Interviewing and Hiring a Virtual Assistant What You Want to Hear From Your Prospective VA by Meggin McIntosh, PhD

Mar 13th, 2013

assistantIf you are getting ready to interview and hire a Virtual Assistant (VA), here are ten productivity expectations you can communicate to the people you are interviewing. Ask your prospective VAs if they will be able to serve you capably and professionally because they can comfortably say:

  1. The time they spend working for each client is clearly demarcated. There is no “trying to work on multiple clients’ projects within the same 10-minute period.”

  2. They have separate physical files for each client’s projects (different colors for different clients is one possible way to delineate the different clients).

  3. They create a separate folder on their hard drive for each client. Note: You want to know that your documents are not mixed in a folder with someone else’s documents.

  4. They have made provisions to have safe, secure digital exchanges with and on the behalf of clients. This includes having up-to-date virus software, which is constantly scanning, as well as consistently backing up all their (your) information. Also, their work computer is NOT the computer that their children do their school work on. [Note: If they can’t answer a definitive “Yes” to this question, know that these potential VAs are just inviting trouble because they are potentially endangering their clients’ information.]

  5. They have “off-limits” times. Unless your VA really want to be someone’s personal assistant, i.e., on call 24 hours a day, they will want to communicate the times they are working and the times they are not working and are unavailable. A smart VA communicates this as far in advance as possible with his/her clients.

  6. They know not to pretend to multitask when they are working on a task for an individual client. If the person you are interviewing even mentions the ability to multitask, I recommend against hiring him/her.

  7. They know they are in business for real (vs. just pretending to be in business). You don’t want a hobby VA or someone who is just doing this until they “get something better.”  Is that why you’re in business?  Until you get something better?

  8. They are clear on what they can and can’t do. They know that their clients do not expect them to do everything – and it is unwise (foolish actually) to indicate that they can. They should acknowledge that the whole reason their clients have hired them as a VA is because they do not expect one 40-hour/week employee to do everything. They are looking for specialization and expertise, which excellent VAs can provide.

  9. They bill clients in a timely fashion and based according to the agreed-upon hours or projects completed. This relates to #7 above.

  10. They have all of their business affairs in order including licenses, taxes, and the like. You will want to check with your accountant or other tax advisor to make sure that if you hire someone as an independent contractor, you have the correct documentation.

Having great VAs (virtual assistants) working for you makes life so much better in your business. Having the wrong VAs…argh!  Makes life worse in your business. Take these ten tips to heart!

© Meggin McIntosh, Ph.D (also known as “The PhD of Productivity”®) was a university professor for over 15 years and spent five of those years working with faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno.  Since leaving the full-time academic life for the full-time entrepreneurial life, Meggin writes, consults, and does workshops for smart people who want to be more productive, thereby being able to consistently keep their emphasis on excellence.  Thus, the name of her company is Emphasis on Excellence, Inc.

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