Not sure what to look out for when you’re hiring a virtual assistant? In this video, I’m going to share with you the five traits that I’ve identified from having hired hundreds of virtual assistants through the years. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear idea of what to look out for in your interview process and begin to hire that virtual assistant that helps you grow your business.
Quality 1: Responsiveness
The first quality to look out for from the best virtual assistants is responsiveness. Ultimately you are bringing on a virtual assistant to help you scale your business. And so it’s really important that they are really responsive with you. Responsiveness is something you should answer for yourself.
For me, my virtual assistants are expected to respond between 12 and 24 hours from when I send an initial message with some instructions of things that I want to delegate to them. The best virtual assistants are the ones who are able to respond within your desire time window. And the reason why is because this allows your business to always be moving forward and not necessarily waiting between days in order to get things done.
Personally, I don’t work with virtual assistants that can’t meet this responsiveness requirement. That being said, your requirements may differ. For example, if you’ve already been working with your virtual assistant for a few years, then potentially they might just have some tasks that they can batch on one weekend, as opposed to having to be in regular correspondence with you.
From having hired a ton of virtual assistants, the ones that typically don’t work out are the ones who are not very responsive.
Quality 2: Coachability
The second thing that I recommend that you look out for is coachability. It doesn’t really matter what you delegate out to a virtual assistant, because it’s inevitable that there will be some sort of feedback required between you and your virtual assistant. As a result of this, you need to make sure that your virtual assistants are coachable. This means that you can give them feedback and they don’t take it too personally. And they just stay professional throughout the process of learning from their mistakes. It’s important to make sure that your virtual assistants can actually improve and learn from these mistakes and that they’re not just repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
A person that’s uncoachable is somebody that will be really difficult to work with and as a result, a time sink for your business. So it’s really important that you quickly identify who can take feedback and work off of that feedback to continue to improve as they get to know your business even better.
From my experiences, the best way to gauge coachability is to simply set up some test tasks with your virtual assistants and see how they do. Give them the test tasks, along with the instructions, give them some time to actually work on it and then seek feedback from you. And from there, give them that feedback and see how quickly they incorporate your feedback into their next round of work.
From here, you’ll be able to identify whether or not you need to give even more instruction to them, or if it will be okay for you to be a little bit more hands-off here. Early on, it’s helpful to always be more than willing to hold hand with your virtual assistant as they go through different tasks for the very first time.
And the reason why is just because whenever anybody does anything new for the first time, it’ll take them a lot longer than the 10th time that they do it. So it makes sense to give them that space to learn. And also that flexibility in terms of making mistakes and learning from them.
Quality 3: Attention to Detail
The third thing that I recommend you look out for from the top virtual assistants is attention to detail. It’s really important that whatever you’re delegating out to your virtual assistants, that it’s being done to a high level of quality. For me, that means that if my virtual assistant can get to a point in which it is 90% as good as if I were to do it myself, then I consider it to be something in which that virtual assistant is trained up in whatever the task is.
In this situation, this is a great place to be because you’ve still opened up that time for yourself while also getting a final product that allows you to let go a little bit from that task that you’ve been stuck doing for too long. In some cases, your virtual assistants might actually become even better than you at that. And then ended up doing 110% of the effort of what you personally could have done. That’s an even better place to be, but it takes a little bit more time for your virtual assistant to get there.
You can check your virtual assistant’s attention to detail in a lot of different ways. It can be as simple as having a few smaller steps in your standard operating procedures and then seeing whether or not they follow those steps, or it can just be something like double checking their work every few months and seeing if they have done the alt text for a blog image or a series of blog images that you told them to do once.
It’s these little small things that really start adding up when you start delegating more and more to your virtual assistant, that you want to be able to trust your virtual assistants with. Remember taking a step back the biggest goal of bringing on a virtual assistant is to open up time for yourself. This will allow you to then work on the things that will move the needle for your overall business and make it better, not only for yourself, but also for your virtual assistant team.
Quality 4: Communication skills
The fourth quality that’s really important to look out for are communication skills. This is very similar to the earlier quality on responsiveness, but it’s a little bit more nuanced. And what I mean by communication is the ability to communicate when you need help and also to give status updates to particular tasks that have been done.
If for example, your virtual assistant communicates best through voice communication versus text communication, you need to figure out whether or not that works for you. It’s best when you are aligned with your virtual assistant, in terms of the ways that the two of you like to communicate with each other.
If, for example, you like text communication or email communication over voice communication, you don’t want to be working with a virtual assistant that requires regular voice calls in order to stay in sync with you.
For example, on my team, most of my virtual assistants communicate with me either via Slack or via email whenever they are doing particular tasks. We rarely have to jump on a call because we have a time zone difference. And also they just don’t need to have these sorts of calls in order to get the job done. Having virtual assistants that can communicate both coherently and concisely can make a huge difference in terms of the overall value add that you get from bringing virtual assistants onto your team.
Quality 5: Solutions-oriented
The fifth trait that I would look out for if you’re looking for all-star virtual assistants is whether or not they are solutions-oriented. This is easily the best quality that a virtual assistant can have. And what it means to be solutions-oriented is always thinking about how can I potentially solve this problem where I might not necessarily know the answer today. In other words, is the resourcefulness of a virtual assistant, can your virtual assistant figure out through Google or some other means of learning when they don’t have everything laid out to them in your initial instructions?
The reason why this is super important is because if your virtual assistant can do this, then it can potentially save you some time and also it’ll make it so that they are more independent in their work. When people in general are more independent in their work and get the autonomy to figure things out, they create even better results in terms of output. So being solutions oriented is a trait that is awesome to find in virtual assistance. They’re always asking you questions about how to do a particular thing, which as a result leads you to not actually be able to delegate things off to them.
And instead, you’re just handholding them through every single thing that you want them to do. I have found that being solutions-oriented is the clear trait that differentiates good virtual assistants from great virtual assistants. And in my opinion, the best way that you can screen for this is as you are hiring a virtual assistant, ask them to tell you about a time in which they had to solve a problem where they didn’t know the answer. How did they solve it? And what did they do?
Or in the case where they can’t answer that question, ask them the question, whenever you get stuck on something, what steps do you take? This way you can better understand the process of how your virtual assistant solves problems and whether or not it aligns to being solutions-oriented.
There are two things that I want you to remember when it comes to looking for signs that it’s time to hire a virtual assistant.
- The first one is that the best virtual assistants are the ones that exhibit qualities that make for great full-time employees, as well. As you’ll notice being responsive, being coachable, being solutions oriented, these are all traits. Is that great full-time employees also exhibit.
- The second big takeaway is that solutions oriented virtual assistants always make for the best ones. I’ve hired tons of virtual assistants. And this is clearly what distinguishes the good ones from the great ones. So try to find people that are solutions oriented so that you can truly delegate different tasks out in your business and scale your business to the next level of growth.
If you liked this article, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week. I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Also, feel free to share this with anybody that you think might benefit from learning about the qualities clients look for when hiring a virtual assistant.
That’s it for this time. If you found these five signs helpful and you want them for reference later on or any of my other virtual assistant tips and tricks, I’ve put together a quick free resource at the end of this article.