In the February installment of the Virtual Vocations “Ask a Hiring Manager” series, we talk to Monica Rawicz, Founder of 100Ninjas. Based in Montclair, New Jersey, 100Ninjas is a Virtual Vocations Employer Partner that matches clients with their ideal virtual assistant. By doing so, they enable companies in a variety of industries to focus on other aspects of their business to enhance bottom-line profitability and accelerate corporate growth.
100Ninjas employs an interesting business model, allowing clients to pay a monthly subscription for a set amount of hours rather than hire a contractor or employee. However, the selection process of virtual assistants is still an integral part of the success of the company and its clients. In an increasingly digital world, Rawicz weighs in on the importance of resumes, cover letters, and remote interviewing prowess for virtual assistants. By following her tips, candidates are more likely to find success at every step of the job-searching process and land a job that’s attuned with their personal and professional goals.
“After years of doing this, I have a good feel for when a candidate is a good fit. In addition to having the skills and experience, I gauge their passion to help others succeed. Their eagerness to go the extra mile. Their commitment to doing whatever it takes to figure something out. And their desire to be a supportive member of a team.“
After years of doing this, I have a good feel for when a candidate is a good fit. In addition to having the skills and experience, I gauge their passion to help others succeed. Their eagerness to go the extra mile. Their commitment to doing whatever it takes to figure something out. And their desire to be a supportive member of a team.
What Three Things Are Most Important During an Interview?
Every company is unique. It’s key that a candidate has done their homework about 100Ninjas and has a clear sense of what makes us stand out. I appreciate a positive attitude that reflects in how a candidate describes past experiences and how those experiences would benefit our company. Don’t tell me all about what you didn’t like, tell me what inspired you!
Lastly, I want to understand how working as a virtual assistant aligns with the candidate’s personal goals.
What Should a Potential Candidate Know About Interviewing?
I’d want the candidate to know that most employers do NOT look at the interview as a high stakes performance, but rather a brief opportunity for an employer to genuinely get to know the candidate as an individual. The candidate should focus on effectively revealing their innate and authentic awesomeness in the interview more than trying to project the image they imagine the employer wants to see.
How Important Is It That I Have All of the Requirements in the Job Listing?
More important than checking every single requirement box is whether you are excited about working on our team and believe you are a good match. If that’s the case, you absolutely should apply! Just come to the interview able to share some concrete reasons you are an excellent candidate and a good match for 100Ninjas.
Should I Still Apply Even if I Only Have 50% or 75% of the Requirements?
Though we generally look for candidates to have most of our requirements in place and, for sure, we have a few hard and fast ones, if you feel you can make a strong argument as to why you would be a good fit for us, you should absolutely apply. You can explain how your unique experience makes you a great fit for us in your cover letter.
What Are You Looking for in Candidates in Terms of Culture Fit With Your Organization?
Our core values help shape the culture of 100Ninjas. We look for candidates who reflect these values in the way they speak about, and approach, their work.
- Loyal. We value trust, honesty, and humility.
- Empowered. Our Virtual Assistants take ownership of the relationships they have with their clients. They care deeply about their client’s success.
- Curious. Our VAs are determined to find the best solution for any challenge.
- Tenacious. Our VAs are diligent and vigorous in their work ethic.
- Responsible. Our VAs know it is in their hands to make sure tasks are done correctly and on time. They can absolutely be counted on.
What Are You Looking for in a Cover Letter That You Can’t Get From My Resume?
First and foremost the cover letter should be well-written with no spelling or grammatical errors. The old saying is true: we only have one chance at a first impression.
Written communication is a key part of what our VAs do. It reflects who they are as a member of the 100Ninjas team. Most especially as our Virtual Assistants are remote, written communication can define how we present ourselves to and on behalf of, clients.
Take the time to personalize your cover letter. How will you uniquely contribute to this role? How have you made a difference in your past experiences? Let us know how your personal goals align with ours.
They Say That You Only Have Seconds to Make an Impression With Your Cover Letter. What Are Three Things You See on Cover Letters That Will Cause You to Immediately Reject an Application?
Cover letters that are poorly written or carelessly presented and/or have spelling and grammatical errors will cause me to read no further. A candidate’s attention to detail tells me a lot about how interested they are in the position. If it is a generic cover letter that could have been sent to any organization, it tells me the candidate is not interested in our company specifically. If the candidate misses the opportunity to highlight personal accomplishments, how are they going to stand out from the rest? And what does that say about the confidence they have in themselves?
When It Comes Down to It, How Do You Decide Who Gets the Job Offer?
After years of doing this, I have a good feel for when a candidate is a good fit. In addition to having the skills and experience, I gauge their passion to help others succeed. Their eagerness to go the extra mile. Their commitment to doing whatever it takes to figure something out. And their desire to be a supportive member of a team. When it comes to who I want to work with every day, and who I want to represent my company, I am looking for people whose core values align with ours.
What Do You Wish Applicants Would Pay More Attention to in the Application Process? Cover Letters? Resumes? Social Media Profiles? Interviewing skills?
I wish applicants would pay more attention to those in-between moments. The application process includes every communication with us. From scheduling an interview to writing a ‘thank you note’ after the interview and all other communications. The communication opportunities that we don’t specifically ask for are opportunities for candidates to be proactive, to show that something extra.
What Do You Consider Potential Red Flags in a Candidate During the Hiring Process?
Our hiring process includes a lot of back and forth with candidates. If they are not consistently responsive that is a red flag. When working with a remote team, it is very important that team members assure each other that they are there. We want to know that our VA’s clients will always feel their support, despite not sharing the same physical space.
If a candidate can’t get their technology to work and it is clear that they are trying it out for the first time, that tells me that they are not effectively ‘seeing around the corner’. Solving problems for our clients that haven’t even happened yet is an important value our Virtual Assistants add.
Showing up late to meetings is always a red flag.
How To Land a Job as a Virtual Assistant
As Rawicz illustrates, landing a job is more than just an impressive resume or well-written cover letter. While these are integral to garnering consideration for a position, they pale in comparison to the actual product: you as an individual worker. But by illustrating your personality, work ethic, soft/hard skills, and being responsive, you can find success in the remote world—even if it’s your first foray into the virtual job market. Regardless of your current employment status or your career goals, following the advice Rawicz puts forth from years of experience can take you off the no pile and put you in the midst of your next employment opportunity as a virtual assistant.
Are you a hiring manager who’s interested in appearing in our “Ask a Hiring Manager” monthly segment? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to set something up with the team. We’d love to hear from you!
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