13 Qualities to look for in a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants can be an extremely valuable asset to your team. They can make you happier, more productive, and decrease your stress levels. But you can only reap these benefits if the virtual assistant you hire is high-quality. If they’re not, you can end up with even more work than you started with!
In order to ensure that your virtual assistant will make your life easier, not harder, look for the following qualities:
We've added an infographic highlighting the top 5 qualities you should look for in a Virtual Assistant at the bottom of this blog. Enjoy!
1. Expertise in needed areas
Virtual assistants aren’t just for project management anymore – you can hire a virtual assistant for practically any need you have. While you may utilize virtual assistant services mainly for project management, there are many virtual assistants who are knowledgeable in marketing, finance, and even graphic design.
No matter the position you decide to fill with a personal assistant, ensure they are knowledgeable at the field they work in. Ask them for referrals or testimonials from past employers, ask them to describe their track record of success or their university degree, or if it’s a creative role, ask for an online portfolio to see examples of their work.
The more you can learn about their past, the more educated of a decision you can make when hiring them.
2. Time management skills
Your virtual assistant will need to handle many projects, tasks, and deadlines. A high-quality virtual assistant will be able to keep themselves organized and be able to prioritize what tasks should be taken care of first.
People with good time management skills know how to estimate how long a project will take and plan their schedules accordingly. If your virtual assistant does this effectively, your deliverables will all be on time and nothing will have slipped through the cracks.
It’s also key for your virtual assistants to manage time zones effectively. You may hire a VA that’s across the country. They need to be able to keep track of deadlines, meetings, and other time-sensitive tasks.
3. Ability to work quickly
One of the most common job characteristics of a virtual assistant is that they have many tasks to manage and responsibilities to juggle. They often have many projects or responsibilities happening simultaneously.
In order for a virtual assistant to be high-quality, they should be able to work under pressure and should be comfortable with the fast pace. They should be knowledgeable and able to shift gears from one task to the other without hesitation or confusion.
4. Great organizational skills
A lot of virtual assistants have multiple clients they’re working for. You need to ensure the VA you hire is capable of maintaining their schedule and not mixing up projects and deadlines.
Great organization is a skill you don’t want to overlook. Ask the virtual assistant you’re considering what tools they use to organize their day.
A good answer will consist of various software and apps that help them to manage all of their projects, client information, and schedules. A disorganized virtual assistant will only lead to confusion, missed deadlines, and headaches.
Then you may even lose a few clients because of their mistakes and lack of organization.
To prevent all of this, you should propose or offer access to tools that can help your virtual team collaborate more efficiently. Some good tools to keep in mind include Trello, Asana, Basecamp, and similar software.
5. Takes security seriously
When you hire a virtual assistant, you’re hiring an extension of your team. But since they’re working remotely, it can be difficult to keep track of the data that goes in and out (and what happens to it once it does).
This is why it’s critical to have virtual assistants sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and other security documents. Make it clear what data is to be kept hidden and safe from the outside world.
If necessary, grant them limited access to your secure systems and require that they only access it on a private network. This can help reduce the risk of a data breach or information being lost. During your interview, find out how they feel about security and what measures they take to ensure it.
6. Offers excellent professionalism
Virtual assistants get paid for what they do – just like in any other job or career. But you don’t want to hire a VA that’s only worried about their pay and getting payments on time.
While it’s good to ensure your virtual teams are fairly compensated, you want to create a team that’s committed and takes accountability for the projects and tasks you delegate to them.
In other words, your virtual assistants should care about delivering great quality, delivering projects on time, and ensuring everyone’s happy – your business and its clientele. Avoid selfish VAs by asking certain questions during the interview process.
For example, you can ask what their goals are as a VA – if they only discuss increasing their skills to earn more money (vs to better assist their clients), then that’s a red flag.
7. Highly motivated to work
Motivation is the difference between high-performing and low-performing workers. The same goes for virtual assistants. While you want to do your part in keeping the morale high during projects, you want your VA to come in with a high level of motivation.
