How To Hire A Virtual Assistant (VA) To Free Up Your Time So You Can Focus On Growth

Hiring a virtual assistant (VA), is no different to hiring a full-time employee to work out of your office. And you shouldn’t treat it differently.

Long term:
 If you are hiring for the long term, and usually with freelancers I look to work long term, aim to build a strong relationship. A relationship where they usually drop everything they are doing to prioritize and complete your job and give you suggestions to improve based on their expertise, which is what you want.

I treat my team like any professional sports team. I am careful about who I bring on board. My loyalty goes to the longstanding team members who perform and are out to win. These are the Cristiano Ronaldo’s of the team and winners want to surround themselves with other winners and take advantage of the opportunities that come with winning. Therefore, I don’t have any remorse when firing the poor performers who enter a new team and fool around within the first 2–4 weeks.

As the old adage goes, you are the sum of the 5 people you surround yourself with. So I, as the coach, have got a responsibility to find new team members that:

1. I admire
 2. Raises the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering
 3. Have some sort of superpower that they can contribute to the team

This may seem like overkill. Because you may be thinking, I just need someone to do some small work. If you’re out to grow, you don’t want to spend 70% of your time doing their work. You want to delegate total responsibility and spend 100% of your time doing the things only you can do.

Here is one of the instances where it matters, if your VA decides to leave your organization, will they leave you high and dry? Or will they remain until you find the next VA to replace them and put in the time to carefully train them to the standards required?

Here is another, are they growth oriented and thinking of different ways to innovate, improve your systems and processes and looking for different ways to win or do they just settle with whatever is handed to them and perform average?

What they choose to do will influence the behavior of the rest of your team.

So how do I filter through the right people?

Before I get into that. Even the greats get this wrong, Jack Welch, former CEO of GE who increased the value of GE by 4,000% ($252bn market cap) during his tenure as CEO said he gets hiring wrong 50% of the time.

So I added a 20% buffer to Jack’s performance — I will get it wrong 70% of the time. Setting these expectations makes me work harder because I would prefer to kick Jack’s butt but that’s only going to play out through statistics, not by what I say. And also it makes me get along in my day when someone falls into the 70% category and that I have to make the decision to cut them from the team.


1. I send people an initial job application form.

What I look for is their story. The amount of effort they put in their story gives me an indication as to how they may perform at work. I also ask them about their personal and professional goals to determine their motivation levels and whether they would like to grow with the company. Ideally, you want someone who wants to be mentored. I have a video about our vision and mission, which I later ask them about in the Management meeting.

2. I conduct a 5–15 minute phone interview

I ask two questions to get a better feel for their motivation and commitment levels.

- Why do you want this job?

- Why do you think you are the right person for this job?

3. In person interview questions. You can download some of the in-person interview questions I use here:

I determine whether they have the relevant experience here and also whether they can perform under the most stressful conditions in the business. I don’t sell the business here, I actually try scaring them out of the business.

4. Management meeting (only do this if you have someone else performing the first 3 steps). This is where I determine whether I’d be happy to have a beer with the person and whether they would fit in in a team barbecue.

After all of that, on their first day, they go through an onboarding process. They answer a series of questions that allow me and the rest of the team to get to know them. They go through our business training ie vision, mission, values. We provide them with a performance review so they know what we will be looking for after 2 months. We test them at the completion of the training (after 2 weeks). And provide them with their first performance review 2 months after starting.

Sound like a lot of work? The guys who have been working with me, have been working with us now for a long time. And our expense of having a poor performer in the team has been kept to a low. They are usually out within 2 weeks. It has also enabled us to leverage the talent of the team to train new members and grow relatively quicker than our competitors. I now have 45 members in my team ( a new person was hired today, yay!)

I provide in-depth training on this in my Boss Domination program. If you would like to know more, hit me up!

Short term
 If however you are looking for a short-term fix and require something smashed out. Your screening questions are going to be most important.

- Have you ever done (whatever type of job you want to hire them for)?
 — What results you have had and what is the process you take when you do a [X] job…
 — You should also ask for samples from a wide range of clients — even outside your niche. A good job is a good job. Just because someone has worked in a niche doesn’t mean they don’t suck at their job.
 — And screen for the qualities that are most important for you eg minimum job success score and/or amount of hours billed, location, English level.

I would also get them to work on a really small trial job that will enable me to determine whether they are qualified for the bigger job/task.

And here is a ninja move I implement when asking for examples. I ask them to do the following:

“I am looking for someone long term who is committed, and so I know you are not just copying and pasting without reading my requirements, please mention the word BLUE in the top of your cover letter”

Here is a video I made showing what I look for when hiring a freelancer:

Hope that helps!

Originally published at