How to Hire a Great Remote Administrative Assistant

image of a remote administrative assistant
8 minutes

Businesses should consider several criteria when hiring a remote administrative assistant. Besides knowing your industry, your assistant should be familiar with the day-to-day responsibilities of your team so they can provide the best possible support to everyone. Finding a great assistant, though, can prove to be a daunting task, especially if you don’t know where to begin.

If you’re looking for remote admin assistants, you can’t go wrong with Wing. Our managed service provides VA support for businesses and entrepreneurs for a variety of tasks. Our remote assistants are college-educated, English-speaking, and highly skilled. We vet and train our assistants thoroughly, and we use sophisticated AI technology to supplement our services. Though human assistants review and approve every deliverable, using AI lets us offer one of the most competitive price points in the marketplace.

If you want to know more about how to find an assistant, though, keep reading. In this article, we’ll provide guidelines for how to conduct the search and hire the best candidate. We’ll also discuss options for where to find talent, how to ensure they’re producing quality work, and what tasks you can expect a VA to complete.

How to find a remote administrative assistant

The marketplace for VA services is big and there are many places to hire talent. Before hiring a digital assistant, you will need to understand what each option entails and whether it is a good fit for your business. You can use managed platforms that pre-vet and hire the assistants for you, or you can opt for a more unmanaged marketplace like Upwork or Fiverr.

Other business owners ignore both avenues and opt to do all the vetting and hiring on their own. Which method you choose depends entirely on your time constraints and budget, but each has its own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s investigate all three options to understand which would be best for you.

Hire VAs using a managed service

The global Managed Services Market is projected to grow to $309.4 billion by 2025. Connecting with a managed service firm is a great way to reduce workloads. With a managed service, you’re sure to streamline workflows and ensure a high level of service quality for your business. Some other the benefits of using a managed service to hire a remote administrative assistant include:

  • helping you save time
  • pre-screening VA candidates
  • pre-training assistants who qualify

This approach is costlier than using a managed service. It may seem like the price tag for such services is higher, since you are paying for overhead costs like management, training, and vetting services for VAs. But when you consider the amount of time saved in interviewing, vetting, onboarding, and training candidates, you’ll begin to realize how much money you are actually saving.

Managed services provide a level of dependability that you won’t find with other options, which make it easy to budget for costs monthly. Once you sign up for a managed service like Wing, you will always have a trained, qualified VA onboard and will not need to worry about sudden departures or having to hire a replacement.

Hire VAs using an unmanaged marketplace

Services like Upwork and Fiverr are very popular among small businesses looking for remote help. These platforms have a minimum requirement for onboarding talent and users rely mostly on the reviews of the community to find the right talent to hire. On unmanaged marketplace platforms, freelancers typically set their own rates. Businesses will write a post and freelancers can bid on the project, or you may be able to invite a client to interview for a VA role with your business.

These platforms offer quick solutions. However, they might not yield the type of dependable, long-lasting results many small business owners are after. That’s because remote administrative assistants can move on to a higher-paying role whenever they want with no consequences other than a negative review. Some of the other downsides to using unmanaged marketplaces to hire VA talent include:

  • VAs have many clients at a time
  • Hiring is done primarily based on reviews
  • There is no investment in professional development
  • A percentage of fees goes to the platform and not the freelancer

These platforms do not invest in professional support for freelancers, so workers who choose to sell their services here run the risk of failing to develop new skills. In a rapidly changing world, this can present a challenge to your business over time. Furthermore, freelancers do not net the full fee for their services.

This can dissuade a talented remote administrative assistant from signing up for a platform like Upwork or Fiverr. There are plenty of highly qualified workers who prefer to work on their own, which will necessitate conducting your own search to find them.

Hire a Remote Administrative Assistant on Your Own

For many entrepreneurs, it can seem like a good idea to look for qualified VAs on their own. However, consider the tradeoffs. Finding a good VA requires a lot of time and energy that would be better to devote to your business. Here are a few tasks you will need to do to hire a virtual assistant on your own:

  • Write a job post and publish it on platforms
  • Network and source interested candidates
  • Manage and pre-screen incoming applications
  • Conduct candidate interviews
  • Onboard and train new hires
  • Deal with benefits, days off, and other HR needs

A managed service handles each of these steps, saving you time and money. If you hire through unmanaged platforms, you would benefit from their pre-screening and candidate sourcing processes as well. Of the three options for finding a virtual assistant, conducting your own candidate search may seem like the most cost-effective.

In fact, this approach is the least practical. As a small businessperson, you must consider your time as an investment in your business. So consider carefully whether you’d like to pursue this option before proceeding, as it can end up being more trouble than it’s worth.

How do you make sure your remote administrative assistant delivers quality work on day one?

