Looking to hire a virtual employee?
With tons of companies looking to quickly expand their operations, virtual employees are becoming incredibly popular. Hiring virtual employees can help them expand their staff, cut costs and even provide 24×7 customer support!
But how do you hire one?
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know to hire the perfect virtual employee.
This article contains:
(Use the links below to jump to a specific section)
- What Is A Virtual Employee?
- How To Hire A Virtual Employee (Step-by-Step Guide)
- Three Tips To Hire The Best Virtual Employees
- Top 3 Virtual Staffing Companies
Let’s get started.
What Is A Virtual Employee?
A virtual employee, also known as a remote employee, is someone you hire online to provide a service to you or your company remotely. You can hire them to do pretty much anything: develop software, create digital marketing campaigns and even become your permanent virtual assistant.
How do they differ from virtual freelancers?
As virtual freelancers aren’t tied to any company, they can work for multiple clients at the same time. They’re also often paid on an hourly or project-wise basis.
Virtual employees, however, work for a single employer. They basically function as regular employees with fixed salaries. They’re just not in the same office as you!
With virtual employees, you can:
A. Lower your costs
As virtual employees work from their homes and other remote locations, you save on in-office costs like rent, internet, desks, parking, etc. This allows you to scale up your workforce at a fraction of the cost!
B. Provide services around the clock
As you can hire virtual employees from all over the globe, you can take advantage of time differences to work on projects around the clock. This is especially helpful for customer support teams as you can provide a 24×7 service without overworking anyone.
C. Get a more diverse staff
With access to people all over the world, hiring a remote employee will give you access to people from different backgrounds and cultures. This will not only boost your brand’s global reputation but also give you more perspectives to boost creativity.
How To Hire A Virtual Employee (Step-by-Step Guide)
Hiring a virtual employee doesn’t have to be hard.
Here’s exactly what you need to do:
1. Identify Your Needs
The first step in hiring a virtual employee is determining what you need.
Do you need help handling customers?
Then you know you need to hire virtual customer service executives.
Do you need to get more leads and exposure?
Then you’ll need a virtual marketer.
However, keep in mind that not all tasks can be done virtually.
For example, if you need a sales rep, you can’t hire a virtual employee for an outside sales role, unless they live in the territory you want them to cover!
The key is to identify what you need and then determine if it can be done virtually.
2. Create A Good Job Description
If you want to hire a good virtual employee, you need to write a good job description.
Here’s how to do it:
A. Use relevant wording
If you want candidates to find you, make sure to use the words like “remote” or “virtual” they’ll be looking for. If you’re looking for a Content Marketer, also use keywords like “content”, “seo” and “blog writing” to make sure every qualified candidate can find your posting.
B. Be Clear
Describe exactly what you need and what a candidate can expect from the job clearly. This reduces the chances of any misunderstandings popping up later on in the interview.
For example, clarify these things in your job description:
- Information about your business — who you are, what you do, what you offer to customers.
- The activities involved in the job – what their daily tasks will look like.
- The skills and years of experience required – the qualifications they’ll need.
- The work hours of the job — specify the time zone your company works in and how many hours they’re expected to clock in.
3. Determine Where You Want To Hire From
The next step is identifying where you want to hire your virtual employees from. There are two options you can choose from:
A. Hiring people directly
Hiring a virtual employees yourself gives you full control over the process. This way, you get access to a large, global talent pool and can find someone tailor-made for your needs.
Most companies post job listings on LinkedIn and Angel to find candidates for their virtual employee positions.
The problem with this method is that it’s incredibly time-consuming.
You’ll spend tons of resources scouting and screening candidates. These could be resources you could’ve used on your operations instead!
B. Hiring people through an agency
Another popular option is hiring virtual employees from a recruitment agency or a virtual staffing company. In this case, you inform the agency of what you need and they’ll give you a set of employees for your tasks.
As these are pre-screened employees, you won’t have to worry about vetting or training them yourself!
However, the downside is you’re only limited to candidates the agency currently has on their list.
4. Conduct Interviews
Once you have narrowed down your list of candidates, it’s time to start interviewing them online!
While some companies interview virtual employees via the phone, it’s always a better idea to video call them as you can check for body language and facial expressions.
Here are some key tips:
- Prepare your questions in advance: Always have your questions ready in advance as it’ll help you structure the interview efficiently. Also, as you’ve prepared the questions earlier, you’ll know the kind of answers you want!
- Make your candidate comfortable and relaxed: Interviews can be a daunting task for any candidate. Always try to make them comfortable and relaxed by easing into the interview. For example, instead of directly asking them about how they can help your company, run them through the hiring process to put their mind at ease.
- Take notes: When you’re dealing with tons of candidates, you’ll need to take notes. Note down how composed they were and what their answers were. This is going to give you enough information to judge them later on even if you can’t remember them clearly.
