6 Steps to Finding the Right Distant Assistant

6 Steps to Finding the Right Distant Assistant

Finding the right distant assistant can be tedious but critical. It takes a long process to determine who among the sea of applicants is the most perfect fit for the position. Hiring doesn’t happen overnight, as there has to be steps to be taken to make sure you don’t waste your time and resources. 

The job as a distant assistant is not designed for everyone. It requires someone who is highly skilled in administrative tasks and possesses qualities that are unique from everyone else. To help you sift the stacks of résumés, here are 6 steps t0 finding the right distant assistant. Know what to do to find the one you exactly need.

1. Know What You are Looking For

It is not ideal to create job postings for a distant assistant without identifying what you exactly need. Before taking any action, make sure that you have listed items on what you are looking for in an applicant.

Set your expectations clearly so that you won’t have a hard time going through the process. Have your requirements ready and you’re good to go.

Educational attainment

Do you prefer someone who has a college degree? How high is your standards when it comes to the applicant’s educational background?

These are the questions asked in conceptualizing your prerequisites. Although some don’t require a specific level of education, it is still helpful to pick someone who is mentally and emotionally mature.


The longer the experience the better. Since the responsibilities of a virtual assistant could entail much pressure, hire someone who knows how to handle tasks properly despite the stresses that surround.

There are some companies who are open to accepting newbies in the field, as they are willing to provide sufficient training for the successful candidate. But the decision is still up to you.

Time flexibility

Are you looking for someone who can work full-time or part-time? How long do you want your distant assistant to work for you?

While the rest of the essentials in searching for a distant assistant are also important, it is important to determine the longevity of your DA’s service for the company. Settle this in your mind along with your capability to pay for short or long term work.


If you have identified the tasks you want your distant assistant to do, it becomes easier to pinpoint the skills you need from an applicant. As there are different subcategories under the distant assistant job, know whether you are looking for someone who can handle phone-related tasks, or simply someone who can write blog posts and manage your social media accounts.

Be very detailed in identifying the skills you are in search of. Among them could be as follows:

  • Has good communication skills both oral and written
  • Can work regardless of time difference in schedule from employer
  • Flexible when it comes to tasks expected
  • Knowledgeable of Microsoft Office applications
  • Can accomplish things on his own with less management
  • Can organize data collected properly

Outstanding qualities

Looking for highly skilled applicants is equally paramount to finding those with outstanding qualities. Many confuse skills and qualities, but they are two different things in reality.

The former are those we have acquired over the span of time based on our experience while the latter are those that we are born with. When you hire someone, always make sure that he/she is:

  • Honest and trustworthy
  • Smart and intuitive
  • A team-player and is proactive
  • Open-minded
  • Very good when it comes to details
  • Always available when needed
  • Passionate about work

“Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.” -Warren Buffet


Although this particular requirement is not often asked by employers, it is in your discretion to ask your applicant to submit his portfolio if there is any. His portfolio will help you know more about his past achievements and how much can he possibly contribute to your company.

Internet connection

Since distant assistance is an online work, the applicant has to have a strong and secure internet connection in his area. His internet connection speed has to be at least 3mpbs. He also needs to have a back-up whenever his DSL connection doesn’t work. This aspect is very important to consider, as almost everything depends on it.

Filter Applicants2. Filter Applicants

Before responding to applicants, filtering is a necessary step to lessen the load. Gather all résumés and whatever additional requirements you have asked them to submit.

At this point, you are going to go through each entry thoroughly. Among other procedures, this is probably the most strenuous, as you have to deal with the applicant’s information individually.

Use a checklist

Provide yourself with a checklist to guide you along the way. This will help you identify who among them has met your expectations and is qualified for the next level. Without making one, it is hardly possible to get things done properly and in the right time.


Now that you have determined which ones can proceed to the next level, organize them from the most qualified to the average one. Assign priority numbers depending on how qualified they are for the position.

3. Conduct Test

To help you further in finding the right distant assistant, conduct a test that will measure their capabilities and intelligence. This will allow you to see who is really deemed fit to be a DA. From the results of their test, you can draw conclusions and associate them with what the applicants placed in their submitted prerequisites.

