Feeling overwhelmed? Here’s a quick guide to hiring extra help around the holidays

The holidays are stressful. There’s no doubt about that. There’s always so much to be done, both to keep business booming and running smoothly and to take care of personal things, like shopping, decorating, and party-planning.

You don’t have to do it alone, though — and you shouldn’t, really. Not when help is available.

I’ve always been a fan of outsourcing. It lightens my workload and allows me to focus on the most important aspects of my business and what I enjoy doing the most. Plus, I’ve met a lot of really great people this way.

Below, I walk you through the process of hiring your own VA, starting with the benefits, moving on to where and how to post your job listings, and wrapping up with some of my top tips for having a great outsourcing experience.

(I also include a detailed job listing template you can feel free to use!)

Let’s get started…

Here are some of the types of things a VA could help you with during the holidays:

  • Customer service – answering emails, making calls
  • Social media management – creating posts, responding to messages
  • Research
  • Order fulfillment
  • Inventory management
  • Data-entry or bookkeeping
  • Cold calling
  • Creating blog posts (if he or she is a strong writer)
  • Coming up with gift ideas
  • Finding holiday recipes
  • Placing online orders
  • Making travel arrangements

NOTE: If you don’t want to hire a personal VA, MyFancyHands.com is a fantastic service that I absolutely love and find super helpful when I’m in a pinch.

But if hiring a VA to get some holiday help sounds like something you’d be interested in…

Here’s a list of places to post your job listing:

(You’ll also find a job listing template below that you can use for each site’s “Job Description” section.)

Craigslist

How to create a job listing: 

  • Login to your account and go to your account’s homepage.
  • From where it says “new posting in,” select a city from the drop-down menu and click “go” (you still need to do this even if you’re looking for a remotely working VA).
  • Choose “gig offered.”
  • Choose “I want to hire someone.”
  • Choose the category most relevant to the job you’re posting about — for example, “computer gigs,” creative gigs,” or “writing gigs.”
  • You may need to select a more specific location that fits best (e.g. city of San Diego, north San Diego county, east San Diego county, etc.). And again, you still need to do this even if you’re hiring a remote worker.
  • Fill in your job listing’s details:

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

  • Specific location: Remote.
  • Zip code: You need to fill this in; just input your own zip code.
  • Pay: For example, “$10/hour.”
  • Contact info: CL may relay.
  • Show on maps: Deselect this since it isn’t relevant.
  • Everything else: Fill in as it pertains to your job listing.
  • Click “Continue” when you’re done.
  • Add any relevant images or click “done with images.”
  • If everything looks good, click “publish.”
  • Check your email to make sure you got a confirmation from Craigslist, including a link to your listing where you can edit if you need to.

NOTE: If you don’t find any good candidates in a particular city, you can post a similar “Remote” ad in other cities.

Indeed.com

How to create a job listing: 

  • Login to your account.
  • Click where it says “Employers/Post Job” at the top.
  • Fill in the “Account Information” and click “Continue.”

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

  • Fill in the “Getting Started” information and click “Continue.”

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

  • Fill in the “Job Details” and click “Continue.”

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

(As the salary for your job, you can choose per hour, day, week, month, or year.)

  • Input your job description.
  • Fill in the “Application Settings” and click “Continue.”

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

  • Fill in any additional questions and/or criteria you would like applicants to adhere to. For example, having 2 years of relevant work experience or a particular license or certification.
  • Click “Continue.”
  • Preview your job listing and click “Confirm” if everything looks good.
  • If you’d like to sponsor your job, which is recommended because you’ll get more applications, specify a job budget and set an end date (optional). Then, click “Continue.” Or, if you don’t want to sponsor your job, just click “Post job without sponsoring.”
  • You will need to now provide “Additional Account Information” in order for your job listing to become visible.

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

LinkedIn

How to create a job listing: 

  • Login to your account.
  • Click the “Work” icon on the top right-hand side.
  • Click “Post a job.”
  • Fill in the following fields: Company, Job title, and Location and click “Continue” (once again, you need to input a location even if the job is virtual).
  • On the next page, fill in the additional job details, including a job description and how you want people to apply.

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

  • Set your daily budget and click “Continue” (to learn more about pay-per-click pricing for job listings, click here).
  • After confirming the information is correct, fill in your payment details.
  • Click “Review order.”
  • Click “Post job.”

