Building and working with a virtual team is fantastic. I boast about mine all.the.time.
But that doesn’t mean that finding and hiring my team members was a breeze, or that I found my ideal VAs, writers, and designers right out of the gate!
Building a stellar team can be tricky, and I’ve had my fair share of hiring disasters.
But I still believe that most online entrepreneurs can and should assemble virtual teams to support their businesses, and I’m more than happy to share my insights so YOU can learn from MY mistakes!
I also want to point out that hiring is tricky even for seasoned veterans, and making a less-than-perfect hire is nothing to be ashamed of.
Sometimes hiring is a bad decision, but you don’t realize it until after the fact.
Sometimes it creates more work instead of taking work off your plate.
Sometimes it’s just a bad call.
We’ve all hit these snags on the road towards building our dream teams. I want to help you fast-forward through that stretch of bumpy road and start making smart hires today.
So with that in mind, here are my 4 strategies for hiring the best possible team members for your online business.
Hire Perfect Team Members by Planning Ahead
Start by writing a standard operating procedure (SOP) for your hiring process.
If you’ve been working by yourself for ages, this may sound loony… but believe me, it will serve you well!
You’ll need to know exactly what you’re looking for in a new team member before you begin searching, so your first SOP entry should be a list of questions designed to focus your efforts.
Make sure this list forces you to articulate what an ideal candidate must be able to do, as well as a few nice-to-haves.
Then add checklists and procedures for aspects of the search-and-hire process such as asking for referrals from colleagues, writing an interview script, and creating a test project for applicants to tackle.
By the time you are ready to begin searching in earnest, you’ll have your interview script created, know exactly what you want, what you are willing to compromise on, and what is non-negotiable.
Hire Perfect Team Members by Taking Your Time
Timing is everything: You should never, EVER hire when your hair is on fire and you’re juggling 95 massive deadlines.
You should hire because you have goals for the future that you can’t realize on your own.
It may be tough to forego hiring team members when you’re in a crunch—especially since getting help would make the crunch feel less … crunchy!—but believe me, any hires you make in full-blown panic mode will be mistakes.
Instead, plan for your hires when you make your quarterly or annual business plans.
Give yourself the time to hire with a clear head and you’ll have a much better shot at hiring a perfect-fit assistant, writer, or social media manager.
Hire Perfect Team Members by Insisting on an Audition
Never skip the trial period: Have potential hires execute a project that will be core to their responsibilities as a permanent team member, and judge their performance before busting out the contracts.
Someone who seems ideal in interviews may just be able to talk a good game! Put their work and skills to the test before bringing them onto your team.
Two quick sub-tips for this tip: offer to pay for the audition.
You don’t have to shell out a massive amount of money for this project, but you also shouldn’t expect anyone to work for free!
And if any applicants are offended or simply refuse to do a trial project, wish them good luck and send them on their way.
Skipping this step in the hiring process can lead to disaster.
Hire Perfect Team Members by Training Them Properly
Every job has a learning curve, and just because you know your own processes inside and out doesn’t mean a brand new hire will understand them right away.
Taking the time to thoroughly train your new team members equips them to work harder and more efficiently on your behalf. And that’s a very, very good thing.
So set aside time for onboarding: Give your new team member clear instructions and expectations, plenty of checklists and training materials, and enough time to get up to speed.
If you skimp on training, you’re setting up new hires for failure.
Listen, I’m not saying that these 4 steps are guaranteed to save you from bad hires forever.
But I can promise you that following them will help you weed out some bad fits, feel more sure of the hires you DO make, and give your new team members a great shot at success.
Whether you’re hiring a virtual assistant or graphic designer, ghostwriter, or marketing maven, these 4 strategies will enable you to make smart hires as you build up your virtual team.
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.