I have received a complete range of questions when people are interviewing me to see if we would be a good fit together. They range from broad questions about my past experience to very detailed questions on hypothetical scenarios that happen within their business.
When searching for a Virtual Assistant (VA), you should absolutely do your vetting process correctly. All VA’s are not created equal, but how they answer your questions could tell you a lot about their personality and if they have the right chops for your business.
Here are the top questions I believe you should ask a potential VA:
- How long have you been a Virtual Assistant? I understand that not everyone wants or cares to have a very experienced VA, but having some practice as one is probably a good thing. This means that they know how to communicate effectively without being face-to-face or they would not have survived in the business.
- What is your past experience in…? A lot of VA’s will list many different skills on their webpage and though they may be able to do everything proficiently, they will definitely excel in certain areas. For instance, I list WordPress as something I can help with, but I am no means a WP expert. I have both my webpage and personal blog on the platform, but when it comes to coding and intricate problems, I have to throw my hands up in the air. My skillset lies in supporting busy executives with travel and calendar management, but I list the WP skills because I know how to do it and could help someone who needs light assistance in the area.
- Is your rate negotiable? I can hear all the cries of dismay from other VA’s right now so I will be honest – most VA’s do not negotiate on their rate. That said, if a VA is new to the field, it can’t hurt to ask. You might be getting a potentially stellar VA who needs the experience so they are willing to negotiate. Or if the VA is really interested in you and your business, they might drop their rate for a chance to work on something they are passionate about. (If anyone out there works with Lucasfilm and/or Star Wars – I will gladly drop my rate!)
- Can you meet in person? I know this is a moot point for many clients and their VA’s, but I have been lucky to have met almost all of my clients in person. Most of it has been a stroke of luck, (i.e. vacations in their area) but some of my clients purposefully sought me out because they wanted to put a face to a name so they went with a local VA. I think meeting in person is a huge benefit if you are both in the area, though I always make it clear that even if we live in the same area, that doesn’t mean I will go to their office.
- What is your daily availability? Some VA’s are not available during standard business hours and prefer to work intermittently throughout the day. This is a chance to really think about how urgent your tasks are. If you send the VA an email and you expect a response right away, that will help you choose what kind of availability you need. It also helps to know right off the bat if they have children and will not be available after school gets out.
- How many hours do you have available per week/month? This is really important! If you’re expecting your VA to spend 5 hours a week on your business, but they only have about 3 available, then that’s a problem. If you’re new to working with a VA and have no idea, ask if they are willing to do a trial run for a set amount of time. I always offer my clients a 30 day trial run so that we can see where we stand at the end of the month and evaluate moving forward from there.
The one question I would NOT ask:
- Do you have a resume I can see? Most Virtual Assistant’s no longer keep updated resumes on file. That’s something that is needed for employers, not potential working relationships where you would be a client. If I get that question, I usually direct people to my LinkedIn.
My one pet peeve question:
- How many clients do you have currently? This is a perfectly reasonable question to ask, however – it bothers me. It bothers me because though I have a lot of clients, each client requires a different amount of work. If I told a potential client the straight up number, they would probably think that I do not have time for them or that I’m too busy, which may not be the case. My preferred question (listed above) is to ask how many hours a VA has available for your business. In a way, it’s more direct and it lets the VA keep their client workload info private.
Finding a Virtual Assistant for your business can be a hassle and it can be time consuming. By using my guide of questions, hopefully you can narrow down the time you spend interviewing candidates and find the perfect fit faster.
What other questions could I have missed?