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4 Traits to Look for in Your Virtual Assistant

By Barbara Beauregard   |    May 22, 2017   |    9:28 AM


You've decided to hire a virtual assistant? Great! Here are 4 characteristics to look for to ensure the right fit.

Hiring a virtual assistant could prove to be one of the most valuable investments for your company and could make all the difference in the smooth-running of your business. A virtual assistant can help an entrepreneur by providing a wide range of services, from answering emails and phone calls, managing social media accounts, taking orders, making travel plans for you, coordinating mailing and media campaigns, helping with sales, and much more.  Virtual assistants are a boon to any business as tasks that you or your staff don't have time or the skills for, can be outsourced to them. However, as with any new member of the team, it is essential to find a virtual assistant who will be a good fit.

1. Motivation and Responsiveness

When you start evaluating which virtual assistants to hire, it is important when you interact with them, whether it is just correspondence to arrange an interview time or during the interview itself, that you pay close attention to their behaviour. From the first point of contact you need to establish how motivated and responsive they are. The best virtual assistants are those who are keen to do a good job and respond quickly to emails and requests. Responsiveness and eagerness is a vital attribute when you are on a tight deadline or require help solving a last minute problem.

2. Professionalism

When interviewing candidates it is important to pay attention to their demeanor. After all, this person will be representing your company to clients and partners, so they need to be professional, polite and patient at all times. During the interview you should ask the virtual assistant how they would manage a situation with a difficult client to evaluate whether they would be able to maintain professionalism even in a stressful situation. Punctuality can also tell you a lot about how professional somebody is. For example, if a candidate doesn't arrive for the interview and calls much later to arrange another interview, they might not be the most professional employee.

3. Trustworthiness

It is important that the virtual assistant is an honest worker. You will be entrusting them with great responsibilities and they will be physically absent, therefore you will not be able to oversee their work. You need to be sure that the person will be frank about mistakes, keep their promises to deliver optimal work and handle business in a timely manner. Especially if you entrust them with sensitive company data, you need to ensure that the virtual assistant will never compromise the confidentiality of documents and data. You can evaluate this by asking the candidate for references and browsing their CV.

4. Creativity and Initiative

Increasingly, companies are hiring staff who are creative and not afraid to take initiative. This is a vital attribute, especially for a virtual assistant. Since they will be working remotely and may not be able to reach you at all times, if you are travelling for example, they may need to make spur of the moment decisions if an emergency situation arises. It is important that they not follow your instructions, but also respond in a creative fashion to out-of-the-box situations. You can assess these attributes during the interview, by asking your candidate how they would deal with an unexpected situation.