If you’re like many of our clients at VAI, you’ve never before hired anyone else for your business. Making that choice can be daunting. Here are 15 critical items to get answers to for any potential hire… before the hire.
1) Is she available the number of hours you currently require? If you intend to expand her responsibilities as time goes on, will she be able to expand her hours for you as well?
2) If you work in a way that requires phone conversations or other tasks that must be synchronized to a specific schedule, what times do you require and is she available to carry out those tasks during that time frame?
A VA in a different time zone than you can be an advantage if you want to wake up to a clean inbox or need non-standard hours. Even if you need standard US work hours, a time zone difference may not be an issue at all. A skilled VA will be able to seamlessly bridge the time zone gap. Ask her what her strategies are.
3) Does the VA have the skills necessary to take care of the tasks you need done?
4) Does the VA have experience in your industry?
If she does, that’s a big plus. If she doesn’t though, that not necessarily a reason to look elsewhere. It could be advantageous for your budget to hire a less experienced (but capable, of course) VA who will learn on the job. The tradeoff is that you will need to budget more time into your schedule for training, patience for the learning curve and pay her to learn different applications independently. However, this is a sound investment – a few hours of your time in training a VA will pay off in endless dividends once the VA can take this work off your plate completely.
5) Will you need your VA to manage other members of your team?
If so, does she have proven management and delegation skills – or do you have reason to believe she’ll succeed in those areas?
How is her communication ability – spoken and written?
6) Do your personalities work well together?
A huge advantage in working with a VA company like VAI is that should your working relationship be unsuccessful, you have the backup of a staff of other potential virtual assistants. Still, getting used to each other and setting up systems is work and to keep the flow going, you should aim for the person you hire to stay with you as long as possible. During your interview, if everything lines up okay but you find there to be something itching at you about her personality, don’t ignore that. A virtual, working relationship closely parallels a real-life working relationship. Annoying is annoying. We get it.
7) What software programs are a must for working with your company? Are you in need of potentially non-standard computer programs?
VAI demands that all virtual assistants they hire have a certain minimum of software, but does that cover your needs? Some assistants may have more specific programs available.
8) How do you want to communicate with your VA?
Skype? Email? WhatsApp? Or the good old-fashioned phone? Check how your potential VA can and does communicate with her clients – and make sure that’s up your alley.
9) How much can you spend on a VA per month?
Do realize that “you get what you pay for” is true more often than not. A VA who costs $10 an hour will usually have a skill set on a lower level than a VA who costs $26 dollars an hour. At the same time, if you don’t have $26 dollars an hour, then you don’t. And you’ll have to see if you can get by with the lower skill set, or if it makes more sense to hold out on a VA until you can afford a higher level VA.
10) Do you prefer a VA agency or an individual freelancer?
An agency may be more expensive, but it offers a larger pool of candidates, administrative guidance, and whom to talk to if things aren’t going as expected. An individual VA is often less expensive, but less of a safety net for you.
11) Do you need someone who will take the tasks you send them and follow your instruction to the letter – or someone who will take initiative, and help you with ideas and brainstorming?
12) Do you see your need for a VA as only for a few weeks or months? Or do you want to hire someone who could be with your company for years?
Especially if you have long-term hopes, check what your potential VA’s plans are. Have they made a career out of being a VA? Or is it a way to make some extra money while they’re a student or between jobs?
13) How do you know you can trust your VA?
More often than not, VAs have the keys to the castle – access to your email, website, credit card number, passwords, client information… That’s a little scary. What criteria do you need to fill before you’ll feel comfortable trusting your VA with sensitive and personal information? References? How many? At VAI, we put all our VAs through rigorous screening and reference checks before we consider hiring them.
14) Do you like what you see on your VA’s personal social media accounts?
If employers check their potential employees’ Facebook accounts before hiring them, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do the same for your potential VA. Do her posts come across of that as a trustworthy and honest individual? Has she ever publicly complained about any of her employers/clients? (Hint: if privacy means a lot to you, that’s a bad sign.)
15) Is she comfortable with and enthusiastic about your business?
You’re building a team to take your business to better places, so you need someone who is going to take that leap up with you. A dead weight will only weigh you down. A good match of enthusiasm is vital.
Whether you’re planning to expand your business or just give yourself some time to breathe, we have confidence that with guidance, you’ll make the right choice. Our team is always happy to help you check the boxes on your dream list for a virtual assistant. Be in touch here to find out more.
Submitted by Aviela