A great virtual assistant (VA) or online business manager (OBM) is worth their weight in gold – for a few reasons.
Not only can they help take a huge weight off of your shoulders as a founder or CEO, but they can also work to breathe new life into your operations when systems need a shake up, and massively change your team culture with better processes.
But hiring a virtual assistant is easier said than done, especially if you don’t know what to look for in the candidate pool.
As the leading online jobs network for the best VAs in Australia, we know a thing or two about what traits a great VA possesses.
Read on for the low-down.
5 of the non-negotiable traits for hiring a virtual assistant
A great VA or OBM is a powerhouse – efficient, pragmatic, solution-focused, and communicative. Top those traits off with a shot of productivity, and you’ve got yourself the right person for the job.
But when interviewing potential candidates, what should you be looking for specifically?
We know from experience that when a person presents themselves with these five traits, you can’t go wrong.
When someone is familiar with the ins and outs of your industry, they’re certainly not to be overlooked.
Strong tenure within a company – or even within a specific industry – means that just through pure osmosis, they’ll have picked up intel that cannot be garnered without that time in amongst things.
This doesn’t mean they need to have worked in a specifically relevant administration or business management role, either – just that they’ve had exposure to the nuances of that space.
You can pick this up easily by asking specific questions that touch on the unique things about your workplace, and you’ll assess quickly whether their experience is solid (or shaky).
It was Winston Churchill who first said: “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference,” and he wasn’t wrong.
People who look at life with a glass half-full mentality are more optimistic and see everything as a challenge they can overcome.
Some well-known CEOs even famously claim they only hire for attitude, because everything else can inevitably be learned.
A VA with the right attitude will talk enthusiastically about their commitment to their tasks and responsibilities, speak with gratitude about themselves and others, listen actively to questions and focus on learnings they’ve made in their career.
Keep a close eye on body language, as well. Someone with the right attitude will generally remain open and warm with their gestures and stance, maintain comfortable eye contact and seem energised and interested in the conversation.
If you lead a particularly niche or unique area, taking a skills-based approach to hiring a virtual assistant can be a great strategy for finding the right person who knows their stuff.
This can include running skill-based assessments of short tasks and sprints (we recommend making these paid for the best chance of attracting top talent) and conducting reference checks to confirm the duties performed accurately reflect what’s highlighted in their application proposal.
Remember: skills-based assessments don’t need to be super detailed. Include things like true/false questions and multiple choice options in the area that applies to you, whether it be e-commerce, HR, or logistics (as an example), and keep it simple and short.
A lot can be learned and unique to your organisation, but you’ll get a taste of their capabilities from their answers.
There’s nothing more valuable in business than someone who does what they say they will, when they say they’re going to do it.
Reliability is a critical skill in hiring a virtual assistant because you know you’ll always be able to depend on them.
Reliable people are open and clear about the status of their task development and always show up through the good and bad times. They’re typically more loyal and interested in a long-term business relationship, because their dependability is a key consideration for how they are perceived.
While reliability is hard to gauge up front – there is a clear indicator: Do they respond promptly to initial communication? Do they show up to the interview on time, looking polished and having done their research on you in return?
These things are always a good sign.
While a great multi-tasker is often wired that way from birth, it is a skill that can be learned (side note: parents make great multi-taskers through experience – never discount a working Mum or Dad!).
Not only do strong multi-taskers thrive under pressure and take in new information with ease, but they’re also not easily distracted. When in the throes of hiring a virtual assistant, look for a candidate interested in a wide range of things, not just work-related.
Do they volunteer or take on extra responsibilities? What sort of hobbies do they have? Is there anything they do that requires a lot of focus?
This can be a very telltale sign that they have the capability to multi-task. For the very astute, you could even mention something early in the interview and see if they can recall it later.
How to set a price for the VA you need
We know from first-hand conversations that one of the biggest roadblocks stopping people from hiring a virtual assistant can be not knowing what to pay them – especially if their business is seasonal.
Ready to start hiring a virtual assistant now? Follow these easy steps
Want to know how to find, vet, and hire the perfect VA for your business? Simply follow our simple step-by-step VA Lead Network process:
1 – Draft a role listing
Outline what you’re looking for in your perfect VA or OBM. You can do this yourself using our easy Virtual Role Brief Form, or we can do this for you – for free! Just book a 15-minute phone call.
2 – Let us proofread to increase candidate interest
We’ll review your role and get it published in front of a network of the country’s best VA talent within two business hours. If we anticipate any questions from our members during our review, we’ll contact you beforehand to improve your listing on your behalf.
3 – We publish your role listing (for free!)
From there, it’s publishing time. We’ll list it for free on our members-only jobs board for our 200+ Australian VA & OBM members to review and apply. Plus, we’ll amplify its reach with a preview of the role (without sharing your name or business) to over 1,000 Australian VAs and OBMs via our mailing list and social profiles.
4 – Let the talent proposals roll in
Only our paying members can see your full listing, which means only those serious about their VA and OBM business will have access to send you their proposal.
5 – Pick your perfect VA or OBM and get started
It’s showtime! You can choose the perfect virtual assistant for your needs directly and can engage as many people as you wish. Remember, we don’t charge a commission when you choose a VA or OBM, and you are in full control of the terms of their employment.
Just ask these business owners…
“My experience with this virtual assistant provider has been nothing short of exceptional.
The high-quality candidate selection, seamless onboarding process, and ongoing support have made them stand out in a competitive landscape.
If you’re in search of a virtual assistant to elevate your productivity and streamline your tasks, I wholeheartedly recommend this provider..”
Steven NunnCarlyle Kingswood Global
“I found my fabulous VA through the VA Lead Network and I want to keep her forever!
My business wouldn’t run as efficiently without her and I am so happy to have a VA contractor without the stress and worry of paying someone fulltime.”
Marianne CurranPet Professor
“I used this free service to advertise for a Virtual Assistant Marketing Implementation and Admin role for my No-Code Development Agency. Within 5 days I had a number of enquires from quality candidates, one of whom I have since hired.
Here were the big advantages for me:
1) I was able to limit the enquiries to Australian based VAs – which I wanted in this case. I do have offshore VAs do some work for my business but I wanted someone local for this role.
2) The process of posting was incredibly smooth and seamless.
3) I was about to pay $300 to advertise on another site and avoided that cost for what ended up being a better quality service.
4) The quality of the candidates that applied was very high so I wasn’t spending a lot of time vetting.
I would happily use this service again. Also just to clarify, I didn’t pay anything for this – but given the experience I wouldn’t hesitate to pay for one of VA Lead Network’s other services if it seemed like a good fit.”