Let’s be real: Hiring is hard. It’s challenging enough to recruit and hire team members who will be working with you in person, but hiring virtual team members adds another layer of complexity to the task.
Of course, just because something is challenging doesn’t mean we should avoid it, and assembling a top-notch virtual team is a game-changer for most solopreneurs! The key is to understand both best practices and pitfalls as you interview and hire.
So long as you’re informed and flexible, you’ll navigate the hiring process like a pro.
Over the years, I’ve identified key 3 mistakes that many entrepreneurs make when searching for new team members. Keep these in mind as you start to recruit for your own virtual dream team.
Hiring Mistake 1: Lack of Clarity
Problem: You have NO idea what you need from a particular position or team member.
You aren’t clear on the tasks or projects this person should handle, which can create misalignment. (Meaning you hire someone who is amazing at writing and SEO, but actually need someone who can do light coding and troubleshooting.)
If you, as the business owner, don’t know what you need, there is absolutely zero chance that your applicants can give it to you!
Solution: Before you begin to write a job description or assemble your “we’re hiring” page, brain-dump the tasks you need covered. Then reverse-engineer the job description based on your needs.
If the position you end up describing sounds like a Frankenstein’s monster—covering everything from scheduling clients to redesigning your logo—consider splitting the work into multiple positions.
You will have an easier time finding great contractors if you hire based on skill sets that group together naturally.
Hiring Mistake 2: Misunderstanding Required Skills
Problem: You don’t understand the skills required to fulfill and complete assignments. You write a job description using incorrect assumptions, and end up hiring someone who has the skills you listed, but can’t actually do the WORK you need done!
Solution: Before signing a contract with a potential new hire, send them a test project or a solution-driven question.
This is a fantastic way to find out if you’ve correctly described the competencies you need for this position AND make sure the freelancer’s work is up to snuff!
If a test project won’t work, try proposing a hypothetical situation and asking how they would handle it. Not quite as in-depth, but still provides some helpful clarity.
Hiring Mistake 3: Failure to Communicate
Problem: This issue doesn’t always pop up during the hiring process, but will become a problem very quickly after a new hire is made.
Many entrepreneurs just plain forget to communicate with their contractors. Autonomy is great, but if you want them to “buy-in” to your mission, you’ve got to build rapport.
You can’t have a working relationship with someone if there’s no give-and-take.
Solution: Ask questions! Get to know them during virtual meetings, or in your business’s Slack channel. Keep them in the loop about upcoming projects that may affect their workload, but also mention tangential business news.
Make them feel important and included, or this new relationship may end before it’s even gotten started.
BONUS Hiring Mistake: Penny-pinching!
It’s so easy to be led by money in your hiring decisions, but try to remember that quality is worth paying for. Sure, we all need to stick to our budgets, but cheaper work often comes with a heftier (and hidden) price tag.
Think long completion times, lack of attention to detail, having to re-do shoddy work, ironing-out relationships that inexperienced contractors have soured.
You can certainly invest some time in training a cheaper and less experienced contractor, but make sure that’s a route you want to take. In many cases, entrepreneurs need someone who can get a bit of training and a set of SOPs, and start cranking out amazing work.
If that’s your situation, hire an experienced team member, even if it costs a bit more to do so.
Outsourcing some of the work that keeps your business humming can feel risky at first, but once you’ve got a kick-butt team supporting you I PROMISE you’ll never want to fly solo again.
If you avoid these three mistakes during your hiring process, you’ll have a shot at finding stellar contractors!
PS. If you want to make interviewing your next virtual assistant a breeze, click here to download my 25 interview questions to ask a virtual assistant.