Upwork

How to create a job listing: 

  • Login to your account.
  • Click “Post a New Job.”
  • Reuse a previous job if applicable.
  • If not, move on to choosing a job category and subcategory from the drop-down menu.
  • Name your job posting.
  • Describe the work you want done.
  • Upload any relevant project files.
  • Select the type of project you have: one-time, ongoing, unsure.
  • Select the number of freelancers you need for the job: one, more than one.
  • Select whether or not you want only freelancers in your country to see your job listing.
  • Enter any necessary skills for the job (e.g. WordPress, SEO, etc.).
  • Select how you would like to pay your VA: by the hour, fixed price.
  • Select the desired experience level: entry-level, intermediate, expert.
  • Select how long you expect the job to last: more than 6 months, 3-6 months, 1-3 months, less than 1 month, less than 1 week.
  • Select the time commitment required for the job: more than 30 hours/week, less than 30 hours/week, don’t know.
  • Fill out the “Freelancer Preferences” section:

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

  • Click “Preview.”
  • If the listing looks satisfactory, click “Post Job.”

Job Listing Template:

You can use this template to create the job description sections for each of the job listing sites:

Title: 

Fast-paced and detail-oriented superstars needed for [your company type]

Body: 

Thanks for checking out this job post!

Our company is a [what your company does]. 

We’re currently looking for AWESOME people to come join us because we’re growing rapidly.

The right people for us…[list of skills or character traits]

For example…

  • Are detail-oriented
  • Have a sense of urgency and tend to do things at a fast pace 
  • Have a friendly, positive attitude 
  • Are comfortable performing repetitive tasks and with multi-tasking
  • Are comfortable performing tedious tasks (not all tasks are tedious but some are)
  • Work well in a team environment
  • Have a strong sense of pride in their work. 

In your reply, please tell us the hours you are available to work (preference goes to people with open availability including nights and weekends) and how soon you can start. Please also attach your resume, mention the words “pink lion” at the top, and tell us about a time you felt frustrated in a previous job and how you overcame it.

If you have any experience with this type of work, please tell us about that, too.

This position pays [salary – $10/hour]. Payments will be paid via [check, Paypal, etc.] 

Telecommuting is preferred. 

We are looking to hire seasonal employees to start. But if things go well, we will do our best to keep as many people on as possible, as business has been exploding, but please consider this seasonal employment for now.

WE HAVE IMMEDIATE EMPLOYMENT AVAILABLE and would love to start hiring the right people ASAP.

Thank you!

Pro Tips For Finding The Best Candidates And Establishing A Great Working Relationship

1. Include a qualifier.

You may have noticed that in the job listing template I instruct applicants to include the phrase “pink lion” in their response. I do this is because it helps weed out applicants who don’t follow directions, as these aren’t the type of people you want to hire.

You’ll likely get a lot of responses to your listings. But a good percentage of people won’t be worth your time. And this little trick (aka a qualifier) helps you narrow down your hunt for the perfect hire much more efficiently.

2. Ask for a sample.

This won’t always apply, and not every job site allows it. But whenever you can, ask for a sample. For example, if you’re looking for a writer, ask for a quick writing sample related to your niche.

Nothing too crazy, though. If candidates aren’t being paid for this park, you don’t want to seem like you’re taking advantage. You just want to get a taste for whether candidates can perform quality work and if they’re willing to go above and beyond.

3. Ask candidates to complete a quick test.

Similarly, depending on the kinds of tasks you’d like your VA to complete, asking candidates to perform a test is beneficial to see how skilled and interested they are in the job.

As an example, I once wanted to hire a VA to help with research. So I told candidates my name and then asked them to name some place that I’d lived in the past.

The goal was to see who was willing to dig in and look for information about me online to find the answer.

4. Ask people to tell you how long a job will take.

This is useful advice both before and after you hire a VA.

During the hiring process, this allows you to get a feel for how quickly candidates can perform certain tasks. Plus, it establishes a deadline, which is useful because then the both of you are aware of what the expectations are.

And after the hiring process, once you’ve find a VA you’d like to work with, this is still helpful for basically the same reasons.

5. Create systems and document your processes.

This is huge. If you want your VA to actually help you, you need to be crystal clear about showing them how. And by that I mean creating step-by-step guides about how to perform certain tasks for your business or personal life.

This may sound time-consuming — and it does take a bit of time upfront — but believe me, it pays off in the long run.

You can create instructional Google docs and share them with your VA. Or personally, I prefer creating videos using Jing.

Anytime I want to give a VA feedback, have them respond to an email, or have them perform some other task for me, I turn Jing video on and let it record my computer screen as I navigate around and give verbal instructions.

This works really well and my VAs tell me they like it too.

I really hope you got a lot out of this post! Outsourcing is a fantastic strategy to improve the functioning of both your business and personal life. Please share your insights in the comments below. And if you’d like to learn even more about outsourcing, go here

Learn how to hire a virtual assistant to help out during the busy holiday season.

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