22 Questions To Ask Before Hiring A VA
Thinking of Hiring a Virtual Assistant?
It doesn’t matter what prompted you to look into hiring a virtual assistant service for your company; the choice might still seem challenging to make. It is quite improbable that you have worked with a virtual assistant (VA) in the past; in fact, it is possible that you have never worked with anybody else.
As you begin your search for a virtual assistant on Google, you will quickly discover that you have many options from which to choose. In the first place, you will need to decide whether you want to work with a solo virtual assistant who works on their own, an offshore virtual assistant who works as part of a pooled team abroad, or a virtual assistant service such as VA FLIX.
However, we are only getting started here! What happens if you locate a service that you believe has a good chance of working out nicely for you? But then what? How do you know what questions to ask of these different companies?
How To Select A Virtual Assistant Agency
It is crucial to begin the process with a strategy in mind; don’t simply build a list of every virtual assistant service available (there are many! ), fill in the contact forms on their websites, and hope for the best. Instead, it is necessary to begin the process with a plan of attack in mind.
Who Are You Looking For?
Make a note of exactly who you’re looking for.
- Which of your obligations and duties are they going to take care of for you, and what exactly are those?
- Which abilities and information do they need to have? What exactly is meant by the terms “vital” and “good to have”?
- Do they need to have prior experience working in the field that you are in?
- Which kinds of coworkers do you find most enjoyable to collaborate with? Personal assistants in large corporations or more down-to-earth and creative types?
- Which piece of software are they required to utilize?
- What kind of accessibility do they require?
- How flexible are they able to be with their schedule?
- What is your preferred method of communication—talking on the phone, sending an email, using WhatsApp, or something else different?
As you can see, there are a wide variety of inquiries that you need to make an effort to ask yourself well in advance of looking into using a VA service. It’s true that you don’t have to address all of them, but the fact that you’re telling agencies you “require a competent VA” makes our jobs rather difficult.
If you are unsure about what and who you need, it will be tough to guarantee that all of your requirements will be satisfied, not only in the here and now but also in the far future. Don’t simply leave everything up to a coin toss!
Make A List
Now would be a good time to walk over to Google and begin the process of compiling a list of possible virtual assistant companies to take into consideration.
There will be significant differences between the various agencies.
- There will be some in the United Kingdom, and there will also be some elsewhere.
- While some will concentrate on providing more “premium” and value-adding help, others will concentrate more on the input of fundamental data.
- Some will have a very large squad available, while others may have a very limited one.
- There are likely to be some that have been formed relatively recently, while others will date back quite a few years.
When you have a few in mind, we suggest looking at what other customers have said about them online (and, if they have VAs both in and out of the UK, that all these reviews are for their UK service and not for VAs located elsewhere).
But how can we narrow our focus from there? It’s likely that you’ll still have a rather narrow list of candidates or you’ll be deciding between two different virtual assistant firms. It is now time for you to conduct a more in-depth exploration of their website and make direct contact with them in order to arrange a call or make your inquiry.
Smart Questions To Ask A Virtual Assistant Agency
In the hopes that this would be of assistance to you in getting ready, we have compiled a list of the questions that we are asked the most commonly. You are putting a lot of confidence in the hands of your possible new virtual assistant, so don’t be scared to ask them straight questions about their experience.
1. How is a VA assigned to me?
Are they thrilled to help you, or are they being assigned to you without any real say in the matter? We think it’s crucial that you have a true say in who you work with and that your possible virtual assistant also plays an active role in the process as well.
Since we anticipate the two of you will be working together for a considerable amount of time in the future, we believe the process should be one in which both of you participate.
2. Can I speak with my prospective VA directly?
Working with a company that provides excellent virtual assistant services has several benefits, one of which is that the company will have already carried out any screening procedures for you, saving you both time and money in the process. Many of the members of their staff have been employed by the firm for a considerable number of years already!
Before you make such a long-term choice, however, we believe it is very necessary for you to have the opportunity to have a conversation with the person who you could be working with in the future.
3. What happens if it’s not a good fit or doesn’t work out?
In the extremely unlikely event that things don’t work out with your virtual assistant (VA), the benefit of working with an established agency (rather than a VA working on their own) is that they will have a pool of talented, experienced, and screened virtual assistants to choose from in the event that this occurs. Is this the situation with the organization that you are having this conversation with?
In the event that things do not go as planned or you come to the conclusion that you need a slightly different talent, you ought to have the choice to be paired with a different Virtual Assistant (VA) on the team. What, you don’t think so?
