How to Interview VAs

In case you missed it, read how to find virtual assistants in this post.  Now that you've created a working list of options, let's figure out how you should narrow down that list with interviewing.

INTERVIEWING YOUR VIRTUAL ASSISTANT OR OBM

It's important to have at least some general ideas on what you need from a VA/OBM.  Unless you're just outsourcing someone strictly for copyediting, there are endless amounts of tasks you can delegate that a VA can dominate for you.

  • Write down all the tasks you know are important and critical for your business and categorize them by what you are doing now and what you need help with.  It's good to discuss both so your VA has an idea what is being done, what needs to be done, and what is missing based on their professional experience and recommendation.

Write down a list of questions for them.  You may have a great idea about packages from their website, but VAs might be one of the professions where you simply cannot judge a book by it's cover (though having a badass website, is pretty helpful, VAs!).  Here are some great questions to come prepared to ask them:

  • How long will a project take?
  • Can you or have you worked with ______?
  • How do you work?
  • What is your area of expertise?

In turn, here are some questions that the VA/OBM might ask you:

  • What tasks do you enjoy doing the most?
  • What tasks, especially the recurring ones, do you NOT enjoy doing?  Or, which ones are taking too much of your time?
  • What tasks are the most important for generating your revenue or growing your business?
  • What is your area of expertise?
  • What areas are NOT your forte?
  • What are things you need immediate help doing in order to move on with a certain task or project?
  • What systems/tools are you currently using (eg, apps, software programs, Wordpress theme, plugins, email autoresponder, etc)?
  • Do you use a project management tool?

Knowing the answers to some of those questions will help you kind of guide you when determining what you actually need from a VA before going through all the interviewing process.  And, of course, go ahead and ask who you're interviewing some of those same questions!  Every person has a preferential app, program, software, technique, etc.  Sometimes you want everything to align perfectly, however sometimes it's good to mix and match to stay well-rounded.

THE DIFFERENT TIERS OF VAS & OBMS

There are many different types and levels of VA's, from general more administrative tasks like data entry and email management to advanced specialized tasks like web development and SEO marketing.  In fact, freelancer designers are even under the umbrella of VAs.  Because of this, many offer different types of packages depending on what you're looking for and needing.

There is absolutely a need for each tier (and experience level) and this is a consideration you need to have when you are researching, interviewing, and hiring someone to be a paid employee (though, technically speaking they are an independent contractor).


Skill Space would like to offer a special shout-out to the VA/OBMs who helped create this series: Amber Kim, Georgi Peterson, Melorna Lloyd, and Yolanda McAdam.


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