Interview Selection Criteria – Virtual Assistant

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For over 18 years I have been interviewing applicants, since 2007 I started interviewing virtual assistants.  This is what has helped me be successful in finding top talent.

The Top 6 Questions To Always Ask in an Interview

Ask the reason why they have left their last 3 - 5 employers.  If each employment has been under 12 month and the VA responds with "to move to green pastures or improve my career ".  History predicts that you will only have your new VA for up to 12 months and then you will need to re-hire and re train.

Tell me how you improved your skills in the last 12 months?  Tell me the name of the last book you read and when? Here you are looking for applicants who are self learners.

Tell me about your greatest achievement, a time you stepped outside your comfort zone.  You are looking for answers that show your VA is resilient, can work under pressure and go the extra mile for you. I personally select team members who have traveled or worked outside of the Philippines. Travelling is an experience of stepping outside your comfort zone.

Why should I give this role to you over the other applicants I have interviewed.  This is an opportunity for the VA to share with you their strengths, see if they have researched you or your business and have a good understanding.

What was your take home salary per month, what did you receive in your bank account or  pocket.  Was this salary for a day or evening shift?  Taxes and benefits can be very different to what we are used to paying in Australia. Be clear that your VA is answering gross or net. Know what exactly went into their pocket manages salary expectations.  Also understanding if rates are referred to a day or night shift.  Night shifts are paid a higher rate for the inconveniences on their social life and stress to their health.   

Can you supply me the contact details of your last 3 Managers?  With the popularity of social media including Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Google+, not to mention the affordability of mobile phones worldwide and free email, If an applicant can not supply contact details of a previous manager this is a red flag there was an issue.

Your selection List to Hire Against:

  • High quality English written and spoken
  • Past similar experience working for international clients.  This includes virtual assistant roles from websites like Uwork, BPO experience , working for 5 Star Hotels in a customer service role interacting with international guests.  Working in countries outside of their home country (this shows the ability to step outside their comfort zone and exposure to International clients)
  • Completed online testing to a high standard. The best test is example task they would be performing on a daily basis.
  • Longevity in each role, at least 2 years (there are exceptions when businesses close down.  This is why it is important to ask the reason for leaving question. Anyone can last 12 months in a company before management makes a decision they are unproductive or not the right cultural fit )
  • Well formatted resume (this show good documentation skills for correspondence with clients and for administration skills)
  • Like for like experience and industry skills.  Similar to recruiting locally, you wouldn't hire an administration assistant and expect they can create written content for your website or hire a network administrator and expect them to design a website
  • Look for extra curricular activities and achievements.  VAs that are fit and healthy are going to be more productive.  In countries where life expectancy is lower, it is even more important that your VA is taking care of themselves.  If their activities are similar to your own then you have shared values and interests, making conversations more enjoyable and you build a stronger relationship and a highly engaged and productive VA.  Our own personal favourite at GO-VA are applicants that have read or completed the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” workshop or Robin Sharma’s “A Leader without a Title”

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