How To Hire A Virtual Assistant

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Table Of Contents

When you feel overwhelmed at work, a virtual assistant may be the best option to help keep your email under control, your calendar up to date, and your meetings scheduled. A virtual assistant can be an excellent addition to your team. Here’s what you need to know about bringing one on board--virtually.

If you’re ready to hire a virtual assistant now, consider posting your job opening on ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter distributes your job posting to 100+ other job sites with a single click. You can get started with ZipRecruiter for free.

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Define What You Need Out Of A Virtual Assistant

What tasks do you need help with?

First, what would you like a virtual assistant to do? You can hire someone to do just about anything. Typically, virtual assistants focus on administrative tasks rather than high-level tasks, so keep that in mind. If you’re looking for high-level tasks, then this is not where you want to start.

Determine what type of virtual assistant you need

Make sure you define what type of virtual assistant you seek. If you want someone to organize your calendar, that’s different than wanting someone to respond to emails for you. They can both be important tasks that a virtual assistant can handle, but know what you need before looking.

Some higher-level virtual assistants can run your social media for you, provide research, write rough drafts of communications, organize your travel, or do any number of things. They can handle any of the tasks an in-person administrative assistant or executive assistant can do--except getting coffee for guests.

Top Skills To Look For In A Virtual Assistant

The skills you need in a virtual assistant will vary based on what you need, but here are some good things to look for in general.

  • Technical skill: Because your assistant will be working remotely, they need to have the skill to solve their technical issues and to communicate electronically.
  • Good understanding of English (or whatever language you work in): People frequently hire virtual assistants from around the globe. If English isn’t their native language, make sure they have good working knowledge.
  • Excellent communication skills: If you need someone to assist you in any way, they must have excellent communication skills to communicate with you and make sure they fully understand tasks and get clarification as needed.
  • Accurate typing: If you want someone to answer emails or do data entry, good keyboarding skills are a must.
  • Web research skills: Many virtual assistants will do the first level of research for articles or projects.
  • Lead generation: A virtual assistant can help take that first tedious step out of networking or sales.
  • Social media skills: Do they understand how to use various platforms and how to help you manage your accounts?
  • Customer service skills: If your virtual assistant will be communicating with clients, you want to make sure they can solve problems and communicate clearly.

Where To Find Virtual Assistants

There are many places to find virtual assistants. If you’re looking for someone to work for you full time, that will be different than hiring someone to do 5-10 hours per week who also works for other people. There are strict laws around whether someone is an employer or a contractor--and you don’t get to choose. Double-check with your employment attorney if you aren’t sure whether your assistant qualifies as a contractor or whether they need to be an employee.

Employees need to be legal to work in the United States, and you have to follow all employment laws--even if they are virtual. That probably means they need to living and work in the same state you do unless your business already has offices in their state.

Contractors can live anywhere and are responsible for their equipment, profit, and loss, and can (and should) have other clients. You have a lot more control over an employee than you do for a contractor, and you look for them in different places.

For employees, here are some websites you should try:


ZipRecruiter can help you fill any position, but its broad nature can help you find a virtual assistant that meets your needs. For more information, read our ZipRecruiter review.


VirtualAssistants focuses exclusively on virtual assistants and can be a great tool to help you find the best fit.

For contractors, take a look at these two sites.


Freelancer is a global board, so you may be looking at candidates 12 hours ahead or behind you! You can often find highly qualified people for very little money, but you will deal with time zones and language difficulties. You also want to make sure you’re hiring a specific person and not someone who represents a team behind the scenes.


Fiverr is a great site to search for virtual assistants. You can search for exactly what you are looking for in a virtual assistant. Fiverr also allows you to send payment through their secure platform. This is a great option, especially when hiring remote employees, like virtual assistants.


On UpWork, you can create a specific job posting for freelancers to apply to. Freelancers submit proposals when they apply and you can also check out their past work.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What exactly does a virtual assistant do?

A virtual assistant can do just about any administrative task that you need. There is enough variety in duties and skills for just about any position. Typical responsibilities include scheduling, data entry, web research, and email management.

How much do you pay a virtual assistant?

This number varies wildly, depending on who you hire and for what purposes. A virtual contract assistant located in India will cost significantly less than an assistant in the United States. ZipRecruiter says the average virtual assistant in the US earns $67,115 per year.

How do I become a virtual assistant?

First, you need to gain administrative skills! Some of them are pretty specialized and difficult. Then, you can register with a freelancer site or start applying for jobs. As you gain experience, you’ll be able to charge more money and focus on areas you prefer. Check out our guide on how to become a freelancer.

The Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for someone to help a few hours a week, or a full-time professional employee, a virtual assistant may be just the person for you. Screen and interview your candidates carefully--and make sure you are honest about your goals and expectations. If you do this, you’ll find the right virtual assistant for you. If you’re ready to hire a virtual assistant, consider posting your job opening on ZipRecruiter!