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Questions for your Potential VA (before signing up)

Last month, we have touched on what a Virtual Assistant is. If you haven’t read this blog or want
to know more about it, you can find it here.

This month, I am touching on a couple of important questions you need to ask any potential VA.
The key to remember when having a discovery call with your potential right-hand person is that
it is exactly what it sounds like - a Discovery Call – an information gathering session. Even
though you will need to treat this like you would treat a potential employee interview, it is vastly
different, yet similar in so many ways.

Before we delve into the questions, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind at the start of your
journey to Finding your VA.

● When looking for potential VA’s for your business, have a look at their social media
presence. Some VA’s may not have a website yet, and that is perfectly OK, they may
just be starting out as a VA, however, they should have some sort of presence so you
can get a feel for them.
● When it comes to Google searches, we tend to only pay attention to the first- or second-
pages Google gives us. This is because we tend to think ‘the best of the best’ will be on
the first couple of pages. In fact, these search results may not be the perfect VA for you.
They only come up as their SEO ratings are high due to being a bigger company and
having better SEO. Your perfect VA may be the small business or contractor that came
up in a ‘Social Media’ page search.
● If you are after a specialist VA, make sure you use that term in your VA search, i.e., you
want a bookkeeper that works with Xero, ensure you use the words ‘bookkeeper and
Xero’ in your search bar.
● When going through the process of discovery calls, you may realise that two different
VA’s will be perfect for other areas of your business and that is OK. This does not mean
you need to settle for only one - use each of them to their strengths as this will ensure
you get the best in each area of your business.
● It’s important to remember that this is not an employee interview. Many VA’s (who are
business owners in their own right) don't use a CV to capture current work experience.
This is perfectly acceptable, if they can provide you with something similar like a link to
their LinkedIn profile.
● Ask those in your business network if they have ever used a VA, and if so, who they
would recommend.

You are off to a good start you have found a couple of VA’s you are interested in exploring their
fit for you and your business. Your Discovery Call is booked in, yet you are still not 100% sure of
the format of the meeting or what questions to ask. Depending on what you need from your VA
you may have ten questions, or you may have more. Starting with all or using a combination of
the questions below may be the best starting point.

1. How many years of experience do you have in this particular field? Not necessarily
as a VA but overall experience i.e., if you are looking for general administrative
assistance, ask how many years of experience they have in the administrative industry.
2. What is their ‘Why’ for choosing to be a VA? Many VA’s will frame their answer
around family and flexibility, this does not mean their work is not important to them,
however, they see the importance of work-life balance, and this is what they will bring to
the table for you.
3. How did you end up becoming a VA? This isn’t just for a chit chat, but this will show
you how comfortable and open your VA is as an individual.
4. What is your greatest strength as a VA? You want to know if they know their
strengths, you want to know if they are realistic, and you want to know if their strengths
are relevant to the job.
5. What is your weakest strength as a VA? This question can trip up a potential
candidate. You want them to be honest about things that they deem a weakness in their
work environment. You want them to pose it in a positive light. i.e., “Although I always
meet my deadlines, I used to have a problem with procrastination and took a project
management course to help me take back control of my time.”
6. If I give you a task, and you realise it is not something you particularly enjoy or
are good at, how would you deal with it?
This may be an uncomfortable question but
will help you with determining your potential VA’s true values. They may come back and
say they will do the task as it is part of the job - which should raise a bit of a flag as they
may not give it their 100%. Others may come back and state they’ll do it depending on
the frequency, it may affect the answer. They may be happy to do a one-off but then
again, if it is something ongoing, may decide (with the client's consent) to outsource it to
another VA that has better skills in that area.
7. What work is a definite no go for you? This answer will be a helpful guide when
starting to think about what tasks to delegate to your VA.
8. If you have had a difficult client in the past, how did you deal with them and what
was the outcome?
This is a behavioural question. This is designed to dig into how they
behaved and managed situations in the past using real-life scenarios and results.
9. What is your turnaround time to respond to communications? You want them to be
timely, efficient, and succinct. You would want them to offer options for urgent
communications i.e., via text or WhatsApp voice clips etc.
10. What are your preferred schedule times for working? You may have your set hours
but most VA’s work flexible hours. You want a clear plan of hours they will be focussing
on your business. For set tasks like PA work, they may be available from 9 am – 5 pm.
However, some VA’s work at night once their children are in bed etc.
11. What has been your most challenging task so far and how did you handle it? This
is another behavioural question. This is designed to dig into how they behaved and
managed situations in the past using real-life scenarios and results.
12. How will current clients rate your work?
If your potential VA has social media
presence you can double-check this from online ratings or testimonials on their website
etc. It is good to hear how they perceive their clients' views.
13. If you take a prolonged holiday or get unexpectedly sick for a prolonged period, how will that affect our contract or what contingencies do you have in place? Many VA’s may have trusted VA contractors that they have agreements in place to coverwork (with permission from clients) in case of planned travel, emergencies, or illness.

If you get a good feeling about the potential VA, the questions below will be good ones to help
you decide.

A. Have you got any testimonials from current or previous clients? Also check their
social media pages for ratings, as well as Google if they have one. The biggest hint here
is to also read the bad ones and see how the VA responded as this will give you another
insight into how they deal with feedback.
B. Contact numbers for current or previous clients as a reference check. Some VA’s
may not feel comfortable sharing this information, however, it is up to you to decide if
you need this confirmation. This is no different from you just giving one or two people a
call to get service feedback.

Good luck with your search to help you have a better work-life balance.
Keep an eye out for my next blog “The Perfect VA/The Perfect Client” where I will talk a bit
more about who makes a Perfect VA and what a Perfect Client looks like, based on my opinion
as a VA.

Till next month,
Elizna