Hiring a virtual assistant has now become a solution not only to overcome a financial crisis. But to offer relief to overwhelmed business people, entrepreneurs, and others needing more hours in a day – without leaving duties pending.
However, it could be really frustrating if you don't hire the appropriate helper – and believe us, we know!
Some clients find it shockingly unusual in our insistence on finding out what is it that they're looking for – is it marketing? Human resources outsourcing? Webwork? Design? Clerical work? Sales?
Hiring a person that’s incapable to take on your work will create stress and lower your expectations of what could be a great deal! Let's take a look at what to take into consideration when looking for a VA (virtual assistant).
Since your virtual assistant works remotely, most of the communication between you and your assistant will be via email or instant messaging platforms, hence, computer literacy is definitely a must.
He/she should be able to handle at least basic computer packages, like word processors and internet. Make a list of what you need: do you need your assistant to know how to use QuickBooks? WordPress? Photoshop? Dreamweaver?
If you need advanced computer skills, be sure to note this when you’re out looking for a virtual assistant. A list of the software they need proficiency with should suffice.
Your helper must definitely have the ability to deal with all types of people, from potential clients to suppliers and other employees from your company. Be sure to interview your assistant first!
In business, people skills are everything. If your assistant isn’t able to professionally communicate with your contacts, then you risk losing more than a few customers.
The VA needs to be well-versed in communicating via text messages, emails, telephone, and video conferencing tools. They should be able to converse with whomever you hire them to engage with. This includes airlines, hotels, customers, partners, and so on.
You can test this by reviewing how they communicate with you over the phone and via email. Then, in the beginning, you can monitor calls and emails to ensure their skills meet your standards.
Honesty and integrity
Even though this person won’t be at the same office as you, he or she will handle confidential information about your company. Just make sure that it’s a person you can trust.
Ask about the VA's background (perhaps it’s just one Google-click away!) and the company's policies in regards to your personal and sensitive information.
If you decide to Google the VA, write down a few notes on what you find. And then ask them certain questions to see if they match what you’ve found.
It’s also good to do a background check to ensure they have no incidents regarding identity theft or employer loyalty issues. Some of the checks you may want to conduct include employment history, education history, and criminal history.
You need to be in constant communication with your remote assistant. Make sure you’ll be able to reach your virtual assistant when needed and that there’s more than one way for you to get in touch with him or her.
If communication fails the whole idea of hiring a remote assistant will also fail and will only result in a frustrating experience for those involved. You can use a number of tools to ensure the best communication with your VA and team members.
For instance, you can use platforms like Slack, Asana, Skype, and Facebook or LinkedIn groups.
Tip: If you have a smartphone, be sure to inquire if it's possible to get in touch through free services such as BlackBerry Messenger or WhatsApp.
Missing deadlines is something you can’t endure as a business. If this happens consistently enough, it can cost you quite a few clients and business partners.
So the key is to find a virtual assistant who’s adamant about reaching the deadlines you set. One way to ensure this is to use tools that will make it easier to organize projects. Asana, Slack, Basecamp, and other tools make this possible.
You need to assign tasks and assignments in a clear format so your VA knows exactly what they must do on any given day. Set milestones so everyone is on the same page about what the expectations are.
Then if they’re needed to attend meetings, they need to be there well before it begins (virtually, of course).
You need a virtual assistant who’s going to hit the ground running. However, you can’t get this if your VA isn’t resourceful. If they’re always coming to you with questions they could easily find the answers to with a bit of research, then they’re going to do more harm than good.
It’s best to hire a virtual assistant that’s able to take time to use the resources available to them to perform their duties. Whether this be looking up client details on Google, reaching out to clients via email, or reading through the guides your company has available.
With a resourceful virtual assistant, you’re getting help from someone who’s able to work through problems and resolve them on their own.
After all, the purpose of a virtual assistant is to help you by providing solutions and problem-solving skills. Otherwise, what are they good for?
Plus, you may need to hire a virtual assistant in a niche you’re not familiar with. In this case, you wouldn’t be much of a help if they ran into an issue.
