Hiring a virtual assistant is a pretty big step for folks. It can be hard to know how to choose a VA, especially if you are:
a) hiring your very first VA, and new to the whole process
b) hiring another VA after having been burned the first time around by a bad experience or
c) hiring to replace a current VA, who has had to quit or move on leaving you with a need to fill quickly!
There’s a few little things I recommend paying attention to that can tell you alot about a potential hire, before you even have a conversation! I use these tips all the time in hiring VAs for the Multiple Streams Team (MST), and those who fail simply don’t join our team. 😉
- How fast do they respond to my email?
In most cases your first contact with a potential VA will be through email, so take notice of how fast they respond. Is it within a day? Or does it take them days to get back to you? If it takes them longer than 24 hours that raises a red flag for me (weekends excluded of course).Being that VAs work virtually they need to be on the ball with email correspondance, and if they can’t reply in a timely manner before you hire chances are it will become an issue after you hire.
- What kind of response do they send?
What is the style of writing in their emails? Do they have a ‘good’ voice and a complete response? Or are they sending you incomplete or sloppy responses?Let’s say i’m sending an email request to book a time to chat about working with us and have provided some days/times we could chat. A VA who replies and says “Thanks for the opportunity, yes I would love to chat. The best time that works for me is X, etc…” is just the type of response im looking for. Vs. someone who says “sure, call me sometime next week”. In that case I wonder if they even read my email?
- Do they show up for your scheduled phone call?
I’m honestly surprised how many people do *not* show up for a scheduled phone call… this happened to me again just today. When someone is a no-show, I will pop them an email to say “hey, I thought we were scheduled to chat today… want to reschedule?”If I get a response that says “hey, let’s talk now instead” or one of my all time favorites “i was out walking my dogs, can we talk tomorrow?”… that person is immediately crossed off my list. This says that they don’t respect my time and our agreement, which reflects what a working relationship could be like.
If someone responds and says “oh my goodness, i’m so sorry! i totally forgot to put this in my computer” or “my apologies tina, i had to go pick up my son from school cause he was sick”… if it is a good reason or they truly apologize i’m willing to reschedule a call (but just once! 😉
- Send them a little ‘get to know you’ reading project
Required reading to join our team is to read Andrea Lee’s book Multiple Streams of Coaching Income. This is what I call our ‘get to know us’ project, just to make sure we are a fit for each other. Once i’ve talked to a potential VA who looks like a fit I will send them a PDF copy of the book to read along with a ‘mini-quiz’ to ensure they understand the concepts.Be sure to give them a deadline, a week or so depending on your timeline and the length/depth of what you are sending them. If it’s an article a day or two is plenty of time. If it’s a full size book (such as MSOCI which is over 300 pages) a week or so is reasonable.
Do they meet the deadline you agreed on? Or better yet, do they finish early? We’ve had some people read the book within a day of our initial conversation, which shows some great initiative! Of course, if they miss the deadline without a good reason to do so this is another red flag for me.
That’s it! These items are short and sweet, but oh so telling.