This way, you don’t have to work as hard to keep their head in the game. The best virtual assistants are able to keep themselves focused and willing to work hard. They take pride in their work and will do whatever it takes to keep their reputation intact.
One way to pinpoint a VA with high motivation is to see how they talk about their work, past clients, and being hired to work for you. Are they asking the right questions to learn about your company, its clients, and the projects or tasks involved?
These are all great signs of a virtual assistant who’s ready to take on whatever you have to throw their way!
8. Ability to set and keep boundaries
This is important for both establishing boundaries with you and within their own personal life. It’s understandable that virtual assistants have families.
But if they’re working from home, they should have a designated area where they can work without noise and distractions. This is especially important if you’re hiring a virtual assistant to handle your business-related calls.
As for the boundaries with your business – these need to be set in advance of hiring a virtual assistant. It’s also crucial to detail these boundaries within your contract. For example, if you give out your personal phone number for emergency calls and messages, it should only be used for that.
You’re free to set up whatever boundaries you’d like to set up.
9. Willing to ask questions
Projects go much smoother when the virtual assistant working on it speaks up and asks the right questions. You should create an environment where your virtual assistant feels comfortable asking questions.
This can be questions regarding the specifics of a project or other tasks they must perform. When you first bring aboard a VA, there should be a lot of questions as they get used to your way of doing things. Likely, your processes and systems are much different than that of their other clients.
It’s also a good idea to set up a team around your virtual assistant. This can be other remote workers who’ve been with your company for a while and/or your in-house employees.
The team you build can help onboard your new virtual assistant and help guide them on their projects and tasks.
10. Takes initiative on projects
Projects can change in scope and direction, which can leave loopholes. Your virtual assistant should be able to identify areas of a project that need improvement and take action to improve it.
Of course, they should run the changes or additions by you before proceeding. But it’s the thought that counts the most. You don’t have the time to micromanage each project or task so having a VA that can take initiative during projects will make life easier for you.
Make it known that you’re open to their ideas whether it’s about a project or your business processes. Maybe they have a better way to make your systems smoother for themselves and others
.It’s great having a team that goes over and beyond for your company.
11. Pays close attention to details
The quality of a project is all in the details provided by both the customer and the professional. If you’re not giving enough information for your virtual assistant to produce high-quality work, then they should point this out.
A virtual assistant who’s detail-oriented will quickly point out these holes and come to you with questions to fill them.
This type of VA will also take special care to work out every detail in a project, delivering exceptional work. They may even conjure up things you didn’t consider when assigning the task.
12. Very resourceful in their work
A resourceful virtual assistant doesn’t always have to come to you with questions. Instead, they attempt to find the answers on their own and they reach out to you if they’re unable to get the information they need.
A resourceful VA will also have resources they can tap to ensure your projects are completed satisfactorily. Maybe they have access to legal libraries to make your law articles more authentic and authoritative.
However, it’s not about what they have access to, it’s the characteristic of being willing to do things on their own.
13. Good communication skills
Your virtual assistant will be remote, so you’ll need to be able to communicate with them effectively. This is a very important quality that virtual assistants must possess, because their main method of communication is not face-to-face.
A high-quality virtual assistant will be easily reachable (they answer when you contact them), respond quickly, and speak knowledgeably and professionally. If they converse with clients, they should do so in a way that mirrors the way the rest of the company speaks.
There are plenty of virtual assistants out there, but a high-quality virtual assistant is exactly the type that will take your organization to the next level. With a virtual assistant who exudes the qualities listed above, you’ll be more productive, get more done, and have less stress.
If necessary, acquire communication tools to make it easier to for your remote teams to communicate with you and each other. Some tools include Skype, Slack, Zoom, and Groove. Not only will this improve communication, but productivity as well.
At Uassist.ME, we vet our virtual assistants to ensure they all meet the above criteria. Want to get started using a virtual assistant who meets the criteria above? Click here and find out how we could benefit your team.