Permanent Consultant, Bertie Siggers, interviews two experienced virtual assistants about their tips, in order to help personal assistants with the transition to working remotely. They cover: Their favourite technology Staying…
If you’re a business owner or manager who has come to the point where you need extra support, a virtual PA may be the ideal solution for you. Even though it makes sense on paper, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic where the majority of office workers are working remotely, the prospect of hiring virtual assistants can be daunting, as there is an aspect of anonymity that can put some employers off. You’re putting your trust in somebody who you probably won’t meet face-to-face. Here are three things to look for in a potential VA that should ensure a successful working relationship.
Chemistry and personality fit
The nature of the working relationship between a virtual assistant and their employer is unique in that they may not work in the same city – or even the same country. Yet, the arrangement has to work as smoothly as it would if they were working side by side. This means that there are some additional elements to consider, as you want to make sure that you choose someone who fits your personality and work style. Unfortunately, there’s no hard-and-fast rule to ensuring chemistry, however a video interview will help considerably. Try and have an informal chat as much as possible, asking them questions about their background, preferred working style and how they feel they can benefit you. Developing rapport will hopefully help you to feel more comfortable and trusting in your future working relationship.
Trustworthiness is an extremely important trait to look for in your virtual assistant. Part of their role might entail exposure to confidential information such as your passport if they’re booking your travel, or bank account details if they are purchasing things on your behalf.
There are a few ways you can check a person’s integrity: firstly, ask for references from previous employers when vetting potential candidates. If you use a recruitment agency, your consultant should provide these to you. You’re also well within your rights to ask for a disclosure and barring service (DBS) check or an enhanced DBS check, if this will make you feel more secure in your choice. In addition to this, you can also ask the candidate to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which will mean they can’t share private information about you without penalty.
An independent worker
While many employers have now become comfortable with the idea that their employers are working efficiently while working from home, some employers may be hesitant to trust a VA to complete the work they’re given. Unfortunately, you can’t physically see your VA working which means it’s crucial to hire someone who can work independently. If you’re hiring an experienced VA, it’s most likely that they’ll be able to work unmonitored, as their reputation depends on their output. They will likely have a timesheet system in place and, if they don’t, just ask for it – it’s is an easy way for you to know exactly how long they have spent on specific tasks. If you’re still concerned, try to negotiate a trial period where you monitor their performance against predetermined and realistic expectations.
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