How to hire your Virtual Assistant – Choosing the right Candidate

Posted by Owen McGab Enaohwo

Hiring your own Virtual Assistant (VA) needs proper preparation and candidate selection. Making the decision to hire a VA and posting the job position online are the easiest parts of the process. The crucial parts are; choosing the right candidate, and managing the Virtual Assistant that you eventually hire. In this post, I will present to you the first part – Choosing the right candidate.

What job or tasks do you need the VA to do?


Before posting the job online, it is wise to determine the specific tasks the VA will be doing on your behalf. Knowing what task you will be asking the VA to be responsible for will give you a clear idea on the specific skill sets the job requires. List the task and the skills needed to carry out the task, and then ask yourself how many hours will be needed to carry out the task, and how much you are willing to pay for the number of hours that the job will require.

You then will have to determine if this task is a one time task, such that once the job is done, then there will be no need to repeat the job, in the future. If this is the case, then this job can be posted as a fixed price job. But if this task is part of a repetitive process within your business, then this job is classified as a weekly task that will need a fixed amount of time each week. Jobs of this type will require you to set a budget on a weekly basis to compensate the VA for doing the job.

Posting the job


There are several good websites to post your job such as, Most sites all you to post your job based on its category or type. You will be required to set up your account including entering in your credit card details. Before posting a job on any site, make sure that you have complete understanding of their terms and conditions. Pay particular attention on their charges. Some sites add 10% on top of what you are offering to pay the VA, while there are others who deduct 10% from the amount you pay the VA. Also take note of their dispute resolution process should you need to resolve an issue with the VA your eventually hire.

The hiring process


After posting the job online, you need to keep track of applicants or job candidates.

There are two types of job candidates you need to be aware of:

  1. The newbie
    1. These are applicants who are new to the online job posting site. And there are two types of newbies.
      1. i.      The newbie who is a veteran. This job candidate is a new user of the job posting site, but has extensive offline experience.
      2. ii.      The newbie who is just starting off. This job candidate is a new user of the job posting site, and has relatively short off line experience with jobs requiring a similar skill set.
  2. The 2nd type of applicant you will encounter is the veteran. This applicant has been a member of the job posting site and has logged quite a number of hours and jobs over three months. This type of applicant can and will ask for a higher fee owing to the track record the applicant has established over time. Hiring this type of applicant MAY ensure successful delivery of tasks. But you have to take note of the fee that the candidate indicates.

There are veteran applicants who have already logged on quite a number of hours and jobs, but are new to the task that you want done. You will find this out in the job applicant’s profile.

Always look at the job candidates posted profile. This profile paints a more or less accurate picture of the candidate. Before doing the interview, take particular attention to the application letter that the candidate sent. This letter will reveal to you the communication skill of the prospect. A letter that appears to be a standard format letter can be a red flag. A letter that is written in a flowing manner, referring to details found in your job post is a good indicator.

The Interview


When doing the interview, ask for the candidates’ views on the job you posted and how the candidate intends to carry out the task. Emphasize to the candidate the number of hours you will be requiring for the task and your preferred work schedule. Take note of the time zone difference in other to synchronize real time communications across time zones can become a hassle.

Hiring a candidate due to low fee considerations sets you up for a trap. Low fees do not necessarily mean savings on your part. In most cases, this is a red flag for a frustrating relationship with a possible hire.

In the world of online outsourcing, the reality is – you get what you pay for.

In doing the interview, see to it that you are able to come up with a decision within a short time frame. The best candidates do not wait. They are always on the hunt for other jobs. You could miss out on a good candidate. Job Candidates who linger on are those who have no current work, or are not online often to keep track of their job candidacies.

Once you find the right candidate, hire that candidate immediately and prepare the virtual workspace where you and your VA will be interacting in.


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So what do you think?

This is the first part of the process in hiring your VA online. I am sure you have your questions and ideas. Take time to share them with me. So we can enrich each others ideas and views on hiring a Virtual Assistant. You may have questions. Post your questions / suggestions in the comment box below.

In my next post, I will show to you how to manage your VA and set up the virtual work space so you and your VA can interact in a more efficient and effective manner.