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Hiring During A Labor Shortage? A Guide For Managers Who Need The Best Virtual Assistants

Written by: Sandra Lewis

As an operational manager, you have to deliver.

Whether it’s clients or stakeholders making demands, it doesn’t really matter. The expectation is there, and saying that you don’t have enough people to get the work done won’t cut it.

Unfortunately, HR isn’t giving you the news you want to hear. They’re telling you about the biggest talent shortage in 17 years. They’re telling you about the time and cost it takes to hire.

What are your options? If you can’t hire, you can’t deliver.

The good news is that there are ways to find great talent, even during a labor shortage. The even better news is that there’s a shortcut to getting that talent quickly.

How To Hire During A Labor Shortage

There are two crucial concepts to understand when trying to hire during a labor shortage.

Always be recruiting.

It’s hard to forget Alec Baldwin’s brash “Glengarry Glen Ross” character, who admonished his sales staff to “always be closing.”

During a labor and talent shortage, it’s important to always be recruiting.

You’re not hiring only when you’re hiring. You’re always hiring. 

You should be on the lookout for the person who’s the best fit, wherever you come across them. You should always be thinking about the kind of people you want on your team, and when you spot them you recruit.

Consider remote workers.

Change how you view your workforce. It might need to go virtual.

The last thing you want to do during a labor shortage is limit yourself to a geographical area. By embracing remote workers, your hiring pool goes from a handful of people to limitless.

This is the perfect time to make the move to using virtual assistants. 

Tips For Hiring The Best Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants are more than just someone who does basic office work; they can do nearly everything you could possibly need help with that can be done remotely. It’s one of those positions where the right person makes your work life incredibly easy, fulfilled, and much less stressful. 

Get it wrong, and it can be extremely frustrating.

This is because a virtual assistant is a high-trust position. Not only do you have to trust them to do the work, but you also have to trust them in handling your email, finances, and clients. When you have the best virtual assistant possible, everything works smoothly.

So how do you hire the best virtual assistant?

Do the pre-hiring prep work.

You don’t dive into hiring without doing a little prep work first.

That means you start by creating a game plan and listing what you expect of your virtual assistant. You can’t possibly know if you have the right person if you don’t know what you’ll expect them to do.

  • What do you need help with? 
  • What tasks should be reassigned from you to a virtual assistant?
  • What skills do you expect them to have? 
  • What hours and budget are you working within?

Sometimes we know what we want, but just assume that others know the list of expectations. Write it all out so it’s clear to everyone. Unspoken assumptions don’t translate well after someone is hired.

Don’t hire on your own.

If you’re a solo entrepreneur, you don’t have a lot of options. The hiring falls to you.

But if your company has another manager or partner, getting feedback during the hiring process is a good idea. What you miss, another will pick up on. Your interpretation of the potential hire may differ from someone else’s. A second person may think of interview questions that never crossed your mind. 

If you can get someone else’s help, do it.

Keep the seven C’s in mind. 

Great employees all have certain qualities in common, and they are, according to Forbes, the seven C’s. If your new hires check these seven boxes, you’ll be in good shape.

  1. Competent. Do they have the skills and experience necessary?
  2. Capable. Are they creative and able to think on their feet, or do you have to micromanage them to make sure everything gets done?
  3. Compatible. Are they a good personality fit for you and other team members?
  4. Commitment. Are they intending to stay with you for a long time, or only until something better comes along?
  5. Character. Do their values fit your organization? Are they trustworthy?
  6. Culture. Are they a good fit for the culture of your organization?
  7. Compensation. Are they satisfied with what you are offering to pay them?

If you answered no to any of these questions, proceed with caution.

Understand what makes the best virtual assistant.

Even with the seven C’s in mind, every job is unique. Virtual assistants are no different; they require skills and experience that differs from the assistant working in your office. Virtual work has a few prerequisites.

For starters, the best virtual assistant is going to be a highly motivated person. 

They aren’t going to be in the office with the productivity prompts of co-workers, break times, in-person meetings, and managers walking by. They have to be self-motivated to get the work done with no one but themselves to prod them.

That kind of motivation leads to them being one step ahead of you. They know what you’ll need before you even ask.

And finally, as mentioned earlier, there is a serious trust component. 

You are trusting your virtual assistant with some of the most important tasks, all while they are not even in your office. While trust is difficult to measure from interview questions, you can find it in their previous experience. Look for longevity in past employment, talk to listed references, and consider the level of trust their previous positions placed them in.

How To Speed Up The Hiring Process

When we say that you can take a three month hiring process and turn it into three days, you might laugh. Nothing about hiring a great team can be done that quickly, right?

One reason people put off hiring a virtual assistant is that the hiring process fills them with anxiety and dread. It’s easier to attempt to manage an overwhelming workload than to pause and find the perfect person to help you.

We’re serious, though. There’s a much easier way, and it comes down to this: remote staff that are ready to get started.

What we mean is that the best virtual assistant is already waiting for you, because we’ve hired them. 

At Boldly, we set up the criteria for who we’d bring onto our team (nothing but the best). We vetted the candidates. We did the interviews. We made sure they had the right experience, skills, and qualities. We created a system to make sure their unique personality and work style would be matched correctly. We handled the onboarding and payroll issues, since they are our employees. Plus, we maintain a healthy virtual company culture.

We did all that, so you don’t have to.

And, because we offer subscription staffing, we have top-shelf talent available for any size organization and for any size budget.

There’s no excuse to not deliver when you can have Fortune-500 quality talent on your team in just a matter of days. All it takes is a simple conversation with us, and we’ll match you with the best virtual assistant you never realized you could have.

Topic: Remote Staffing

Updated on October 12th, 2023

About the author: Sandra Lewis is the Founder and CEO of Boldly. She's passionate about helping Businesses, Organizations and Executives increase productivity and move their work forward with the right skills and resources. Setting an example of the efficiencies gained working remotely, she’s been leading her entire team on a virtual basis for the past decade.