Taking the first step of hiring your first Content VA is a big one that can be filled with a lot of scaries, frustration and ‘what the heck am I even doing’ feelings.
But at the same time, a Content VA is usually one of the first hires a business owner will make and one that when done right can pay off big in terms of freeing up your time and allowing you to scale.
So in this blog post, I’m going to walk you through my very thorough, practically fail-proof hiring process for finding and hiring your first Content VA.
Thinking about hiring your first Content VA? Or maybe you’ve tried in the past and it did not turn out the way you wanted? Finding the right Content VA for your business can be really tricky.
For starters, it’s often a big challenge to even articulate what you’re even looking for – what they’ll be doing, what skills they should have and how you’ll be using their time. Plus, you might not even have your own systems figured out which makes bringing someone in is even tougher in terms of training and onboarding. And what I hear the most? It’s almost impossible to know if the person you want to hire actually has the skills to do what you need them to.
At the same time, a Content VA is usually one of the very first hires that a business owner makes. There are a lot of time-consuming tasks that come with content—like social media, scheduling, creating images, formatting, sending newsletters, etc. So bringing someone on to help with these things can free up your time for more of the strategy and original content creation. Or allow you to focus on things that are going to grow your business faster—like collaborations, sales, service delivery and product creation.
So I’m going to walk you through my very thorough, practically fail-proof hiring process for finding and hiring your first Content VA.
Plus you can grab my Content VA hiring spreadsheet for free to help you implement this action plan and get my personal templates for the job posting, evaluating candidates and a checklist to find your Unicorn Content VA.
Before we can get to hiring, we have to talk finding the right person. And this is where the majority of the work actually happens. In fact, the people I see who have the worst luck with hiring usually gloss over these steps.
Step 1: Get Clear On What You’re Looking For
Before you can find someone, you have to know who that someone is—especially when it comes to dating, hairdressers and hiring a content VA.
Which means answering some important qualifying questions such as:
- How experienced do you want your Content VA to be? Do you want someone with a lot of experience and requires very little training (such as our content dream team for hire over in the agency)? Or are you open to training and mentoring someone?
- What types of tasks is this person going to be doing for you? Check out this post for 50 things that you can start outsourcing in your business for inspiration.
- Does location matter? Do you want someone in the same timezone as you? Or a different one? Do you prefer they’re in the same place for some in-person coworking?
- How much are you able to pay per hour or per month? How does this compare to the average rate based on the level of experience you’re looking for?
- What qualities are you looking for in your Content VA? For example, is attention to detail important? Writing skills? Ability to meet deadlines?
If you’re not sure what you want your Content VA to take off your plate, start by making a list of all the things you do content and marketing-wise or things you’d do if you had more time. Then give these a time estimate for how long you spend doing them and a couple of scores 1-10 based on how happy you’d be to never do them again and how easy it’d be to train someone to take them over. Those with the higher scores are great candidates for outsourcing first to your Content VA.
Remember you can download my free Content VA Spreadsheet for a template to come up with these tasks.
Step 2: Creating Your Job Posting
Once you have a general idea of what you want your Content VA to do and how long these things will take, the next step is to create your job posting.
In the Content VA Spreadsheet, I have a template and a sample for you, but you could just create this in a Google Doc too.
Here are the sections I include:
- Job Title: Content VA
- Job Description: What you’re looking for and the general area of responsibilities (content marketing) and details about the position (remote, contractor, number of hours per week, hourly rate/range)
- Responsibilities: A list of the types of things they’ll be working on
- Requirements: What experience they need and other must-haves
- Qualities: A list of qualities you want the person to have (i.e. attention to detail, positive attitude)
- Bonus Points: Any extras from your wish list that aren’t deal-breakers but nice perks for you (i.e. experience with certain tools)
- About Your Business: A description of who you are, who you work with, where you’re located and what you do
- How to Apply: How they should submit their application and what to include in it. This is where I like to include an attention to detail test by asking them to include something in the application and seeing who follows the instructions or not.
Extra Tip: If you’re hiring locally instead of online, my secret job title is to use coordinator instead of VA. So I’d use Content Coordinator (instead of Content VA), Marketing Coordinator (instead of Marketing VA), etc.
Step 3: Posting the Job Ad
Once you have the job posting, it’s time to decide where you want to post it and source your applicants.
There are a lot of options available but here are some considerations to keep in mind:
- If you want to find a VA with experience who does this as their main gig with multiple clients: You could post in a Facebook group, ask for recommendations, post on social and send to your email list.
- If you want to find someone local: You could post on Indeed or any local job board
- Another option if you’re open to mentoring and training is to post at your local college or university.
Personally, I usually stick with the latter 2 options unless I’m hiring for a specialized one-off project. I try to reserve one spot on my team for mentoring a college student so I can help them build their resume, gain skills and job experience and make money with flexible hours (I know how much I would have loved this type of opportunity when I was in university).
Step 4: Evaluate Applications
After posting the job, I usually wait 4-5 days before starting the next step which is to evaluate your applications. Then I do a quick scan through, removing anyone who either really isn’t a fit or hasn’t completed the application process.
Then I go back through again and invite the remaining applicants to the next stage which is to complete a Google form which helps make sure I have all the info I need to only get on a call with the top candidates.
Step 5: Send Next-Stage Applicants to a Form
It can be hard to know from just a resume or cover letter if someone is a good fit for your business. And I used to find that I’d be getting on a call with a dozen or more candidates and still have no idea how to make a decision.
Now I create a form that asks job-specific questions that I build in Google Forms and then evaluate the candidates blindly based on their answers to ensure fairness.
Here are some questions you may want to include for a Content VA form:
- Please describe your experience creating content for an online business
- Please describe your experience doing social media for an online business
- Which of the following do you have experience with (check off all that apply): Uploading blog posts to WordPress, formatting and scheduling newsletters, scheduling Instagram content, scheduling social media content, creating and scheduling pins to Tailwind, other
- What sort of availability do you have during the week?
- What is your Myer’s Briggs profile (you can take the test here for free: https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test)*
- Anything else I should know?
* You can use whatever free personality test you’d like here (or not). I don’t use it to decide on who to hire but it just helps me understand their responses within a bigger context.
Step 6: Evaluate the Application Forms
Open the completed Google forms as a Google sheet and hide the email and name associated with the responses.
Then use a scoring matrix (like the one included in the Content VA Hiring Spreadsheet) to evaluate the candidates:
Here's some notes:
- I don’t put down names or identifiers until after I’ve scored and ranked
- Then I give a score on my main criteria of 1, 2 or 3
- Then I add the scores up to see who’s in the top
Then reach out and invite the top 2-3 candidates to an interview.
Step 7: Interviews
The interview for me is just about clarifying any questions I have about their experience (or transferable skills), whether the position is a fit for what they’re looking for long-term and to go through the details to make sure we’re on the same page.
Here are some of the questions I usually ask:
- What are you currently doing work-wise?
- What would be an ideal fit for you next, position-wise? (thinking # of hours, types of tasks and responsibilities, goals)
- And then follow-ups based on their responses.
- Plus answering any of their questions as well.
After finishing the interviews, I’m ready to make a decision. Although if 2 candidates are really neck and neck sometimes I’ll hire both on a trial basis.
Take the First Step Here With Designing Your Position
And if you want my free Content VA hiring spreadsheet for the full checklist, job posting template and evaluation spreadsheet, grab the link down below this video.