If you’re looking to hire a virtual assistant, leveraging a virtual assistant staffing agency can be a great option. It can save you the time and effort it takes to hire a freelance virtual assistant on your own, and get you the support you need much faster.
However, the challenge for business owners and executives is figuring out which service to use. Most virtual assistant services look very similar on the surface, and it’s often difficult to tell which one would be best for you.
So, in this article, we’re going to explain what makes Persona—our virtual executive assistant service—different from other VA services.
Specifically, we’ll cover:
- Our Hiring Methodology: A Rigorous Hiring Process That Sets Us Apart
- The Tasks Our Virtual Assistants Manage for Our Clients
- How to Think About the ROI of Hiring a Virtual Assistant (Is It Worth It?)
- How Our Virtual Assistant Service Works
Note: Our unique hiring methodology enables us to find world-class assistants for our clients. We hire roughly 1 out of every 1,000 applicants. If you’ve been wanting a virtual assistant and you’d like to work with someone who can take on more than just administrative tasks, fill out our form. You can try one of our remote assistants for a month or two and see how you like it. For testimonials from our clients, check out our homepage.
Our Hiring Methodology: A Rigorous Hiring Process That Sets Us Apart
Most virtual assistant companies are not particularly transparent about their hiring processes. They will often list skills or criteria that they look for when hiring VAs, but they tend to say very little about what they actually do to evaluate their VAs.
In contrast, we’ve been very open about our hiring process, because we believe it’s what sets us apart from most other services.
We’ve used our backgrounds in behavioral science and assessment design to create a hiring methodology that directly measures candidates on the abilities and traits that have been shown to predict success in an assistant role. Specifically, we focus on evaluating:
- Problem Solving Ability: How smart are they? Can they figure things out in new and complex situations?
- Key Character and Behavioral Traits: Are they organized, reliable, trustworthy, detail-oriented, etc.?
- Communication Ability: How well do they write and communicate? Can they play the role of gatekeeper, communicating on your behalf or alongside you with key stakeholders (executive team members, board members, investors, etc.)?
- Tech Savvy-ness: How comfortable are they with learning new technologies and software? How quickly can they pick up and learn the programs that modern companies use to run their businesses?
The extent to which assistants possess these qualities is the key predictor in how well they’ll perform on the job. So we focus 100% of our efforts on measuring these abilities and traits in candidates.
When we look around at other VA services, these traits and qualities are often mentioned as things they look for. But as we said above, how they evaluate these qualities in candidates is less clear.
At Persona, we use a tailored combination of the following:
- Quantitative assessments: Tests that allow us to evaluate candidates accurately on key generalist abilities.
- Structured interviews: A strategic interview process to cross-compare candidates on the qualities and abilities that matter.
- Work sample projects: Mock projects to see the quality of their work, based on the types of tasks they’re likely to do in a VA role.
- Communication exercises: Exercises to evaluate candidates on key communication skills such as email etiquette.
- Reference and background checks: A structured approach to interviewing candidates’ references.
By leveraging a suite of tools beyond resumes and interviews, we’re able to see candidates’ abilities and the quality of their work before they’re hired. And as a result, we’re sure when we hire an assistant that they have what it takes to be successful in the role, and to become a true asset to one of our clients.
Furthermore, we understand that one-size-fits-all hiring processes are insufficient for thoroughly evaluating assistants, so we customize our hiring process on a candidate by candidate basis, based on how individuals perform throughout each step.
For example, if we determine that a candidate is smart but may not have the requisite tech-savviness to work with our startup founder clientele, we’ll take additional steps to measure the candidate’s ability to navigate and use modern software tools and interfaces.
Or, if we like the quality of a candidate’s writing samples, we might use additional tests to answer “how quickly and consistently can this candidate produce this level of writing?”.
As a result of this thorough, customized hiring methodology, we’re able to provide higher level talent compared to most virtual assistant services.
The Tasks Our Virtual Assistants Manage for Our Clients
Most VA services list a near identical set of tasks that they manage for their clients, including:
- Email management
- Calendar management
- Data entry
- Travel planning
- A few other tasks such as bookkeeping, social media management, etc.
Because of the rigor of our hiring methodology, the breadth of business areas and projects that Persona assistants can support and manage is wider than what you’ll find in most virtual assistant job descriptions.
Currently, our assistants manage some combination of the following for our clients:
- Communications: Manage email and communicate on an executive’s behalf and alongside them with company staff members and key stakeholders.
- Scheduling and Calendar management: Manage an executive’s calendar, schedule meetings and phone calls, resolve scheduling issues, balance personal appointments with work meetings.
- Project management: Manage the CEO’s to-dos, ensure they stay up to date and on track with their key projects.
- Business operations: Help create, organize, and improve on internal business processes and standard operating procedures. Manage recurring tasks such as data entry and expense reporting.
- Marketing and social media management: Create and schedule social media posts on top platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, monitor engagement metrics, respond to comments, help grow overall digital marketing presence.
- People operations: Manage employee onboarding, assist in the employee recruitment process (e.g. publishing job postings, reviewing resumes and cover letters for certain criteria), manage payroll, and support other human resource functions.
- Strategic planning: Work with the company leaders to define and come up with plans for new products, initiatives, and services. Project manage some or all of these new company programs.
- Client services: Handle important interactions with clients (e.g. customer support, invoicing, etc.).
- Special projects: Manage a wide variety of unique projects depending on your needs. For example, our VAs have worked on things like light graphic design in Canva, transcription, lead generation, CRM management, Amazon eCommerce management, and more.
- Personal assistant tasks: Help make online orders, reservations, travel arrangements, and other accommodations for executives’ personal lives.
In contrast to most VA services, which primarily provide administrative support, Persona assistants tend to spend 30% of their time on administrative tasks like email and scheduling, while dedicating the rest of their time helping with more complex tasks such as project management, streamlining business operations, or any number of other special projects.
How to Think About the ROI of Hiring a Virtual Assistant (Is It Worth It?)
In our own experiences working with highly competent VAs, as well as what we’ve learned from speaking with thousands of founders about their experiences, a great VA can roughly double the amount of time you spend on your core competencies—whether that’s product, business development, fundraising, etc.
To understand the ROI on a $50K or $60K annual investment—the average cost of hiring a virtual administrative assistant in the U.S.—consider the following:
If you could double the amount of time you spend on activities that generate the most value in your business, how much more value do you think you could generate in the next year?
If your answer is equal to or greater than $50-60K, hiring a full-time VA is a no-brainer. There’s only upside. You get to spend more time on the big picture work that drives business value, and less time on administrative tasks that limit your productivity.
How Our Virtual Assistant Service Works
We provide world-class executive support for all types of industries, including tech startups, non-profits, real estate, professional services, financial services, and more. We serve c-level executives across the U.S.—in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Austin, Miami, and New York—and internationally.
If you’re a startup founder, entrepreneur, business owner, or senior management executive of any kind, you can try one for a month or two and see how you like it (no matter what time zone you’re in!).
Here’s how to get started with us:
- Step 1: Complete our form to let us know your needs.
- Step 2: If you’re a good fit, we’ll set up a call to discuss our service with you.
- Step 3: Our team will hand pick an assistant who we think will be a great fit for you based on your needs and business hours.
- Step 4: Our talent team will guide you through the onboarding process over 2-3 weeks.
- Step 5: For a flat rate monthly subscription, you get a full-time, world-class assistant.