How to make sure that you hire the best Virtual Assistant for your business

Last week we looked at the 3 essential steps to follow before hiring a virtual assistant.

This week’s post is about what to do once you have received responses to your advertisement.

Once you have sent out your advertisement or request for proposals, you can start evaluating the responses you get.

Beware of responses with resumes attached.  A VA is your business partner, not your employee, and those sending a resume may still be in “employee” mode.

If you posted an ad asking for very specific information, the VA should respond answering all your questions.  If they fail to do so, you can assume that this VA does not take the time to read basic instructions and will often forget minor details that contribute to the successful completion of any task.

Also, search for grammatical errors in the responses.  You need a professional who can effectively write and convey their message.  You never know when you may need your VA to write an email on your behalf, or to help with proofreading or content creation.

Once you narrow your selection, it’s time to dig into the details.  Most VA’s have an online presence. Is their site polished and professional or does it look like a butchered template from the ‘90s seasoned with poor grammar?  It may sound a bit biased to judge them on their site’s appearance, but you have to take into consideration they are a business owner just like you.  If they have a strong online presence free of inaccuracies and errors, it clearly indicates that they are committed to this profession in the long run.

Do a Google search on the VA’s name.  What image does this person portray?  Do they broadcast the most intimate details of their personal lives to the world, or is their communication meaningful and professional?

Think about what you want the VA to do for you. For instance, if you want your VA to help you maintain your social media profiles, what does theirs look like?  It will give you a good indication of the type of support you can expect to receive from them.

Conducting an interview

The ideal is to find a long-term collaborative partnership in order to fully benefit.  Time is money, and you don’t have time to repeat this process.  That is why it is important to find a VA that will fit perfectly with your needs.

Select 3 – 5 applicants for your shortlist based on your research above.  Contact them and arrange for an interview.  Look for clues such as the response time to answer your email.  If they take a while to respond, more than likely they have a full plate with more than they can chew.

During the interview, feel free to ask them for testimonials.  Your VA will potentially have access to important business and personal information, so you need to make sure they are trustworthy.

Also, ask them about their work experience and education.  You need to make sure that their background makes them a good fit for your business.

Look for clues when speaking to the VA.  Does the VA speak with confidence and have great phone etiquette?  Were they timely and prepared for the call?  Did you feel a sense of trust and chemistry?  Did the VA listen carefully and show interest in what you do by asking smart questions?

You need a VA who demonstrates great skills and a strong business sense so they can manage your workload effectively.

After the interview

Contact the VA of your choice and let them know you have chosen them.  You can also finalise a contract, rates, hours of work, and methods of communication.

Have a straightforward contract that clearly stipulates your expectations for your virtual assistant as well as what they should expect from you.

Hire the VA for a test run.  Assign some non-essential tasks in order to see how they handle communication, as well as how diligent they are in completing the tasks as assigned.  This type of trial allows you to see whether you and your virtual assistant are a good fit.

Look out for next week’s post on how to get the best out of your relationship with your VA.

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