So, you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and hire a virtual assistant. That’s a great move if you’re looking for someone to help complete those mundane tasks that just can’t be automated. Not to mention, hiring a virtual assistant is affordable and will save you big in terms of opportunity cost.
Now that you have decided to hire a virtual assistant, you may be wondering where to start. In other words, with all the options on the market (and there are plenty), how do you know when you’ve found a great virtual assistant to hire?
What Qualifications Should A Virtual Assistant Have?
Before diving into the skills a virtual assistant should have, let’s talk about qualifications. If a virtual assistant doesn’t meet the following qualifications, it doesn’t matter how skilled they are, they won’t be a great fit.
Virtual assistants do a lot of work that may require handling sensitive information. This can include anything from email addresses of your top clients to credit card numbers for booking hotel rooms and flights.
When hiring someone online to be your virtual assistant, it’s important they demonstrate the importance of honesty during the interview process. Ask them how they handle sensitive information and call references to properly vet them before making a hire.
Even though you are hiring a virtual assistant to handle mundane tasks, those mundane tasks are important. Hiring someone reliable will ensure you don’t have to ever worry about tasks getting completed on time, correctly, and the way you ask for the task to be completed.
If you don’t hire someone reliable, you’ll end up doing extra work yourself and having a virtual assistant may be more of a headache than it’s worth.
Attention to Detail
A great virtual assistant will have an astute attention to detail. Virtual assistants often interact with clients, handle important booking tasks, and answer emails. You want someone who takes the extra time to look for and correct mistakes, and someone who goes the extra mile to make sure every detail is sorted out and right.
Of course, every human makes little mistakes here and there, but when you hire someone who is accurate with the details, you won’t have to go back and recheck work.
Virtual assistants typically get paid by the hour. As such, you want someone who is well trained, experienced, and knows how to work quickly. The more experience your virtual assistant has, the quicker they will be able to complete tasks. This will help you maximize your time and get more bang for your buck out of your virtual assistant.
When hiring a virtual assistant, look for someone who is resourceful. Someone who can overcome problems with innovation and creativity will be a great addition to your team.
Additionally, a resourceful virtual assistant will meet problems head on, solve them, and then keep the information at bay in case that problem arises again. Out of all the qualities of a virtual assistant, resourcefulness is a must.
If your clients are interacting with your virtual assistant, it’s vital the virtual assistant is kind. In a way, your virtual assistant is kind of like your “storefront,” or the first perception your client gets of your company. If your virtual assistant is rude, it is a poor reflection on you and your brand. Find someone who prioritizes people and knows how to navigate conflicts with kindness.
Ability to Multitask
There are several professions where multitasking is not a great idea. However, virtual assistant is not one of them. Virtual assistants need to be able to schedule, handle clients, organize tasks, and manage multiple clients often at the same time. The ability to multitask will help a virtual assistant keep the ball rolling and the company moving forward.
An added bonus is a virtual assistant that knows how to use productivity tools, task management, and time management software in their work. This will increase rates of productivity, eliminate errors, and keep things running smoothly.
Handles Challenges Well
The ability to work well under pressure is another positive quality of a good virtual assistant. Clients typically only think about their individual problems, rather than all of the tasks a virtual assistant is juggling. A virtual assistant that can keep their cool, treat that one client like they really are their only priority, and accomplish difficult tasks under pressure is a keeper.
You need to be able to count on your virtual assistant to follow through and follow up on tasks you assign them and with clients. If they aren’t dependable, then they will make mistakes, clients will feel neglected, and/or you may end up doing the work yourself. When hiring a virtual assistant, ask questions that give you insight into how dependable they are.
Full of Ideas
A virtual assistant that gets things done is great and just what you need. However, how much better would it be if you hired someone who is always bringing new ideas on how to increase productivity?
Maybe they offer insight into a better tool to manage tasks. Perhaps they have an idea about how to handle a specific client situation. Maybe they have ideas on how to grow your business. A virtual assistant that brings new ideas to the table is someone you want to have around forever.
Good at Time Management
As mentioned before, virtual assistants have a lot of work on their plate. As such, it’s vital a virtual assistant is good at time management. They need to be able to juggle several tasks and ensure they get done day-in and day-out.
A good virtual assistant will naturally be good with time management, but a better virtual assistant will be open to using a time management software. They will also review time management reporting tools to see how they can increase productivity overall.
Top-Notch Communication Skills
Virtual assistants are required to communicate with you and your clients on the daily. This means, they must have great natural communication skills. This includes knowing how to talk to people as well as being able to communicate a message via phone call, text, chat, or email. When hiring a virtual assistant, make sure they can communicate well using all these various formats.
Communication also extends to presenting ideas on how to stay in touch. This may include a weekly phone call, updates every Monday, or any unique ideas they have that help you touch base.
Liam Martin is Co-founder of Time Doctor. This article is adapted from one originally published at timedoctor.com.