The Virtual Assistant (VA) industry has grown substantially, and not just in the number of professionals there are in the market, but also the scope of business roles where a VA functions has grown.
I’ve been a VA for quite awhile, and the big change I’ve seen has been specialization within the industry, which is why I tend to shy away from the term VA, it just seems too general and doesn’t capture the very specific roles that VA’s fill. This specialization can cause two major questions for those looking to hire a VA:
- How do I know what I need?
- Do I need to hire multiple VA’s for multiple functions within my business?
So aside from the simple challenge of finding the right person to add to your team, you also have the complex challenge of adding multiple specialists.
Here is our top ten list of questions you should ask your prospective VA:
- What are your core offerings? – As we noted above, VA’s are specializing on certain skills instead of trying to master everything under the sun. Its good to understand what skills your VA currently possesses, whether or not you think you’ll need all of this expertise right now. Think about where your business will be in the next 6 months to a year – your needs will grow as your business does.
- What certifications do you currently possess? – There’s a fine balance here – just because your VA may have every certification available do they have experience practicing these skills in the field? Conversely, I know many high skilled expert VA’s that haven’t completed any specialized training, but I would reach out to in a heart beat because their hands-on expertise is superior.
- What tasks are you most passionate about? Least passionate about? This is a great question – we all work best within our passions, and tend to procrastinate on the tasks we are “meh” about. Its good to identify this up front.
- Given our conversation about my needs, what tasks do you already possess the skillset for? This could be a big red flag, I know the skills I have and the skills I don’t. PMA is a VA team, and I can leverage the skills of others. As a solo VA, I wouldn’t have that ability and would either need to suggest another VA, or learn on the fly.
- How do you manage tasks that are outside of your skillset? As with #4 above, be careful of VA’s who are willing to learn new skills, because you may end up paying for that learning curve. If your VA frequently refers out tasks out of his/her skillset and has a list of recommended referrals- fantastic.
- What are your office hours? Vacation policy? Turnaround time (both for tasks and for acknowledgement of request), and preferred method of communication? All great questions – I prefer email communication so there is a paper trail, but value telephone communication as well. For calls, I like them scheduled so I can prepare and focus for each call. But everyone is different, and asking in advance so you’re both aligned will save headaches down the line. Make sure you understand how your prospective VA structures their business (full time/ part time) and how that meets your expectations.
- How many hours per month are available to me? What is your current client load? – GREAT questions, you want to know if your VA can accommodate your growth, or are they close to fully committed with multiple clients. It’s great that your VA is busy, but not great if they’re too busy.
- Do you work solo, or do you have team members that may step in? Working with a solo VA is fine, you don’t necessarily need a team, BUT if you are working with a VA team, you need to know how long the team has been together? How likely are you going to be moved between team members? And of course you just want to know up front if you’re going to be working with who you THINK you’re working with.
- How long have you been in business? – And don’t be afraid to ask what they did before becoming a VA.
- How long have you had your longest client? References? – Does your VA have frequent turnover? I compare this to hiring an employee and looking at their resume – do they change jobs every few months? Why is the transition so frequent?
Adding to your team is a big decision, we understand your hesitation because we add to our team all the time.