A good virtual assistant does everything you ask them to without an issue. But a great virtual assistant is one who will go over and beyond to complete the tasks you assign them.
A virtual assistant that adds value to your business is priceless. These individuals are capable of digging deeper to find the true value in everything they do.
This includes doing extra research or even interviewing experts to get the best data for an article. Or one who reaches out and talks to professionals to get up-to-date insights on a report or presentation you’re working on.
You’ll find some virtual assistants who do the bare minimum in order to get paid. That’s not the type of virtual assistant you want on your team. Find someone who’s going to go over and beyond to help your business succeed.
Sure, there may come a time when you need your virtual assistant to work hand-in-hand with your team. However, you also want them to be just as good at working alone as they are with your employees.
If you’re assigning tasks that don’t require the help of others, then you’ll need to find a virtual assistant who’s capable of doing everything on their own.
Some people who work remotely feel lonely and desire to work together with online teams. If a lot of the work you assign requires lone work, then make sure to note this when interviewing prospective virtual assistants.
The benefit of having a VA that works well alone is that they aren’t needy. They can get everything completed without you micromanaging them.
Great Time Management
We already mentioned the importance of a virtual assistant being punctual and deadline-oriented, we have to shine a spotlight on time-management skills.
This is essential if you’re hiring virtual assistants who will be responsible for managing your schedule, then time-management is key. This way, they don’t crowd up your schedule with too many appointments, meetings, and calls.
Your VA should understand how many events they can assign per day and week without tiring you out. After all, you still have a business to run.
It’s good to use a tool to help your VA better plan your days. For instance, you can use Google Calendar or something similar to show your availability. You can even go as far as to choose the hours you’re most productive and energetic to attend meetings and events.
Mistakes happen and when they do, the one who made it should take accountability. Having a virtual assistant who won’t own up to their own mishaps is a migraine waiting to happen.
You want a VA who’s not only going to hold themselves accountable but who will also take steps to make things right. The first step to moving past a mistake is to first realize what caused it in the first place.
The next step is finding a way to prevent it from occurring again. But you won’t achieve this if your virtual assistant is insistent on pointing fingers at everyone else but themselves.
No one is perfect and it’s alright to make certain mistakes sometimes. So be open to allowing your VA learn – as long as they’re taking accountability and it’s not hurting your business, of course.
There may come a time when you need a virtual assistant to manage tasks that demand special competencies. In this case, you’ll need an expert in a field you’re not familiar with.
This comes in handy when you need to perform tasks you’re not capable of doing yourself, but would like to offer to clients. Outsourcing is a genius way to ensure your customers’ needs are always met.
As for finding virtual assistants with expertise, you’ll have to search for individuals with experience in the industry you’re looking for. For instance, you can find VAs who specialize in content marketing, writing, advertising, sales, customer service, social media, and more.
It’s a good idea to search for a VA with several years of real-world experience in the competency you’re looking for. It also doesn’t hurt to give them a quiz, such as the ones you’ll find online for editors, typists, marketers, and other industry professionals.
Hiring a virtual assistant who’s always looking at the negatives in situations is going to make life miserable for you. They’re not open to constructive criticism and will fail to bounce back after making a mistake.
It’s better to have someone on your squad who can help you get through the chaos that oftentimes occurs in the business world. There’s nothing like having a positive attitude in a time of distress.
It makes the whole ordeal much easier to get through.
Harnessing the Benefits of Virtual Assistants
It’s hard to deny the benefits associated with hiring a virtual assistant. They can help you save plenty of time on tasks you’d otherwise spend hours upon hours completing.
And, in turn, this helps your business to improve, grow, and expand. You’ll also find that hiring a VA can be cost-effective compared to hiring a full-time employee to perform their same tasks.
You only pay for the time you need them for.
So if you’re ready to start reaping these benefits, then it’s important to look for virtual assistants with the aforementioned qualities. This way, you get the best experience possible.
If you need help finding the ideal VA for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at Uassist.ME!