Hiring a virtual assistant can be a great way to save time and increase productivity, but it’s important to make sure you’re hiring the right person for the job. Here are some important questions to ask before making a decision:

What are your qualifications and experience? Do you have specific areas of expertise?

You want to make sure your virtual assistant has the skills and experience needed to handle the tasks you’ll be assigning them. Ask about their education, previous work experience, and any relevant certifications or training. Many VAs only work in specific areas, so it’s best to check and ensure that the virtual assistant you’re hiring can provide the support that you need. Sometimes, virtual assistants have experience in tasks that you may not need right now, but could be useful in the future. By hiring a virtual assistant that can cover your tasks, and perhaps some useful ones later one, you’re future-proofing your business.

What’s your availability and time zone?

One of the main benefits of hiring a virtual assistant is the ability to work with someone in a different location, meaning that you don’t need to provide desk space, a computer, software etc. However, it’s important to make sure your virtual assistant will be available during the hours you need them. Ask about their availability and time zone to ensure there won’t be any scheduling conflicts. Think about your business and if it’s better to hire someone based in the UK that shares the same time zone.

What happens when they’re off sick or on holiday? Sometimes, hiring from a larger virtual assistant company or agency can be more reliable as you should have cover when your virtual assistant is absent from work. 

How do you communicate and stay organised?

Effective communication and organisation are key to the success of any working relationship. Ask your virtual assistant about their preferred methods of communication (e.g., email, instant messaging, video conferencing) and how they stay organised. At JH Virtual Assistant, our virtual assistants are happy to use your methods and software for organisation and communication. We have experience using most small business software including Slack, Trello, Xero, Microsoft Office, Pipedrive, Calendly, Mailchimp, Zapier and Canva.

What are your rates?

It’s important to have a clear understanding of the virtual assistant’s rates and what services are included. Ask about their hourly rate, any additional fees, and if they offer any package deals. It’s best to get a clear idea, right from the start, of the payment terms and if you’ll be paying by bank transfer or card.

Can you provide examples of similar work you’ve done in the past?

Ask for examples of similar work that the virtual assistant has done in the past. This will give you an idea of their experience and skill level, as well as how they approach similar tasks to the ones you will be giving them. This is especially useful if your virtual assistant will be creating content, images, social media posts or blogs. Keep in mind that they may need to anonymise any example work they send across due to the confidentiality agreements they have with past and current clients.

Can you sign a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement?

Given the nature of the work, it’s important to protect your confidential information and trade secrets. Ask the virtual assistant if they are willing to sign a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement to ensure that your information is protected. Most experienced virtual assistants will send you a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement as part of the course of signing up a new client. It may even be part of their general contract or engagement letter.

How will you handle security and data privacy?

Virtual assistants have access to sensitive information, so it’s important to make sure they have adequate security measures in place to protect your data. Ask about the virtual assistant’s security protocols and how they ensure the privacy of your information. Will they be following GDPR regulations if handling personal data related to your business? Make sure that the virtual assistant that you hire is up-to-date on their obligations surrounding data and privacy.

How will you handle deadlines and deliverables?

Ask the virtual assistant about their process for meeting deadlines and delivering work. Establish clear expectations and milestones so that both parties are on the same page.

How will you handle any issues or problems that may arise?

Despite the best planning, issues and problems can still arise. Ask the virtual assistant how they will handle any issues or problems that may come up and how they will communicate with you to keep you informed. If you’re hiring from a larger virtual assistant company or agency, there may be a supervisor or manager available that can make the resolution of problems much easier.

By asking these questions, you can gain a better understanding of the virtual assistant’s qualifications, availability, communication style, and rates. This will help you make a more informed decision when hiring a virtual assistant, and ensure that you have a successful working relationship. Remember to take your time and consider all your options.

JH Virtual Assistant welcomes any enquiries regarding our team of UK based virtual assistants. If you would like to get in touch and ask these questions and more, please contact info@jhvirtualassistant.co.uk or call 01383 231 599.