You have likely found yourself here because you are at the point where you think you might need to hire a Virtual Assistant. I’m hoping to give you insight into the top 20 interview questions to ask a Virtual Assistant and also explain why these questions are vital to the successful hiring of your next assistant. You should also check out our Frequently Asked Questions section as it will let you know exactly how we handle our Virtual Assistant business here at Connected Colleague.
Make sure you know exactly what you are looking for
First off, do you know exactly what tasks you want to outsource to a Virtual Assistant, how much time it will take them, and how much you are willing to spend? Do you have a list of tasks that you think could be handled by an Assistant because they take away a lot of the time you should be spending generating leads and new business? If you have your list of tasks to outsource and are ready to start interviewing, then please continue below.
A lot of work goes into hiring the right virtual assistant, from making sure they’re the right fit for you and your company (and vice versa), to figuring out what types of tasks you’ll have them support you with, all the way to training and getting them on board. Below are the top 20 interview questions to ask a virtual assistant and also the explanations as to why they are important. Please also don’t forget you can download the FREE document below as well!
Read over all of the top 20 questions to ask a virtual assistant
- How long have you worked as a Virtual Assistant?
Make sure to find out what they did before becoming a Virtual Assistant and how that experience relates to being able to assist you.
- What do you consider your core skills and services? This is a good question to let you know if they have a lot of experience in the areas you need the most assistance with.
- What methods do you prefer for communication? This is important to make sure that you are on the same page in terms of how you like to communicate, if you prefer to discuss requests over the phone and they only work by email, it may not be the best fit.
- Where are you located (what time zone more specifically)? While this might not have a huge overall impact, it could really make a difference if you need the most attention during the morning hours and they are in a different time zone. It may also be a good idea to ask them what time of day they are usually most productive. If you are a morning person, it is likely a good idea to choose an Assistant that has the same work flow.
- What are your work hours and how many other clients are you servicing on a weekly basis? This will help you decide whether or not you think they have time to complete the tasks you want to outsource. You want to make sure that they have the amount of time available in their schedule that you have already pre-calculated.
- Will my work be sub-contracted to someone else? Some Virtual Assistants sub-contract work out to other assistants. While the most important thing is that the work gets done, I think it’s valuable to know who is completing the work for you, especially if they have access to any confidential client information.
- What software/computer programs do you use and are experienced in? (MS Word, Adobe, Google Docs, Aweber, Infusionsoft, WordPress etc.) Make sure that the Virtual Assistant has experience in the programs you need help with. Depending on how quickly you need action on certain items, you might not have time for your assistant to learn how to use a program.
- Describe a typical work week. Again, this is important so that you have a good overview of their typical day and week to make sure that you have a similar workflow. If you typically send email requests over in the afternoons and they work primarily in the morning, this may not be a good fit.
- What security measures do you have in place (computer, home)? This is extremely important especially if the Virtual Assistant has access to any personal client information. Make sure that they have up to date anti-virus software on their computer and perhaps a locked filing cabinet if they need to print any client information.
- Do you have a private office space? This is important as you want to make sure that your Virtual Assistant has a place where they can focus on getting work done for you and that all work related information can safely stay tucked away in the private office and not on the dining room table where important papers and files can easily be misplaced.
- You have a deadline when your computer suddenly crashed. What would you do? It’s important to know if they have any other means of completing work if their computer crashes – do they save their work on an external hard drive or on Google Drive or Dropbox so it can still be accessed from another computer? What other programs will they be using for you and are they web based?
- Do you charge for time we spend emailing or on the phone? This is important so you know if you are paying for quick emails back and forth if you have questions or are looking for clarification. Find out whether you have unlimited email support, if there is a maximum number of emails you can send, or if there is a specific time you can contact your Virtual Assistant for a planning session.
- Do you have client references or testimonials? Find out if they have testimonials or references, and look for praise for tasks similar to what you will be asking them to complete.
- Do you require me to sign a contract? It is never a bad idea to have an outlined agreement of the expectations you will have of your assistant and what expectations they will have of you. This contract should also outline your payment terms as well. Most Virtual Assistants will have this pre-drafted.
- Do you have a confidentiality agreement? This is extremely important especially if your Virtual Assistant will have access to your client lists and any personal client information. You may also want to ensure that any sub-contractors sign this agreement as well if that is the case.
- Do you have Insurance? This is very important to make sure you are covered if any losses occur due to any work being performed by your Virtual Assistant. The most common types of insurance carried by Virtual Assistants are both Errors and Omissions and Commercial General Liability.
- Out of everything you do for clients, what is your favorite? This is just good to know in terms of how committed and passionate your Virtual Assistant will be in completing work for you. If most of the work you will be asking of them ends up on the bottom of their favorite list, they may not be the best fit for you.
- How do you charge (how is time billed – 15 minute increments, hourly, per project, etc.)? Look for a Virtual Assistant that fits the type of work you are looking for. If the amount of work varies from week to week or month to month, make sure they have a roll over program so you can roll over any unused hours to the following week or month.
- Is there an extra charge for rush projects? Will you ever work evenings or weekends? While most Virtual Assistants have set weekday hours, it’s always good to know beforehand how they will handle any last minute requests that may not be able to be completed between regular business hours. Do they charge additional amounts (such as time and a half) for evening or weekend work, and are they willing to even work on evenings or weekends?
- What payments do you accept? It’s good to know how you will be able to pay your Virtual Assistant. Most Virtual Assistants operate on a retainer fee where you purchase hours in advance and they keep you up to date on the hours you have used. If you want to always pay by credit card, or through e-transfer, it’s a good idea to know that they support those kinds of payments.
I hope these questions will help to narrow down a Virtual Assistant that will be the best fit for you. You can access all of the questions in PDF format in our Resource Library for FREE plus there are many more amazing resources there just for you!
Now it's time to decide, hire and get back to business
Okay, so you have answers to all of the questions and your list of tasks that the Virtual Assistant can take care of, and now it’s decision time. Although it might seem daunting or stressful to think about the training and onboarding involved in hiring the Virtual Assistant, you just have to get over it and make it happen. In the long run, they will shave hours, days and weeks of admin time off your plate and you will feel soo much better being able to focus on your existing clients and new clients to come. As an extra tip – have your new Virtual Assistant create some procedures documents for you so if you ever have to hire another Assistant, the process will be that much quicker.
Oh and by the way…. feel free to check my list of exceptional services right here and remember I’m always happy to chat about any questions you might have!