You have come to the realization that you are in need of a virtual assistant but you may not be quite sure of what to look for in a new hire. Virtual assistants are relatively easy to find, just one quick search on the internet will give you more options than you will care to sift through. However, finding the best virtual assistant for your company will take a little work and forethought on your part to ensure you are looking in the right places. The first step in hiring a virtual assistant is to take the time to map out your expectations for this role and how this will fit within your current business structure.
Virtual Assistant Hiring Strategy
As you list out your expectations and needs of a virtual assistant for your business this will give you a more realistic overview of just how much work you need to be completed. This step will help you decide if you will need one virtual assistant or if you would be better served by hiring several virtual assistants.
By relying on a single virtual assistant for your company you will be looking for an individual that possesses many skills and abilities to assist with your day-to-day operations. You should look for potential candidates that have generalized knowledge in many different areas and can contribute to your company and its needs.
However, if you have a large workload and are in need of specialized knowledge or skills in specific areas for your business you may benefit greatly from hiring several virtual assistants which can focus on different aspects of your business’ operations.
Once you have decided how many virtual assistants you will need you must then consider the skills needed to accomplish those tasks to distinguish the best virtual assistants from the pool of potential hires. Below is a list of the top virtual assistant skills needed in a new hire for your business.
Top Assisting and Managing Skills for Virtual Assistants
1 – Experience in Negotiation
From travel bookings to events, and vendor contracts your virtual assistant can be making financial decisions for your company often. It is important the VA possess the skills to research and make the best deals for your benefit.
2 – Ability to Resolve Conflict
It is inevitable that conflict or issues will arise and it is important that your VA is capable of resolving conflict in a timely and professional manner.
3 – Can Make Informed Decisions Quickly
While there are instances where your VA should not be making vital business decisions they should be able to differentiate and prioritize what can be handled at their level of experience and what should be escalated within the business for further clarification or expertise.
4 – Ability to Prioritize Tasks & Delegate if Needed
Virtual Assistants must be able to prioritize their own workload and delegate to other team members or assistants when needed to get the job done successfully and within the deadline.
5 – Marketing Knowledge
A virtual assistant with knowledge of basic marketing concepts can help your business significantly by creating and executing email campaigns, updating blogs, or creating and analyzing surveys to better your business.
6 – Event Planning Skills
The ability to research event needs, reserve spaces, contact vendors, and follow up throughout the event planning stage will ensure your Virtual Assistant can help you host successful events for your company.
7 – Strong Research Capabilities
Researching is a large part of a Virtual Assistant’s position. It is vital that the VA hired for your position possess strong research skills and the ability to find the information required to complete their work without the need for constant supervision or clarification.
8 – Experience in Travel Booking
Travel related booking experience is a must in your virtual assistant including the ability to research and make appropriate accommodations for air travel, hotels, and transportation for you and your business’ needs.
9 – Can create original and engaging content
Creativity in a virtual assistant is an often overlooked but valuable skill. An individual that can provide insightful and original posts for your business’ social media accounts can help you stay relevant and present with your customer base.
Top Soft Skills for Virtual Assistants
10 – Exceptional Communication
This is likely the single most important skill of a virtual assistant. The ability to grasp what is being communicated as well as communicating effectively with yourself, customers, and others within your organization makes certain that the virtual assistant will be able to complete their work successfully in an efficient and productive manner
11 – Ability to Adapt
Change is constant throughout a business’s operations and it is vital that your virtual assistant be flexible and able to adapt to changes quickly to keep the business flowing and operating productively at all times.
12 – Willingness to Learn
The best virtual assistant is not one that knows every detail needed to complete each task but rather one that is willing to learn anything to complete their work effectively. A virtual assistant that is self-motivated and willing to take on new projects even when there is a learning curve is a valuable asset to your company.
13 – Can Take Direction and Correction If Needed
Going hand in hand with the willingness to learn, is a virtual assistant’s openness and acceptance of directions, guidance, correction, and critique when needed and appropriate. Learning from mistakes and correcting them in future instances is an essential skill for the growth of the virtual assistant within your company.
14 – A Confident Self-Starter
When time is of the essence it is necessary to have a virtual assistant capable of taking action and initiative to get the work done. An individual with confidence in their abilities and the motivation to get to work is a valuable skill to consider in your virtual assistant new hire.
15 – Courteous and Friendly Demeanor
In many instances, a virtual assistant is the face of your company to customers, colleagues, and vendors. It is imperative that a virtual assistant has a courteous approach and friendly demeanor in all company interactions, even in the face of difficult or frustrating circumstances.
16 – Ability to Manage Time Effectively
Deadlines are a part of the day to day business and a virtual assistant must be able to self-monitor and manage their time efficiently.
17 – Can Stay Organized & Focused
Organizational skills are needed to manage projects, juggle responsibilities, and prioritize tasks effectively.
18 – Capable of Working Well With Others
Whether it be with other virtual assistants or yourself, or office staff it is necessary that a virtual assistant is able to work effectively alongside others on the completion of projects or tasks as needed.
Top Technology & Tools VAs Should Know How to Use
19 – Email and Inbox Management
Virtual assistants should be well versed in messaging management to sort through and optimize your messages and inboxes to save you time and frustration throughout your business communications.
20 – Service Minded Messaging & Telephone Skills
A good virtual assistant must have the ability to communicate with customers in writing and verbally in a professional and educated manner.
21 – Scheduling and Calendar Management Software Experience
Virtual assistants should have experience with scheduling meetings, appointments, client engagements, and events through scheduling software to keep your calendar organized and updated.
22 – Can Use Time Tracking Software
For many companies payroll is a time-consuming process each week. A virtual assistant that has knowledge in time tracking software can help your business save time and frustration.
23 – Familiarity with Virtual Meeting Platforms
With the rising need for virtual interactions, a virtual assistant should be skilled and familiar with using virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Messenger Rooms, etc.
24 – Social Media Platforms
Ensure potential virtual assistants have experience using the most popular social media platforms that may be relevant to your business and its needs such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
25 – Familiarity with Basic Accounting Principles and Software
While virtual assistants are not expected to have in-depth accounting knowledge, the basic ability to track expenses and create invoices can be helpful and necessary.
26 – Basic Website Maintenance Skills
A virtual assistant with knowledge of basic website maintenance can help you keep your business’ website updated and relevant for potential leads and current customers.
27 – Data Entry Skills & Software
It is important for a virtual assistant to be able to enter data accurately and quickly through the data entry software used by your company. Although they may not have specific experience in the software used by your particular business most basic knowledge in data entry software is transferrable.
28 – Word Processing Skills
Proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation skills through word processing software are needed by a virtual assistant to complete day-to-day functions such as memos, letters, and other communications for your office.
29 – Content Management Software
If your business focuses heavily on managing content for your website and social media channels it is worth hiring a virtual assistant with knowledge and experience using these types of programs to streamline your content management.
30 – Editing or Copyrighting skills
Oftentimes virtual assistants are tasked with sending out communications to customers or clients; it is vital that a virtual assistant have editing and proofreading skills to catch possible errors and ensure all communications from your office are professional and accurate.
Finding the right virtual assistant for your office can feel overwhelming with so many options available. If you are looking for the best virtual assistants available contact us at Zirtual to request a consultation to discuss your needs. With our team of professional, US based, college educated virtual assistants we are confident we can find the perfect match for your business.