Beginner’s Guide to Interviewing a Virtual Assistant.

Posted on July 1, 2020

Beginner’s Guide to Interviewing a Virtual Assistant

Just like hiring a local-based employee for a position, conducting a virtual assistant interview should be non-negotiable. The interview is your chance to learn what makes a candidate stand out and whether they’ll be a good fit for your organization. This is also your opportunity to administer mini-test activities that will evaluate their ability to follow directions, keep to a deadline, and extra verification that they can handle typical day-to-day tasks.

Part of conducting an effective interview is knowing which questions to ask and actively listen to the responses. We’ve compiled our top 10 best questions you’ll want to include in your virtual assistant interview:

1. What are your primary skills and expertise?
Not all virtual assistants are equal in terms of experience and abilities. Think about the specific tasks you need them to do, whether it’s designing a website or handling your email, then make sure these tasks fall into their wheelhouse. Ask open-ended questions that give the candidate a voice and allows them to provide you with their perspective of their work experience. Anyone can say yes to a question but you’ll narrow your search faster if you actively listen to their full responses.

2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Skills aren’t everything: someone who excels at writing may not be the best fit if they’re consistently delivering after deadlines. Knowing their strong and weak points upfront can help you understand if they’ll be able to handle the work you need them to do. For job roles such as an Administrative or Executive Assistant, these typically require someone who is structured, with an eye for managing detail-work, and has consistent follow-through. During the interview, ask about their approach to their work and how they would handle different types of scenarios. This type of employee is called a Craftsman and they have the ability to anticipate problems, provide solutions, and improve clarity. They prefer to fully understand a topic before making decisions.

3. What are your preferred working hours?
Remote work doesn’t always follow a typical 9-to-5 pattern. It’s beneficial to find someone whose schedule aligns with your own. Our virtual assistants are available to work your preferred time zone and work schedule. Simply let us know what works best for you.

4. How quickly do you respond during working hours?
Knowing what type of response time you can expect will set the right expectations for a successful working relationship. If you expect a response within a certain time frame, especially for essential items, this should be communicated upfront.

5. Tell me about your home office setup and internet connection.
A home office and reliable internet connection are lifelines to a VA. Without these tools, the VA may not be able to maintain productivity or quality. Part of our pre-screening process is to verify each candidate’s internet connection speed and provide this information in our endorsement of candidates.

6. What is your contingency plan if the power goes out or your internet connection is unstable?
Prior planning prevents poor preparation. Things can and do go wrong, and when they do, you need to feel confident you won’t be left in the lurch. Our virtual assistants are ready for the unexpected and have many options if the power goes out or the internet connection is poor. Some are able to go into a nearby shared office space and grab a desk, others prefer to go to a local shop with free WiFi, and some purchase a device for mobile broadband.

7. What are your expectations with this position?
Both parties will have expectations about a role. It’s important for the hiring manager to be extra clear about the job tasks and their expectations to ensure the best fit. This is an important question to ask because some candidates will have a different perspective of the role. This part of the interview will tell you a lot about how the candidate processes information. Discuss all the important job tasks and make sure everything is crystal clear on both sides.

8. Tell me about your experience with the software required for this role.
If you use specific software programs, then experience with a certain software is usually helpful. However, depending on the software, lack of experience isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker if they can pick up on new tools quickly.

9. Why did you leave your previous positions?
People leave roles for a variety of reasons, and many times it has nothing to do with the employer. Knowing their priorities for leaving a position could reveal whether you might find yourself repeating the hiring process in a few weeks or months.

10. What are your interests outside of work? Why do you enjoy working from home?
Getting to know your VA on a personal level helps build trust and camaraderie. It also reveals what makes them tick, and potentially shows you what else they might be able to offer you in the future.

How to Hire a VA
We’re here to help and provide many more tips for working remotely. Our experts are available to help anytime and our Recruitment Specialists are ready to connect you with your ideal virtual coworker.

For more information, book a free consultation with our Team.