(Written by Conrad Ko, Edited by Margaret Jarvis)
As mentioned before, hiring Virtual Assistants is a good solution for entrepreneurs with a tight budget who are trying to expand their business. However, hiring a Virtual Assistant online poses some challenges. Since there are a lot of Virtual Assistants out there and not enough jobs flowing around, Virtual Assistants will try their best in looking for jobs. Sometimes they will try to stretch their abilities and advertise beyond their competencies. That’s a big problem for employers, since they expect the Virtual Assistants to be competent in the relevant task. Problems as simple as a typo or as fatal as misreading instructions can lead to catastrophic consequences.
Virtual Assistants will usually over state their
- Languages Abilities (They will pretend to be native English users, in reality they are far from it)
- Computer Skills (They will pretend to have the best exam
Let me give you an example – a few days ago I was hiring someone on Odesk (www.odesk.com) for a data entry job. This bloke from Bangladesh applied; obviously my reaction was WTF how does a Bengali speak Chinese? So I gave him a little test, I ask him to translate “My mum marry my dad because his grandpa was handsome and rich.” This is obviously an easy job for any Chinese speaker, but this bloke speaks no Chinese and tried to pretend by using Google translate. This happens more often than you would think.
To prevent these problems from happening, I suggest you
• Implement a job-related test or a quiz to test his competencies; its better to test out the Virtual Assistant’s abilities before hiring. This also screens out Virtual Assistants with a poor work ethic who don’t go the extra mile.
• Talk to the Virtual Assistants, give them some practical scenarios you expect to face and ask them for suggestions on how to improve the model. I have experienced some highly technical Virtual Assistants who provided me with helpful recommendations and asked me for directions when they faced problems.