How to Find and Qualify the Best Virtual Assistant for Your Business

find real estate virtual assistants


The Virtual Assistant was once the best kept secret of successful entrepreneurs. However once Tim Ferris, Michael Hyatt and James Schramko shared how their online employees allowed them to grow their businesses, others wanted to experience the same successes as well.

But as with most professions, not every candidate who signs up can get the job done.

Increasing demand for virtual assistance work has blown open the doors of opportunity for those who want to cross over to the online profession. Every day there are millions of remote staff jobs posted in online job platforms; businesses looking for the right one to fit their needs.

While the industry has expanded in terms of talent and diversity, the level of quality may be diluted by the sheer number of candidates available for every job. Thus the challenge for you is to qualify the best Virtual Assistant that meets the demands of your business.

Why Do You Need a Virtual Assistant?

The search for the right candidate starts by determining your purpose. Ask yourself, “Why do I need a VA?”

Is it because you want to…

  • Lower business costs?
  • Increase business productivity?
  • Improve quality of deliverables?
  • Reduce risk of business expansion?
  • Implement more flexible business strategies?

You can have more than one reason to hire virtual staff. The important thing is to determine the need for it so you can identify the skills you need and the work you want outsourced.

This brings us to the next question.

What Services Should You Outsource?

Virtual assistants are no longer just limited to secretarial or personal assistance work. Today’s incarnations are capable of handling highly technical work and projects that require more specific skill sets.

Once you’ve determined your need for an online staff member, review your business framework and identify the specific skills you want to outsource.

If you are not sure or want to be more cautious in you approach, you could try outsourcing non- essential tasks such as the following:

  • E-Mail Filtering
  • Calendar Management
  • Appointment Setting
  • Preparation of Presentation Materials
  • Spreadsheets
  • Phone Handling

You could also add more work specific skills. For example, if you are in the real estate industry you would want a real estate virtual assistant who can read and prepare contracts, do follow up calls and knowledge on updating a CRM.

As you gain more confidence with your outsourced worker, you could possibly consider assembling remote staff to manage more diversified work tasks:

  • Accounting
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Content Writing
  • IT Management
  • Human Resources
  • Transcription Services

There are businesses where the entire operation is managed by remote staff. The costs are lower but there is no compromise to the level of productivity and quality of work.

Where Can You Find Qualified Candidates?

There are many sources to find qualified candidates for real estate virtual assistance work. The best one, is of course, on Real Estate Virtual Assistant, but here are some alternative options for your consideration:

Online Job Platforms

There are many sources to find qualified candidates for virtual assistance work. As online workers, they are primarily found on the Internet but there are other avenues as well.

  • Upwork
  • Freelancer
  • Guru
  • PeoplePerHour
  • FlexJobs

Many VA’s sign up for these services because a large number of businesses use them as well to contract virtual staff.

Make sure you have a complete business profile set up. The best online employees only consider clients with complete details.

Social Media

Social media is a great way to network. You can establish connections with those in the community who can help you find the best candidates. Here are a few tips for you to consider:

  • LinkedIn is the best social media network to connect to potential virtual assistance candidates.
  • Join focus groups or fan pages in LinkedIn, Google Plus and Facebook. You can ask for recommendations from those who have use virtual staff.
  • Ask for recommendations from those in your current network.

Online Outsourcing Agencies

You can find outsourcing agencies online that can present candidates for your consideration. Compared to directly hiring freelancers from online job platforms, going through an agency offers distinct advantages:

  • Candidates have a track record with clients
  • Easier to find candidates specific to your job requirement
  • Easier to replace your outsourced worker
  • Easier to ramp up your virtual staff
  • Support services are provided

Keep in mind that there are spurious agencies operating online. Always conduct due diligence on any agency you come across before reaching out to them.

How Do You Qualify these Candidates?

Once you start acquiring talent, it’s time to sort the wheat from the chaff! Qualifying could be a tedious process but it is time well- spent to ensure you have the best Virtual PA for your business:

Create a Unique Job Post

Create a job post that will start the screening process; for example, attention to detail is an important quality for a virtual personal assistant. In the middle of the job post, include a special instruction such as “write ‘VA’ on the top right-most corner of your application”. Those who do not comply should not be considered for the job.

Don’t Hire the First Candidate

By hiring the first candidate, you deny yourself the benefit of making a comparison with others. Create a short-list of 5 candidates then subject them to interviews and job proficiency tests.

Focus on the Behavioral Component

It’s great to find someone with the best recommendations, longest tenure and most accomplishments. But remember, anyone can be trained and developed. Attitude reflects who the person is.

Prioritize the person’s behavioral profile above technical and fundamental proficiencies. You do not want a person who may be brilliant but will turn out to be a head case.

Conduct due diligence work. Check their social media pages, do a quick Google search and contact their previous clients.

Subject Candidates to a Test Period

Interviews and tests are standard qualifying methods but nothing beats actual work. Schedule each candidate for a paid test period of 2 hours and evaluate their performance.

Continue the test period until you are more certain of the best candidate. For example, if you are down to just 2 candidates, extend the test period then evaluate their respective performances.

Cover the Agreement with a Contract

Once you have selected your online assistant, cover the appointment with a contract. This is how you ensure both parties will live up to their respective obligations.

A contract also presents you with an exit strategy should the agreement fail to live up to expectations.

Finally, and most importantly, get to know your virtual employee! Behind the computer screen is a human being made of flesh and blood with feelings, emotions and everyday concerns.

Establishing a strong connection with your Virtual Assistant will go a long way in building a successful business relationship.

Remember that being the best doesn’t always mean having the highest achievements and most citations. For the most part, it’s just having someone you can truly work with

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