I have worked with virtual assistants (VAs) from many different cultures and from all over the globe. I also manage contractors located down the street from me as well as across the world. How do I do it? Just one word: Organization.
No matter how organized I am, though, I find there are still some things that manage to slip through my fingers. That’s why I outsource and strive to find the “best person” for each job. But the best person for the long haul isn’t always easy to find. What I’m seeing more often, instead, is the “best person for the right job.” In order to work with a VA, I need to read between the lines and see who’s actually “getting” what I’m saying. Then I can determine who I think will be right for the particular job at hand.
In order to determine who is the right VA for me to handle the job at hand, I have developed a interview questionnaire which is designed to address my needs for right now, in addition to identifying skills needed in the future. Therefore, my interview process includes a lot of questions (in short essay format that I know will be outside the skill-set of the interviewee. The rationale is this: depending on how you answer my questions, I can usually tell how motivated you are at learning and grasping new skills. Want to pass my test? Here are the best tips on how to pass my test (and increase your skill set as a VA at the same time):
1. Don’t be afraid to say no.
When I get “yessed” over and over again in an initial interview, I see it as a sign of things to come. This person is going to be so focused on pleasing me that he or she can’t see that “yes” isn’t always the right answer.
– Admit that “I don’t understand; can you explain it again?”
– Ask “why?” (respectfully)
When you say “yes” to everything, you’re not being selective. If your boss hears you say “yes,” he’ll expect you to get it done. When it doesn’t get done or you get it done late, this will sour his trust, and could cost you the relationship.
2. Is your boss a maniac? Fire him!
I’ve been told before that I’m irreplaceable. I know what I want done and I know how to do it – fast. Obviously, however, I can’t do everything myself – that’s no way to run a business.
I have to delegate responsibilities to my employees. But if you can’t complete the assignment because I am unable to communicate what I need, then the problem is not you; it’s me.
Bosses that have trouble articulating what they want done have no business delegating responsibility. And they certainly have no business assigning tasks, no matter how well they’re paying. So if your boss doesn’t know what he’s doing, cut your losses and get out. Find yourself a job working for someone who does.
3. Don’t be afraid to pass on jobs.
When I first started out in web development, I took every job I could convince people to give me money for. But it was only when I took on projects that required the use of tools that I was comfortable with and was great at using that the quality of my work really shone.
The whole reason for an interview is to put your best foot forward. But when you don’t consistently display that sparkle that got you hired, your luster wears off. You won’t feel good about the quality of your work and neither will your boss. It’s better to just be honest and say “I’m not qualified” than to end up taking a job that doesn’t feel like it’s the right fit for you – ultimately tarnishing not only your reputation, but your self confidence.
4. Learn the top tools, and learn them backwards and forward.
The less training you need, the faster you can start being productive. I’m not talking about using gmail calendar or Basecamp here. I’m talking about the more interesting tools and techniques that can increase productivity.
So how do you get yourself hired?
When you’re interviewing, it all comes down to honesty. Know yourself, know what you’re capable of and know what you’re good at. (Also know what tasks you’re unable or unwilling to do!) When you walk in understanding your own capabilities and knowing exactly what you are and aren’t looking for in a job, you will immediately impress the interviewer. Just by talking to you, he or she will be able to see that you’re the real deal and the best person for the job.
Jeff Mendelson is an Internet Marketer and web designer located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.