Tips for Hiring a Virtual assistant and Remote staff

Virtual Assistant


" Employee turnover could kill a business. Even remote teams, the frequent coming and going of virtual assistants and remote staff decreases productivity and profitability. "


According to Employee Benefits News (2017), employers tend to spend an additional 33 percent for every new hire on top of the allotted annual salary expense. For example, if you pay 45,000 USD for a position and the worker for that just walked away, you'd spend 15000 USD more filling up the post.


Imagine the worst when you face virtual assistants who come and go too often. Your hiring process expense becomes a burden. And that could've been unnecessary if you hired the right person in the first place. 


All the things you wish you knew before you hire someone flashes back. You'll find them there below, along with other employers' hiring tips:




Before Hiring


Tip #1 Don't include tasks where the results of your new hire's work will directly affect the success of your business. 


  1. Write down all your processes and your task in each process.
  2. Choose the tasks that you don't enjoy and will save most of your time.
  3. Don't include tasks that bear an enormous impact on your business. You can do so if you plan to give it to freelancers with years of experience and with proven expertise on that task.


This tip is highly applicable during the new employee's onboarding process, which takes one to three months. As you're still feeling the water with your new hire, you don't want your business to end up screwed just because you found out your new hire is not as efficient as expected. 


Market research is a great example. You would want high-quality leads. Inexperienced virtual assistants might end up giving you a list that has been sold to other entrepreneurs. So, hand this task to experienced ones. Or you postpone this task after the onboarding process and conduct intensive training after.


Tip #2 Plant something unexpected in the job description to filter random applicants. 


Place a random question on your job post, which they must answer in their cover letter. Failure to comply could denote that the applicant is sending massive and random applications. Meaning, he's blasting copy-pasted cover letters and just seeing whoever responds first.


Through this step, you'll measure the applicant's genuine interest in joining your team. Did they apply because the job fits their aspiration? Or, did they send an application just because they saw you're hiring? Some applicants could only be looking for an additional source of income if they're sending out identical cover letters. 


Applicant's interest in joining your team speaks so much of their future commitment and passion for the job. And commitment and passion directly affect their performance.  


Tip #3 Create the correct job post for the task.


You should be clear about the particular task or project you want to outsource to avoid the applicant's confusion. Applicants' mismatch could lead to wasting your time and their time.


General Virtual Assistant

They handle your mundane or repetitive tasks. They're used to doing administrative tasks like contact list management, scheduling of meetings. 

Content Writer

Their responsibilities include research by combining online sources, interviews, and studies or journals. Business people hire them to write valuable resources like blog posts, articles, or copyright to promote a brand. You can also hire one to write an eBook for your lead magnet.

SEO Specialist 

They're adept at different SEO tools that monitor your website performance regarding web visitors' conversion rate to active users. They'll help drive traffic to your website by implementing strategies to make your content rank, like building a solid outbound network, internal linking, and backlinking.

Web Developers

They know different programming languages and should be updating that knowledge every six months since digital trends change drastically. They implement your ideas for website user's flow, design, set up through front end and back end coding. You should hire one who's compliant with W3C or World Wide Web Consortium.

Graphic Designers

They craft excellent visual works that optimize your marketing efforts. They create and edit vectors, stock images, and infographics to communicate your brand better to your target consumers. 


Tip #4 Know the freelancer's salary baseline.


You pay the freelancers, not for their jobs alone. Some of them charge based on their years of learning and practice in executing their roles effectively and efficiently. However, you must also know when too much is too much. 


For full-time job positions:


Job Position

Full-time Rate


550 to 1300 USD


400 to 1100 USD

SEO Specialist 

400 to 1100 USD

Soc. Med. Experts

300 to 600 USD

General Virtual Assistants

350 to 800 USD


Tip #5 Follow a golden rule of paying people.


Treat your freelancers the way you want to be treated. Don't exploit others to achieve your business targets or to expand your operation. Always be fair and reasonable.


For per task, per project, or piece rate, you pay freelancers based on the quantity of their output. So, you must know the following before you can come up with a fair cost estimation:

  • How is the task done?
  • What does it take to finish the task? 
  • How long is it? 


Fair compensation encourages job satisfaction. And if your virtual employee is pocket-filled and happy, you’ll be expecting a long-term and flourishing working relationship with them.


During Hiring


Tip #6 Prepare a scoring spreadsheet. 