4. What happens when my VA needs a holiday?
Even virtual assistants need a break every once in a while, as is only natural.
But what exactly is going on here? If you work with a reliable company, they will have a tried-and-true procedure in place to manage this situation, which will include a complete handover, so that you may continue to get help even if your typical VA is on vacation.
5. Do you have experience working in my industry?
It might be in your best interest to look for a virtual assistant who has previous job expertise in your particular field, whether you’re in the advertising or consulting business. It’s possible that you speak in a particularly offbeat dialect or make use of some obscure software.
For whatever reason, if you believe it is necessary, it makes sense to at least try to find a VA who has assisted other company owners in your field in the past, rather than attempting to learn everything from scratch. This is especially true if you feel it is vital.
You should ask the agency for information on the history of your VA, as well as case studies and testimonials from individuals working in your field who have utilized their services in the past.
6. Do you have any references I can speak to, or reviews I can read?
As a routine part of their recruiting and selection procedures, a quality VA service should have received references from your prospective virtual assistant.
However, can the company whose services you are contemplating demonstrate that they are competent in their field? That they are able to say that they have “been there, done that”? You need to have the assurance that comes from verified customer evaluations and case studies in order to feel comfortable making such an important choice.
7. How can I pay you?
You do not want to have to bother yourself every month with making bank transfers and sending out invoices. Is the processing of payments handled automatically, or do you have to continue making payments on your own? Do you have the option to pay with a direct debit or a credit card? Is it simple to get your bills and see what you’re paying for inside any type of dashboard?
You are looking to hire a virtual assistant so that you can cut down on administrative work and free up more of your time, not the other way around.
8. What data security measures do you have in place?
When working remotely, you need to ensure your safety. Is the VA constrained by any “rules” that have been established by the agency, or are they free to operate as they see fit?
You believe your data should be treated respectfully and securely. But the thing that really matters is, do they?
9. Is confidentiality important to you? Are you GDPR compliant?
To reiterate, the fact that your new virtual assistant is not directly hired by your company is no reason to give them carte blanche with regard to how they utilize the information you provide them with.
Does the service place a high priority on maintaining users’ anonymity? Is this included in their general terms of service, which apply to each and every customer?
In addition, we can’t overlook the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if your company is located in Europe or does business there. If the VA will be handling personal data of any kind, whether that data pertains to your employees, customers, or anyone else, you should validate that the service complies with GDPR in its entirety before using it.
Because you are the owner of this company, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU DO NOT SHARE YOUR DATA WITHOUT THESE IMPORTANT SAFEGUARDS BEING IN PLACE. Stay away from the short cuts!
10. How are hours tracked? Is this transparent?
However, there are still businesses out there that depend on a confusing jumble of Excel spreadsheets, which are often given out once a month. For the sake of efficiency, the vast majority of virtual assistant firms will measure the amount of time spent working on your account utilizing software.
It is no longer the year 1999! In our opinion, a professional service should not depend on low-cost software developed by a third party that isn’t nearly up to the task of tracking time; rather, they should have their very own tools at their disposal that were developed just for their industry. You should, of course, have full access to this data at all times, so that you can make certain that you have been compensated for the time that you have spent working.
and not an approximation of this.
11. What if I give my VA a task, but they don’t have the right skills to help me with it?
You don’t want to be dealing with a HUGE staff, but at the same time, you do need to have access to other abilities when you want them. This is the issue of working with extremely tiny organizations; there isn’t much you can do in this case. Working with very small companies may be challenging.
Your normal virtual assistant is probably an excellent PA, but what do you do if you need some assistance with marketing? Whether the first agency will soon be too small or too specialized to assist with any other work on your increasing to-do list, we would suggest that you check to see if you will need to engage an entirely new agency. If this is the case, you will need to hire a new one.
12. What if I need more help but my VA hasn’t got the availability?
Again, it is essential to double verify this. If you employ an “agency” that is made up of just two or three virtual assistants, you will probably discover that they are unable to expand beyond the mandate that you give them. If your company continues to expand, or if you simply want to delegate more than you initially planned, you’ll want to know there’s a process in place to handle this. Otherwise, you’ll feel constrained by the very solution that you thought was going to help you build your company and free up more of your time. You’ll want to know there’s a process in place to handle this.
