Virtual Assistant (VA):
A VA refers to an independent service provider, who provides administrative, secretarial, technical, or creative services to businesses externally. Since ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ use of VA’s has dramatically risen. Basically for the business or webpage owner, you source online assistants at a fraction of the rate those similar staff would cost you in your own city. In places such as America, Australia, England, Western Europe, and other highly developed countries the minimum Pay for a Receptionist for example could be $8-18USD. An Outsourced VA on the other hand range from $2-8USD depending on the level of skill and experience. Not only price, VA’s can actually do a massive variety of tasks and of course, can learn new tasks for you.a
VA’s are most commonly found in India and Philippines, however many more nationalities are available. Philippines being the most popular as they have high English skills and ethics. Philippines are already having well established outsourced IT and Call centre head quarters for many global companies. For many of them, being a VA makes an ideal home based business or work in a nearby shared office environment. Many VA’s are quiet entrepreneurial and able to help with much more than the simple expected tasks.
Indian VA’s are also highly regarded. From my personal experience many Indians are easier to understand language wise however many ‘Westeners’ do not like the ‘typical’ Indian accent. I have used a variety of Staff from India and Philippines and speak highly of both countries.
A VA should be the first person you hire if you’re new to Outsourcing. If you’re just thinking about it, why not give it a try. Allocate a few hours per week and see what can be achieved. We can also assist you if you’re really too busy but want to give it a shot.
Typical Task of a Virtual Assistant:
a) Calendar Management / Schedule appointments.
b) Online Marketing.
c) Data Entry.
e) Link Building.
f) Online Research.
g) E-mail Response / E-mail Sorting.
h) Blog Postings / Article Writing.
i) Initiating and maintaining Customer rapport.
j) Updating / Record Management.
JOB ADVERTISEMENT SAMPLE
We are looking for a self-motivated individual with experience and skills in Virtual Assistant.
Applicant must have 2 years or more experience in VA or other related marketing strategy, able to write articles and blog posting, has knowledge in Online Marketing, Data Entry, Web Research and E-mail Response. Applicant must have the ability to meet project deadlines, exceptional English communication (both written and verbal) and organizational skill and has the ability to work quickly without sacrificing quality.
– Applicant must be willing to work for a Long term (6months +).
– Expected to work on a regular basis of (10-15 hours per week).
– Complete tasks within 48hours (preferably 24hours).
– Willing and ready to start ASAP.
– Able to communicate with us over Skype during standard business hours (AEST or London time). This is a must. We may give instructions verbally as it is quicker and more efficient. You can work at your own time provided you can complete tasks within our deadlines.
– Must provide sample of previous work.
– Prepared to undergo a 10-20minute Test.
– Successful applicants will then are required for a Skype interview.
Please ensure you include your Skype name, examples of your previous work, and any questions in your reply to this position. Thank you and have a great day.
PS. Who are we?
We are …… (2-4 sentences about your organization and its goals)
PROCESSING JOB APPLICANTS:
1. Eliminate Time wasters, focus on possible applicants:
a) Ignore any applications that clearly do not fit our listed criteria.
b) Any quotes outside our Minimum – Maximum Pay.
c) If requested English level required is high-exceptional, no major errors acceptable.
d) If requested English level required is medium, no more than 3 errors acceptable.
e) Choose before hand, if using experienced staff or willing to try new members.
f) Applications must show some evidence of being unique, showing that they actually read our advertisement, not simply copy pasting to every job position.
2. Asses remainder of applications based on our job description:
a) Look for those fulfilling all requirements.
b) Look for evidence of Pro-Active or other important behavioral qualities.
c) Asses their personality. Staff needs to be focused on achieving tasks, making things happen and going the extra mile, rather than staff that will do the minimum. Staff that do only the minimum may still be capable, however not ideal.
3. Send 2-3 short questions to any suitable applicants:
a) Availability, desired work hours (time and duration).
b) Future Goals, aspirations.
c) Experience, evidence of their experience.
d) What makes this job attractive?
e) Send more information on the position.
f) Request they complete basic test if everything is suitable.
4. Send test for all continuing prospects:
a) Hi, thank you for your application and time. In order for us both to save time would you mind completing a 10 minute test? It is for testing our ability to work together.
b) Please also add the time it took, all the answers to our previous questions, along with your Skype and email address to the bottom of your test.
c) We want to include this. Perhaps a 3 minute Audio file or picture saying, thank you for applying, please write out for us your top 3 goals for the next year, your first and last name, your email address and Skype name, and then we will be happy to talk on Skype. Simple, thank you and have a good day.
5. All completed and returned Tests are now the job application:
a) Looking at who has fulfilled task 100% with all details. Including their details.
b) Who has made sense of the document?
c) Who has presented it in a reasonable format with heading, bold, italics, etc?
d) Thanks and apologies to those that is under skilled. Let them know why nicely.
6. Skype Interview:
a) Before starting ask them to install, Ifreeskype recorder.
b) General chat, understand their situation.
Here are 5 questions you NEED to ask during an interview with VA applicants:
1. Why do you think you are perfect for this job? This helps you identify, the applicant’s skills that would benefit you or your company.
2. What are your proudest achievements? This helps you identify the applicant’s priorities, or the things he/she considers important in life.
3. What are your goals for the next 6 months? This helps you identify whether this VA has goals that is in line with yours.
4. How would you describe yourself? This helps you understand the applicant’s attitude and how he views himself in general, and whether it fits the job and your personality altogether.
5. Where did you work previously and what was your reason for leaving? Knowing the applicant’s work history tells a lot about themselves. It tells you if the applicant is most likely going to stay on longer, or move on to another new opportunity quickly.
c) Thank them, any questions. If unsure, let them know we will get back to them in the next 10 days. (This way if we hire someone else, and it falls through we have this candidate still possibly available.)
d) If applicant suitable, proceed straight away so that we can have them start their first task which also tests them further before we say no to possible applicants.
e) Set out your first clear tasks for them straight. Have them reply with an email outlining what the task is, any questions they may have and how they are going to achieve them. Highlighting deadlines and priorities. Short deadlines.
7. On receipt of this email:
At the receipt of this email, it should be really clear if the staff understand the tasks given from the Skype interview. If this email is very off track or wrong there may be big problems ahead. Having staff confirm tasks in detail is vital in Outsourcing. Provided they understand your tasks set out in Skype or Email, you can now start the contract.
8. In the first week:
Start tasks clearly, and build up from there. It is possible that your Staff will understand everything and your intent clearly. However start small and build up. Also look at awarding a quick bonus to make up for excess time spent in the interview. Emphasize fair pay for fair work or your best work for the best bonus.
9. Longer term:
Look at other ways to keep staff motivated and happy. We have a few suggestions you can email us for them. Once you have spent a lot of time with your staff they become more valuable and harder to replace. Take care of them. They are real people with families, lives and dreams of their own too.