Develop selection criteria during an examination, interviews, test projects after thorough job analysis. Decide which skills you need in a candidate. Organize them all on a spreadsheet. A scoring spreadsheet allows you to track the applicant's performance so you can choose the one that fits the job.


Here are some interesting points you can include in the matrix:

  • Cultural Fit
  • Social Skills
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership Capabilities
  • Self-Awareness
  • Attention to Detail
  • Initiative
  • Time Management
  • Customer Service


Tip #7 Conduct a written examination.


Examinations may include the aptitude test, intelligence test, reasoning test, personality test, etc. But, you can always create a list of questions based on your needs and specifications. Only that, put job-related questions. Don't demonstrate any discrimination towards the applicants through the questions. If done otherwise, an offended applicant can file a complaint and forward it to EEOC or other governing agencies based on your country.


Some examples of initial tests that employers are using:


Tip #8 Do a video interview


When you hire a remote virtual assistant or any remote freelancer, never neglect this process. Video interviews allow you to at least examine the candidates' gestures. Look into their eyes. See if they're passionate and excited. In delivering your questions, be easy-going and laid back so candidates can be themselves. Most importantly, make them tell you stories.


Please take note of the answers and put them on the scoring spreadsheet to compare them at the end. The following can be some of your starting questions to set up the mood while still being job-related:


  • What is your internet speed? You can gauge the possible technical challenges while working with them.
  • What part of the Philippines do you live in? You'll have your expectations set whether their place is prone to power interruption. 
  • What is your five-year goal? You'll know whether your job offer runs along with what they want to be. Because If not, they might become less passionate. 


Tip #9 Put the candidates to the test


Conduct trial projects and be 100% clear with your expectations upfront. However, be sure to give a small task. Clarify that it's for screening purposes only, and they're not doing the actual job. 


After that, observe how they perform. Applicant's performance for the trial projects will be a measure for your future working relationship with them. The following aspects should be your non-negotiables:

  1. They submitted on time.
  2. They're responsive to chats and emails. 
  3. They have attention to detail.


Tip #10 Purposely put an incorrect part on the instruction for the test projects and see who corrects it. 


Employers who do this shortlist their applicants from two digits to roughly one. For example, you opt to screen virtual assistant applicants. Make your instruction tricky or lacking. Hand them a wrong file or give them incomplete instructions.


Those who asked to follow up questions or told you upfront what they needed to start the test should acquire plus points. On the other hand, those who just proceeded with the test are questionable.


Although both might turn in almost similar outputs, it's essential to hire those who don't waste their time because they can express what they need to finish the work faster. They also have the potential to suggest points of improvement for your company in the long run. 


Tip #11 Conduct a background check 


Virtual freelancing is in demand now than ever; thus, beware of those that mastered the art of promising the moon and stars but end up giving crappy results. You need to have proof of claims about their expertise and knowledge. 


With that, ask for the applicants':

  • Social media accounts like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram profiles.

These are common platforms that freelancers treat as their online resumes by posting their outputs, build their branding, and establish their authority in their chosen niche. 


  • Character references.

While you can ask these directly from them, you can also find their social media platforms with their job history, client's recommendations, review, or feedback.



After Hiring


Tip #12 Create a work agreement.


Do not commence a job or a project without having both parties sign an Independent Contractor Agreement (ICA) or a work agreement. 


ICA should include:

  • Independent contractor's status
  • Employer's payment obligation
  • Mode of payment
  • Scope of work, responsibilities, deliverables
  • Grounds for termination
  • Confidentiality and non-disclosure


Work agreements or contracts help you eliminate fraud or scammers. Such freelancers are afraid to sign agreements as they might be cooking something in their heads. For example, they might make you believe they agree with your terms now. But later on, they will manipulate you and extend the project to get more profit. 


So with ICAs, both parties will be on the same page throughout the project's duration. If the freelancer deviates from the points of agreement, you have all the right to reprimand and question the freelancer's work efficiency. And finally, you can set legal actions against unfavorable behaviors. This action can be a refund, project termination, or free project revision. 


Tip #13 Make your conversation traceable.


Never agree about the project through an unrecorded call. The best ways to communicate with your freelancer are through chat inside Kemecon's messaging app or recorded audio/ video calling. Treat the conversation as your BACKUP. In case your freelancer abandons the project or asks for more payment, you can say NO!


