Handling your business is especially hard when you’re running a one man show. Communicating with clients, getting leads, cold calling, and many more tedious day to day tasks can drain you of precious mental energy, leaving you too exhausted to focus on big picture planning.
Let’s face it, admin tasks are not for visionaries. Developing strategies that scale, managing funds, and studying new potential markets all require time, patience, and mental clarity. Even the most efficient and productive entrepreneurs would struggle to scale their businesses if they had to respond to 100 emails a day.
Lucky for you, business owners now have the advantage of hiring a trained virtual assistant to manage all the tedious everyday tasks while you focus on big, money-making plans.
But, in order to entrust such an important part of your daily operations to a VA, you need to know what traits to look for in candidates.
Beyond The Resume: Pay Attention To Their Character
There are 3 vital traits to look for: organizational skills, efficiency, and reliability. More often than not, a previous employer would mention these positive traits in an interviewee’s resume. But, let’s say you’re looking for someone exceptional and don’t trust others’ standards of organization and efficiency.
In that case, you’ll want to ditch the regular Q&A format of typical interviews for a long, friendly conversation. Here’s why: people walk into an interview knowing which questions will be asked and how to answer them. When you catch someone off guard, and, most importantly, when you get them to talk about themselves, they show their true selves.
If someone immediately starts bad-mouthing their previous employers, friends, or significant others, that’s probably an indicator of their irresponsibility. However, make sure that you make the questions flow easily without it seeming like an interrogation.
Let Them Know Who You Are And What You Need
Introducing yourself is a no-brainer, and most candidates research the companies they’re applying to, but you need to be completely upfront about your expectations. Unfortunately, virtual assistants aren’t quite mainstream yet, so some applicants might mistakenly believe that basic secretarial skills are enough to satisfy the requirements.
Clearly communicate what you need from a virtual assistant, their duties, and what you expect from them. Most importantly, they’ll need to be super tech savvy to adapt to new IT systems and cybersecurity measures.
Read Between The Lines
Resumes are often 1 and a half pages long, but the body language of the person in front of you tells the whole story. Is their posture confident, are they overly fidgety, are their responses incoherent?
Some interviewers might dismiss these signs as regular nerves – after all, aren’t we all nervous during pivotal make-or-break moments in our lives? Yes, but there’s a limit.
Pay extra attention to body language, especially if you’ll eventually want your virtual assistant to conduct online meetings with your clients. How they communicate with you during the interview is probably how they’ll communicate with anyone they haven’t met before, and first impressions are vital for building trust with new clients.
Previous references can’t tell you everything. Direct the conversation to where you can get them talking about their previous work experiences, what they liked and disliked about their job, and why they left. Also, let them talk about how they feel about authoritarian figures and what their preferred communication style is.
Truth is, some candidates satisfy all the requirements but are just not a good culture fit. And that’s okay! That’s why different personalities thrive better in different organizations. Just keep in mind that skill level and compatibility with the company culture are 2 separate, but equally important, factors.
Mutual Benefits For The Win
Interviews are scary and no one likes feeling vulnerable. Empower potential employees by letting them know what they’re getting out of this job other than their salary.
Remember, you need them just as they need you. So you need to answer all their questions. Excite them with the benefits you offer, the experiences they’ll gain out of being a VA, and how that job would boost their resume.