During my previous career there was a point in time when I was called upon to assist my employers in finding someone to replace me as I prepared to move on to another position. I was asked to do several things, from sitting in on interviews to creating training materials to help with the transition. One of the first things I was asked to help with was the help wanted ad that we placed online and in several local papers.
My supervisor drafted the advertisement and left it on my desk to proofread. An hour later he stood by my desk and asked me what I thought. I was lucky enough to work in an environment where I knew that my honest opinion was appreciated so I blurted out, “If we place that ad, I’m going to be working in this position forever.” It was true, he had written the ad completely from his perspective, completely focusing on what his needs were with nothing within the context that spoke to potential candidates.
I’m not saying he wouldn’t have gotten plenty of responses, but I could guarantee that none of the candidates would have possessed the skills and traits necessary to fill the position. Even in the down economy we find ourselves in now, if you’re looking to fill high level, skilled positions, the most desirable candidates will never respond to the so-called ‘old-school’ help wanted ads. You know the ones that pretty much say ‘..must know how to do this, that and the other, a jack of all trades and willing to put up with any bullshit that may come down the pike. ‘
Well, ok, maybe that’s not exactly how they are worded, but those of us with the type of experience needed are pretty good at reading between the lines. And by the way, this applies to your search for a virtual assistant.
Many people advertise for a virtual assistant with that same ‘what can you do for me’ attitude. And just like my supervisor, their chances of finding a good fit for them are probably pretty dismal. As an example,below is an actual ad that I stumbled across online:
Virtual Assistant Needed Paid weekly
Looking for a good Virtual Assistant to start with, and looking for 10-20 hours per week, must have gtalk, and must complete tasks in a decent time frame, you will be paid weekly by paypal don’t as for escrow or pre payment because it won’t happen… (Budget: $30-250, Jobs: Data Entry, Virtual Assistant)
I believe my clients would describe me as a ‘good’ virtual assistant, and as such I definitely wouldn’t waste my time to respond to this ad. Let me explain.