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Qualities to consider when hiring your next VA

Choosing a VA is like selecting a lifetime partner. A lot of effort has gone into building your business or brand and getting the right virtual support can make or unmake it. Getting the right help allows you the time to focus on the core of your business.

Education and intelligence; The educational background of the VA must be relevant to the position to be occupied. The VA shouldn’t be just like you; he should know more and be a master of his craft. The VA should have knowledge of the major tools and software relevant to the position. Intelligence goes beyond what is on the certificate it is about being creative and thinking outside the box. An intelligent VA will not always stick to the old mundane way of doing things but will bring ideas to the table, Ideas that work.

Responsiveness: A Virtual Assistant who is not responsive to chats emails and calls is no assistant. A VA should treat all emails like fire alarms. If you have to wait an hour or more to get a response about the status of a task during agreed working hours, then the virtual working relationship will not stand the test of time. During clearly defined working hours, emails, live chats, and calls should receive a response within the first 5 minutes. Outside working hours you should be able to reach your VA on issues that need urgent attention.

Attitude: Attitude is everything, skills can be taught, lessons can be learned, but a person’s attitude forms their personality. It is who they are. A VA with a goal getter attitude, one who never gives up, and is resilient, one who is keen on finding solutions rather than giving excuses, who takes responsibility for their actions. A VA with the right attitude is one that will say I don’t know how to do it but I can learn it and find my way round rather than the one who just gives up.

Integrity: With distance being a major hindrance what you can bet on is the VAs integrity. It’s a Virtual relationship so you may never meet your Virtual Assistant. Look out for a VA who does what he says he will do. If they say they will deliver on a task in 3 days it should be three days and not 4; the worst scenario will be to give a notification before deadline requesting for more time. A committed VA will never miss deadlines without prior notice, will not make excuses, owns up to his mistakes and is ready to correct them. Such VAs have the success of your company at heart; they are worth the keep.

Connection: You should be able to have a rapport with your VA, communication should be clear and succinct. The VA should understand your pursuit and be engaged with your vision. Enthusiasm for the position and respect for the company’s mission, vision, and key values are signs of a VA with a connection that will lead a long-term working relationship. For such VAs due to their passion for the position, work is never drudgery, they are always eager to learn.

Skilled at Multi-tasking:  The virtual working environment is a fast paced one. Often it is small business or start-ups that fall on Virtual Assistants. Though there is a lot to be done in a day, little is expected from each department, and for start-ups hiring specific individuals per unit may be a drain on the business. A VA who can multi-task becomes of the essence. A lot can be achieved without hiring multiple people to work. In this case, the VAs ability to think outside the box and wear many hats becomes of great value. It does not necessarily mean doing a billion things at the same time, that slows productivity but rather being able to stretch one’s self beyond their comfort zone and doing things beyond their skills set.

Team player: The virtual working environment demands an excellent team player. Collaborating effectively with other team members who are in-house or remote is crucial for the survival of the business, and it requires that team player mindset. The team player always has the company’s goals at heart and efficiently works with other team members, regardless of their location to meet both long term and short term goals. They accommodate and appreciate others work style. Always ready to help team members to achieve a co-operate goal even if the merit doesn’t come to them. Such VAs avoid work politics and give all team members mutual respect. They are not distracted by matters that are not relevant to meeting goals and deadlines.

Independent: Being a team player and being independent may sound conflicting, but being able to take the initiative is sometimes relevant as a VA. Independence bucked with accountability increases productivity.   Getting things done with little or no supervision takes away the constraint that comes with the already hectic virtual working environs.

Long-term Potential: It is already stressful finding the right fit to fill a virtual position. If you have to do this every quarter productivity will be reduced. Replacing a VA too often means they are taking away the investment poured into them in time, knowledge and experience accrued over time. When Hiring a VA, look out for one who is in this for the long term. It is essential to look out for signs of longevity and not a VA who sees the position as just a wait period for their dream job.

The hiring process is always tedious, trying to dig into a long list of potential staff demands a lot of planning and reasoning, but one should always trust his gut. For each of the stated qualities the signs are always there, questions related to past working experience and the VAs plans and pursuit for the future exposes their stance, always trust your gut


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