5. Start With A Trial Assignment
One of the best ways to determine how well a candidate fits your operations is by giving them a trial assignment.
For example, if you’re hiring a virtual content writer, ask them to write an article for you. This is a simple, real-time way to check how capable they are at handling the tasks you might give them if they’re hired.
Three Tips To Hire The Best Virtual Employees
Here’s how to streamline your hiring process and always find the best talent:
1. Know What You Can and Can’t Do In-office
Not all activities can be done virtually.
Keep this in mind when hiring virtual employees.
For example, meeting clients in person is not something a virtual employee can usually do. However, looking up your CRM and searching for suitable leads is definitely something a virtual employee can do!
The goal is to look at your processes and identify what stages can be managed virtually and what can’t.
Once you do this, you’ll have no issue hiring the right virtual employees for the right jobs!
2. Get The Team Involved In The Hiring Process
Just because a virtual employee won’t be in the office doesn’t mean they won’t be working alongside your team. That’s why you should include them in team activities whenever possible.
It’s always a good idea to involve some of your virtual team members in your hiring process for three reasons:
- As they’re virtual workers, they’ll have a better understanding of what to look for in a fellow virtual employee.
- For candidates, seeing virtual employees in your interviews will make them feel more at home as they know they won’t be the only virtual employees on the team.
- Lastly, it’s a great way to include your virtual employees and make them really feel like they’re part of the team
3. Use The Right Tools To Maintain Their Productivity
As your virtual employee isn’t in the office with you, it can be difficult to monitor their work and maintain productivity.
However, with the right tools, you won’t have to worry about this!
Here are three kinds of tools you should invest in for your virtual employees:
A. Performance Tracking Tools
As your virtual employees could be thousands of miles away, there’s no easy way to:
- Verify how long a project actually took.
- Know if they’re passing off idle hours as hours worked.
- Verify if they’re only working on your tasks when you’re being billed.
- Monitor their web and app usage during work hours.
- Prevent them from getting distracted while working.
Luckily, you can use a performance monitoring tool like Time Doctor to monitor your virtual employees.
What’s Time Doctor?
Time Doctor is a powerful performance tracking software used by Apple, PwC and Verizon. It tracks the time your virtual team spends on tasks to help you boost their productivity.
Here’s what Time Doctor can help you do:
- Monitor what your virtual employee is working on in real time.
- Track the time spent on calls and tasks
- Identify what tasks are taking too long
- Bill your team for tasks completed with accurate work timings
So how does it work?
1. Your virtual employee installs Time Doctor on their devices.
2. The employees track the time they spend on tasks they are currently working on.
3. You are able to track their internet usage while the timer is running. This way, you can ensure that your virtual employee is focused during work hours.
4. The time tracker automatically stops if there’s no keyboard or mouse activity for more than 3 minutes. This guards against them marking idle time as hours worked.
Note – Time Doctor doesn’t track what keys were pressed. It only checks if any were pressed to determine activity levels.
5. If your employee accesses an unproductive site or app ( like social media, e-commerce) during work hours, they receive a pop-up to keep them focused on the task.
6. You get access to detailed reports over each employee’s productivity. You can also view a Projects Report that compiles the total time each project took to complete. Use this report to verify how long your projects took.
B. Communication Tools
If you want your virtual employees to work well, you’ll need to communicate with them effectively.
Luckily, messaging tools like Slack and Fleep are a great way to instantly message your virtual staff. You can share project updates and messages quickly to keep everyone on the same page.
Additionally, video conferencing tools like Skype and Zoom are perfect for detailed discussions over projects and changes.
C. Project Management Tools
With a good project management tool, you can easily keep track of your projects and any changes that your virtual employees have made.
Tools like Trello and ClickUp make it easy to keep up with project statuses, goals and progress in one simple space.
Top 3 Virtual Staffing Companies
While you can always hire employees yourself, using a virtual staffing company streamlines the process.
- You won’t have to screen the candidates yourself
- You won’t have to interview them extensively
- You won’t have to train them
The virtual staffing company does this all for you!
Here’s a closer look at the best staffing companies to hire virtual employees from:
1. Virtual Employee
Virtual Employee is an excellent option to find good virtual employees. With a 100% money back guarantee you won’t have to worry about hiring someone who’s a bad fit.
- IT Services
- Digital Marketing
- Content Marketing.
RemSource is another popular virtual staffing agency for administrative tasks.
- Administrative Tasks
- Customer Service Activities
3. Virtual Staff Finder
Virtual Staff Finder is a Philippines-based company that focuses on finding the perfect full-time employees for you quickly.
- Administrative Tasks
- Digital Marketing
- Blog Writing
Virtual employees are one of the easiest ways to quickly scale your workforce and streamline work activities.
Just follow the tips we listed in this article, and you’ll be able to hire virtual employees in no time!