How to Hire an Assistant - Part One

assistant part1

Recruiting and hiring the right employees for your company, whether small or large, startup or well-established, e-commerce or office job, will make or break your business. You need to strategize and have a plan in place to make this process effortless.

Why is a Job Description so important?

First start with a job description. This set of working responsibilities you put in place must be clear and accurate. The job description should provide clarity for the requirements of the position you are hiring for. The more clear you are about the job description and the requirements of the position, the better quality resumes you’ll receive. The job description is what essentially propels the ad and weeds out the non-qualified.

Think of the job description as the plan or the framework of the position. You want to make sure that you lay out the proper elements of the job to ensure that the hiring process runs smoothly and efficiently. There are a few vital components that you need to incorporate into the job description:

  • Job title and department within the company,
  • A summary of the position that includes the responsibilities of the job,
  • How the position relates to other jobs within the company,
  • Qualifications/education required for the position.

What Should You Include in the Job Description?

It is a well-known fact that companies are competing more and more for the highest educated and top qualified candidates for a position in their company. In order to attract top candidates, you can’t write the same boring “newspaper ad”. Times have changed. In other words, keep the bullets points to a minimum. Your advertisement is the first thing a candidate sees, and even in this situation, first impressions are truly everything. Just as candidate has to stand out from the crowd, so do you. According to Workopolis there are 5 top reasons why someone is looking for a new job:

  1. Work environment
  2. Career advancement opportunities
  3. Work/Life balance
  4. Location
  5. Compensation

You need to keep all these elements in mind when you are writing your job advertisement. A candidate wants to know what they’re getting themselves into. This is YOUR resume. Would YOU apply for your position? Highly-educated and smart people are not going to apply to a boring job advertisement.

It is super common for employers to put a buzz question in their application. Rachel Dotson, Communications Manager for, asked a single question within in the application, “Tell us what you love and make us love it too.” The answers that were given made the top candidates obvious.

Sell yourself. A candidate wants to know about the company they’re applying to. Get personal. Tell them how awesome your company is. Tell them about your career advancements and what opportunities they could have if they choose you. Give them information on your retirement plan and how much your company contributes. If you are hiring for an e-commerce position, get personal about growth, tell them how much they can learn, or whether or not you pay for travel to conferences. Tell them!

Make sure to include in the closing that your applicant should send their salary requirements. This simple closing will make it easier for you to screen the applicants more efficiently later on in the process.

Research and Modify Similar Job Descriptions

If you’re having trouble creating your job description, look at job boards for others who have hired in similar positions.

You can use a combination of many job descriptions to create your own. This will ensure that you have your bases covered and don’t leave anything out.

Looking at old or existing descriptions for use in writing your own is a perfectly acceptable way to create a great job description with less effort and time invested.

Should You Hire an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

There are significant differences that apply to a business when deciding whether to hire an Independent Contractor or an Employee. Knowing the difference and weighing the pros and cons is extremely important during the hiring process. Don’t think that an employee and an independent contractor are the same…..they aren’t.

An employee is on the company payroll. The employer is able to withhold federal and state taxes, Social Security and Medicare. Most full-time employees expect medical and dental insurance, paid time off, and a 401K plan. It is typical for an employee to make less per hour than an independent contractor, but that is because they have job security. Employees expect their salary on time at every pay period, even if your business isn’t doing well.

Independent Contractors:
ICs are responsible for paying their own taxes and they are not entitled to benefits paid by you. A company will most likely save money by hiring an IC, because they do not have to pay the employee benefits or commit to a salary, but they will end up paying more per hour. Hiring an IC gives you more flexibility. If the IC is not the right fit for your company, you don’t have to work with them again. You don’t have to deal with the hiring and firing of a full-time employee, and the paperwork behind this process, which can be very tedious.

These are only meant to be examples. To learn the legal definitions and implications, visit

What are common online positions?

There are a variety of online job positions, and most you wouldn’t expect. The trend to work from home has skyrocketed, and more than ever, people are qualified for these online positions. Here are a few common online job positions that your business may benefit from:

  • Virtual Assistant – Essentially, a Virtual Assistant (VA) provides administrative assistance to you, and whatever you need to help you free up valuable time. You can define “administrative assistance” in any way that is unique to your needs and the VA’s experience. Assistance can range from graphic design to simply handling your clientele correspondence and busy calendar.
  • Copywriter – Just like the VA position, a Copywriter is hired for your unique needs. A Copywriter can do as much or as little as you need. A copywriter doesn’t just write novels and essays, they can also write to inform. Some duties of an E-commerce copywriter could range from writing blogs and emails, interviewing, researching, proof-reading and editing, all the way to organizing and running a marketing campaign.
  • Social Media Manager – Research done by LinkedIn showed that 81% of small to medium-sized businesses use social media for growth. But, as a business owner, I’m sure the last thing you have time for is to post on social media sites, and do you even know where to market, when the best time is and what the best thing to say is? A Social Media Manager is essentially the voice of your business. The person knows your customers and knows how to reach them through social media.

Where Should You Post Your Online Job Advertisement?

Now that you have created your job description and figured out what position you are hiring for, you need to find a place to post your online advertisement. Whether you are looking to hire an Independent Contractor, Employee, or are hiring for a specialized niche, you need to find a busy online marketplace where you can post to your ideal candidates so that they can review your available position and apply for it.

Luckily for you, there is not a short supply of these online marketplaces. Below are three lists for heavily trafficked online marketplaces for employees and employers to use with ease!

Top 5 Websites to Hire Independent Contractors (Freelancers):

You can view the entire list on

Top 5 Websites to Hire Employees:

You can view the entire list on

Top 5 Websites to Hire For Niche Specific Jobs:

You can view the entire list on

Job Listings for Virtual Positions

If you’re looking to hire someone for your team who will work remotely, or possibly as an independent contractor, there are a few popular sites to find great candidates. Keep in mind that you also have the ability to hire outsourced virtual employees from different countries to meet your needs. and are the two most popular online virtual job communities. They have just recently announced a merger, so in the future they will become one.

The way these sites work is that applicants will submit applications through the site for the job posting that you provide. You can message, interview and hire directly through the site and also be able to track their performance.

Note that these sites charge a fee to the applicant, but not to you. The fee is usually 10% to the contractor to work through oDesk and Elance.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series and you’ll get more in depth information on hiring that perfect team member.

Want more useful advice like this? Enter your email below