Virtual office assistants are a great way to get more done without spending a lot of money, especially when your business is small. You get to pay someone only for the time spent working for you or by the tasks they do for you without worrying about all the overhead associated with hiring a traditional employee. Although the concept is good, sometimes getting the right person for the job can be challenging. Below you will find 10 tips for finding the virtual office assistant of your dreams.

  1. Evaluate your requirements – Before you jump the gun and take on a virtual assistant, define what you want the assistant to do. What projects will the assistant work on? How often do you need to meet? Can you use an assistant who is located anywhere in the world or do you need someone locally, regionally, or nationally? Develop a set of criteria that you need your virtual assistant to meet before hand so you get the best match.
  2. Request proposals from several virtual assistants – When you do this, specify your work requirements and get feedback from each candidate. Find out how their fee structures work and how they intend to fulfill your responsibilities. If your assistant needs specific qualifications, the time to find out if they have them is at the start, before your project gets underway.
  3. Take out ads on online job boards – Advertise for a virtual assistant much in the same way you would look for a regular employee. List your job specs and terms and see how many applications you receive. By getting candidates to come to you, you spend less time finding leads. Also you may get lower rates when they are coming to you rather than have you going to them.
  4. Consider freelance sites – If you have isolated tasks or an eclectic mix of jobs that must be done, think about posing them on a freelance site. This way one or more worker can choose the jobs they are able to do for you and then report back when they are done. Often you can get more work done this way since multiple workers can work on the same project at the same time.
  5. Use an outsourcing agency – Companies like Virtual Staff Finder (http://www.virtualstafffinder.com) eliminate much of the work involved with finding a virtual assistant that you can depend on. By handling the screening, qualifying, and testing process, these companies help you quickly hire a virtual assistant. Like many traditional staffing agencies, these companies charge a fee for their services as they partner with you for success.
  6. Consider former employees – If people who used to work for you might still be willing to work for you, they may be one of the most potent pools of virtual assistants. Since they already know you and your business, they will be able to adapt quickly to your new requirements. Also, the flexibility of being a virtual worker will allow them to earn some extra money without disrupting their schedule.
  7. Experience matters – When hiring a virtual worker, you will need to make sure they have sufficient maturity and experience to be useful to you. Your objective is to save time and money, so the burden of training a virtual worker will not be beneficial to you at all. Ask for resumes, references, and examples of work before closing the deal with your new assistant.
  8. Look for traditional qualities – Don’t let the fact that you are looking for someone in the modern workforce cause you to forget the old fashioned qualities of loyalty and diligence that add to the value of an assistant’s creativity and competence.
  9. Be fair – Just because you are hiring a virtual assistant doesn’t mean you should exploit their labor or treat them worse than you would a traditional worker. Be reasonable with your demands and with your pay and the word might get out that you are a good virtual employer, helping you to attract even better virtual workers in the future.

Use these 9 tips for finding the virtual office assistant of your dreams to launch your business to new levels of success.

John Brook is a regular guest contributor to blogs where he posts about business productivity. Currently working as a writer at Office Kitten, John spends a lot of his time analysing office stationery for businesses based in the UK.