The majority of virtual assistants will be able to work an additional 20% or so more than the hours you started out with; but, it is reasonable to expect that they will not be able to double or treble the time they set aside for you overnight. It is usually encouraging to know that you have access to alternative VAs or even the option to move to a VA with significantly greater capacity in the event that your current VA becomes overwhelmed by a sudden increase in the amount of work (now your business has grown so much more).
13. Can you explain how the selection process works? How do you vet your team?
It is not inappropriate in any way to inquire! Some companies will give a greater amount of consideration to the individuals they bring onto their team than others. In the end, a virtual assistant business (and the solution you’re searching for) is only as powerful as the team they are based on, and so it makes sense to inquire about how the same team has been put together. In addition, it is important to make sure that the virtual assistant company is licensed and bonded.
Do they need recommendations from you? Do they do checks to verify the veteran’s identity and ensure that they are who they claim to be? How discerning are they, exactly?
14. Am I locked into a long contract? A set number of hours per month?
If a firm, whether it be a virtual assistant agency or something altogether else, locks you into a lengthy, yearly contract when there is not a very strong reason to do so, this reveals a great deal about the way that the company does its business.
It is clear that a company is doing well when it relies only on the desire of its customers to continue doing business with it (and when it strives diligently to merit the customers’ continued patronage), rather than coercing the consumers into doing so. No? As is the case when working with any other kind of service provider, you need to take precautions to ensure that you are not locked into a binding agreement that you may later come to regret.
The majority of reliable VA agencies operate on a subscription model that is adjustable on a monthly basis. Make sure that if your demands change, you can adjust your monthly plan in any direction (up or down)!
15. What’s not included in your fees? Are there any extras?
Not all firms that provide VA services are created equal. Make sure that your monthly subscription includes everything that you should reasonably expect from a VA (and likely more! ), and that there are no hidden charges buried in the fine print – this could be anything from setup fees to payment surcharges. It literally “pays” to make sure that your subscription includes everything.
16. Can I give my VA a company email address?
We get it. You should make your virtual assistant (VA) seem to the outside world, as if they are an important cog in your team’s machine. Additionally, it is important that you be able to collaborate with them in the smoothest possible manner.
Because of this, we believe that it is important for you to be able to provide your virtual assistant with access to any software you require them to use, as well as a company email address. Additionally, you should be able to communicate with your VA in whatever manner you deem appropriate, whether that be via WhatsApp, email, or Slack.
Make sure that you won’t be required to contact your new VA in a manner that is especially laborious, since some organizations may be very stringent in this regard and establish a lot of restrictions.
17. How do I contact my VA or assign them tasks?
This ought to be as simple as one can make it. You should be able to contact your VA easily through phone, email, or any other method of communication that you choose, and you should be able to ask them for assistance without any hassle. You might like using Asana, or maybe you think a daily check-in over the phone is more convenient for you. It ought to be entirely up to you, doesn’t it?
You also do not want to be put in the position of having to input new duties into the system that the agency uses; rather, your virtual assistant should handle any administrative responsibilities in this area.
18. What if I don’t think the VA is the right fit after we have already started working together?
We are all human, and people can be, shall we say, a little bit… difficult at times. Either your ‘brief’ has evolved to the point that your virtual assistant is no longer the best candidate for the function you now need to fill, or you and your VA just don’t “click” the same way.
Regardless of the reason, you should make sure that it is simple to switch to a different virtual assistant. A reputable company will provide you with access to account management support in the event that a scenario just like this arises, and they will have robust procedures in place to handle any handover that may be required.
19. Can I specify the times and days of the week I want my VA to work for me?
Why shouldn’t they? You should be able to explain this to the agency and ask them to locate someone who fits the bill. For example, if you like to complete most of your work on a Monday or if you require your VA to be online at a particular time each day, you should be able to communicate this to the agency.
21. Can I have more than one VA?
If it is made clear in your specifications that this is an essential factor, we believe it is very vital that it is feasible to collaborate with more than one member of the team.
If you require a PA to handle your calendar for 20 hours per month and a marketing VA to run your social media channels for 10 hours per month, you should be able to find a virtual assistant firm that can accommodate your needs. Any virtual assistant business worth its salt should be able to accomplish this.
Decision Time: Picking A Virtual Assistant Agency
In the end, we’re certain that there are a hundred and one distinct questions that you might ask a virtual assistant company to assist you in making your choice.
The list that was just given to you should hopefully give you some ideas, but you should give careful consideration to your individual requirements as well as the goals that you have specifically for your company.