Now that you’ve clearly defined the job description and decided which type of employment arrangement is best for you, you’ll need to find someone to hire.
This, in my opinion, is the most nerve-wracking thing about having an assistant. What if you hire the wrong person? What if they don’t follow your instructions, or can’t ever seem to meet deadlines? What if they aren’t honest?
It can be very scary to be hiring help for your blog, but you can alleviate some of those fears by being thorough in your hiring process. Here’s some things to think about as you get started actually hiring an assistant:
Who To Hire
You can either hire someone you know, or a complete stranger. Brilliant thought, I know! There are pros and cons to each: if you hire someone you know, you already at least somewhat know what you’re getting into. It’s nice to know their personality outside of an interview situation, and you may already be familiar with how they interact with others.
Then again, if it doesn’t work out, it can be awkward to fire someone you know, or to tell them they need to step up their game.
If you hire a complete stranger, you at least won’t have the awkwardness than can come from being the boss to a friend, but you are venturing a bit into the unknown as well.
If you’re hiring a virtual assistant service, I might ask for references from their clients. Don’t be afraid to email those clients and ask them about their experience with the virtual assistant!
Don’t forget to check places like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc., for information on your prospective assistant. I wouldn’t request that they be your friend on Facebook, but you can often see certain parts of their profile that might give you clues as to whether or not they are the type of person you’re looking for.
The Application Process
Either way, be thorough in your application process: create an employment application and have each person you might be interested in hiring complete it, even if you already know them. I personally prefer asking open-ended questions on the application, rather than asking for information about their education background or criminal record.
The purpose of open-ended questions is partly just to get them write. If they’re going to be writing for you, whether it be blog posts or emails, you want to be able to see their writing style, make sure they can communicate clearly, and that they have good grammar and punctuation.
I’ve asked questions like, “Tell me about a recent deal you’ve found”, “What types of blogs do you enjoy reading and why?”, and “What has been your favorite and least favorite job and why?”.
A resume may not be a necessity, but on the application, I would ask them to include any relevant work experience. Make sure to also ask for any places you can see their work online, such as a personal blog.
You may want to do a trial run with any prospective assistants, just to make sure they are the right person for the job. This should be a paid trial, as you don’t want to take advantage of someone and get some free work out of the deal. Whether or not you do a trial run is up to you – it may be more of a pain to set up than it’s worth, but it may also prevent future headache.
Once you’re ready to hire the assistant, send them a job offer that details the job description, the hours you expect them to work, and the rate and method of pay.
When they accept, you’ll want to have them sign a few important documents, which is what we’ll be covering in the next post in the How To Hire An Assistant Series.
Carrie Isaac is definitely not an accountant or attorney, and doesn’t even pretend to play one online! She’s sharing from her personal experience with her business, Colorado Bargains LLC. Find her (and her assistants) blogging at Denver Bargains and Colorado Springs Bargains!