Interviewing Virtual Assistants and How to Manage Them
When interviewing, look forsomeonewho’s passionate, respectful, and eager to learn new
things. It’smoreimportant to possess those traits than trainingbecauseyoucan always
train for skills but not attitude!It’sallabout how the two ofyougetalongtogether. Interviews
can bedonevia phone (Skype, for example) ortext messaging.
However whenyou interview, do this step properly!Ifyou ask theright questions and probe for
attitude, it’ll make itmorelikelythatyou’llgetthe right person for thejob right offthebat.
Ofcourse,you’ll havetocome up with questions specific toyour firm and thejob, buthereare
someexamples to getyou thinking:
Areyou available full-time?(It’s recommendedthatyou jump right in and hire a fulltimeperson.)
Doyou haveaccess to theInternet?(Don’t assumetheydo.)
Whattypeof computer/softwaredoyou have?
Willyou haveother employment orschool taking upyour time?(This question is
important because you want them fully committedto you, not anything else.)
When willyou be available?
What past experiences and skills doyou have?Describethem.
What areyour favoritetasks?
Whattypeof computer doyou have?
Doyou have anypast work experiencesyoucan send me orshow meonline?
Interviewaminimum of 3 to 5 people. Look foreagerness and responsiveness, and
thenpick someonebased onyour gut!”
Whenyou’ve chosensomeone,always start with aprobationaryperiod. Paythem and tell them this
isaprobationaryperiod, givingthem details of whatyou expect.If it doesn’t work out, then you can
partways. Upfront,you want to know how theperson will perform.This ismandatory!
Assoon asyou bring theemployee(s)on, takethem through alittle orientation to get them offto a
fast start;e.g., this ishow mybusiness works, this isthe structure, etc. Here aresomeexamples
ofsteps and tools:
Requiredailyreports spellingout tasks accomplished and how manyhours worked, etc.
Thisletsyou know exactlywhat’s happening, eithergood orbad.
Payoutsourced employees weekly. At theend ofthe week, theyshouldgiveyoua
weeklyreport with a payment reminder.
Usethe collaboration tool, Dropbox.com.It’s freeforthe basic service.It’sa folderthat sits
onyour desk top andanytimeyou drop somethinginto the folderitappears on the
assistant’s desktop at thesame time. Allyou haveto do is drag and drop.It’s all
UseJing.It’s totallyfreescreencapturesoftware.It allowsyou to create changes on video,
web content,etc. and then send alink off toyour team. Outsourceindividuals can then
watch, read, orlisten toyour video, note, oraudio.
UseGoogle Docs. They’relivingdocuments whereyoucan write somethingin there, and
outsourceemployeescan comment.Hint: Have employees create astep bystep process
of what they’redoingand put it in GoogleDocs. That way, if theydisappear,
everyoneknows exactlywhat needs to bedone and can pick up thework with a
minimum of effort.
UseXoom.com to payoutsourceworkers.It’s specificallyfor thePhilippines.Itcosts you
only$6 dollars perweek.
Option: Usethe AgentGuardian monitoringserviceifyou want to knowexactlywhat an
outsource employeeis doing. As the site says,“AgentGuardianallowsyou to precisely
measurethe value ofyour remoteworkforce! Whileyour staffaresigned in, AgentGuardian
trackstime worked, user activity,and desktop screenshots.”
Youdon’t haveto micro-manageyour outsourceemployees, butyoudo need to haveaclear
step-by-step procedure for them to follow. You can do this easilyvia aJing video or similartool.
You Hired aHuman, NotaRobot
Always remember that thisisyour fulltime-time employee, takecareof them. You can ask them
about their work: how theylikedoingtheirwork.Makesuretheyknow thatyou care about them.
Manymayfeel like “they’renotgood enoughforyou”. They’reworried theywon’t perform
perfectly. They’reverynon-confrontationaland because of thesecultural traits, if theydon’t
know howto do something, theywon’t tellyouand they’ll just quit without telling youwhy.
Provide LOTS of Feedback
ProvidePOSITIVE feedback beforeyougive negativefeedback “Iliketheway you aredoing
. On thisotherthing,hereareacouple ofpointers”.It will helpyou get better workfrom
them.It will makeyour experienceMUCH betterand helpyou keepyour employeesforever!
Anypositivefeedbackyou cangivegoesalong way.
You Must Train Them
Theywillnot askyou how to dosomething;theywilljusttryto “figureitout”.If theycan’t
figureitout, manytimestheywilljustquitinstead of asking forhelp.
They’reworriedabout makingmistakes(theyareafraid ofyou). Giveittime, nurturethe
relationship.It will payoff100 times in thelongrun. Requirethem to sendyou anemail every day.
This will keep themaccountable, keeps therelationship under control, keeps projects
movingforwardand preventyou from micro-managing.
Time TrackingWith AgentGuardian.com
Thisgivesyou aclear pictureof how manykeystrokes on the computer keyboard per minute(for
measuringdata input). This willcostyou $15 /assistant / permonth.
Apictureof how AgentGuardian works.
Keep in mind that this ishow theyare feedingtheir family!PAYMENT OPTIONS:
Xoom.com (Preferred): thesender pays a fee, notthereceiver; itwillcostyou$5.99 per
transfer.It’s veryconvenientyou can send from bank account or creditcard.
You can also payvia Paypal.com.ManypeoplewillbeOKwith PayPal.Pleasetake note
that both thesenderand receiverpayafee.
Don’tPre-pay ForWork.Filipinos arefrom averyhonest culture,however, don’t
13thMonth:In Decemberyou needto paythemabonus of 1 monthsalary.This is prorated iftheydidn’t workforyou the entireyear.
Unless otherwise agreedon, tell them:
Theyare expected to work 40 hours/ week.
They’re expected to sendadailyemail toyou.
They’re expected to haveonly1 job, workingforyou.
Theycan takepersonal timeoffwhen theyneed to, justdon’t take advantageof it
You’rehereto help themif theyget stuck on something. Youcan simplysay,“Pleasejust ask
You expect this to bealong-term workingrelationship.It’s apermanent job.
Whatabout the TimeZone Issue?
Some like to give them things to do allday, then the assistant has itallreadyforyou the next
morning.Ipayan extra50 cents an hourto havethem work mytime zone.