The hiring process is a daunting task. You have to determine what you need. You have to determine the kind of person you’re looking for. You have to post a job. You have to review resumes. You have to schedule time to do interviews. And when you finally get to the interview, what questions should you be asking your potential virtual assistant?
There are a lot of simple, generic questions that you will ask after reviewing someone’s resume: Why did you apply for this position? What’s your hourly rate? But if you’re going to hire the best assistant for your needs, you need to ask these three questions.
How much time do you have to devote to me/my business?
If you need someone 20 hours a week and she is already working 40 hours between other clients, you may be put on the bottom of the To Do list. I have interviewed hundreds and hundreds of candidates for positions my client was hiring for, and there are plenty of people that are happy to work 60-80 hours per week. Still, this can affect how your tasks get done.
Perhaps you need someone to be available during normal business hours to answer calls. How will they be handling that if they’re already working for other clients during normal business hours?
It’s important that you understand how the virtual assistant handles her work and her workload between clients. You should always feel like you’re first in line, even if she has a thousand other clients.
Do you outsource your work?
I have spoken with so many different people who told me they hired someone, and then later found out that that person wasn’t doing the work. That’s a problem. When you’re interviewing, the expectation is that the person that you are speaking with is the one who is doing the work. Here at Your Gal Friday, potential clients always speak with me, and I always disclose the fact that, not only will I be working for them, but my entire team will be, too. And clients can choose to only work with one person that they can be in constant contact with, too.
Find out if the person you’re interviewing is a solo virtual assistant, has a team that will be helping, or if they just work with other virtual assistants around the world to share work. You should always know who is handling your work, and you have every right to interview those others as well as the primary virtual assistant.
Can you provide references to current clients?
It is critically important that you check professional references. This gives you the ability to find out from other professionals how this virtual assistant performed tasks, how well she communicated, kept to deadlines, and worked with other team members. Being able to speak with current references will give you a lot of insight into your potential hire, and you’ll be able to spot red flags during the call.
Ready to Ask More Questions?
If you are ready to ask more questions and find out about hiring Your Gal Friday as your virtual assistant, contact us today.
We are all consumers. And as consumers, we are all looking for the best that we can have. (At least, the best that we can have with the income that we currently have!) We want to make sure we’re eating the best food, getting the best medical care, having our children go to the best schools. And we, as business owners, want to hire the best workers for our business.
But are we really getting the best?
Decades ago, when I was just a youthful college student, I got a job working at a now-defunct warehouse club. And during my training, they talked to us about the products they were selling. They had plenty of name-brand labels, but they also had the store brand alternatives.
For most people, the best of those products was the name-brand label. Because that’s what advertising has told us is the best. Most people wouldn’t even think of buying of store brand. But the fact is, the food that was in the warehouse club’s packing was the same food that was in the name-brand that they were selling. Back at the name-brand factory, they just switch out the containers from Name Brand to Warehouse Club, and continue the filling process.
So, we don’t always know what the best is going to be. But we are definitely led to believe what the best is. And the same thing happens when you look at hiring a virtual assistant. (Pretty cool how I switched from food to virtual assistants, huh?)
If you do a search online for hiring a virtual assistant, or, let’s say we want to be more local and search hire a US virtual assistant, you are going to get a pages upon pages of companies, solo workers, and articles which all talk about the best.
We are the best for you because….
We are better than anyone else because….
We’re so great, we’re featured in….
Pick any site. You’ll see all the claims. But, let’s face it. Everyone can’t be the best. It reminds me of a quote by Syndrome from the movie The Incredibles:
“When everyone’s super, no one will be.”
So, what are you supposed to do?
My research will always start with the website. A website can tell A LOT about someone, long before you speak with them. Are there spelling errors? Are there coding/design errors? Does the website look professional to you? If you’re hiring a web designer and their website is a free Wix site - that tells you A LOT.
Another part of a website I review deeply is the “As Seen In” section. So many people say, look at us, we were in USA Today, or CBS.com. Okay - prove it. There should be a link that connects you to the article on this other site. Otherwise, we could all say, we’re so great, we were featured on the front page of the NY Times. Prove it!
I also like to check out the review or testimonial section, if available. Are there reviews? And if so, are the reviews from credible, named sources? Do they all tout this virtual assistant as the absolute best?
You deserve the best team member for your company. Not just someone that tells you they’re the best. Take the time to do your research and find the virtual assistant that works out the best for you.
If you’re wondering if Your Gal Friday is the best virtual assistant for you, please contact us here at Your Gal Friday and we’ll talk about it!
It is hard to hire virtual workers. And I say that as a virtual worker, and as someone who hires virtual workers. You’re going to go through a painstaking process of finding the best worker. You need to know that you’re picking the best person for the success of your business.
However, it’s absolutely critical that you know who is really doing the work for your business.
When you start your search for a virtual worker, you may find yourself looking at various websites of people that tell you all the great things he is going to do for you. And when you go through the interview, you’ll talk to the person whose photo may be on that website, and you’ll have discussions about what he can do and will do.
And you end the conversation feeling good. And you hire this person. But who did you hire?
It’s possible that you hired just one person - the one on the site. But, it’s also very possible that that person is just a face to talk to, and your work is going to be outsourced to someone in another state or country. This is a problem.
You didn’t interview the outsource. You didn’t know the outsource existed. You thought you were hiring a specific person with specific skills. Now you don’t know what it is you’re getting for a worker.
This happens more often than you think in business, especially nowadays when a lot of hiring is done via emails, websites and contract houses. I remember once, when I worked for a major corporation, we were hiring a programmer. A contract house had found someone, and several team members had done a phone interview with him. All was well and he was hired. Unfortunately, the person on the phone was not the person that showed up at our office. The person that showed up could not speak any English. That was a problem!
So, how do you know who will be doing your work? You have to ask. Truly, you need to find out who it is, and then request an interview with that person. It is important that you’re comfortable with that person. I have had several clients ask to speak to my team members - I’m perfectly okay with that. If that team member is doing the bulk of the work, that client needs to be in direct contact (and vice versa).
The virtual work environment needs to be open and honest so that you receive exceptional results every time.
If you’re thinking about hiring a virtual assistant, please contact us here at Your Gal Friday and we’ll talk about the best solutions for your business.
A few weeks after I had been working with a new client, and he had given various secure information, we were chatting on the phone and he jokingly said “and please don’t steal my credit card” well after I had already been given access to it.
Trust seems to be an afterthought with many people. I think you just get so busy, and you’re so glad to have someone to help you that you just start throwing out instructions and information and you don’t stop to think about the information that you’re sharing with your freelancer.
Depending on the type of work you are doling out, it is quite possible that you will be sharing usernames, passwords, credit card info and more with your virtual help. Before you do, there are a couple of things you can request of your freelancer. The first is easy – ask them to submit to a background check.
Background checks are a good idea. They don’t cost much, and that can save you a lot. Don’t feel ashamed to ask for one. You’re trying to protect yourself and your business. And if you want the background check and the freelancer balks at the idea – walk away.
The second thing you can do is have your freelancer tell you about her home office setup. If she’s using Wi-Fi, is it secure? How is critical information stored on her computer? If paperwork is printed off, is it being shredded?
Trust between you and your freelancer will come gradually. You’ll begin to understand each other, how you work, how you communicate. But before that happens, use a few preventative measures to protect your information.
25+ years of business experience. 12+ years of virtual experience.