When hiring a virtual assistant (VA), conducting a preliminary interview is very important. Interviewing a prospective worker lets you know what that applicant is capable of and verify that he or she is indeed the right person for the job. As you may know, choosing the wrong VA for the role you to fill in is a big headache, not to mention a huge waste of time. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to ask the right interview questions so you can identify the person that can fulfil your specific needs and job requirements.
1. What are your primary skills and expertise?
This is necessary for obvious reasons. If you want someone to do something for you, like design a website, for instance, common sense dictates that you choose the person who knows exactly what he or she is doing. Otherwise, what’s the point of hiring someone who cannot satisfactorily perform the role you want him to fill in? As such, you should determine if a prospective VA is qualified to assist you and has the specific skill set that matches the job description.
2. Do you have experience with ?
It isn’t enough that you know that a prospective VA has the skills to do the tasks you have in mind. It is also important to get the assurance that he or she is good at doing his job. These days, there are virtual assistants whose qualifications and experience range from zero to mere entry level. Thus, it will certainly help to determine an applicant’s level of competency and experience before hiring him. This way, you’re confident that the VA you’ll hire is well-equipped to handle the responsibilities his job entails.
3. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
This is not so much about the answers themselves but more about the way a prospective VA answers the question. A capable person, whether he is a virtual assistant or not, would be aware of his own strengths and weaknesses and will be able answer this question without a problem.
But if the applicant believes that he has no weakness, then obviously, you might want to move on to the next candidate. This basically means that that person is not open to growth and change. He might also have problems with accepting accountability or constructive criticisms in case he makes mistakes.
4. What are your working hours?
Knowing the best times and days you can contact your VA is essential to your business. As such, you should get the VA’s working hours and compare them to your requirements. And if you’re going to hire someone located on the other side of the world, be mindful of the time difference.
5. How quickly do you respond during working hours?
While often overlooked, this question is something you should ask as it lets you know how long it will take your VA to get back to you via calls or emails when you need something. Always remember that communication between you and your assistant is vital. Therefore, anything that concerns it should be established and made clear early on.
6. Have you had a client who had difficulty describing his needs?
Surprisingly, there are many employers who cannot exactly explain what they want from their VAs. By asking an applicant this question, you can gauge his capability to solve problems when faced with a similar situation. You can test his initiative and determine how he would react in case you want something done but can’t provide enough details or don’t have the knowledge on how to accomplish it.
7. What would you do if you have a deadline and your computer suddenly crashed?
According to Murphy’s Law, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. As such, it is important to gauge the applicant’s preparedness in case of accidents. Your VA should have a contingency plan in place to ensure that deadlines will be met and important tasks will be completed, no matter what the circumstances are.
8. Do you have references I can contact?
While there are virtual assistants who have reviews and testimonials you can read on their blogs or website, it is still important to contact the applicant’s previous clients who can vouch for his professionalism so you can validate his claims. If there is any sign of hesitation on the applicant’s end when you ask this question, you might want to think twice before hiring that person.
9. What are your interests? What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Not only will these questions let you know the things your VA is passionate about, which is something that can be quite handy in the future, they also say a lot of things about you as an employer.
It basically shows that you are genuinely interested in knowing the person not just on a professional level, but on a personal level as well. The mere fact that you took the time to ask questions that aren’t deeply work-related gives the VA the impression that you’re someone who’s approachable and easy to get along with.
Interviews are a vital aspect of the hiring process, whether you’re hiring a virtual assistant or a member of your in-house staff. They let you know what an applicant is like, what motivates him, and what makes him tick. So don’t go hiring people without asking them these vital questions to ensure that the virtual assistant you’ll choose will fit your business like a glove.