Once you decide on a method for attracting talent and land on a qualified candidate, how do you ensure that they produce quality work? One of the key factors in a successful virtual assistant relationship is preparation. Managed services provide training, professional development, and support. With the help of the robust support network provided by these businesses, you can ensure that you are working with VAs who are sufficiently prepared to produce quality results from the get-go.

Hire VAs with experience and training in the services you need

No matter what industry you are in, there is a level of professionalism and basic competency that is required to produce quality work. For example, assistants helping with social media management must understand how to use platforms like Facebook and Instagram effectively.

VAs answering phones must also understand proper phone etiquette and protocols for scheduling and customer service. As part of our onboarding, Wing trains VAs in basic services so you don’t have to. Each client is different, but VAs arrive on day one with a basic knowledge of the services you need so they can hit the ground running.

Choose VAs who invest in professional development

Each new hire for your business is an investment. So, it is critical to team up with people and organizations who invest in themselves. In a rapidly changing working environment, it’s more important than ever to undergo continual professional development to build new skills. Upskilling is one of our priorities at Wing.

Upon completion of training, Wing remote administrative assistants join a global team overseen by one of our operations managers. This ensures VAs provide top-notch work. Employees are offered consistent training opportunities in skills like social media management and new software packages. As a managed service with dedicated teams of employees, we can offer these kinds of services that would not be available to a VA who is a solopreneur.

Choose a managed service that provides VAs with support

Unless you are working with a managed platform that can ensure these criteria are being met, there is little chance that your assistant will be able to immediately deliver results to your standards. You won’t have that problem with Wing VAs. For starters, they undergo a rigorous 4-to-6-week training period upon being hired and before interacting with their first client. This provides a strong foundation for professionalism and a consistent level of service.

Wing remote administrative assistants have many resources to help them provide the best service possible. In addition to the support of supervisors, VAs can also consult teammates to ensure continuous professional development.

Avoid hiring fractional or non-dedicated services

For a business struggling to get any help at all, it can be tempting to pursue a piecemeal strategy of hiring a receptionist, a social media specialist, and a data entry professional, for example. This is ill-advised for several reasons.

For starters, it leads to more time spent training three separate individuals on the company’s background and products. It also leads to more overhead because you are paying for the services of three different professionals.

It’s better to contract the help of one VA who is skilled in many different tasks, allowing for a more fluid, comprehensive approach. Wing assistants can provide this comprehensive approach at a fraction of the cost of hiring separate professionals for a variety of VA tasks.

What are the essential skills for a remote administrative assistant?

It’s very cost-effective to work with a managed service that provides VAs with a variety of skills. A dedicated VA service will provide support for many tasks in one bundle. But what are the essential skills a remote assistant should have? The ideal candidate will be able to start as soon as possible and complete many (if not all) of the following tasks with minimal training or oversight. Wing digital assistants provide these services every day to businesses in a variety of industries.

Data entry and recordkeeping

Repetitive, low-impact tasks like data entry are often among the first tasks businesses farm out to VAs. These may seem like minor things you can do yourself; for a while, you might be the best person to handle this. However, accurate data entry and recordkeeping are the foundations of a good business. If you’re doing other tasks, you might find yourself making careless errors. So, it’s important to hire a trained and vetted remote administrative assistant to handle this kind of work.

Basic social media management

Virtual assistants can also manage social media accounts on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. VAs can open accounts, set up profiles, make posts, or manage comments. A robust social media presence is an increasingly important part of a business’s marketing efforts, so this is one area where having some extra help comes in handy.

Inbox and calendar management

Another essential skill for digital assistants is managing incoming and outgoing emails and creating and updating dates on a shared calendar. A busy startup or entrepreneur can benefit greatly from calendar and inbox management. Scheduling meetings and answering emails can take a lot of time. While these tasks are important, they don’t require specific expertise. Contracting a VA to take on these tasks gives full-time staff more bandwidth for developing leads and closing sales.

Making phone calls and leaving messages

VAs can function like virtual receptionists for busy companies. A qualified assistant can answer phones during a given block of time. Having a skilled and trained professional assistant answering the phone builds a good customer experience. It also improves your business’s credibility and allows your dedicated staff to focus on operations.

Basic graphic design

Simple graphic design tasks using programs like Canva are a great task for a virtual assistant. Marketing collateral like basic logos and iconography help give personality to your business in the digital space. At the same time, there are many more critical tasks that full-time staff can complete. That’s why a skilled VA makes a good candidate for this kind of work.

Wing Remote Administrative Assistants—A Valuable Addition to Your Team

Hiring a digital assistant is a big step for your business. It’s a savvy investment and a step toward effective time management. Wing offers remote administrative assistants starting at $799 a month. Our team of managed, trained, and dedicated assistants provides reliable support for many entrepreneurs and small businesses. Set up a call today to find out how we can help your business!

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