virtual assistant on phone and laptop

Hiring A Virtual Assistant: What To Look For And What To Expect

Carey Chesney3 minute-read
PUBLISHED: September 24, 2020 | UPDATED: August 16, 2021


During these times of increased remote work, online schooling for the kids and a slew of other daily activities that are new to most of us, the time to hire a virtual assistant might be now. We all want to be more productive, but the constraints of time and the length of your to-do list can seem overwhelming … even when you’re not facing a global pandemic! Having a virtual assistant can ease some of the burden and allow you to work smarter, not harder.

What Does A Virtual Assistant Do?

Virtual assistants are usually self-employed. They can help you with a variety of administrative tasks from a remote location, often their home office. Here are just a few of the tasks a virtual assistant can help with, but the possibilities are almost endless.

Possible Virtual Assistant Tasks

Tasks that a virtual assistant could assist with might include:

  • Scheduling appointments
  • Making phone calls
  • Managing email or social media accounts
  • Setting travel arrangements

Benefits Of Hiring A Virtual Assistant

You probably already understand the virtues of hiring a virtual assistant, but here are a few key ones in case you’re not quite sure.

Talent Selection 

If you look to hire an assistant in a physical office, your talent pool is limited to the people who happen to live near there. With virtual assistants, you can interview and hire from a talent pool that spans the globe.


Virtual assistants, who are usually independent contractors who charge an hourly rate, are relatively cheap, especially in countries outside of the U.S. In addition, the collateral costs of hiring an in-person employee (office space, for example) are not something you have to account for.

Focusing Your Time On What Matters

When a virtual assistant can take care of the busy work, you have more time to focus on the tasks that suit your skill set and make your business thrive. Want to spend more time on prospecting for new clients instead of handling customer service calls? A virtual assistant can help with that.

How Do I Find A Virtual Assistant?

Ready to look for some virtual help? Start with your professional and personal network. Does anyone have a virtual assistant they love and would be willing to share? Or maybe they can just share their experiences and help you set the criteria for finding yours. Either way, start with people you trust and work from there. A quick post on LinkedIn or Facebook might be all you need.

How To Hire Your Virtual Assistant

Not getting the referrals you were hoping for from your network? Here are five steps you can follow to ensure you hire a virtual assistant that meets your specific business needs.

List What You Need Help With

Start by compiling a list of the things you need help with. This will shape the type of professional you look for. It’s also a great exercise for any business in terms of prioritizing time and goals. Once you have the list, figure out which tasks are the best use of your skills and time and which ones can be outsourced to someone else.

Write A Job Description

Write a job description that focuses on attracting the type of talent that can help with those tasks. Need someone to answer all calls? Availability during your business hours will be key. In need of some help with your social media accounts? Work hours may not matter as much but a Facebook ads guru would be perfect.

Market Your Listing

Spread the word by posting your job descriptions on job websites and your social channels. The more the better when it comes to reach. Facebook, LinkedIn, Slack and Indeed are just a few places to start.

Review Applications

Carefully review all the applications and interview at least your top three before making a selection. Resume reading fatigue might make you lean toward one of the first ones you look at. Be thorough and get through them all if it’s manageable, as hiring the right person will save you time and money by avoiding frequent replacement costs.

Set Up A Trial Period

Once you think you’ve found your ideal virtual assistant, give them a trial period to see if they’ll be good for the long haul. The only way you know for sure that you’ve found the right person for a job is seeing how it goes once they start doing it. This gives them some time to see if you’re the right fit as an employer as well.

The Bottom Line

So, now that you have the basics of what a virtual assistant does and how to hire one for yourself, you’re on your way to working smarter, not harder.

Carey Chesney

Carey Chesney brings a wealth of residential and commercial real estate experience to readers as a Realtor® and as a former Marketing Executive in the fields of Health Care, Finance and Wellness. Carey is based in Ann Arbor and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he majored in English, and Eastern Michigan University, where he recieved his Masters in Integrated Marketing & Communications.