Welcome to part 2 of my 4 part blog series on Hiring a Virtual Assistant and getting it right the first time.  Today we’re talking about how to find the right skills and qualities. 

Last week you did an outsourcing exercise to identify the tasks you can outsource – read here.   

Now that you have a list of tasks, you need to identify the skills and qualities that go with each task so you know what type of Virtual Assistant you’re looking for.  This will also help in Part 3 when we look at building a job description.  

I know it’s a lot of work but believe me, you will thank me for it in the end when you find the right Virtual Assistant.

WHAT DO I NEED TO CONSIDER?

Virtual Assistant’s come in all shapes and sizes and by that I mean we all have a HUGE range of skills and experiences so one size doesn’t fit all.  

You need to consider hiring to your weaknesses.  There is no point in hiring a Virtual Assistant who is equally as good at everything that you do.  

However, if you struggle to keep up with the latest tools and technology, a Virtual Assistant who is totally clued up in this area would be a huge benefit to your business.   Or, if you don’t have any processes or systems in your business, finding a VA who can help you to implement these will be so worthwhile.

Remember hiring a Virtual Assistant isn’t just about them helping you with your admin, you want someone who is confident, proactive, efficient and can support you and your business.

You need to look for an experienced Virtual Assistant, someone who has developed and honed their skills over the years.   Someone who doesn’t need babysitting, can take the task on and get on with it, no questions asked.

You also need to consider the way they communicate with you, are they organised, how do they manage their own workloads to include your tasks in the most efficient and effective way, whilst also being proactive.  

“You need a Virtual Assistant who is going to take things off your plate, not pile things back on.”

An experienced Virtual Assistant will have these qualities by the bucket load after years of managing and supporting high level executives and directors in corporate companies.

SKILLS & QUALITIES WORKSHEET

Now that you understand WHY it’s so important to consider what skills and qualities to look for in a Virtual Assistant, let’s see what skills and qualities are required for your tasks.

To help you do this I have a skills and qualities worksheet within my “Business Owner’s Step by Step Guide to Hiring a Virtual Assistant” so make sure you download.

Look at your task list, what sort of skills and qualities would compliment those tasks, write them in the boxes.  

For example:

  • Help with graphic design for social media posts, ebooks and downloads. 

Soft skills – creative thinker, organiser

Hard skills – experience with InDesign, Photoshop, Canva

  • Help with inbox management

Soft skills – organised, meticulous

Hard skills – proficient in Outlook / Gmail 

  • Website updates, uploading blogs, fixing bug problems

Soft skills – methodical, problem solver

Hard skills – proficient in WordPress / Wix/ Square space etc, 

  • Help with bookkeeping, downloading and sending invoices, expenses

Soft skills – attention to detail, 

Hard skills – knows how to use Xero/Quickbooks/FreeAgent, proficient with excel (if you still log your expenses by spreadsheet)

For this one, you might also want to consider finding a Virtual Assistant who is AAT / HMRC registered and has also had proper training.

And I think it goes without saying for all of the above tasks, you’ll want someone who is motivated, organised, positive, trustworthy, reliable, a good communicator and has good attention to detail.

Lady holding pen writing on pad of paper

Other skills and qualities to bear in mind when hiring a Virtual Assistant include:

  • Dependable – finding a trustworthy and reliable Virtual Assistant is probably one of the most important to look out for.  You are trusting them with personal data, credit card details, access to your clients and confidential documentation.  This is why it’s so important to sign a contract (more about that in Part 4).
  • Consistency – you want to receive consistent quality and commitment from your Virtual Assistant, week after week.
  • Versatility – you might have other tasks you need your Virtual Assistant to do.  Finding one that’s versatile and can take on tasks outside of their usual services – that’s when you know you’ve struck gold.
  • Assertiveness – you want your Virtual Assistant to be confident that she knows what she’s doing as this will instill confidence in you knowing that your tasks are in good hands.
  • Professional – Virtual Assistants are business owners just like you and should come across as professional as if they were working alongside you in an office.
  • Honesty (if you ask your Virtual Assistant to do a task and she doesn’t know how but doesn’t say, this is where problems can start!)  You want your Virtual Assistant to say she doesn’t know how, but she can find someone who can.

Another thing to bear in mind is whether you’re looking for an industry specific Virtual Assistant.  If you work in the financial, legal or accounting industry then you might want to look for a Virtual Assistant who specialises in this field and has experience in dealing with your areas of expertise, someone who talks your language.

I hope you’re ready for Part 3 – we’ll be putting everything into a job description which you can use on social media to attract your new Virtual Assistant.

Of course, if you can’t wait until then, you can download my workbook and complete all 3 exercises in one go.

If you are looking into hiring a Virtual Assistant and you need some advice then please do not hesitate to get in touch:

☎️ 07875 723265

📧 info@kelliesimpsonva.co.uk