4. Schedule Skype Interview

Applicants who passed the test are now ready for the interview. There are a number of things to consider at this point. Don’t interview just for the sake of following through. This step will let you know your applicants even better, since you will be hearing how they speak and how they organize their thoughts when it comes to answering your questions. You will also know how interested they are for the position and the company as well.

Consider time difference

Before you send invites for the interview, consider the time difference you have with your interviewee. Assign a schedule on which both of you are available and comfortable with. Don’t schedule on hours where he is going to bed anytime soon and vice versa. Find time which is convenient for you both.

Know the length of time for interview

As the old saying goes, “Time is gold.” Every second counts that’s why it is important that the length of your interview time is determined beforehand. How long do you want to speak with your interviewee? How much time is needed for you to get sufficient information from him? 30-45 minutes is the most ideal, but the decision is still left up to you.

Prepare questions

Once you have decided on how long the interview is going to take, outline your questions for the applicant. Begin by asking about his experience while making reference to his submitted résumé and portfolio. Proceed asking about what his edge is among other applicants.

You can also formulate questions that are not work-related such as his hobbies and other passions. Make sure that the number of questions correlates with the length of your interview time.

Send invites

Now that you’re all set, send invites to each applicant covering the details for the interview. It is unwise to schedule all interviews in one day. Set at least 2-3 interviews per day so that you’ll have the time to deliberate after the series of speaking to interviewees. Allocate intervals between each interview to make things organized.

5. Gather Results and Evaluate

After going through the long process, it is now time to finalize everything. Give time to reflect on the results from the test and interview. This second to the last step is as crucial as the beginning. It’s where you will make an important decision on which applicant tops among his contemporaries. Don’t be in a rush and think deeply.

“Recruiting is hard. It’s just finding the needles in the haystack. You can’t know enough in a one-hour interview. So, in the end, it’s ultimately based on your gut. How do I feel about this person? What are they like when they’re challenged? I ask everybody that: “Why are you here?” The answers themselves are not what you’re looking for. It’s the meta-data.” -Steve Jobs

6 Steps to Finding the Right Virtual Assistant6. Notify the Successful Candidate

Send a congratulatory message to the applicant you have chosen. Provide him with work details that cover when he is expected to begin and what tasks are aligned for him to do. Give him the needed training until he is ready to do things with less management.

Hiring the perfect candidate for the distant assistant position entails risks and responsibilities. Because of this, the search for the right one requires a long process and much deliberation to ensure that the company makes the right decision.

“The smartest business decision you can make is to hire qualified people. Bringing the right people on board saves you thousands, and your business will run smoothly and efficiently.” -Brian Tracy

Whether you are looking for someone who can work part-time or full-time, the procedure is just the same for both. Remember that it is the company’s welfare that is at stake in selecting the one who perfectly fits the shoes. Be mindful in every action you take, because the success of your company partly lies in hiring the right people.

Tell us what you think about the 6 Steps to Finding the Right Distant Assistant. Feel free to add comments and suggestions. We love hearing from you!

Jaime Jay

About Jaime Jay

Meet Jaime Jay – a man who wears many hats, and wears them all admirably. He's a master connector, an entrepreneur extraordinaire, and a published author who knows how to get things done.

Before he found his way to the business world, Jaime served his country as a brave paratrooper in the U.S. Army. But that's just the beginning of his many accomplishments.

He's the founder of the renowned Bottleneck Distant Assistant Services firm, and his book "Quit Repeating Yourself" has become a must-read for entrepreneurs everywhere.

When he's not busy building his empire, you can find him on his beloved Harley Davidson, cruising through the countryside and taking in the invigorating effects of Uitwaaien – a Dutch practice that involves facing the wind to boost health and relieve stress.

He enjoys spending his free time outside building stuff with his wife, Nikita the dog and their two kittens (for now at least) Tommy and Tater.

He is ‘over-the-moon’ happily married to his wonderful wife Sara, his amazing daughter, Jessica, who is serving our country as a United States Army soldier. Jaime and Sara are the proud grand parents of two beautiful little girls.


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