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Remote Assistant Employment: Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Virtual Assistant

As the online business industry grows, technology and industrial resources need to keep up with the increasingly competitive landscape. The emergence of different agencies offering remote assistance is among the many developments that have helped in maximizing the advantages of every big and small business. 

Virtual assistants are indeed versatile professionals who can easily take care of any task assigned, thereby enabling them to help businesses maximize their existing in-house employees. The broad range of services that virtual assistants save time for business development, allowing businesses to outmatch competitors and eventually thrust their business’ name upward.

However, as promising as it may seem, some businesses tend to make mistakes when hiring virtual assistants or agencies offering remote services. Considering that they are bound to work with an individual located in a different state or country from them, business owners inevitably have their own doubts and hesitations with remote assistants. As the head of the business, it is the employer’s responsibility to employ a virtual assistant while encountering the most minima and manageable issue possible. 

To help shed light over the unique setup of hiring or working with remote workers, here are 5 of the most common mistakes that businesses commit when hiring a virtual assistant. Also included in the list are ways on how to avoid these mistakes.

1. Not having clear and concise criteria when hiring a virtual assistant

It is a fact that not all virtual assistants are as well-rounded and multiskilled as some businesses expect them to be. There may be versatile virtual assistants, but a good number still have their own limitations in terms of skills and work experience. For instance, they can be good at addressing administrative tasks but perform poorly when they are assigned with technical tasks, and vice-versa.

As such, it is important to know what tasks should be delegated when hiring a remote assistant. Knowing what work should be entrusted to a virtual workforce lets employers produce a list of criteria that will determine whether an applicant fits the qualifications or not.

Nonetheless, it is important to provide a clear set of roles and responsibilities for the virtual assistant to avoid employing a remote staff whose experience and/or skills do not match what the job requires. Do not rush in transferring tasks to your virtual workforce. Instead, prepare a concise list of tasks. This way, employers will not have to compromise their business’ efficiency as well as the budget spent on hiring the wrong person.

2. Settling for virtual assistants offering the least expensive rates

Hiring a virtual assistant means allocating a significant budget for the business. The goal of hiring a virtual assistant should be to help the business cut costs without compromising work efficiency.

On the other hand, hiring services with the cheapest rates may have some underlying issues in terms of the quality of services it delivers. Hence the saying, “You get what you pay for” applies in this scenario.

Similarly, although there are those that offer the right service for the right price, choosing the services with the most expensive rates does not automatically mean that better output is guaranteed. 

In order to know whether a virtual assistant is right for the price, it is essential to conduct a thorough examination of how well they fulfill their job. Apart from using their resume as reference, conducting an interview with the applicant will help obtain a better idea of their work ethics. Interviews also help employers determine the scope of knowledge and experience that applicants possess about the job they are applying for. Provide good questions in place. Doing this accordingly does not only save time and effort, but it also lessens the amount of time spent in finding new virtual assistants more suitable for the job every few weeks or months.

3. Not giving time for virtual assistants to adjust to the business’ unique setup and grow

Since money is at stake in hiring a virtual assistant, it is important to have someone who can take care of tasks on-the-go. However, for businesses with a different work structure, it is essential to reinforce the virtual assistant’s understanding of the company’s work environment and demands.

While it is true that businesses would prefer to hire virtual assistants who are experienced and flexible with different work demands, it is still important to provide a professional relationship and setup that embraces growth and a positive work experience for remote staff.

It is a must to spend time training them with the fundamental component that the business requires to have a smooth workflow especially during the first few phases of working with a newly hired virtual assistant.

4. Not giving concise instructions

Virtual assistants may come with various skills in their arsenal, but reading minds is not one of them.

If the employer fails to provide clear instructions, virtual assistants tend to get lost. It is similar to being made to stir the wheel in the dark. It is best to make it a habit to provide a list of tasks that will serve as a reference for them to keep track of what tasks need to be done. This way, the emergence of common mistakes will be lessened.

5. Failing to provide constructive feedback

Aside from systematically providing a list of tasks. Giving feedback on the output as well as the attitude towards the workplace is a must.

Giving them timely feedback, whether positive or negative, will make them feel special which eventually motivates them and provides better to excellent outputs. Remember, when giving feedback to remote employees (and in-house staff as well), it is important to be objective and focus on their performance and deliverables. As much as possible, avoid personal attacks and make it a point to provide words of encouragement especially when virtual staff fails to meet expectations. If needed, give them enough time to realize and improve their mistakes.

More importantly, be mindful of the frequency of giving feedback. Since working with a virtual assistant means working with different time zones, it is important to maximize the time given and provide all the necessary information. Remember, when they make mistakes, it is better to inform them right away.

Working with a virtual assistant is rewarding. They can easily cope with different work environments and ultimately make it easier for businesses to maximize the time needed for business development. The work dynamics of a virtual workforce is unique to every business. But, by knowing the most common mistakes in hiring virtual assistants and focusing on feasible ways to resolve these issues, it effectively enhances cooperation and rapport between the remote assistants and the company hiring their services.

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