It’s no secret that hiring virtual assistants (VA) located in other countries can help businesses manage expenses while providing excellent customer service. Some of the biggest companies in the world outsource their customer service to VAs in countries such as the Philippines.
The mystery for cleaning service owners who are hiring overseas VAs for the first time is how to do it with confidence. How do you know that you’re hiring the right person? How do you manage potential barriers in technology, language, or culture?
The answer: You do it all with a simple, technology-driven process that helps you filter for your ideal applicants. It’s a process Cristóbal Mondragon, owner of Queen Bee Cleaning, has used to help grow his business to $3.5 million in sales since launching in 2015.
In this article, you’ll learn the key steps Cristóbal uses when hiring VAs for his business, including the questions to ask, how to avoid sorting through hundreds of resumes, and onboarding your new hire. This process has helped him hire VAs in as little as one week.
Note: To learn Cristóbal’s full process, including how he sets up Google forms and Gmail templates, watch the video at the bottom of this article.
Step 1: Make your job listing that is detailed and specific
Be very clear in your job description about the responsibilities and tasks required for this position. For example, sending daily reports, taking incoming sales calls, making outbound calls, fulfilling customer requests, answering messages through email, phone, live chat, Facebook messenger, or text.
Also include the work hours and days, time zone, language requirements, and salary.
The top mistake people make when writing job descriptions is asking for someone who knows how to do EVERYTHING: web development, social media, customer service, Google and Facebook ad management. It’s not really realistic to expect someone to be an expert at all the things you need handled for your business. If you’re hiring for your customer service team, focus on the skills that benefit that role.
The magic application requirement
To raise his chances of interviewing only the most detail-oriented job candidates, Cristóbal includes two very specific instructions at the end of the job description:
- “Send an email with the subject line “I want to be a call center agent.”
- “Note: After you send the email to apply, you will receive a response from me with a link to a Google form. Please complete the questions in the Google form to be considered for this position. Forms that are not completed or only partially completed will note be considered. In the form, you will be asked your age. Answer 40 to show your attention to detail.”
Step 2: Send a Google form only to candidates who followed the instructions
After you’ve received applications, email a link to a Google form to the candidates who followed instructions and typed “I want to be a call center agent” in the subject line of their applications. This form will have questions that will help you get to know the applicants better.
In your email, include instructions about how and when to complete the form. Here’s an example response you could use:
“Hi, thanks for applying and completing the first step! For the next phase of the selection process, please complete this form [link to form] within 24 hours.
Once you’ve completed the form, we will review your responses, and contact you with further instructions.
We know this might seem like a lot for a job interview! But this is because we’re not just looking for someone who’s looking for a job. We’re really looking for someone who wants to grow with us. Looking forward to reviewing your responses and speaking with you.”
13 questions to include in your Google form:
- Tell me about yourself: Where are you from? What are your hobbies outside of work? What is something interesting about you?
- How long have you been working in customer service-related jobs?
- Can you please describe your customer service experience with past clients in the last two years? What specific software do you use? What tasks do you handle for them? Email? Phone? Live chat? What industry have the clients been in?
- What’s your greatest strength as a customer service VA? What have you had the most experience with?
- Do you have any experience with a business similar to mine?
- How many clients do you currently have? How many hours are you currently working for them?
- We are looking for someone who can work Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Does that work for you?
- We are looking to this role at <include the hourly rate you want to pay here> per hour. Are you good with that rate?
- What is your age?
- Make a Loom video of your internet connection using this site fast.com and paste the Loom video here.
- Please record your voice and upload the audio here. Make it at least 30 seconds.
- Enter your full name.
- Enter your email.
Not everyone will complete the request. And not everyone will answer question 9 correctly. It’s 40, remember. These two things will help you filter candidates even more.
Step 3: Slack interviews for final candidates
Once you’ve narrowed down your job candidates based on who emailed you with the right subject line, completed the entire Google form, and answered that their age is 40 (even if it isn’t), you should have a small list of detail-oriented job finalists.
You’ll now invite this group to individual interviews on Slack. Because this is a message-based interview, you’ll get a sense of how the applicant will respond to your customers. The questions can be similar to the ones you asked in the Google form. The key is to evaluate how long it takes them to respond to your questions and the quality of their answers.
Leave time at the end of the interview for their questions.
Step 4: The final interview for top choice
After you’ve picked your top candidate, there’s one last step: An interview on Zoom or another video conferencing tool.
During this interview, ask them a few more questions about themselves, discuss the employment details, the duties and responsibilities of the job, and answer any questions that they have. Just like with the job description, be very specific and make sure they are comfortable with the details, including the salary.
Step 5: Onboarding and training your new customer service virtual assistant
Once your top candidate has accepted your job offer, here are some things to send them:
- Your employment agreement
- Any necessary IRS forms
- Software they’ll need to do the job
- Information about accounts they might need to set up in order to get paid
How to manage your virtual assistant’s first week on the job
Your VA should spend the first two weeks getting familiar with your processes, software, and phone system. They shouldn’t be responding to client messages yet. Instead, have them listen to the last four weeks of voicemails and read the last four weeks of emails and your replies.
They should also watch tutorials for software they’ll use often, such as scheduling software.
Keep constant and open communication with them throughout the day. Slack is great for this because you can create channels for conversations about different issues, such as complaints, bookings, and cancellations.
Since your process helped you find the most detail-oriented person, it shouldn’t take long for your new hire to start handling tasks on their own.
To download Cristóbal’s email templates, go to customerserviceva.com.
For more information about Cristóbal’s hiring and onboarding process, watch the video below.
For more resources on how to grow and perfect your cleaning business, check out the replays from the 2021 Maid Summit, hosted by ZenMaid. The summit featured more than 60 presentations from other maid service owners who shared tools and strategies to help you achieve the highest levels of success in your business.
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