There are many benefits to trying virtual assistant services. Flexibility, cost reduction and economies of scale are some of the compelling reasons for hiring a virtual assistant. Despite all the advantages, if you don’t ask the right questions, you may not be able to evaluate their strengths and weakness.
Consider asking these 11 basic questions before hiring your next virtual assistant.
What are your normal business hours?
Today it has become possible to hire virtual employees from across the globe thanks to presence of outsourcing marketplaces. It should be borne in mind that most people (including online workers) have the propensity to operate within their own local time zones. “What time zone are you in?” is an important question you must ask. Knowledge of the normal business hours is essential for both parties. This will help the both maintain healthy virtual relationships while operating on completely different schedules. You can also settle on a particular schedule that should work for both parties. What is of utmost significance is that you should know their availability in clear terms.
What type of Internet speed do you have?
“What type of Internet speed do you have?” This is one of the major considerations when hiring a Virtual Employee as the work of a virtual employee revolves around the internet, they must have access to the high speed high-speed internet connection. There’s nothing more nightmarish than a choppy internet connection. It is in the essential fitness of things that you should ask the virtual employ to do a quick test using one of the many free tools available online.
Hourly or fixed-price
Most virtual assistance services fall into one of two categories: fixed-price or hourly. A business owner needs to be aware of if hourly pricing or fixed pricing will work to get the job done.
How long have you been working as a Virtual Employee?
Though it is not to say that new virtual employees are not well equipped for your job, it is a good idea to know how much experience a virtual employee has working with clients.
The more experienced someone is as virtual employee, the more likely it is that they would have set up their own processes to operate. This can stand you in good stead especially if you’re still figuring out how to work with virtual employees.
How do you deal with deadlines?
When it comes to completion of an assignment, every boss wants it done on time. However, it is unlikely that you will be the virtual assistant’s only employer and it is prudent to ensure that the virtual assistant has sufficient time for your project. Yet, there is every possibility that deadlines will be missed and your employer understands this. Hence a good virtual assistant should be honest and upfront about their timeline.
When you hire a virtual assistant, you are hiring someone who works on an as-needed basis for different customers. In this case if you have a tight timeline, you must ask the virtual assistant right away whether they would be able to do justice to your project against the needs of their other clients.
What are your favourite communication methods?
If your preferred channel of communication is email, Skype or Google Hangouts and that of the Virtual employee is phone, the relationship will not go too far. Go for those ways of communication that are to your liking and work for you. This question is about making sure your work styles are aligned. Are you tied to your email all day? The ideal candidate will be one who is comfortable communicating with you through the communication methods you use most frequently.
What is the rate of your service?
This is a good question to ask to make sure that it’s not outside of your budget. Since all virtual employees charge differently, it is important to set a benchmark. As a business owner you should also be ready to pay extra if you intend to seek reliable and top-notch services.
Can you provide me with references?
While hiring a virtual assistant, you should always ask for references. Whether you use the references or not, they assure that the virtual assistant is a wise investment. Even if you check out the virtual assistant’s references, it is well worth your time to ask about what it was like to work with the said person. This will give you an inkling whether the virtual assistant has the working culture that aligns with your personal working style.
What is included in your fees?
This is a necessary question because the rates of virtual employees vary significantly depending on their experience and level of skills and they utilize different pricing structures. You should ask the virtual employee whether you have to make additional payment for a project that was a fixed price job but requires revision to it. Added to this if your virtual assistant has to do lots of phone calls during the project you must ask them if the cost of doing this is included in their fees.
Do you have the tools needed to manage your work?
What tools a virtual employee uses to do their work is a good indicator that they have all the processes right in place necessary for an effective and efficient workflow. An experienced virtual employee should know what tools will help them get the job done efficiently.
Do you have a specific skill set?
This question makes great sense because it allows virtual assistants to share their specific skills. Knowing their skill sets enables the business owners to choose the right candidate. It also helps them figure out whether or not the virtual employee understands what it is that is required in the project.
Apart from adding a few of your own questions to personalize the interview process, you should add above-mentioned questions to your interview checklist. Once you have got the answers to the questions to your satisfaction, you will find the virtual assistant who is the perfect fit for your project.