I gave super quick details on the position (copied and pasted from my longer description on my hiring page) and invited people to apply by the deadline, which I set to be 4 days away. I didn't send any reminder emails.
Step 6. Rate the applications and decide who to move on to the interview round
I lovedddd sitting there reading through every application! It is safe to say my audience is a bunch of fabulously talented and sweet ladies (plus a couple lovely men)!
When deciding who to move on to the interview round, you really need to think deeply about what you're looking for and who your ideal candidate is.
I asked people to rate their skills and confidence in the different programs I used, but significantly more important to me than that was the applicant's interest in my business and working for me. So, anyone who demonstrated a really strong interest in my brand and the work I do, I gave that much more weight than say their Adobe skills.
I wrote notes to summarize each applicant and used the Airtable field 'single select' to select Yes, No or Maybe to moving them on to the interview phase.
Of the 50+ applications I had, I moved 5 on to the interview round.
Step 7. Set up interview slots in Acuity scheduling and send an email invite
For this, I simply headed into Acuity, created a new appointment type called 'Interview,' made it 30 mins with a 10-minute buffer at the end, copied the link to the appointment type, wrote up an email to those I was asking to come to interviews and pasted the link in.
The applicants could schedule a time themselves.
Step 8. Interviews
I held the interviews online via Zoom as no one who lives in my city or even country applied (as I could have predicted).
I won't share the questions here that I asked because I'll probably use them again for future interviews.
However, I can say that when it came to thinking up the questions, there were a few I knew I wanted to ask and others I just Googled 'interview question ideas' and took whichever felt like would give me the info I'd like to learn.
Again, I created an Airtable table (think Excel sheet), popped in my questions, and the names of everyone who I was interviewing. I then took notes during each interview on what they said and had a little 1-4 star rating for each question which I could give my gut reaction to the answer.
I'm superrr thankful I took notes because when it came down to deciding, I was really stuck in analysis paralysis and ended up going over some answers with my boyfriend to try to decide which person fit the role best. Having the notes meant I could easily recall each answer.
At the end of the interview I asked each applicant if they were fine with me contacting the references they listed, asked if they had any conflicts with the date of my next course launch (which would be when I'd need them most), gave a few more details on the position and asked a few of them to complete a project.
Step 9. The project
The project task was an idea from Mariah Coz and Megan Minns, so I'll credit their genius with this one.
They suggested that I give the applicants who knocked my socks off in interviews a project demonstrating exactly the type of work they'd do in the role.
Because one of the things I knew I'd have my VA do would be managing the inbox and answering questions related to my course, I hunted through my inbox and found emails that were representative of common types of emails and challenges I get in my business. I then redacted any personal info from the emails and changed all the names to keep the privacy of my people safe and sound.
I also had the applicants do a little project related to planning travel to a conference for me and walk me through what they'd do when presented with a couple difficult situations I sometimes run into with my business.
I created another Airtable form, put in the questions/challenges/emails and sent a link to the form to those moving on from interviews to the project.
Step 10. Giving the position!
The fun part, I called up my successful applicant and offered them the position!
*Cue champagne showers - I now have a VA! 🍾👭