10 Easy Steps to Successfully Finding A Virtual Assistant
Updated September 30, 2022.
Working with someone remotely can be scary. However, contratcing with a property management virtual assistant is very similar to hiring an employee. The (obvious) main difference is that the virtual assistant will be working remotely instead of in your offices. "Remote" or virtual could even be in another city or another country—but there's no need to fear the "virtual" aspect of a team member when you find the best talent for the role.
How can property managers find virtual assistants successfully? We've put together ten easy steps to finding a virtual assistant.
Step 1. Define the Job Role
Whenever you fill a new role, you must have that role completely defined—no matter if it's an in-person employee or virtual assistant. If you are unsure what the job requirements and responsibilities are, it won't be easy to bring on the right person regardless of where they work.
The more defined and the better understanding your vision is for the role, the easier it is to find an excellent match to fill the position. When thinking through the job description, consider things like:
What are the software skills required?
Can the candidate have basic computer skills with the flexibility to learn the specific software required for the job?
Do you need a power user who already has experience in the required software?
Remember: being generic or vague about the role and requirements won't deliver more qualified property management virtual assistant applicants. Include the exact responsibilities needed to perform the work to ensure you have more VA applicants to choose from with the right skills to do the job well.
Step 2. Match the Job Role With a Personality Profile
If you've read the book, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, you'll recognize this concept. He coined the idea that it's essential to get the right person on the bus (add team members based on your core values) and put them in the right seat (put the new team member in the job that matches their personality) for best success when building an excellent team. One of the best ways to do that is to understand how personality types match different roles within your business.
Many companies use a personality profile to analyze the best personality type for each role within their business. There are many personality profile programs available, and we highly recommend putting one to good use when building your property management team! Use a personality assessment to highlight the best traits for the job. Do you need a detail-oriented person who is comfortable working behind the scenes in their virtual role, or will an extrovert with a bigger personality be the right fit for a client-facing VA position? You can also analyze personality to determine if a potential team member will be a good fit for your company's culture.
When you build the job role, match each job responsibility with the type of personality trait needed to be successful. You'll notice that one or two personality traits dominate the role. Look for VAs that match those personality traits when analyzing the best fit for the job!
Step 3. Determine the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) For the Role
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measurable values that determine how effectively a team member performs their job. Every role in your company should have KPIs and a way to track performance against expectations. When contracting with a property management virtual assistant, know the KPIs for the role before completing the new team member.
Follow these guidelines when creating and reviewing performance indicators for your team members:
Less is more. Each team member or role should have between one and three KPIs. If everything is important, nothing is important.
They must be measurable. Vague or unclear metrics aren't helpful and can be frustrating for you and your VA. Metrics must be well-defined, measurable, and easy to report. If you can't get the data from a report or easily through manual manipulation, it's not a good KPI.
Establish the frequency. Determine how often you'll review KPIs. In most cases, you want to review KPIs in weekly meetings with your property management virtual assistants.
Take Action. If a team member doesn't hit a KPI, take corrective action to solve the challenge. Don't ask "why" they didn't hit the mark. Instead, ask, "what can we do next time" to hit the KPI and request their thoughts about how they can do better. Have your VA give an update on each KPI—whether the metric was met or not.
Change KPIs (if needed). KPIs can become outdated. If you measure a specific metric that is no longer a challenge in your organization or has been optimized, replace the "met" KPI with another or change the desired result.
KPIs aren't intended to target failure. Effective performance indicators help a property management virtual assistant understand the benchmarks you require for success and help them (and you) monitor progress toward incremental goals. The best VAs understand metrics and how they help employers analyze their work and build confidence in their abilities as a remote worker.
Step 4. Find Candidates By Posting the Job
With a clear job description and metrics in hand, it's time to find applicants! Gain access to excellent property management virtual assistant candidates by utilizing an online placement platform like VPM Solutions. Choose a platform that allows you to create a free profile and browse freelancer profiles.
After you create a job listing, qualified virtual assistants will apply to your job. When using Virtual PM Solutions, our TalentMatch algorithm will match ideal candidates to your listing to help expedite the search for your ideal VA. When you receive a match, invite those candidates to apply to your job!
Step 5. Have Property Management Virtual Candidates Complete a Personality Test
Remember the personality traits you defined as the ideal characteristics of an employee in a specific role? Now you need to determine if the property management virtual assistant candidate’s personality traits match those of the job role tasks. While you don't want to use a personality profile as the sole factor to determine if you will choose the candidate, it should be one of the factors used, along with education requirements, experience, and work history.
Step 6. Administer an English Test
For U.S.-based employers or companies that use English as the primary language for communication, English proficiency can be a concern when selecting anyone who works for you while living in another country. It's critical to make sure that the candidate has enough proficiency in reading, writing, understanding, and speaking English to work well with your team members and clients.
Some jobs require less proficiency than other job roles. For example, basic data entry does not require the same level of writing or speaking English as someone who communicates daily with clients. However, a basic functional level of English should be a core competency for an ideal virtual contractor.
Step 7. Run An Internet Speed Test With the Candidate
Because these independent contractors work from home or in areas outside of your office space, it's a good idea to have them run an Internet speed test. For candidates outside of the United States, confirming that they have a good connection to the internet is crucial since all of their work will be performed over the Internet. This is especially important for VAs who will utilize video calls, share large files, and need to deliver prompt responses to team members, clients, or tenants.
Step 8. Meet With Candidates
When virtually meeting a property management virtual assistant for the first time, most of your initial meeting questions can be similar to when you are interviewing an in-person team member. Remember: virtual contractors are real people! They should understand your business, be capable of doing the job, and fit well with your full team and company culture.
During the video conversation:
Tell them a little bit about the company (include what the company does, the history, the vision, and core values)
Discuss the role, responsibilities, and the key performance indicators
Ask them to tell you about who they are and why they want to work for a property management company in the U.S. (if the candidate is based outside of the country)
You can also ask a candidate why they decided to become a virtual assistant in the real estate industry and what made them choose to apply for the job you listed. Talk about any challenges they might have had communicating with a prior manager and walk through the best methods of communication for the role on the table.
Learn as much as possible about a candidate (without violating any privacy laws) during the virtual meeting. When you've found the VAs that are the best fits for the role, make some offers!
Step 9. Run a Background Check
Even when potential virtual assistants seem like an excellent fit on paper and after the meeting, it's always good practice to always run a background check. As a business owner, you have probably heard this mantra: “Hire slow and fire fast.” By taking the time to run a background check, you eliminate potential doubts about the quality and history of your potential property management virtual assistant. You also save yourself from a potentially disastrous virtual team member who could cause costly problems for your business or clients.
Any real estate virtual team member who will have access to sensitive data, like banking information or social security numbers, shouldn't become your virtual assistant without a criminal background check.
Step 10. Choose Your New Virtual Assistant!
Based on the personality profile, initial conversations, property management experience, and background check results, determine which candidate is the ideal fit and make an offer! Determine the start date and the hourly rate, then send an offer letter. Once accepted, inform other candidates that you have decided on another VA and close the job listing.
VPM Solutions Make These Steps Easy!
Ready to get started? Virtual PM Solutions makes it easy to tackle these steps for finding a virtual assistant for a property management virtual role. From listing your job to reviewing profiles, talking with candidates, negotiating rates, and making an offer, our platform is a one-stop shop for property managers looking for skilled independent contractors to grow their teams. Get started today by setting up your free company profile!