7 Tips Before You Hire Virtual Staff: An Essential Checklist
Virtual Staff, a virtual office service operating across the UK, providing virtual office support, personal assistance, assistant services, administration and virtual assistant services remotely from its UK based office.
What should you, as the client, do and complete before hiring virtual staff? For startups especially, outsourcing may be daunting and intimidating. It doesn’t have to be. Before you delegate, make decisions and be detailed.
This list comes from our experience (me and my teammates here at Virtualstaff4u). We’ve all been doing this for several years. We’ve noted what works with our best clients, and why. Following these guidelines would ensure smooth sailing with your virtual staff.
1. What do you need? Define your goals and requirements. Be detailed.
Have a think, write things down, and answer what roles you need to fill, exactly what results you want, and whether you need a virtual staff long-term or on an on-demand basis.
While many virtual staff do volunteer ideas and are happy to do a bit of steering, it’s unfair to expect them to work like a consultant on a virtual staff’s rate. It’s up to you to give bonuses for invaluable input and exceeded expectations, of course. But on the whole, your virtual staff would feel more secure and confident in his/her given role if you assign clear-cut definitions to that role. Do your research about what you need for your business, page, site, and it would help you in finding the perfect virtual staff/s for the job/s.
2. Create a budget.
This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many clients approach virtual staff expecting free work or very low rates! You get what you pay for. Virtual staffs already work at a much lower rate than those you hire in-house. They also shoulder everything–you don’t have to pay for supplies, benefits, pension contributions, etc. Keep that in mind and measure their bids against what they can deliver.
It helps to look at virtual staff in particular fields (social media, administrative, writing, etc) and gauging an average rate from there. The longer you hire them, the better rates you get, because virtual staff and agencies reward the security of long-term contracts.
3. Interview rather reviews.
This is why it’s beneficial to go with an agency like Virtualstaff4u to bypass the tricky screening of candidates are already tried and tested in their excellence in their fields. If you do post a job on freelance sites, know this: their scoring system is flawed. Many great virtual staff have been ruined by idiot (excuse me, but its true) clients. On the other hand, many sub-par and mediocre virtual staff have collected 5-star scores from non-challenging jobs that doesn’t guarantee how they’ll manage the role you’d give them.
Yes, you should look at scores, but do the next step before making a contract.
4. Do a trial to test their skills.
Sometimes you, the client, also discover things when you do a trial with your virtual staff. It shows you not only your virtual staff’s skills, but also if your schedule and procedures work, and what you should fine-tune, if any. Beyond the interview, a trial also makes chemistry and camaraderie come to light. You don’t want to work with someone you dislike. Hire virtual staff does away with the friction in offices filled with incompatible people.
5. speaking of schedules, define work hours.
In exchange for so much value and convenience, you need to compromise and adjust because of time zones. Daylight for you might be bedtime for your virtual staff. You can make this work through excellent communication, as outlined above. A clearly-defined task doesn’t need monitoring. Your work gets done while you sleep.
6. Decide on your method of communication and collaboration.
Email, Skype, Google Hangouts–these are free and effective for one-on-one and team meetings. From the outset, get comfortable with one or all of these. Your virtual staff would be happy to work with what you prefer. You want reliable communication. Your virtual staff should be easily reached via email and instant messaging.
For collaboration, there are a lot of project management sites online (Teamwork, Asana, Base camp, etc.), where whole teams can schedule tasks, set deadlines, and submit documents for everyone’s perusal, and more.
For simplicity, there’s also Google Drive. It’s free, and you can create folders, documents and spreadsheets accessible to you and your virtual staff.
7. Stock up on patience and flexibility.
Virtual assistant staffs understandably avoid impatient and rushing clients. Yes, you should have a clear timeline in mind, but that timeline should allocate enough time for adjustments as you and your virtual staffs settle in and learn from each other on what works and what doesn’t. This is especially true for virtual assistants. For writers and designers, you might need a second draft.
And sometimes, you get something different from what you initially asked, only for you to realize this version works better. This open-mindedness is essential in hiring virtual staff, and would reward you in the long run.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Botha is a Marketing Resource staff of virtual staff4u