When I hear from entrepreneurs who have watched my video series on hiring I often hear stories about their great new team who is working out well. But on occasion I encounter someone who just can’t find the right Virtual Assistant for their business. Today I’m sharing tips on how to get past the hurdle and find your person, without wasting more time. If you haven’t hired anyone for the position there are a few questions to ask.
1) Where did you post the position?
2) How many replies did you get?
If you didn’t post the position on a job board like oDesk or eLance, you need to cast a wider net. Don’t just focus on asking your friends. It’s not their job to find you a VA. If you did post on one or more sites then answer how many replies did you get. Not how many qualified applicants, but how many replies, period. If you got at least 15 then you’re in good shape. If you got just a few then you either need to actively recruit by requesting that VAs on the site apply for your position or possibly refine the job post.
Let’s assume you got at least 15 replies to your post (an entirely subjective number, I promise you) and you didn’t hire a single one.
Remember that hiring a VA can feel risky but there is no perfect VA. You’re not trying to find someone who knows your business before starting and can read your mind. Start with someone who is trainable and willing to learn.
As you reject applicants understand why you’re saying no – are they missing a fundamental skill? Did they ignore clear directions in the job post? Do you not like their name or pay rate?
Often times my job postings return 50-100 applicants so I do many sweeps through the replies. Recently, I posted a position and requested in the description that all letters begin with “Dear Kelly” and not “Dear Sir” – over 30% of the applicants were rejected on the first pass through for writing something other than “Dear Kelly” in the letter.
I could afford to be picky about the little things because I had dozens of people to choose from. When you have 8 or 9 applicants then you either need to get more people interested in your job or be more forgiving of small errors.
If you have hired for the position and the VA didn’t work out:
Sometimes when you hire someone there’s this fear in the back of your mind that they’re not the right person. It’s a difficult balance between trusting your intuition and not letting fear get in your way. If you’ve hired and fired for a position the number 1 task you have when you fire (after changing shared passwords) is to write down why you let that person go and what were the warning signs.
There may have been no warning signs that this VA wasn’t right for your business. And if that’s the case then when you re-hire you may need to dig a little deeper than surface level and ask some different questions.
When it comes to hiring for a position the second or third time the biggest challenge you have to overcome is that of indecision and fear. It’s easy to let the worries that this won’t work out (again) stand in your way. Consider it a little like dating, it’s not a lifelong commitment with the first person you date but if you stop altogether you may never find “the one” for your business.
Be honest with new applicants about what didn’t work out with other team members, without bashing them specifically, and make sure your new VA understands your concerns.
When entrepreneurs say to me, “What if I can’t find the right VA?” it’s usually a sign that you’re not getting the word out far enough, you’re far too picky with your selection or you need to get past the fear that it won’t work out and hire the best candidate available.