How to Prepare Your Virtual Assistant

Hiring a Virtual Assistant is a crucial step in moving your business from the start up stage to the succeeding levels of growth. As business gains traction, schedules are tighter, the agenda is longer and the need to organize becomes greater. The task of the business owner shifts from designing to implementing strategy and must place greater focus on activities that generate income. The business owner should delegate the non-essential functions of the company.

A Virtual Assistant is hired specifically to manage the support services of the business. These include secretarial work and personal assistant services. A business owner can also outsource services such as bookkeeping and payroll preparation. In recent years, business owners who realize the potential of the Internet to promote and market product and services have delegated social media marketing to VAs.

Having a Virtual Assistant or VA in your team is essential in helping you manage tasks. Think of the VA as your extra set of hands. There must be a qualifying process to select a right-fit VA.

Three key areas to look into when qualifying your VA

1. Communication – The ability to communicate is crucial for business. Effective communication is qualified by these criteria:

a. Proficiency – A candidate who is comfortable in speaking English will be able to translate ideas better than a candidate who is not proficient in English. This will be a challenge for candidates who are from another region of the world where English is not the primary language of communication. When the work venue is the virtual world, the business owner must ensure incidents of misunderstanding are kept to a minimum.

b. Accessibility – A business owner faces changing conditions as work every day. These changes will have an effect on the schedule and should be reviewed by the VA as soon as possible. Make sure your VA is accessible by more than one medium of communication. Usually Skype is the preferred medium but it is advisable to designate a confidential business e-mail and register the VA’s mobile number in a free calling and text service such as Viber.

2. Organization – For the business-owner, organization lends efficiency to the enterprise. The ability to organize is the primary reason VA’s are hired. When qualifying your candidate, ask them to submit a number of requirements such as:

a.      Letter of Application
b.      Update curriculum vitae
c.      Work references
d.      Work samples
e.      A written test with specific details

Part of organization is in the details. Always provide the candidate with set of specific instructions to follow. For example, the business owner may require the candidate to write the exact job post description at the upper left hand side of the Letter of Application using very specific set of instructions on font size and font type.

3. Commitment – Even though the work appointment of a virtual assistant is covered by a contract, it is important to determine the level of commitment the candidate will give to your project. In truth, there are no “non-essential” tasks. All tasks are essential to the success of the enterprise. Non-essential tasks are crucial in maintaining organization and efficiency in business operations.

During the qualifying process, give your candidate tasks that will challenge his or her level of commitment. Among these include scheduling the interview on the most inconvenient time or day of the week.  An example would be to schedule the appointment on a weekend evening.  Another example would be to ask the candidate to submit a list of 21 reasons how he or she can contribute to the success of your business.

A Virtual Assistant can be an important asset to a business and should be strictly qualified to ensure performance and productivity.