Are you looking for a 4-hour workweek?
So was entrepreneur Tim Ferris, till he was able to find virtual assistants with real-time skills for offloading work and getting things done.
Considering how valuable even a single hour can be, it’s important to have the hiring process for a virtual assistant in place.
What are the best questions to ask a virtual assistant before you hire them?
As the business grows, finding the time to complete mission-critical tasks shortens.
A VA can help you to find more hours in a day.
Dedicated, real-time support from remote virtual assistants can make all the difference.
While hiring a VA, it’s crucial to find a worker whose style of communication and functioning matches your own.
Identifying proactive, passionate candidates is as much about asking the right questions, as it is about not getting wrong answers.
Future VA hires will work independently, so you need a self-starter.
Here are the essential categories of questions you need to ask before you hire virtual assistants for your office.
Process and Operations Oriented
These are questions that test the ability of the VA to troubleshoot and range from asking how to solve urgent questions without guidance to dealing with a computer crash.
Queries can also be focused on how to overcome difficulties in communicating with teams in different time zones.
Questions on organizing employee contact information for quick access can also serve as a useful testing ground for prospective VA’s.
These are questions that evaluate the ability of the virtual assistant to ensure accuracy in routine tasks ranging from processing and bookkeeping to creating reports.
Calendar management tools used, online group communication tools, meeting planner skills and strategies for easily booking hotel rooms and making travel arrangements are some of the areas where questions can focus.
These are behavioral questions that focus on motivation in the face of repetitive tasks, the challenges of work-life balance on a remote job, the ability to allocate priorities while juggling multiple deadlines and a whole lot more.
Getting Down to the Basics
While hiring VA’s, conducting an interview involves testing the capabilities and selecting the right person for the job.
With these interview questions, you can zone in on the virtual assistants who can fulfill your specific needs and job requirements.
What are the areas you are skilled at?
This is a vital question to ask. If you need a social media manager or a bookkeeping assistant, you need to choose a person who knows the drill. What is the point of hiring someone who just cannot meet the demands of the role? A VA’s specific skill sets must match the job description for the best results.
How much experience do you have?
Apart from knowing the skills a VA has, you need certainty that he or she will excel at the tasks. Qualifications are important. So is an experience. Go from zero to superhero with top VAs who demonstrate proven competencies and experience. That way, you’ll ensure you hire a VA that can handle the responsibilities of the job well.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
A capable VA can answer this question without missing a beat. For a critical understanding, the VA must demonstrate a thorough analysis of not just the strengths, but the weaknesses as well. VAs need to be open to growth and change. For a candidate who lacks insights into problem areas, accepting constructive criticism can be tough at a later stage, post the hire.
How do you handle work-related ambiguities?
Many employers face hurdles when it comes to communicating what they want from their VA. Gauge your prospective VA’s capacity to focus on work and test his or her sense of initiative when faced with work-related ambiguities or multiple deadlines.
Do you have references I can approach?
The true test of a VA is whether previous clients can vouch for his/her professionalism. If there are many reviews and testimonials pointing to satisfactory performance, you can rest assured that you are delegating your tasks to the right candidate for the job.
What do you like most about your job?
When asked about their passions, you can find out whether your potential candidate is a self-starter with the capacity to work independently and think ahead of the curve. It also forms an essential core of the rapport building phase. At the end of the session, you should be able to choose the right VA who fits your business requirements and meets work challenges.
What are your preferred means of communicating?
A VA who excels at oral communication may find an email a challenging task and vice versa. If you’re an email person, and your VA sticks to phones, you can be sure that hiring the professional would be disastrous. Choose the VA that works well for you, and suits your communication style, whether it’s direct or indirect, oral, written or both, digital or video based etc.
How do you handle challenging tasks?
If the VA takes on more than he or she can handle, the end results will be unfavorable for business. Nobody wants to tell the boss they cannot work through a certain task. But that, in a nutshell, is exactly what you need to look for in a worker. Transparency, open honest communication and the ability to clarify and come clean on challenges they can and cannot meet, differentiate the best VA’s from the rest.
Have you ever contradicted an employer?
VA’s need to be aware of how they would approach a situation where they need to challenge status quo. Lack of communication can trigger workplace issues. Your remote worker needs to know how to work around these.
Whether it’s suggesting new tools like Asana, Basecamp or Fresh books or bringing about a major shift in operations, a change maker VA stays ahead of the game. Knowing when to be disruptive and when to maintain stability is an important hallmark of a skilled VA.
Knowing the right question to ask can bring about a sea change in the quality of VA’s your business selects. If you want a VA whose will nail the job duties, you need to do your research. Striking the right note at the interview stage can be an important precursor of just how capable your virtual assistant really is when it comes to harmony in working styles and harnessing team synergies.