If such unfavorable circumstances happen, the Kemecon team will help you gather your evidence from your conversation and set legal actions against fraudulent and scammy job seekers. 


Tip #14 Create a well-structured onboarding process.


To achieve a successful onboarding process, you must create a well-structured one. This process requires collaboration between various departments on top of making them feel they're welcome.


Little things like as follows can make a significant impact on the starters' performance:

  • Ask your IT department to provide access to everything they need.
  • Ask your HR department to introduce them to their team, explain work schedules and benefits, and share stories about the company's culture.
  • As the owner, meet your new hire personally.
  • Ensure that the concerned manager orients them about the company's standard operating procedure, workflow, etc. 
  • Assign a work buddy to each of them to act as a bridge to other departments or managers until they're relaxed and fully adapted. 

Even in a remote work setup, new employees need a chance to build rapport with other staff in the organization. It brings a feeling of relief and comfort. With that, they can freely ask questions, suggest, and be open about their work-related struggles.  


Tip #15 Invest in your employees.


Once the starters established themselves in the organization very well. You shall expect that they will try to master their first role then be on the lookout for opportunities to upskill. Failure to see those things can make them feel undervalued. After all, you wouldn’t want them to lose interest because they think their job is repetitive or a routine.


You can ask them about their long-term plans or career aspirations. Inquire about their timeline for their goals. 


Once you get their clear career path, invest in them. Shape your remote staff as the future leaders of your company, especially for those who aspire for senior positions. Help them acquire credentials or knowledge through:

  • Webinars
  • Training
  • Peer to peer learning
  • Online courses


 Photo by Monstera from Pexels


Tip #16 Communicate constantly and clearly with your employees.


It is only natural that you encounter language barrier problems with workers who consider your native language their second. Or where you both communicate in each other's second language.


It would be best if you conveyed your instruction or thought clearly. And if you're dissatisfied with the output, deliver it in ways that are a lot more professional and not embarrassing to avoid hurt feelings. 


  • Use simple words. What matters is that both you and your freelancer are on the same page.
  • Use translation services. You can hire bilingual freelancers like virtual assistants to translate as part of their job.
  • Repeat, rephrase what you say. Ask your virtual assistant or remote staff to repeat the instructions in their own words if necessary, especially if the task is crucial. 
  • Observe your words in written communication. It is not the same with verbal communication that you can use facial expressions and hand gestures to deliver your messages right.
  • Communicate and set expectations constantly. Set a schedule to meet up with your team, ask for updates. If a project failed, ask what went wrong. If otherwise, make them share their best practices. 


Constant and clear communication increases your employees' productivity, morale, and commitment.


Tip #17 Keep your employees involved.


Keeping your employees involved increases their loyalty. Employees who have spent years working with you have achieved a high level of knowledge about your company's processes and tactics. They're your company's knowledge-holders; thus, their suggestions or recommendations are constructive for the company.

You should ensure good employees have opportunities to advance their careers. It might mean managerial roles or an individual contributor role. 


Here are the four things you shouldn't forget in this stage:

  • Create projects and assign them to them. New projects bring new challenges because doing so breaks the cycle of boring and monotonous work.
  • Implement incentive programs. Incentives push employees to work harder. They will try to increase productivity because of this. 
  • Ask for their input. This act taps into employees' God-given intelligence and creativity. Never assume that you know what they're thinking. 
  • Trust them. Trust is the glue to your company. It keeps you and your company together. 


Tip #18 Design an exit process. 


Learn why your people are leaving. Usually, companies conduct exit interviews when an employee leaves. However, this isn't the best option all the time. It might create issues and chaos within the organization as these interviews aren't anonymous.


Also, when an employee moves on with a negative or hurt feeling. You might have difficulty collecting feedback, especially if the departing employees are already mentally checked out. 


What you should do is conduct a regular survey of your employees. Gather insights about the employees' working relationship quarterly or semi-annually. You'll know the changes in your employees' engagement or attitude towards their work. So, when someone decides to leave, you'll have an idea of what's going on at their end. 



Job seekers undergo specific identity and legitimacy checks during their registration process on Kemecon. Also, Kemecon showcases freelancers' ratings and reviews. 


Background checks and other HR processes are already done for you, so there's no need to go through all the screening hustle.


Do you want to connect to trustworthy virtual workforce professionals now?