I’ve recently had a lot of people on my podcast who are either executive recruiters or have an agency for placing virtual assistants in companies. Some of these people have been all stars and some, I’d probably would wanna stay away from.

Today, we’re gonna talk about how to hire and manage an executive recruiter, often known as headhunters, or agencies who provide virtual assistants for your business.


I’ve recently had a lot of people on my podcast who are either executive recruiters or have an agency for placing virtual assistants in companies. Some of these people have been all stars and some, I’d probably would wanna stay away from.

Today, we’re gonna talk about how to hire and manage an executive recruiter, often known as headhunters, or agencies who provide virtual assistants for your business.

Hi, I’m Josh Patrick, the founder of Stage 2 Planning Partners and The Sustainable Business. I’m also the one who’s responsible for putting together our Cracking the Cash Flow Code Program as well as the author of Sustainable: A Fable About Creating a Personally and Economically Sustainable Business.

So first, let’s talk about what a virtual assistant is.

  • A virtual assistant is someone who provides service for your company but is not based in your office.
  • They could be in The US or outside The US. In fact, the person I have who does my podcast is inside The US. The person I have who edits my videos is outside The US. They’re both unbelievably great people. I might be able to find folks where I live who do this and I can promise you, it’ll be a lot more expensive and will make it almost price prohibitive for doing videos on my podcast. So for me, virtual assistants make a lot of sense. And it’s a great way for me to build my business in a way that allows me to get the right person in the right seat, making sure that we have a good cultural match. All those things are still important, whether you have somebody in your office or outside of your office.
  • Now, if you’re gonna use a virtual assistant, you really should be aware in the virtual assistants outside the country, you really should be aware that there are cultural differences between countries and it’s important to know what they are. Let’s go on to number two.

Here’s some pros and cons of executive recruiters.

  • If they’re good, they’ve got a great Rolodex of people. And they have deep, deep, deep, I’ll say it again, deep understanding of your industry.
  • If you’re gonna hire an executive recruiter to bring somebody, a senior person into your company, you need to make sure they specialize in your industry. So one, they have a good Rolodex. And two, they understand the industry and what makes somebody good.
  • And if you hire an executive recruiter, make sure they have a strong guarantee. We’re gonna talk about why which is a lot of times, executive recruiters bring people to your company. But the end of the day, they don’t work out and you have to start the whole process over again. An executive recruiter is expensive. They typically charge about 30% on the first year’s compensation so you don’t wanna be making that expensive mistake and then going on to have to pay for it again.

So here’s my experience with the really good executive recruiters and the really good virtual assistant agencies versus the ones that are not so good.

  • The really good ones understand that a great hire is all about culture. Jim Collins talks about right person, right seat. Well, all executive recruiters are gonna be pretty good at right seat but the really good ones are also gonna be about the right person. It’s the right person that is the real key with having key people that work out for a long time in your company.
  • Now, what I’ve learned is that they’re really good, and I’ve had a couple of really good recruiters on my podcast. And the really, really good ones, they screen for values. All the other people I talk to, they don’t screen for values.
  • What you want is you want the one to screen for values. I ask people all the time whether they screen for values or not, why they do or why they don’t, and when I say why they do, they always tell me the same thing. You can’t get a good person unless you get the values thing right.

But here are the excuses I hear from the people who don’t screen for values:

  • I have too many clients. I have too many different types of industries. I can’t learn what the values are in these companies. They just aren’t really interested in doing this. They wanna put the person in the seat as fast as they possibly can so they get to move on to the next ones. The really good recruiters take the extra time to find the right person. And frankly, it pays out well for them too because they don’t have to go out and start the whole process again six months or a year down the road and do it free the second time around.
  • Many recruiters think the job is only to find the right skills. I would say yeah, right skills, that’s table stakes. If you don’t have the right skills, you can’t hire the person at all. But you wanna have the right values at the same time. This is true whether you’re hiring a person that sat next to you, a senior person in your company, or their virtual assistant who’s doing the podcast editing for me or my video.
  • I mean, Because they have the same values I do or have similar values that I do, it’s really easy for me to work with them. I don’t feel like I’m abusing them, they don’t feel like they’re abusing me, we really get along while together and we have a lot of fun working together at the same time.

What you need to do when you’re gonna either hire a virtual assistant agency or you’re gonna decide to use a headhunter, be clear about what the agency is or is not going to do.

  • Before starting your process, put together your own values and clarifying statements. You can’t expect the agency to do this. You can’t expect the recruiter to do this. It’s your job and I mean it’s your job first to understand what your values are and then put a clarifying statement around that. For example, one of my core values is simplification. When I say simplification, you may or may not know what I mean but what it does mean is we take the complicated and we make it simple. So as people are going through this, the process they were hiring for me, they would know, if somebody started talking jargon after jargon after jargon, not the right person for my company. They’d say, nice. You’re probably good for someplace else, not this company. And that’s how I want you to think.
  • Realize that a successful hire takes more than the technical the skills to do the job. I see too many times, business after business after business to business, has paragraph after paragraph after paragraph on what the technical skills are for the job and spend no time talking about the values are that will make somebody successful in your company. The thing that’s really important I find is technical skills are relatively easy to screen for but if they’re willing to do the activity which we call Will Do activities, doing the things that are successful to job, that’s a bit harder.
  • And then screening for fit factors is really the hardest of all ’cause you really wanna make sure that that person is going to be a cultural fit, likes the values that you have, and is going to be around your company for a long period of time. Now, I’m really fortunate in the fact that many people who have worked with me over the years, they’ve stayed for years and years and years and years. And I think the reason that people stick around so long with us isn’t because I’m the best boss in the world, ’cause I can sometimes blow off some steam. But they like the values that our company exhibits. They fit in with the values that our company exhibits, and they feel comfortable in our company as a result so they tend to stick around for a long period of time.

So here’s what I want you to do. Why don’t you scroll down, leave a comment below about what you think about hiring a virtual assistant through an agency or using a recruiter and having them broaden the scope to make sure they’re looking at values and activities that will make someone successful in your job and while you’re at it, why don’t you DOWNLOAD our free eBook on How to Hire for Unique Abilities.

If you understand what’s in that ebook, it’s gonna be easy for you to set up a time to work with an executive recruiter or her VA agency or even hire the VA or somebody for your own company, you get the right person in the right seat, not 30% or 40% of the time but 85% or 90% of the time.

So thanks so much for stopping by today. This is Josh Patrick. You’ve been at The Sustainable Business. I hope to see you back here really soon again.

Topics: Video, skills, business culture, executive recruiter, headhunters, fit factors, values, Sustainable Business, Hiring, virtual assistant, virtual assistant agencies

Posts by Tag

See all

Subscribe Here!