Looking for a Virtual Assistant? Here are Ten Things to Look For When Hiring

Looking for a Virtual Assistant? Here are Ten Things to Look For When Hiring 1000 466 Serena Estrella

So, you’ve finally realized that you need a virtual assistant, eh? Congratulations! That’s always the first step: acknowledging a need.

Here’s the second step: figuring out what kind of virtual assistant you need. If you want, you can take a moment to read this first.

Done? Great. But before you can start interviewing candidates, think about what sort of qualities your ideal VA should have. Sure, you want them to be capable and all that jazz, but this particular remote job will require them to be just a little bit more than that, especially if you want the arrangement to be lasting and productive.

Remember, your virtual assistant will pretty much be running key aspects of your professional life for you…from a distance. You need to choose him/her wisely. Thus, here are some green flags to look for when you start looking:

1. Reliability.

This is perhaps the number 1 trait a virtual assistant should have. The last thing you want is someone who flakes out on you, is unresponsive, or worse, doesn’t deliver at all. In that case, you might as well not hire a VA in the first place.

How can you tell if someone is reliable? Pay attention to how prompt they are during the application process. Do they respond within a reasonable time?  Did they show up to the video interview on time? If the answer to both questions is “no,” move on to the next candidate.

2. Accuracy.

Good VA’s aren’t cheap to hire, but they should provide you with good value for money. How? By executing their tasks well.

Sure, you can expect a few mistakes in the beginning, especially when they haven’t gotten the hang of things yet and are also trying to figure out your needs as their boss. However, this adjustment period shouldn’t take too long, and they should be able to perform their duties properly without much supervision beyond this point.

As a caveat, though, you do need to provide sufficient training from your end. This is where the Share Screen feature comes in handy.

3. Good Time Management Skills.

Some VA’s handle more than one client, and that’s fine as long as each of them believes they’re the only one. This is manageable if the VA can plan ahead and handle their time well.

A good indicator of great time management skills, for instance, is when s/he finishes their daily tasks within the agreed schedule. However, do make allowances for occasional interruptions beyond their control. These include problems with Internet connectivity, power outages, equipment repairs, and so on.

4. Discipline.

Your VA will be working largely unsupervised, so they need to be disciplined enough to stick to their work schedule. You wouldn’t want to pay someone just for them to chat with a friend on Facebook all day.

A good time-tracking software ought to let you monitor your virtual assistant without micro-managing them. Remote Staff, for instance, requires all its subcontractors to install its proprietary software on their devices. This tracks the remote worker’s hours, regularly takes screenshots during such, and automatically generates reports for the client. 

5. Resourcefulness.

It’s perfectly fine to ask questions, especially if instructions weren’t clear. (More on this in the next item.) However, for just about everything else, there’s Google. 

VA’s are, first and foremost, professional problem solvers. Thus, the ones worth their salt should be able to find or sort out numerous things with minimal supervision. They don’t need to know how to do everything, but they should at least know where to start looking.

6. Effective Communication Skills.

This is pretty basic. For you and your VA to have a productive working relationship, you literally need to understand each other. 

So, check out your candidate’s CV. How are their English language skills? Are they able to spell things correctly? Is their grammar usage sufficient enough for you to understand what they’re communicating?

This is also why it’s important to conduct a video interview. You want to see firsthand if the candidate has no trouble understanding your accent (if you’ve got one), and how quickly they can respond in the same language too.

Lastly, you’d want to hire someone who’s not afraid to speak up. It would be great if they also have a few questions for you after the initial interview, or if they’re the sort to clarify things without any prodding.

7. Proactiveness.

Speaking of “without any prodding,” a good VA should have the presence of mind to act favorably in case something comes up. So long as they’ve been sufficiently trained and have been at the job for a while, they should be able to make some basic decisions on their own without consulting you for every little thing.

A good VA should also be able to anticipate certain needs and prepare for them in advance. For instance, if you decide to hold the interview via Zoom, the candidate should already have installed the program and worked out how to operate it, well before you begin the interview.

8. Detail-oriented.

What’s a VA for if not to worry about the details? Whether it’s the time and date of your upcoming power lunch with a prospect or the current status of pending client inquiries, a good VA should have them well in hand.

From the onset, though, asking specific questions about the job or an upcoming interview is a great sign. “What are the most important tasks in this job?,” “Which timezone should I refer to for the interview schedule?,” and so on are examples.

9. Caring.

No, I don’t mean your VA should be all sunsets and rainbows. Rather, their work should show that they genuinely care about their job. This means that they take time and effort to improve their skills. That they take feedback without getting defensive and actually apply it.

When someone loves what they do, it’s hard for them not to strive hard to do it well. Who wouldn’t want to work with someone like that?

10. A Good Internet Connection.

Of course, all of the aforementioned traits will all be for naught if the candidate has an unreliable internet connection. How else would they be able to communicate with you and do their job?

Now, how can you tell if their internet connection is up to scratch? Again, this is where the video interview comes in. Such things take up a fair bit of bandwidth, so if the candidate can get through it without major lags from their end, they’re likely to have a serviceable connection.

Where can you find people with these? Easy. Remote Staff has a rich pool of diverse and pre-qualified Filipino talent. We can certainly help you find your ideal virtual assistant in good time.

Get in touch with us today and let us help you get started.