The job application and interview process can be extremely difficult for both employer and employee alike. Although most individuals think it is hardest on candidates, we think it is equally taxing for employers as well. Screening, rating, and interviewing candidates are not easy, especially when there are so many candidates vying for a limited amount of positions. If you’re looking for an international VA, it can be even harder. Just because the entire process occurs on the Internet, phone, or Skype, does not make the process easier or the potential employee less valuable. The good news is that finding a highly qualified international VA can be a successful venture if you follow these tips:

  1. Establish your own list of goals/requirements. Before you start searching for a Virtual Assistant, you must have a clear picture of what qualities you are looking for in a VA. Be sure to write down all your requirements of the position, including every last detail and possibility. Establish your budget and decide if it is negotiable. Determine the exact location that you prefer your VA to reside. Take into consideration such issues as time zones, cultural differences and language differences as well. With an international VA, you may need to be more flexible in terms of their preferred work hours. For instance, they may need to work when you’re sleeping and vice-versa. In addition, it is absolutely paramount that you determine the type of work they will complete each week. Also determine if you want your VA to complete the same or different types of tasks. Finally, establish your desired mode of communication, whether it be email, a website, Skype, or telephone. Remember, when you are hiring an international Virtual Assistant communication is paramount so always be clear about your communication preferences
  2. Post & search on reliable job boards. Unlike hiring an in-house assistant, you won’t have the luxury of meeting your potential Virtual Assistant in person. Therefore, it is important that you do not become victim of a scam and hire someone shady. That is, you need to find a reliable and hardworking individual who actually wants to work for you. To find suitable candidates, you can search places like Craigslist, EasyOutsource, Elance, or oDesk. You can also hire a HR consultant at OnlineJobs.ph (requires a $50 fee) to find a suitable candidate for you. There, you’ll input your credentials and then they’ll send you a listing of candidates they have screened. Regardless of which job board or site you choose, make sure that it established and has a positive reputation. Always take your time conducting your research and never rush through the hiring process. Instead, take your time.
  3. Establish a screening process. Once you have chosen several candidates for your Virtual Assistant position, you must review their credentials and make the decision. Remember, this is a crucial decision! Never hire someone too quickly. Instead, interview them slowly to make sure they are a good fit for the position. If you don’t, they’ll quit or you’ll fire them. Therefore, you need to establish a really good screening process. During the interview, ask your candidate several key questions: Are they interested in the type of work you are asking to be completed? Do they have the necessary skills and tools to complete the work? (Ex. if you need to videoconference, do they have access to Skype or something similar?). Do they plan to take vacations, and if so, what is the process for notifying you? Are they able to communicate and produce work in English (or whatever language with which your company operates)? Next, check their feedback or references also. Finally, sample their work. Ask them to complete a trial project to ensure they are capable of completing assigned tasks. Always pay them for the trial. Be fair, but somewhat critical of their work. If the test assignment has too errors or doesn’t meet your expectations, move on to the next potential candidate.
  4. Plan to hire full time. Consistency is extremely important. Strive to hire your virtual assistant full-time. You can set up a temporary trial period the first few weeks to ensure that the partnership is compatible, but have the intention to hire for 30-40 hours a week after the trial period has expired. The problem with hiring part-time or posting different hours every week is that it is inconsistent and becomes a reliability issue. If you are not offering enough work, your VA can – and most likely will – look for another employer or simply leave you in the dust. With that being said, be ready to make a move when you find someone suitable. However, don’t overwhelm your VA with too large a workload with unrealistic deadlines, even if they are working full-time. This helps your avoid a high turnover.
  5. Offer competitive pay. As with any job market, salary is crucial to the employee (and the employer!). Therefore, offer competitive pay that matches the work you are asking to be completed. Again, you do not want your VA to disappear on you. The average pay for a typical Virtual Assistant varies from $200-500 USD a month, but can range up to $1,000 USD per month for more specialized work, such as design and coding. It is recommended to not offer less than $300-350 USD per month; however, remember that pay should always match the workload – $400 USD is probably a good starting point for a typical, full-time Virtual Assistant. You are not going to get a quality VA at $200 USD a month. Also remember to factor in the location of your Virtual Assistant and the cost of living in that city/country. In addition, you are not offering any type of benefits package, even for a full-time VA, so keep that in mind as well when determining salary. Treat your Virtual Assistant as a partner in your company – be fair and equitable. Here are a few recommended salary ranges:Data Entry – $250-$350
    Article/Content Writing – $350-$1000
    SEO – $350-$500
    Web Designing – $400 – $800
    Web Development – $450-$900
    PHP Programming – $800-$2500
    Mobile Apps Development – $800-$1200
    Hiring a Virtual Assistant, particularly one outside of your own country, comes with risks and uncertainty. However, when the process is efficient and reliable, the partnership can produce many great benefits. However, the selection and hiring process should be viewed just like other in-person interview. Be clear with your requirements and interview carefully. After all, you want to find the right fit for your company. By taking your time, you can find a reliable and hard working VA who is excited about working with you and produces quality work on a consistent basis. Good luck!