How to Interview a Virtual Assistant | 5 Questions to Ask

Interviewing for virtual assistants can be a super confusing or stressful process because you’re about to give so much trust to somebody that you don’t even know. So in this article, I’m going to share with you the five questions that I have found most helpful in hiring hundreds of virtual assistants to delegate different tasks out in my business.

Stick with me until the end of this article, because by then you’ll have five clear questions that you can ask the next time you’re looking to scale your virtual assistant team.

What you should already have

Before we can jump straight into the five questions to ask when interviewing for VAs, we need to quickly go over what you should have at this point in time. You should have a request for a proposal with a short list of candidates. You should also have a clear set of standard operating procedures that you’re going to give your VA once you hire them. You also want to make sure that you have a good understanding of what you want done. If you need help in getting these sorts of things sorted out, be sure to check out my prior articles on how to hire a virtual assistant and how to manage a virtual assistant. Once you have these things settled, you can start asking these five questions that I’ll go over.

For these five questions, you can feel free to ask them either via written form or to jump on a video call. For me, I prefer to ask these questions via text format. That being said, if you prefer to jump into video calls, do whatever fits you best and fits your style.

Question 1: Tell me about a project you’re proud of.

The first question to ask your potential VA is tell me about a project that you were proud of. And the reason why you want to ask this question is because it’s an open-ended tell me question that allows your virtual assistant candidate to share more about something that they think they did really, really well.

The reason why this question is really helpful is because it’ll help you get a better understanding of what exactly excellence means to this virtual assistant candidate. It’s also a great question because it allows your virtual assistant to share more about their breadth of experiences or their lack of experience in the interview process.

Question 2: What are your top three qualities as a virtual assistant?

The second question that I’d ask is what are the top three qualities of a virtual assistant. And the reason why we ask this question is because it helps us better understand how this virtual assistant perceives their own strengths. If you’re using sites like onlinejobs.ph, you’re going to find it really helpful to check out their profile because they’re going to be asked to set aside different star rankings for different strengths of theirs on their profile. What’s nice about onlinejobs.ph is that they also give the VAs a set number of stars to allocate, which forces them to identify true strengths from weaknesses.

When you ask this question, what you’re looking for is overlap with the skills that you’ve already identified as being important for this virtual assistant job that you’re looking to fill.

For example, when it comes to managing my WordPress sites, I like to hire virtual assistants that will describe a great quality of themselves as being attention to detail. So I like it for example when they share an experience in which they had some sort of upload problem and they had to figure out how to solve that problem without the answer being given to them.

Question 3: How many hours do you have available on a weekly basis for my projects?

The third question you want to make sure you ask for your virtual assistant during the interview process is how many hours on a weekly basis do you have for my projects? And the reason why you want to ask this question is because it’s not uncommon for a virtual assistant to have multiple clients in order to fill their workweek.

As a result of this, you want to make sure that there is alignment in terms of the number of hours of work that you anticipate you having and the number of hours available with this virtual assistant candidate. You don’t want to be working with a virtual assistant that already is serving a client for 40 hours a week and asking them to expect another 20 hours of work from you. In this situation is simply not sustainable to expect a virtual assistant, to be working 60 hours a week for a sustained period of time.

Instead, you want to make sure that you identify candidates that can actually take on new clients and won’t be overworked or won’t have to deprioritize your projects for other clients because other clients are higher priority in their clientele list.

The big thing to figure out when you ask this question is whether or not there is alignment with your needs and their availability. And also if there is any change in the scheduling in the future, how do you guys resolve that in advance? So you don’t have any potential issues later on with continuing to work together.

Question 4: Would you be willing to do a paid test task?

The fourth question that I’d like to ask virtual assistant candidates is whether or not they’d be willing to do a paid test task. I consider this to be a super important question because in most situations, the best virtual assistant candidates will say yes to this question whereas more unreliable ones will say no. Pay test tests are a win-win for everybody. And the reason why is because on one level, your virtual assistant is going to get paid for their time.

But on another level, the two of you are going to get a better understanding of what it’s actually like to work with one another. Compatibility is really important to consider when you are building long-term relationships with your virtual assistants. It becomes even more important later on when you’re looking to scale up your virtual assistant team and trust them even more with even more things.

When it comes to coming up with your pay task, I recommend that you just share what SOP you were already going to give them if you were to hire them and then ask them to do a micro milestone. For example, if they were to scrape leads for you, I might have them collect 20 leads and then see how they did in the quality of those leads before deciding whether or not to hire them. On your end of things, make sure that you pay for all of your test tasks. It’s ultimately an investment in you, as you try to find the best person to add to your virtual assistant team.

Question 5: Tell me about how you learn new things. What do you need from me?

The fifth question I like to ask when interviewing virtual assistant candidates is tell me about how you like to learn new things. What do you need from me? And the reason why I asked this question is so that I can make sure that I’m aligning my SOP or my standard operating procedures to the way that my virtual assistants like to learn.

Personally, I like to write out text instructions as well as record videos of me doing the actual tasks to show my virtual assistants from start to finish how to complete the things that I’m delegating to them. This ensures that they are different ways that they can learn how to do this task in cases, a task that requires a little bit more technical ability.

I find this to be really helpful because for example, one time I was trying to teach my virtual assistant how to use the index match function in Excel, but the written instructions simply weren’t doing the trick. Instead, my virtual assistant found it way more helpful to watch my video in which I showed real applications of how to use the index match formula in order to be able to start using it in their work. By figuring out all of the different ways that people learn things you’ll be able to future proof your SOPs for later on when you are potentially bringing on more team members and teaching people new things.

Big takeaways

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.

  1. The first thing I want you to remember is to look to align values and work styles together with your virtual assistants. This means figuring out what are the best learning styles, work styles, and just general preferences that both of you guys have to see whether or not there is compatibility from both of you.
  2. The second thing I want you to remember is to always give paid test tasks in order to assess competency. And the reason why you want to do this is because it creates a win-win situation for both you and the virtual assistant candidates to see whether or not it’s a good fit for the two of you guys to work together.

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 how to interview 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.

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