How to find the perfect VA in 32 minutes or less

By gswardman September 12, 2013

Hiring a VA is one of the first, and best things you can do to move your business forward. It can also be a hugely time consuming and daunting task if you are not sure how to do it, or what to do. So, I’m going to give you some of my tips after having hired probably 20-25 of them over the last 8 years. One of the main things I find is that if you find someone you like, treat them very well. If you find any sloppiness or dishonesty, or questionable quality, get rid of them immediately. As you can see, these people are easy to find but make sure you spend time with and train the right person.

This is about what I would expect to pay a VA.

.50 – $2 per hour – Clean data, email lists, perform manual, repetitive tasks and do general research but requires no speaking to clients.

$2-$5 per hour – Respond back to clients in clear, well written English by email only, or perform short phone calls to set up appointments.

$7-$10 per hour – If you want to find someone that can be trusted to be a clone of you, and actually be able to close deals, I have been able to find really good people at $10 an hour. Guys that can make their own lists, be responsible, hire their own VA’s and close deals for $10 an hour.

Below is how I would find someone to perform these jobs. There are two key components in this. The instruction to start the job posting off with “Entire job description read, and I love dancing in the rain.” This is key, because this instruction shows that the person read the full job description and can in fact follow simple instructions. The other is the sending an audio clip of themselves, if you want the person to be able to close deals, then you should make them submit a video clip of themselves too.

I like to use oDesk for the low level jobs, and Elance for postings over $5 an hour. Generally, oDesk is the best for a VA in the $2-$5 range.

To start the process, simply open or login to an account on oDesk and copy and paste this job posting into a new job posting. I’d change any of the specifics that you need for your own purposes.

Time to do this? 7 minutes.

Once done, literally I would wait for like 3 or 4 days to check back in and see the progress of your posting and check whether there were any questions.

Time to do this? 5 minutes.

After 7 days you should now have about 40 or 50 applicants. Go through the list of applicants and hide the deadbeats that weren’t able to follow your instructions properly and start the application off with “Entire job description read, and I like dancing in the rain.” – In oDesk and Elance, there is a hide option. You can just hide the ones that didn’t do this properly. This should weed your list down to 10 more solid prospects. Now, I would go through the shortened list and download each one of the mp3 files they sent. If they didn’t send one, hide them too. Your list may now be down to 8 candidates. You can just hit the big red x to hide these people who can’t listen, and therefore you don’t want to work with.


Time to do this? 10 minutes.

Listen to all of the candidates, and select the top two or three just based on what they said. You can really get much more than you think from what these people say in a short clip. I look for proper English, and of course, the less accent the better. I almost always prefer people from the Philippines because they have proven to have an excellent work ethic, but I’ve heard of people having luck from other countries like Egypt, etc. I’ve NOT had much luck with Indians and Pakistanis, they are a real pain when it comes to getting paid and seem to be distrustful and like to get paid upfront or very quickly. I stay away from this region, but like all generalities, I am sure there are many great people from this area. I’m doing things for speed, and the Philippines is where I’ve found solid people.

Time to do this? 7 minutes.

By now, your list should be down to 2 or 3 people. Approach these people and get their Skype information, and get them started on your first task.

Time to do this? 5 minutes.

Personally, what I do now is hire all 3 and start them off on a trial basis for the first few jobs. Give each person a trial task or two, work with them for 7-10 days, TELL them that you are starting them off on a trial basis. The chances are that you’ll be able to find the best one in this 7 days.

Here’s the actual copy I have used to find the VA that I have now. She’s been with me for 4 months, and she’s a dream to work with. I followed all of these steps to find her, and it probably took me even less than the 30-35 minutes I have listed for the tasks here.


Responsible Sales and Virtual Assistant for long term work

I am looking for an English speaking sales assistant that can work on a GMT-6 time zone for at least 5 hours per day. Please read all of the following requirements and make sure you follow the instructions.

This position is for 6 months or longer and is for full time work.

This person will work directly with me to be trained to handle the following tasks.

Check the emails, and company data for each of the leads.
At times, call the companies before hand to check that all of the data is accurate.
Import the data into email program to monitor email campaigns.
Use a template to mail the leads to prospects, and check each contact in
Send emails at a specific time each day (between 9-10am or between 3-5pm)
Make sure that 100-200 leads are emailed 5 days a week.
If leads write back, email and create custom reports for each lead, and may be necessary to call prospects to set up sales appointments for me.
Interact, and get involved in the sales process.
Keep a daily report of emails sent, markets approached, response rates, templates used to make a weekly sales report on progress.

The successful candidate will –
1. Be able to follow instructions clearly and independently.
2. Send me a 30-45 second long audio of themselves speaking about why they should be hired for this job – see example of how to do this below.
3.Should have a computer and stable Internet connection so that they can conduct calls with North American markets.
4. Should have no strong accents in their spoken English.
5. Be responsible, professional and be able to work unsupervised, and independently.

To apply for this position, please start your application with the words “Entire job description read and I love dancing in the rain”, and provide a description of my requirements in your own words. Please also include a recording of yourself speaking in English of 30 second length or longer (this can be you talking about yourself or something you are interested in, it doesn’t really matter – I just want to hear your level of spoken English). You can very easily (and for free) record a short clip of yourself speaking at (100% free, no setup or sign up required), and send me the mp3 in your application. Or you could also use a phone call you’ve completed for another client.

The market will be Online Marketing to Spas, Salons and Hotels in Reputation marketing. Knowledge in this area is preferred, but not required.

I look forward to hearing any questions that you may have about the job, tell me why you want this job, and why you will be good for it. The job will be full time work, for at least 6 months time. If the successful candidate works out, the position could be indefinite.


You’re done! Total time? 32 minutes.

So you see, that wasn’t so bad. If you have some tweaks, or tips that you would like to add to this process, PLEASE leave me a comment. I’d love to hear about them so that I can try them out for myself.