The desire to duplicate yourself coupled with a wish to add more hours to a day are clear signs you need a personal assistant (PA). When it comes to hiring someone to become your right hand, the selection seems complicated.
Once you determine your needs and set a budget, it’s time to initiate the hiring process. To avoid lengthy interviews, complex onboarding, and high turnover, it’s vital to invest time and effort in the initial selection process.
You can take advantage of several hiring options. Learning all the pros and cons can help you choose the right one for your goals.
1. GET PAIRED UP WITH THE RIGHT PA FROM A MANAGED SERVICE
By deciding to hire a personal assistant, you are realizing the need to delegate your tasks. Working with a managed service is taking it a step further.
Managed service providers focus on building a team of PAs to cater to the needs of various clients. When you sign a contract, you are paired up with a PA, who suits your needs the best. If for some reason you are unhappy with the pairing, the company selects another candidate immediately.
Managed service providers aim at satisfying the requirements of all types of clients, from solopreneurs to high-level executives. They generally have flexible payment plans.
PROS OF USING A MANAGED SERVICE TO HIRE A PA
- Access to a big team of experts — you don’t need to search for numerous candidates and work toward narrowing down your choices. A managed service provider does the job for you. You get access to a team of experts most suitable for your needs and receive valuable advice about which one to pair with.
- Cutting costs — hiring a new employee, going through the onboarding process, paying salary and benefits is costly. If you don’t hit it off, you are in for a new round of expenses. With managed services, you generally pay a flat monthly fee and get a replacement without incurring extra charges.
- Eliminating HR issues — with managed services, annual leaves, pension contributions, sick pays, bonus payments, and similar matters aren’t your concern.
- Scalability — in case you need to hire a second (third, fourth) personal assistant, you don’t need to go through the recruitment process all over again.
- Training — training a personal assistant (especially remotely) can be challenging. A managed service provider can assist with the task.
- Continuity — one of the worst things you can face with a top-notch PA is losing them to another employer. Some PAs tend to leave after gaining sufficient experience in search of higher pay. Managed service providers generally offer excellent benefits and incentives to the team, keeping it onboard for years.
CONS OF USING A MANAGED SERVICE TO HIRE A PA
- You can only choose from a limited pool of candidates
- You may be limited to virtual assistance (which is not always a disadvantage)
ARE MANAGED SERVICES RIGHT FOR YOU?
Hiring a PA through managed services is a smart solution for:
- People who don’t have time to narrow down employee choices.
- Solopreneurs with budget limitations.
- Managers who need round-the-clock assistance.
- Entrepreneurs with plans for company growth and expansion.
2. GET A REFERRAL FROM A FRIEND
92% of people trust what their friends recommend over any other types of referrals.
Since personal assistants get access to sensitive information, their trustworthiness is vital. People you trust recommending people they trust is a close-to-perfect combination.
It’s worth noting that getting a referral from a friend, acquaintance or coworker is not the final stage in PA selection. You would still need to conduct an interview, check other referrals, confirm experience, go through the probationary period, etc.
PROS WORD-OF-MOUTH REFERRALS
- Information — you can get all the information about the employee from the referring party. It’s easy and convenient to ask as many questions as you wish.
- Speed — you are highly likely to end up hiring a PA with stellar recommendations from a friend, reducing the talent search time. It takes about 29 days to hire a referred candidate as opposed to 39 days through a job posting and 55 days through a career website.
- Better candidates — when people offer referrals, they put their reputation on the line. Accordingly, they are highly unlikely to recommend a poor candidate.
- Low costs — unlike working with a recruiter, asking for recommendations doesn’t cost you anything.
CONS OF WORD-OF-MOUTH REFERRALS
- It may be tough to find friends and acquaintances who have a PA to recommend.
- What works for your friends may not work for you.
- You are responsible for paying salaries and benefits.
- If you are unhappy with the recommended PA, you would need to start the search from scratch.
ARE FRIEND REFERRALS RIGHT FOR YOU?
Taking advantage of friend referrals are a good idea for people who:
- Have a wide network of friends, acquaintances, and co-workers.
- Need an assistant ASAP.
- Have limited time and budget for the employee search.
- Want access to high-quality candidates.
- Overall, word-of-mouth PA referrals are an excellent choice for any entrepreneur. Unfortunately, such referrals are rare.
3. HUNT ON GIG WEBSITES
Many freelance personal assistants post their profiles on gig websites like Freelancer, Upwork, and Fiverr. Through a gig website, you can hire an independent contractor to perform individual tasks or assignments.
