Lessons Learned from Hiring the Wrong VA

hiring_the_wrong_vaI recently put out a call to action to hire a new Executive Assistant in my business and lo and behold! I thought I followed every step correctly. In fact, I added more components to my search process this time than ever before but unfortunately, I still selected the wrong VA; one who ended up having a total meltdown and quitting before the job even began, after I had paid the first invoice as a deposit. Here are the lessons that I learned from hiring the wrong VA.


Ask for References- But Know They Don’t Mean Everything

In the process of selecting two different people to add to my team, I requested that both of them provide me with names of references to help figure out whether or not they were a right fit for me. However, even though both candidates came with strong references, including glowing ones, suggesting that I hire the candidate right away; one of those candidates still quit before the job even began.

This means that references are important, but they are not always an indication of a person’s behavior today.


Always, Always Do Two Rounds of Interviews

The first round of interviews was primarily done in order to weed out the people who might not be the right fit for my business. It was relatively easy in this initial interview to tell who may be appropriate versus who needed to be nixed from the list. The second round of interviews involved more in-depth conversations with people that I felt were the right fit for the job.

I learned that the second round of interviews could often reveal more than the first level and that this was very valuable.


Be Especially Clear in The Job Description

This time I used a Google form to capture information about who I wanted to hire and asked people to self-select which qualities they consider themselves to be highly proficient with. This made things much easier in terms of narrowing down my list, since I got more than 100 initial applications.

In those 100 applications, more than 40 simply were not qualified because they had not followed the basic directions and were not proficient in the skills I was looking for. This made it pretty easy to trim down my list to the right fit for someone to go through the first and second round of interviews.


Always Trust Your Gut

Your instincts can tell you a lot about a person, but this time my instincts were off. However, one of the people that I hired in that hiring process has turned out to be wonderful and a really valuable asset to my team. Sometimes you just need to accept that mistakes and accidents are going to happen as you begin to outsource in your business.

Laura Pennington

Laura Pennington burned out teaching 7th grade in Baltimore City and realized that traditional education was not for her in the midst of pursuing her PhD in public policy. She launched a freelance writing and virtual assistant career that allows her to work from home on her own time, teaching others how to build at-home businesses and providing content and strategy for major companies like Microsoft. She is a soon-to-be military spouse who has moved four times in seven years with her Navy man. She is a former competitive tap dancer and enjoys spending time with her cats and reading books like a good nerd should.

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