Most important Virtual Assistant skills
A Virtual Assistant is a valuable asset for businesses of any size but especially for small scale enterprises where resources are scarce and access to funds are limited. Small business owners are entrepreneurs who need to manage their time effectively and focus more on activities that translate faster to business development and growth.
The VA plays an important role in affording valuable time for entrepreneurs by managing non-essential tasks and other non-core functions. The VA industry grew exponentially beginning the year of 2006 largely due to the global economic recession where companies were forced to re-align their business development strategies and implement cost cutting measures. Outsourcing services to third party providers including virtual assistants became a popular strategy because it streamlined costs without compromising revenue generation.
There are several sources where businesses can find VAs. You can get recommendations from friends or associates or check the Internet. There are a number of reliable online job market platforms and websites that provide candidates for virtual assistance work. Regardless of where you source your candidates, it is always important to qualify all of the applicants before hiring them.
Skills you should look for, when selecting a Virtual Assistant:
- Attitude– Assess their willingness to put in time and effort in becoming your VA. You need to understand the people who work in the virtual world are essentially freelancers. This means you will not be their only client. Find out how he or she will manage time to accommodate the demands of your project without compromising quality of work and schedules.
- Communication- The ability to communicate is largely overlooked in an effective business arrangement. Effective communication is not just about the level of English proficiency in writing and speaking. You need to consider how the candidate relays or coveys his or her message. Cultural differences are factors you have to keep in mind when hiring candidates from remote locations because the context of the message will vary. You also need to make sure your candidate is accessible through various channels of communication.
- Passion– Through simple conversation, find out what your candidates are passionate about in life. This will give you a good idea in determining whether there is an alignment in values, purpose and vision; three of the most important factors in establishing an effective working relationship.
- Competencies- For any project, you have to determine the candidates’ level of competencies in fundamental and technical matters. Fundamentals comprise the basics; communication skills, ability to use the Internet, e-mailing, proficiency in certain software. Technical refers directly to the scope of work. If you’re looking for someone who will manage your social media, you’ll need to test the best candidate with the requisite knowledge for social media management. The candidate does not have to be the best but there must be an appreciable level of competence.
- Attention to Details– A VA is crucial for identifying details. When you are qualifying candidates, make sure they are subject to tests with specific instructions that they are supposed to follow. Having a keen eye for detail is paramount in establishing structure and organization as well as to lessen the incidence of costly mistakes in the business.
- Willingness to Learn– One of the biggest problems in hiring an experienced VA is that most are set in their ways. The ideal VA is one who is willing to learn and adapt to a new system of working. Those who are not will only exhibit resistance and will create problems for you down the road.
- Good Listener– One of the most important yet overlooked aspects in effective communication is the ability to listen. If your VA can respond favorably and receive instruction without problem, there will be few chances of committing mistakes.
- Personality– In addition to the technical and fundamental competencies, you have to seriously consider the behavioral component of your candidate. In the course of the qualifying process, did you notice potential red flags that may lead to a difficult relationship? It is very important to keep in mind that you must always look forward to working with the candidate you hire.
These are just a few of the skills I feel you must consider before hiring a Virtual Assistant. You may have a few more in mind and feel free to implement them if you believe these are necessary to forge a great working relationship. The important thing is qualify your candidates in other ways and not just the Curriculum Vitae and online profile.