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Personal Assistant - Part-Time in NoVA: Does Anyone Know How To Do This?


DonRocks
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I'm toying with the possibility of employing a part-time personal assistant. Does anyone know the best way to go about this?

There's an agency I've been talking with, but the price is just a little too high for my very personalized needs, so I'd prefer to deal directly with the source. I don't mind paying a small mark-up to an agency, but I'm not convinced such a thing exists.

A college graduate would be nice - a jack of all trades who could do housework, paperwork, brainstorming, and maybe even help with the website. Or maybe a housewife or house-husband with too much free time on their hands.

Can anyone give me some guidance about finding a qualified, honest person who won't cost me an arm and a leg?

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I can't comment on the personal assistant position specifically, but my office hires exclusively from Craigslist. You'll get tons of chaff, but if you have time to sort out the wheat, often by just reading what the applicant has written or copied from the web, you can find some great people. It'll take personal interviewing to weed out more (mixed metaphor or because it's in the same vein I get a pass?), but if you have the time and the $25 to post the ad, I think it'll be worth it.

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I can't comment on the personal assistant position specifically, but my office hires exclusively from Craigslist. You'll get tons of chaff, but if you have time to sort out the wheat, often by just reading what the applicant has written or copied from the web, you can find some great people. It'll take personal interviewing to weed out more (mixed metaphor or because it's in the same vein I get a pass?), but if you have the time and the $25 to post the ad, I think it'll be worth it.

Thank you Sandy (and Jonny).

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I have precisely *zero* experience with Craigslist, so this is going to sound like a naive, rudimentary question: is it safe to use for things like this? Will I be able to weed people out electronically, or will I have to interview 50 people? I *hate* rejecting people, and I'd make a terrible hiring officer for a business.

Does anyone have any ideas of what I should pay someone for, say, 10, maybe 20 hours per week?

Could anyone point me to a reasonable-looking want ad so I don't have to compose the entire thing from scratch?

Thank you all very much in advance (part of this will be so I can keep this website up, running, and optimized).

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Don -- when one of the principals where I work needed someone new part time, I put the ad on Craigslist and culled the responses.  In 3 days, got about 120 responses, of which 100 hit the bin immediately, I sorted through the next 20 with a bit of care and there were 3 people put on the short list to call and talk to, and had a face-to-face with 2 of them (and one showed up drunk, so guess who the winner was?).  It's really, really obvious who clears the basic hurdles.

You can also consider a virtual assistant for the office type stuff and hire a maid service on a 2x/month basis for the housekeeping things.

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Have worked in staffing for about 18 years so hopefully I can offer some insight.   You can definitely find someone from Craig's List. As previously mentioned, you will have to screen a lot of resumes but that process can go pretty quickly once you get started.  When you initially screen the resume, look for basic typos.   We also look quickly for things such as consistency with the font size/type and formatting.   All of these items will tell you about the person's attention to detail and will eliminate a lot of candidate's pretty quickly.  Once you get past the initial screen, you can start to look at the person's experience and how it relates to what you need the person to do.

If you find someone who looks like they may be a viable candidate, a quick 5 minute phone will tell you a lot.   You will know within about 5 seconds of a call whether or not you want to continue the call based on their communication skills.    I would tell them a little about what you are looking for and then a couple of quick questions will let you know if you want to meet them in person.  Ask them why they want a part-time job and why they are interested in your job.   Both of these are simple questions but you would be surprised to hear how many people cannot put together a coherent answer.  From my experience, the question about why they want a part-time job is very important.  A lot of people who are looking for full-time work will apply for your job and unless they can answer with a good reason (student, has another part-time job, etc..), they will never be completely vested in your job and will bolt as soon as they find something full-time.

One of the biggest pieces of advice I would offer is to go with your gut.  If you have any doubts, move on.   I have been burned almost every time I did not go with my gut instinct.

In terms of pay, you will probably be looking at paying at least $15/hour

I hope this helps a little bit.  Feel free to reach out offline and I will be more than happy to answer any other questions.

Long time lurker here and this was my first post.

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