May 31

What Makes A Good Virtual Administrative Assistant?

Virtual assistants are a dime a dozen nowadays as more and more office-based workers are now joining the remote workforce. With varying levels of skill and experience, each can leverage, it is now a challenge for entrepreneurs like yourself to determine who is a perfect fit for your virtual office administration support needs.

How does Office Administration Support work virtually?

Working asynchronously is key to delivering the expected results virtually.

Virtual office administration supports heavily relies on clear and constant communication to achieve or exceed work goals. If you’re not aligned with work expectations, your virtual admin assistant cannot execute the plans you made for your business.

Furthermore, you should take advantage of project management tools like Asana, Trello,, Jira, and other similar web-based applications to track daily activities, their progress, and daily challenges.

Also, if managing the business’ budget and expenses is one of the tasks your admin assistant will do for you, you can use spreadsheets and other basic accounting software.

How do I know if I need a Virtual Assistant or an Admin Assistant?

A virtual assistant is an umbrella term for remote workers whose primary job is to support an executive or a startup founder. Usually, startup founders did everything from the ground up themselves, and would naturally want someone to cover for one or more functions they will vacate. Thus, in the beginning, a virtual assistant a.k.a executive assistant is hired to support the professional and personal tasks for business owners and leaders to obtain more time.

Unlike an executive virtual assistant, a virtual office admin assistant or simply, an admin assistant, supports the needs of the business – covering systems, processes, and projects rather than the needs of one executive.

What type of tasks can I delegate to my virtual administrative assistant?

The truth is you can delegate any task that does not include changing policies or tasks that involve financial negotiations on behalf of the company or your business’ name to your admin assistant.

The following tasks below are examples of tasks that they can do for you so you can be free to make top-dollar decisions:

Transcribing Documents

Maintaining accurate records like minutes of the meetings, operating procedures, and sometimes financial documents are crucial. However, these tasks usually take time and would need one’s focus and attention to complete.

Proofreading Copies

You always need a fresh pair of eyes to review emails, social media posts, and your tons of drafts and doodles. In this way, you can be sure that the tone, style, and manner of delivery in all written communication is aligned with your values and mission.

Online Research

When you have an idea for your business, write it down and let your admin assistant do the rest to scour the web and give you insights later. You can ask them to check out your competitors, compare product prices, and gather other useful information to help you start working on that idea.

Reading, gathering, collating, and fact-checking data using content from the web is time-consuming but definitely an important step in the ideation phase of any project you want to start.

Manage Meetings and Small Projects

Your virtual admin assistant can prepare the agenda for the meeting, the slides for the presentation, take notes, and send the minutes after the meeting is adjourned. You can also expect them to follow up on action items discussed during the meeting.

Organize Files and Documents

You can delegate streamlining your process on filing electronic documents and other pertinent files in your shared drive. Expected output from these tasks include document

In addition to this, you can ask your virtual admin assistant to take care of updating your manuals, sales copies, email blasts, newsletter, some editorial and web content.

Answering Business Queries

Customer business queries are sent via call, email, or social media so your virtual admin assistant can reply and make follow-up calls.

Handling Complaints

Handling difficult situations by de-escalation is a skill that is not easily taught. That’s why handling complaints is a task given to remote workers with impeccable soft skills and interpersonal skills.

Create Templates for Reporting or Business Case

Business cases and reports will eat up a lot of your time and your virtual admin assistant can create templates that will help you plug in data anytime.

Some HR tasks

Human resources is a vast practice and arm of an organisation. However, there are many HR tasks that virtual admin assistants can do like posting job ads for vacancies, paper screening, scheduling interviews, collecting and filing pre-employment requirements, making follow-ups over the phone for applicants, tracking attendance and vacation leaves if any, and many more.

In addition to the HR tasks mentioned, sometimes virtual admin assistants are also responsible for greeting and welcoming the new members of a team.

What Qualities and Skills should I look for in a Virtual Administrative Assistant?

First, outline the scope of the work you want your admin assistant to work on daily, weekly, and monthly. Next, outline the problems you want them to solve as well as the goals and the output expected from them. Then, you can list a description of your ideal admin assistant. Finally, create a budget for this role.