PROS OF GIG WEBSITES
- No benefits or taxes — you don’t need to pay benefits to freelance contractors or worry about taxes. You only pay an agreed amount per project and a fee to the website
- Low costs — contractors who choose to work with gig websites are generally ready for low rates. You can save a significant amount of money compared to other PA hiring methods.
- Wide selection — you get access to a huge pool of candidates with various levels of experience.
- Low financial risk — generally, you pay freelancers when the work is done so if you are unhappy with the collaboration, you just move on to the next candidate.
- Easy hiring process — gig websites make hiring easy. Usually, it’s done in a couple of clicks.
CONS OF GIG WEBSITES
- High commissions for using the service, payment-processing fees.
- A sizable pool of low-quality candidates.
- It’s tough to build a long-term relationship with a freelancer, who is used to short-term contracts. These people usually value their freedom and work flexibility.
- Freelancer PAs may not be dedicating their entire time to your project. These workers usually have several gigs going.
- It’s hard to properly train and onboard a freelancer.
ARE GIG SITES RIGHT FOR YOU?
Gig websites are hardly for everyone. It could be the right solution if:
- You are looking for a short-term contract with a PA.
- You have a highly limited budget.
- You are looking for an offshore PA.
4. HIRE A PA DIRECTLY FROM YOUR TEAM
Sometimes, you don’t have to look beyond your office to hire a perfect PA. It’s possible to find one among your team members. By looking closely, you may realize that one of your employees has excellent qualifications for becoming your personal assistant. According to LinkedIn data, role changes within organizations went up by 10% over the last five years.
Internal recruiting is highly beneficial for the employer. You are likely to pay 18% less to an internal candidate than you are to an external hire.
PROS OF HIRING A PA FROM YOUR TEAM
- Low training costs — if a PA is already a part of your team, they know your needs and requirements. It may be easier to find and hire an expert to replace this person on the marketing team than onboard an external PA.
- Low additional expenses — you are already paying this person a salary.
- Trust — you already know everything you can about the employee while they know everything about the company. The necessary trust is already established.
- Time — the internal recruiting process is as quick as signing a couple of documents.
- Low risk — since you already know the candidate, there is little risk of hiring the wrong person.
CONS OF HIRING A PA FROM YOUR TEAM
- It may cost you more to replace the employee in their current department than you save on the internal promotion.
- Internal promotions could cause internal conflicts.
- You are limiting your options to a couple of candidates.
- You are losing a chance of gaining a fresh perspective from an external candidate.
IS HIRING A PA FROM THE EXISTING TEAM RIGHT FOR YOU?
Internal recruiting can be complicated. It may be right for you if:
- You already have an internal candidate in mind.
- Your industry is so specific that training an external candidate could be too time-consuming and costly.
- You are pressed for time.
5. WORK WITH AN OFFSHORE OUTSOURCING COMPANY
When hiring a virtual assistant, some people turn to offshore outsourcing companies. These recruiters find high-quality candidates from other countries and help you hire them.
PROS OF WORKING WITH AN OFFSHORE OUTSOURCING COMPANY
- Lower cost — the key benefit of using an offshore company to find a PA is paying less. Labor costs in the majority of other countries are lower than in the U.S. It’s possible to find a PA who is ready to work for pennies.
- 24/7 assistance — offshore PAs that work from other time zones could get the job done while you are sleeping.
- Talent pool — while it’s hard, it’s not impossible to find a top-notch assistant offshore. If you hit the jackpot, you could be collaborating with a stellar PA for a fraction of the salary you would pay a U.S. candidate.
CONS OF WORKING WITH AN OFFSHORE OUTSOURCING COMPANY
- You may face language barriers.
- Time differences may be an issue for personal assistants.
- It’s hard to train and onboard offshore workers.
- Quality control with offshore companies and employees often suffers.
IS WORKING WITH AN OFFSHORE OUTSOURCING COMPANY RIGHT FOR YOU?
This option may be a good choice for:
- Entrepreneurs with a low budget.
- People searching for a PA to execute simple tasks.
If you are ready to hire a personal assistant, you have many choices. Depending on your budget, needs, and goals, you can use one or several of the above options.
At Zirtual, we have decades of experience finding top-notch personal assistants for our clients. If you’d like to get quick access to a large team of experts with extensive experience and stellar referrals, don’t hesitate to contact us at any convenient time.