So, you have made the decision to hire someone to help with your business. Now, you need to work out which one to hire. When it comes to Hiring a Virtual Assistant, most of you turn to a Google search. Here is what to look for.
Your Google search will lead to a daunting array of options so it’s worth taking the time to scope and write the project brief so you can narrow down your search criteria.
Depending on the extent of the administrative support you need, this exercise can be as extensive as writing a job description or as simple as writing the steps to complete a one-off task.
Tips for Hiring a Virtual Assistant
Top 6 Essential Virtual Assistant Qualities to look for
Whether you’re looking to hire Virtual Assistant for one-off tasks or an Administrative Consultant who will be the backbone of your business, you’ll still want them to possess the following 6 qualities:
This is one of the most important ones.
I’ve had a number of people call me saying they thought they’d found the perfect VA until they were let down. The VA just disappeared. They didn’t return calls or emails and my new client was generally buggered around and their time and energy wasted.
In fact, this recently happened to me when I was outsourcing an S&L project. I spent a lot of time writing the brief and had several skype meetings. Two weeks later I receive a half-completed project with a note saying they didn’t think the project was for them. Really?
I know at the outset whether a new project is for me or not. I know if I have time to complete it and if I can’t meet expectations I decline the project and no one loses out.
My biggest source of frustration with this type of behaviour is that the next Virtual Assistant they call has to work much harder to assuage their doubt and suspicions about how effective working with a top Virtual Assistant actually is.
To demonstrate my interest, excitement, and commitment, I will meet with a new client and spend time understanding their issues and their goals. I’ll write a proposal and a detailed plan. I invest a lot of time because they’re important to me.
FACT: The more time an Admin Consultant invests, the more likely they are to be committed to you and your business.
No.2: Excellent Communication Skills
It’s Monday and I have a project to deliver on Thursday. Nothing unusual in that. I know my diary for the week and when I’ve scheduled time to work on the project.
How about I communicate this to the client?
It stops them worrying the project won’t be delivered and knowing I have it under control, instils confidence.
Whether I’ve been working with a client for a week or several years, I will always communicate with them because I don’t like being chased.
If I’m being chased I have to assume I’m not doing my job properly because my job is to make my clients’ world a better place to be and worrying about what I’m doing doesn’t achieve that.
No.3: Managing Expectations and instilling confidence
Naturally, there are times when things don’t go according to plan and instead of spending hours worrying about it, I identify at least one solution and pick up the phone to discuss how best to resolve the problem. Of course, it’s not ideal, but it is professional and my clients’ are comforted by the knowledge I will never ignore a problem or bury my head in the sand.
No.4: Resourcefulness (or not being stupid)
Often my clients will say “how on earth do you know that?” It helps that I’m curious. I also become frustrated if something doesn’t work as well as I think it should and so I’ll search for solutions. I certainly don’t know everything but I know quite a lot about setting up and administering virtual office solutions. I’ve been doing it for a long time and ultimately my clients’ stay with me because of my ability to find a solution to a problem.
The goal isn’t the problem, the path to achieving the goal is the problem and that’s the problem I solve.
Measuring resourcefulness is, in my mind, pretty easy. If there is a problem a colleague has two options. The first is they come to me with the problem, the second option is they come to me with the problem and a solution.
It may or may not be a good solution but the point is they were resourceful enough to think about finding a solution and that’s what a client wants from their Admin consultant – someone who finds solutions.
No.5 : Time Management
Unless you have all the time in the world to do one thing it’s likely you’ll have to manage your time but it’s just as important to manage tasks because task switching is a huge drain on productivity (http://www.apa.org/research/action/multitask.aspx) which is a shame because it’s what most VAs do every day!
An intelligent Virtual Assistant will manage their time and their clients.
For example, first thing every day it’s emailed. I go through the email account for each client to see what has come in overnight. If it’s a two-minute action, do it. If it’s a longer action, record it and allocate a date/time to deal with it.
Processing emails for 5 clients will take about an hour and this hour gives me the opportunity to see what fires have ignited so I can prioritise where my attention is to be focused next.
I’ve already dealt with the 2-minute email responses so now it’s time to focus on individual clients and projects. The easiest way is to set up a project management system for each client because this gives my client an overview of what’s going on and allows me to manage everything efficiently.
If you’re interviewing VAs or Administrative Consultants feel free to ask how they manage their time. A professional consultant will be only too pleased to share this information with you.
No.6: Adding Value
My clients all expect S&L to add value to their business and this means going the extra mile and not doing the minimum. I am invested in the success of each of my clients’ businesses because if they’re not successful neither is my business. If I can see a more efficient or a better way to do something, of course, I’m going to discuss it with a client. Or better still trial it, ensure it works and then deliver the solution.
If you’re looking to hire a virtual assistant I think it’s perfectly reasonable to ask them for examples of situations when they have demonstrated these qualities. Not everybody has these qualities but a top Virtual assistant should have them oozing from every pore.
Hiring a Virtual Assistant is beneficial to your business
Whether or not you choose Saunders & Lee (*we hope you do), we hope our post helps you to identify professional and quality attributes, which will help you to hire the right person for your business.
You can find more information about working with a Virtual Assistant here. Alternatively, pick up the phone and call me on 01223 803666, I’ll be delighted to have a chat about whether hiring a Virtual Assistant is the best choice for your business.