Before hiring a virtual assistant, it’s important to learn more about who they are and how they work. Beyond a phone or Skype interview, here are four tips for selecting a stellar VA so you can streamline your business operations without delay.
Review a potential assistant’s website before scheduling an interview. Make sure each page contains proper grammar and punctuation. If you see lots of spelling errors or sentence structure that does not make sense, cross that person off your list and keep looking. Actively look for information about the person’s personal, business, and educational background. Get a sense of the person by reviewing their ‘About Me’ page and whatever else you find.
Professionalism (Or Lack Thereof)
Before, during, and after the interview, consider how professional the VA is and how well they responded to your initial engagements. If the VA takes too long to respond or ignores questions you have about work experience or specific skills, you may want to move on to someone else.
Keep in mind that how a VA handles you and your requirements is indicative of how they’ll handle your customers or clients. For the most part, your assistant is a representative of you and your business. If they make a bad impression or appear unprofessional, so will you.
Experience and Skills
Find out exactly how a VA can improve your business. Ask specific questions about their work history and skills. Inquire about systems and software they’ve used so you can best ensure you’re selecting someone with the appropriate experience – this saves valuable time in training your assistant down the line.
Depending on the type of assistant you need, inquire about their specific skills in more depth, such as website management, content creation, social media management, transcription, online research, data collection, or bookkeeping perhaps. Ideally, it’s helpful to select an assistant with a set of skills that meets most or all of your needs, right off the bat.
Always ask for references, essentially so you can actively consider some sort of verifiable social proof – whether in the form of comprehensive testimonials or praise, before making a final hiring decision. These references can at least to some degree verify if the assistant is being honest about their experience and skills. References can also give you an idea of what it’s like to work with this person and how professional they are with their clients, and possibly customers as well.
Asking about their availability is very important because virtual assistants can live and work from anywhere in the world. For example, if you need someone who can give a timely response to customer questions or client requests, a local VA (someone in your time zone or close to it) is essential. If you’re looking for someone to manage your books periodically or assist with anything that needs to be done on a daily basis – like social media for example, your VA doesn’t necessarily need to live in the same or similar time zone at all.
Determine if you need a full-time or part-time assistant. Some virtual assistants have multiple clients so the time they can work for you may be limited. Choose someone who can work easily with your schedule.
In most cases, you’ll know who to hire after conducting a few interviews. If you feel a special connection to a person, or if your personalities mesh, then you should follow your instincts. Finding the best VA for your business is entirely possible, especially if you’re clear about what you’re looking for from the start.