How to Hire an Online Secretary
So you’re a small business owner, ready to take on some extra assistance, and you’re considering hiring an online secretary or online virtual assistant.
There are many online recruitment sites available to make hiring quick and fairly easy. Sites like www.freelancer.com have many an eager online secretary / virtual assistant waiting to be of service. Now you could get really excited and rush in to hire your new online secretary, just like many other small business owners have done before you! That does sound nice and simple doesn’t it?
The thing is, are you looking for the RIGHT online assistant or secretary to help you? If you quickly go ahead, and just jump in without the right preparation you’ll end up blowing loads of precious hours and dollars mis-hiring (just ask anyone who’s tried it). You’ll waste time interviewing, hiring, training and re-training your new online assistant. Only to find out that the match isn’t right and you’re starting the process over again. Putting it bluntly…the old hit and miss, gut-feeling hiring method doesn’t work.
The good news is, by taking a few simple steps in preparation, you can set yourself up for recruitment success. Here are 3 key things you can do when preparing to hire an online secretary. By taking these 3 simple actions you’ll increase you’re chances of attracting your perfect team fit in the shortest time possible.
#1 Define Your Online Secretary Role
Before you hire your online secretary you need to be absolutely clear on what you want your online secretary to do. If you’re not clear at the outset, how can you expect your new online secretary to know what they need to be doing for you? If you’re not clear about what you need them to do, how can you go about finding the person that matches your expectations? By making your requirements for the role clear you will know exactly the type of online secretary you need. Online secretaries come in many different “shapes and sizes” so you need to make sure you have the right fit. You need to know this before your hire!
#2 Outline the Skills, Knowledge and Experience Necessary to Fulfil Your Online Secretary Role
Now you know exactly what you want your online secretary to do, it’s time to outline what knowledge and skills are necessary to fulfil the role. For example…Many online secretaries have brilliant skills and loads of experience arranging calendars and travel. But what if you need your online secretary to take care of your online customer service queries? That will require a different skill set. Perhaps you need your online secretary to handle some of your bookkeeping responsibilities. Then of course, you’re going to need your new assistant to have specific skills related to bookkeeping. The point here is DEFINE the knowledge and skills you require right at the outset. Include these in your recruitment plan so you can quickly identify the online secretary with the right knowledge/skills match.
#3 Establish Your Boundaries and Expectations
The best way to avoid confusion, frustration or resentment within your online team is to set your boundaries and expectations right from the outset. With each and every member…including your new online secretary.
Here are some things you should consider: working hours, communication standards, work turnaround expectations, availability (yours and theirs), vacation/back-up arrangements. Make a list of the working conditions and what you’re offering so there is no disappointment from you or your new online secretary after they start working with you.
It’s very important to take these 3 actions BEFORE you hire your online secretary or virtual assistant. Don’t just jump in to the first recommendation you get. Take the time right up front to prepare and plan. Spending just an hour or two of your time upfront will save you dozens of hours and dollars in the long run.