When interviewing prospective virtual assistants, it is as important to find out what drives them as it is to check out their credentials.
My priority is to find someone with the right attitude as well as the necessary skills for the job.
Background experience does help but a smart VA can quickly come up to speed even with a limited amount of on-the-job training.
From the outset, I want to make the candidate feel relaxed and to get her or him chatting.
During the interview, I want to get an understanding of the energy and the attitude of the person—what they are interested in, what makes them tick.
Above all, I want to get a sense of whether the candidate would make a good fit for the job. The question to be asked is this: ‘Could I work with this person?’
So, you are recruiting a virtual assistant for your company and have several candidates to interview. During the interviews, you want to identify the right candidate for the job—the one with the best skills and, even more importantly, the right attitude.
When I conduct interviews, what I really want to do is to check out the energy and the attitude of the candidate. I want to see what makes them tick and find out some of the things they are interested in.
Background experience, of course, is important but remember that a lot of things can be taught, provided you find the right person for the job.
Here are some tips on how to proceed with interviews:
My Top Tips for Interviewing Prospective Virtual Assistants
Tip #1: Get them to Relax
Thank them for coming in to the interview and ask why they are interested in the position. Also ask them about their family, their interests, what kind of sports they like, what type of music they prefer. Get them talking about themselves as much as possible.
Tip #2: Delve into their Past Work Experience
Here are two examples of the types of questions I usually ask:
- I have your resume here. I see that you were working in lead generation before and also as back-office support for inbound and outbound calls. How was that? Did you enjoy doing that kind of work?
- You have had experience working in customer service with a communications company. What was that like? It must have been a tough environment with people complaining all the time.
Tip #3: Find out what Kind of Work they Enjoy Doing
You can ask these sorts of questions to elicit the types of responses you need:
- Please tell me what kind of things you really enjoy doing as a virtual assistant. This will help me ensure that you are right for the role.
- What kind of work environment do you enjoy the best? Do you prefer to be left alone to get on with it or do you like it when you are working with other colleagues?
Tip #4: Explain what the Job Entails
You can approach this aspect by asking the following kinds of questions:
- We have a role for a personal assistant. There would be a fair bit of work involving calling clients. Are you comfortable with phone work?
- It would probably also involve managing emails and diaries for your client. Are you familiar with Outlook?
- What other kinds of emails have you had experience with?
- So you’ve done some work on Facebook adverts? What other media platforms have you worked with?
Tip #5: How to Wind up the Interview
Ask them what they would like to know about your company and if they have any other questions concerning the job.
Tell them that if they make it on to the shortlist of candidates there will be a further interview during which it will be determined if they are a good fit for your company and if your company is a good fit for them.
If so, the salary/fee and starting date will then be discussed.
Thank them again for their time and tell them that you will be in touch to let them know if they have made it onto the shortlist of candidates or not.
Watch a real Interview with a Virtual Assistant
At Virtual Done Well, we were looking to find the right person for the post of a virtual personal assistant on behalf of a client.
A video of the interview can be viewed on the Virtual Done Well YouTube channel. Check it out to get some ideas for conducting an effective interview—and, if you found this article helpful or have any questions, please feel free to provide your comments below.