Are you thinking about hiring a VA or perhaps need some ad-hoc support as you have a busy few weeks or months ahead? Worried about the process, wondering what questions to ask?
Recruiting a VA is similar to hiring an employee, you need to find someone who understands you and your business. The interview process is as important for the VA as it is for you.
Here are some questions that you may find it helpful to use in recruiting the perfect VA:
How long have you worked as a Virtual Assistant?
An important question, you will be able to find out whether they run their own business or freelance. If they run their own VA business, they will understand your needs from a business perspective as well as the assistants.
What’s your background and experience?
How did they become a VA? Ask about their background, which sectors they are familiar with and what they have done in previous roles. If they have worked in a variety of sectors in differing roles their skill set will be broad, which if you need a good all-rounder who’s not afraid of change or getting new tasks thrown at them, could suit your business perfectly. On the other hand, you may find they have worked in the same field throughout their professional life and therefore bring a wealth of experience and qualifications which may be exactly what your business needs.
Can you provide examples of the work you have carried out?
If you have a particular role or task in mind, it is important to make sure that the VA is familiar with this type of work. If you want some bookkeeping support and the VA has not provided this before, probably better to find one who has. While you will have to spend some time at the beginning of the relationship in providing guidance on how you work, you will probably not want to provide full-time training!
How many clients do you have?
It is important to know that your requirements will be met and you are not one of many clients, perhaps the VA could be stretched too thinly. You will need to know that your deadlines can be met and whether you will need to give extra notice if an urgent task is coming up.
What are your normal working hours?
Most VAs are flexible workers choosing the VA role enabling them to work irregular hours, rather than a nine to five office role. However, there may be hours that they prefer not to work, if you are an early bird and they don’t start their day till 10am, will it work for you both? However, if you both prefer working in the evening, it could work perfectly for catch ups.
How do you prefer to communicate with clients?
Find out what methods are available to determine if they are suitable for you too, you may prefer the telephone, the VA may prefer email. Make sure you are both comfortable with the options available and agree regular check-ins.
Can I speak with a current client?
Most VAs will be happy for you to speak with someone they currently work with. This should help put your mind at ease that they are reliable, professional, and trustworthy. Plus, you can ask your questions direct to another client.
What is your hourly rate/monthly package?
If there is a pricing structure, make sure it’s clear so you know what you’ll be getting billed each month.
What’s not included in your fees?
Usually post, printing, stationery and phone calls are not included in the hourly rate. Better to check up front, rather than be faced with an unexpected bill.
Do get clarity from the beginning to avoid frustration or disappointment after a few weeks’. Once you have asked these questions and spoken with a current client you should be in a good place to make an offer. It makes sense to agree a short probationary period for both you and the VA, it is a two-way street, you both need to be happy and work effectively together.
Once you have done all this and appointed your VA, after a few weeks you will wonder why you didn’t do it ages ago!