According to reports by Technavio, the virtual assistant market is expected to grow by $4.12 billion by 2025, reaching a compound annual growth rate or CAGR of 11.79%. The market’s rapid growth is driven by many different factors, such as the increasing demand for advanced software and better customer service, and the dependence of humans on smartphones and other devices.
With the number of virtual assistants available for hire today, it’s easy to see why many struggle to find the right candidate. Having too many options can be overwhelming, especially for entrepreneurs who have never experienced hiring or working with a virtual assistant.
Make the selection process easier by asking the right questions to candidates. Knowing what to ask can help filter applicants, so you’ll hire the best virtual assistant.
16 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your VA
Hiring the wrong virtual assistant will cost you time and money. In worse cases, you might even have to do some damage control, depending on the type of work you give to your VA.
Avoid a bad experience when hiring a virtual assistant by asking the questions below. These will help you assess the virtual assistant’s abilities, personality, and experience and determine if they’re an excellent match for your business.
How Long Have You Been A Virtual Assistant?
You wouldn’t entrust a surgeon who just graduated from medical school to perform surgery on you, so why hire a virtual assistant with zero experience? This question helps you gauge how experienced the candidate is. The more experience they have in the industry, the better!
Which Industries Do You Have Experience In?
You can assign different tasks to virtual assistants, like market research, email management, social media management, and many others. Asking this question helps you determine if the candidate has had experience working with businesses similar to yours. Training and onboarding are easier if the applicant is already familiar with your business’s industry.
What Timezone Are You In?
Virtual assistants work remotely and may be based anywhere in the world. It’s important to know the best time to communicate with them.
The ideal time zone of the VA you’re going to hire depends on their tasks. For instance, if you want to offer 24/7 customer service, hiring a VA from a country with a 10-hour difference from your business’s location is ideal. Conversely, a VA who would take over administrative tasks should be available during your business’s operating hours.
What Methods Do You Prefer for Communication?
This question aims to assess if your work styles match. Do you prefer communicating through email? Or do you find texting more convenient? Are you fond of talking through video chat? Ideally, you should hire someone who is comfortable communicating with you using a channel you use regularly and naturally.
If Your Inbox Has a Hundred Emails, Which Ones Will You Respond to First?
One of the biggest benefits of hiring a virtual assistant is to help you become more efficient at work. To achieve that goal, they should know how to prioritize tasks based on your needs and goals. The ideal candidate should be able to identify which messages are time-sensitive and which ones aren’t.
What Are Some Skills That Set You Apart From Other Candidates?
Don’t settle for the skills mentioned in the resume of the candidate. It’s important to ask them this question during the interview as it can reveal qualities about themselves that can cause issues in the future.
For example, if the candidate mentions that they can deal with difficult people yet subtly badmouths former managers while explaining their point, be wary. If they can trash-talk their previous bosses, they’ll likely do the same with their present employers.
Additionally, this question also serves as an opportunity for you to determine how flexible the candidate is by discussing work expectations early. This will help prevent conflict from arising.
Do You Have Client References Or Testimonials?
VAs know how to ace an interview to land a job, but some exaggerate to the point where they oversell themselves and end up not meeting your expectations when hired.
Always ask for client references or testimonials before hiring a virtual assistant. The experience of their previous clients can help you determine if a certain candidate says who they say they are. It also gives you a better insight into what the candidate can and can’t do as a virtual assistant.
How Do I Pay You (Do You Charge Clients On An Hourly, Daily Or Monthly Fee)?
Hiring a virtual assistant is more cost-effective than hiring a full-time employee, but their services will still entail cost. With this in mind, don’t skip asking about the type of payment the candidate accepts. Their answer makes it easier for you to budget your finances and make financial forecasts long-term.
What Payments Do You Accept?
There are many ways to pay a virtual assistant. You can directly deposit the money to their bank accounts or use online platforms like Wise, Payoneer, or PayPal. Inquire what payments the candidate accepts to avoid miscommunication and inconveniences once they start working.
Do You Have A Contract? What Are Its Terms And Conditions?
Ask if the candidate has a contract and offer to make one if they don’t have any. Having a written contract is crucial to ensure that your professional relationship lasts long and both parties understand their responsibilities. Contracts also help prevent lawsuits, which can be stressful and expensive for the parties involved.
What Would Your Current Employment Status Look Like If We Hired You?
Asking this question might seem redundant after going through the previous questions, but it’s a good indicator of what they’re looking for — are they applying for you part-time or full-time? Their answer will determine if their availability matches the workload you want to outsource.
What Is Your Policy For Handling Complaints From Customers?
If you’re hiring a virtual assistant to have someone solely focus on customer complaints, ask this question to assess if they have relevant experience. Get as much detail as possible by asking what channels they use to communicate with customers (text messages, emails, or apps) and the steps they take to help customers.
The right candidate should be able to articulate how they can handle difficult customers and queries. Let them talk about their experience in this situation and how they’re able to resolve it.
How Will Your Work Be Managed?
You’ll be working closely with your virtual assistant, so ask this question to determine if their management style is the same as yours. For instance, if you’re a firm believer that multitasking does more harm than good, choose a candidate who works on one task at a time.
It’ll be easier for you and your virtual assistant to cooperate and work efficiently if the two of you believe and practice similar management styles.
How Do You Keep Track Of Tasks?
The ideal candidate should demonstrate their ability to utilize various productivity techniques, like using scheduling apps and identifying which tasks to prioritize. It’s also important for the candidate to know how to use communication tools, like Slack and Skype, if they have questions about the tasks given to them.
Can You Work Evenings Or Weekends?
There are instances when you’ll have to ask for help from your virtual assistant beyond their regular working hours. Ask the candidate if they’re comfortable working during evenings, weekends, or holidays and if you’ll have to pay more if they do.
As much as possible, the virtual assistant you’ll hire should be flexible enough to extend their working hours whenever needed to meet deadlines or complete urgent tasks. Just be mindful of what you’re asking – you don’t work 24/7 and neither should they!
What Does a Typical Workday Look Like?
This question is an excellent way of learning about the candidate’s day-to-day routine and how they like to work. Their answers will also give you a better insight into whether their working style matches your business. Some of the best answers include breaking up tasks into smaller chunks and completing tasks based on their urgency.
Don’t forget to ask what the candidate does for fun. Do they hang out with friends and family often? How do they de-stress after a stressful day at work? Look for a virtual assistant who understands the importance of having a healthy work-life balance as they’re more engaged and productive at work and incur fewer sick days.
Ask the Right Questions
Virtual assistants can be a lifesaver for busy entrepreneurs. Instead of spending time and effort completing administrative tasks, you can focus more on bigger responsibilities and let a virtual assistant finish non-core activities.
Use these virtual assistant interview questions to find someone qualified, trained, and experienced for the job. With the right virtual assistant, you can accomplish more every day and take your business to another level of growth.
What to Read Next
Check out more articles about Virtual Assistants here.