When you look to choose a Virtual Assistant, unfortunately it isn’t as simple as picking a name from a directory or going with a personal review. Your Virtual Assistant is going to become a big part of your business and, if you want to benefit from hiring one, you want them to be a good fit for you.
But how do you choose a Virtual Assistant that IS a good fit? Here’s some tips to get you started.
Start with your needs
Before you make a decision over which type of VA you’re looking for, you’ll want to clarify the following:
- What tasks and duties do you need them to carry out?
- What skills and traits you are looking for, in your VA?
- What responsibilities will they have?
- When do you need them for and over what length of time?
- How will you communicate with them and how often will that be?
- Will you be monitoring their work and offering feedback and/or reviews? How will that take place?
- If their work isn’t up to standard, what steps will you take?
Remember, a VA isn’t a mind reader, so you’ll need to clarify all of the above with them, when you’re looking to find the right one for you. It’s not just about finding one that’s available – you also want to find a Virtual Assistant that can do the job you need! Not all Virtual Assistant’s are the same, and not all of them have the same skill sets. If you’re not sure if you’re ready to hire a VA, at this stage, check out this article: 10 signs you’re ready to invest in working with a VA.
Reactive or proactive
Clarifying the general role and specific duties you want your VA to fill is critical, if you want the working relationship to be a successful one. However, when you choose a VA, it goes much further than just clarifying the role – you need to decide whether you want them to have a reactive or proactive approach to the position. You may even need a VA that can switch between the two roles.
So what is a reactive VA? If you’re looking to choose a VA that just does the tasks you hand over, you’re looking for a reactive one. You let them know the specific task you want completed, you give them the deadline and you expect them to just get the work back to you, once completed. They essentially just do as they’re told.
A proactive VA, on the other hand, takes a more active role in the position you’re paying them to fill. They use their initiative and make suggestions, if they see a more efficient or effective way of doing things. They’re happy to give their opinions and input, if you need help finding alternative solutions. When you choose a Virtual Assistant that’s proactive, they’re more invested in you and your company – they want to see you succeed and grow, as they have a more active part to play in it all.
Core values and goals
A Virtual Assistant can be a massive benefit to your company but, like any other employee or associate, they need to feel important and valued by you. They also need to see who you are and what you stand for, as well as what you’re trying to achieve. This is where your company values, goals and vision come into play.
Your core values serve as a means to not only illustrate what’s important to you, but to also ensure you’re on course to choose a Virtual Assistant that’s a good fit for your business. If someone doesn’t agree with your core values, or if they have conflicting values, it’s best to know this early on, during the hiring stage. Once hired, these core values also illustrate to employees and associates how you expect them to behave and act, when representing your company.
Your business goals and vision help illustrate where you’re headed and how you see that happening. In order to get the best from working with a VA, you need to use your business goals and vision to illustrate how they can help you fit in with your plans.This will also help them understand why you’re looking for particular tasks and deadlines within the work you hand over to them.
You both need to be aligned to make this a true success!
Your initial talks with a VA will clarify how they like to work but ideally they should adapt and adjust to you and your business. Once you are in dialogue, the next step is to communicate how you see them working within your business.
A Virtual Assistant, like any other new team member needs time to initially train for the role they’re being brought in to do. They need time to train in your preferred way of doing things, as well as the tools you may use to fulfil those tasks. Obviously, this training period can be shortened, if they’re already competent in the tools and systems you use – choosing a VA that is qualified / well versed in the various systems and software you use should eliminate any problems. Remember to ask them what systems and software they can use and to what standard of competency.
No matter what stage your VA is at, it’s important that you keep the lines of communication open. Your VA needs to feel that he or she can talk to you, should they need clarification, hit a problem, or have any other feedback they want to share with you. This can start, the minute you have that first contact with a potential new VA.
How you treat and speak with them at these early stages, sets the stage for how you’re going to communicate and treat them further down the line. And of course, it works the other way too! If you want them to be of benefit to your business – you’ll ensure you’re setting high standards right from the outset. And, if they’re the right fit for your business, they’ll be doing the same. Remember a VA is not an employee, you are outsourcing work to them – so think of them as a Business Partner, someone who is supplying a service to your company.
When you choose a Virtual Assistant it isn’t as simple as picking a name from a directory, a personal review will add credibility to this selection process but ultimately you will need to decide can you build a relationship with them – is there “know, like and trust” at work here!
However, if you use the tips above, you’ll ensure you’re picking a Virtual Assistant that’s not only a good fit for your business, but one that will also benefit your business too. If you are a Virtual Assistant reading this post, how can you take the above tips and address them either in your communications with your (potential) clients or across your marketing channels.