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Questions to Ask a Virtual Assistant Before Hiring

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Here’s the scenario: you’ve reached crunch time and realized that, unfortunately, you can’t grow another pair of hands (or realistically invest in a clone). 

You need a Virtual Assistant to help manage your business, and want them to have started yesterday!

But how can you possibly choose between the thousands of freelance Virtual Assistants out there? You need:

  • 100% reliability and trust in their skills.
  • Someone with excellent time management and self-motivation.
  • A serious multi-tasker who can keep up with the pace.
  • Experience, abilities, and ideally, industry knowledge.

Asking the right questions when hiring a Virtual Assistant is essential since you’re trusting this contractor to represent your business.

Time is tight, the pressure’s on, so let’s whizz through the important questions to ask!

How Did You Become a Virtual Assistant?

First question – one that interviewers often skip past because they’re so focused on skills and qualifications!

It’s people that make businesses great, so it is well worth taking the time to get to know your candidate.

Asking about background is also a perfect intro to see how comfortable your VA is talking about themselves and whether they give an honest response or seem a bit guarded.

Among the Virtual Assistant advantages and disadvantages, remember you won’t be working together in person, so you must find a professional who’s confident engaging in dialogue.

Tell Me About Your Best and Worst Virtual Assistant Roles?

Ok, we admit, it seems a bit gossipy, but useful!

If you want to know how can a Virtual Assistant help your business, it’s all about aligning your values and aspirations with the candidates you hire.

A great response will go way beyond the list of experience in your interviewee’s resume and show you:

  • How they communicate negativity – or work around it to avoid casting shade on previous employers.
  • The type of jobs they love, and the environments they thrive in.
  • What makes them animated, excited, and enthusiastic (hint, if the example job is a million miles from your vacancy, it’s not a good sign).

Every business in the world hits a speed bump. This question helps you understand how your candidate manages tricky situations and how proactive they are at resolving issues.

What Would You Do If I Assigned You a Task You Can’t Do?

Now, communication is the NUMBER ONE challenge when hiring a Virtual Assistant!

And given how broad the job spec is for this role, it’s likely you’ll come across a few VA’s who offer different skills. For example:

  • Digital-focused assistants who manage online aspects of the business.
  • Administrative VA’s who carry out general bookkeeping or scheduling.
  • Creative assistants who manage content and social media accounts.

It’s reasonable to assume that some Virtual Assistants will be better suited to your job requirements than others. It is equally vital to establish the limits of those skills and scope out what would happen if they were faced with a problem. You want a hire that will come clean if they can’t do a task you’ve set and someone who will ask for help if they don’t understand the assigned job.

How Do You Manage Priorities and Deadlines?

If you’re hiring a Virtual Assistant, it’s fair to assume you have a lot on your plate. That means pressure, busy workloads, and the need to respond rapidly to critical problems. Nobody wants to tell the boss they can’t do the job on time, and nobody wants to admit to running late on an assignment.

The golden rule is this: if your VA tells you they can’t do something in the timeframe you’ve set, believe them and don’t try and force it.  Rushed work = sloppy work! If they say they can do it, you need to be able to trust they will.

How Reliable Are Your Communication Networks?

One common issue with a virtual hire is that they suddenly disappear during a three-day power cut, leaving your business in limbo. Your VA might work from home or in a shared workspace. They’re not likely to have a backup generator or emergency power source. Likewise, they’re probably reliant on home broadband, which varies wildly in different countries and states!

Make sure you’ve checked what sort of networks they use, how prone they are to outages, and agree on how to get in touch in such a scenario, so you aren’t left hanging.

Tell Me About Your Daily Work Schedule?

Many Virtual Assistants work across time zones and choose remote work to manage family responsibilities. It’s no good taking on even the best VA in the world if your expectations don’t match up.

Chat about:

  • Schedule restrictions, what times of day (or night) they work.
  • When they’ll be available during your regular working day.
  • How quickly they expect to respond to emails.
  • The days of the week they’ll complete your tasks.

Missing this conversation at the interview is a massive red flag for both professional assistants and businesses.

The joy of a virtual hire is that you get absolute flexibility about how often you use them and the hours they work for you. It has to work both ways, so it is just as crucial for the freelancer to check what they’re offering fits your business needs.  But if every box gets checked, then you may have just found your perfect hire!

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