Here are the skills required and prior exposure or experience needed for some common virtual admin assistant across industries:

Must-Have Skills Nice-to-Have Skills Experience Using Tools (Non-Negotiable)
  • Proven past experience in managing small projects including communicating with various departments
  • Experience in managing inventory and lists of product sales, customers, customer feedback, and market research
  • Able to track, collate, and update processes and streamlining systems in place particularly in filing and creating SOP manuals
  • Possesses a working knowledge of labor laws and staff supervision
  • Expertise in creating copies for email, business reporting
  • Experience in basic bookkeeping and expense and budget tracking
  • Excellent time and task management skills
  • Prior relevant experience in timekeeping for payroll computation
  • Exposure in networking (professional environment)
  • Experience in lead generation or data mining
  • Salesmanship and Negotiation skills
  • Exposure in PR and Marketing particularly creating content for social media channels and other sales-related
  • Leadership skills in giving and receiving feedback, coaching, and knowledge transfer
  • Photo and video editing skills
  • Proficient in the use of Microsoft Office and Google Suite applications
  • Experience in the use of Remote desktop or any time-tracking tools such as but not limited to:
    • Hubstaff
    • Time Doctor
  • Relative experience in any of the following Project management tools
    • Jira
    • Basecamp
    • Trello
    • Smartsheets
    • Asana
    • Wrike
    • Slack
    • Zendesk

Aside from the known general skills outlined above, there are tell-tale signs of a good virtual assistant that you will observe during your interview.

Here are the characteristics of a good virtual admin assistant:

Calm and Composed

The best virtual admin assistant has the ability to manage multiple tasks and stays calm under pressure. They should be able to react quickly and positively and won’t crack when the deadlines are tight and the situations are difficult.

Some questions you might ask during the interview:

“Walk me through a time that you had to talk when you’re upset.”

“Describe your thought process when you feel overwhelmed?”

“What do you do when the task makes you feel you want to quit?”

“How do you know which tasks to prioritise?”

Independent and Resourceful

Ideally, in a remote work setup, you’re looking for someone who is a good team player but also comfortable working alone. If this is the first time you’re hiring a virtual admin assistant, you’d want to find someone who can “think outside of the box” or better yet, “make you a box” when thinking of ways to execute your plans.

Especially if you and your virtual admin assistant are to work asynchronously, it would be nice to wake up to options of proposed solutions rather than problems and complaints.

Some questions you might ask during the interview:

“How do you usually solve a problem?”

“What are the steps you take in finding a solution to [work] problems?”

“What part(s) of this [job] do you think are challenging?”

“If you were to improve our [process/system] how would you start?”

Excellent Communicator

The minimum qualifications for verbal and written communication skills is above average, considering the familiarity or use of some colloquialisms or business jargon.

Some situational questions to present and ask:

“How do you communicate bad news?”

“What is an example email reply to someone [bad trait,

“How do you communicate a problem?”

Some situational questions to present:

Create a mock scenario where you’re the customer and the interviewee is your potential admin assistant selling one of your products or services.

Above all, the most important trait that separates the good from the bad admin assistant is the passion for doing things with the same level of care that you invested in your business when you started it. But like what David Allen said in his book Getting Things Done: “You can do anything, but not everything” – there is a time to delegate these tasks.

As you scale your business it will be difficult to balance your work and personal life. And finding a suitable replacement to do the redundant tasks, we bet you’ll miss doing yourself, will prove to be another challenge.

That’s where Remote Staff can step in for you. We have been fostering business relationships by matching highly skilled, self-motivated virtual assistants to take care of your business and your customers.

Give us a call and discover the possibilities of working with top-notch talent, tapping on unlimited know-how, and growing with professionals who keep on learning.

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Disclaimer: The above article was written according to the information available as of press time.
All opinions and beliefs expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Remote Staff's, its employees, subcontractors, clients, and affiliates.

About The Author

Joele is a trained facilitator, communications coach, and course designer before working remotely as a sales consultant and content writer. During her free time, she teaches her homeschooled daughter, reads books, and preps meals. On weekends, she binge-watches post-apocalyptic drama and crime procedural shows with her husband.

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