You’ve hit your limit. You know that you can’t perform at your best with all of the administrative tasks piling up around you. You are a professional on the go. So, what do you do? You hire a virtual assistant.
But how do you know you’re partnering with the right person? How do you know that a virtual assistant, often sight unseen, will be an asset rather than a liability?
Here are 5 tips to keep in mind during the interview process.
1. Website Hygiene
Yes, many people assume that in today’s day and age people have updated and sanitized their online presence, however, people who are not detail oriented, and who are not professional, haven’t bothered.
Check the candidate’s website and associated professional social media accounts. Is the website professional in its appearance? Does it have clean lines, appropriate photos, and is it free of grammatical errors? Does it feature current testimonials? If not, keep in mind that that person just showed you a significant piece of their work product. If they aren’t interested in looking polished for themselves, they’ll be hard pressed making you looked polished to others.
2. Response Time
It’s not always possible to return an email or a call immediately, but it is essential for a candidate to show that they are prompt with their responses. A big part of the virtual assistant’s job is to guarantee communication is relatively seamless. If the candidate doesn’t return a request for information quickly, be it through an email, landing page contact form or a phone call, it’s time to follow your gut and keep your options open. Even a simple note stating their next available time can go a long way to prove an individual’s reliability. And forget about the candidate who plays the old, “if they wait I’ll appear more valuable” game. That’s a red light your business isn’t as important as their ego.
3. Intelligent Questions
When you interview the candidate, do they seem invested in getting to know you and gain an understanding of your needs? Do they ask intelligent questions and listen carefully to what you say, or provide complete responses in writing?
Some good questions a professional virtual assistant might ask you are:
- What are your immediate challenges?
- What are your goals, both long and short term?
- Is this a new position, or has it recently been vacated?
- If it was vacated, how can they improve upon the past performance?
- What skills and technology will be needed to ensure success?
A professional virtual assistant will have access to, and the skills for, many forms of technology including both MAC and PC, printer/scanner, headphone and mic set, as well as current software platforms for communication, word processing and more.
Additionally, the individual you hire as your virtual assistant needs to be capable of planning, prioritizing, and managing problems as they arise. That means they need to bond well with you. Not only will there be occasions when they need to make judgment calls, but there will be times when the put out fires before you (or your clients) even know it’s hot. They will be prepared, polite, and prompt, but above all, they will able to work in concert with you.
When looking for the right virtual assistant, look for the professional virtual assistant. Be sure that this is their dedicated work, that they are invested in your success and that they have your back, and the track record to prove it.