Questions To Ask When Interviewing a Virtual Assistant For Your Small Business

Our world has seen a considerable shift from in-house to remote work since 2020, leaving the virtual assistant (VA) industry to grow leaps and bounds. Many small businesses are reaching out to hire VA’s for administrative support.

A great deal of work goes into hiring the perfect virtual assistant. You want to make sure they are a good fit for your company and have a clear understanding of their role in order to be a practical part of your small business. 

This article will give you insight into how a virtual assistant can benefit your company and the right questions to ask when interviewing a VA for your small business. 

What Does a Virtual Assistant Do For Small Businesses?

A virtual assistant is a freelancer that works as an administrative assistant. They help with a diverse range of professional functions remotely.

Many virtual assistants handle the duties of a traditional secretary, while others excel in bookkeeping, designing logos, customer support, and managing digital marketing. The truth is a VA can do anything, as long as the assignments can be handled remotely. 

According to research done by IDC, inefficiencies eat between 20% to 30% of businesses’ yearly revenue. Usually, these inefficiencies are a repercussion of not having effective processes in place. 

Because small business owners are incredibly busy, they don’t take time to instill a smooth setup; this is where a virtual assistant comes in handy. Your VA can help you get the processes set up and make your business more efficient. 

Interview Questions For a Virtual Assistant

1. Where are you located?

The location or time zone may not significantly impact whether you want to hire a particular VA, but it may be helpful if their working hours are similar to yours. If you are in New York, hiring a VA in Honolulu will give you a 5 to 6 hour time difference depending upon the season. Depending on what tasks your VA will be responsible for, a considerable time difference may prove to be a problem. 

2. What is your experience as a Virtual Assistant? 

Before hiring a virtual assistant, determine how long they have worked in the field. VAs are becoming an increasingly popular choice for freelancers who previously worked as bloggers, graphic designers, and even bookkeepers. Just because they don’t have any experience as a VA doesn’t mean they won’t be precisely what your small business needs.

3. Do you currently have other clients?

If you require your VA to work a full-time position, you may want to make sure they will be able to meet your expectations. Even if you only need a part-time VA, it’s good to know their current workload.

4. What software do you have experience with?

Confirm that the VA has experience in the software and computer programs you use. Teaching a new program to your VA may take the time that you don’t have. 

5. What security measures are in place for your computer and home?

Since VAs have access to personal client information, they must have current anti-virus software on their home computer. If your VA is working with any hard copies of files, make sure they have a locked file cabinet to store personal information. 

6. Do you have a dedicated office space in your home?

Your VA must have a quiet place where they can focus on work. A dedicated office space will also help your VA stay organized. 

7. What is your core expertise?

As mentioned above, many freelancers in other areas have decided to leap into virtual assistance. Determine precisely what you need from your VA before interviewing them. Be clear on your requirements. If you need someone to help you with emails, write blogs, and edit company letters, a VA with expertise in copywriting will suit you well. On the other hand, a VA with core expertise in bookkeeping may not be the right fit for your small business. 

8. What is your response time during work hours?

Many small business owners overlook this question. However, response time is crucial when working with an assistant in another city or state. Communication between you and your VA is essential. Establish your expectation of response time before hiring your VA.

9. What is your greatest strength and weakness?

The answer given to this question sheds light on the VA as a person. A qualified person will be aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Some weaknesses can still be considered a strength. For example, a virtual assistant that responds with a fault as “I focus too much on details” can be a strength for your business. 

10. What makes you qualified for this position?

Asking a person what makes them qualified is a great question to pose to a potential VA. Asking them what makes them qualified allows them to sell themselves. It shows their confidence, allowing you, as the employer, to decide if their answer shows the qualifications needed. 

What Happens After Interviewing a Virtual Assistant?

After you’ve asked these interview questions, the next step is to check references. If you are still on the fence about hiring a VA, it’s perfectly acceptable to start with one project or a probationary period to be positive you hired the right fit for your small business.

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