Questions to ask when hiring a Virtual Assistant

Entrepreneurs are depending more and more on virtual talents.  Increased workload and rising daily demands mean that, eventually, you’ll need to hire an assistant to help you out.  More likely than not, your hiree will be from a foreign country; someone you may never see in person.  It can be difficult to gauge expertise and personality through video chats and emails.  Therefore, asking the right questions during the interview process can ensure you select the right talent for your project.

  1. What do you consider your core skills and services?

This initial question will determine if the individual has the skills you need.  Do you need someone to organize your schedule, arrange meetings, and book travel?  The candidate’s responses should match your requirements.  There are many different types of virtual assistants, and you must have a clear idea of what you’re looking for.

 

  1. Tell me about your experience as a virtual assistant

An open-ended question like this will help you assess the communication skills of your potential VA.  Let your candidate tell you why they decided to be a VA and what they like most about it.

 

  1. What time zone are you in?

A virtual assistant can be based anywhere in the world, so it’s important to make sure they can work with you in your time zone.  If you are based in the United States and your VA is in India, that’s a time difference of between 10 to 11 hours.  It means your VA will have to stay awake at night, and not everyone is willing to do that.

 

  1. How many hours a day/week can you devote to my project?

You should already know how many hours you want from a virtual assistant each week.  Aligning their availability with your needs will determine if it’s a good match.

 

  1. Do you have a preferred method of communication?

This question is to make sure your work styles align.  The ideal VA candidate will be comfortable communicating with you through the channels you choose.

  1. What tools do you use in your work?

Instead of listing the tools you use in your business and asking “Do you know how to use this?” make it an open-ended question and see if there are matches.  If your VA already uses tools such as Asana, WordPress, Basecamp, or any others, and those are the tools you use, that’s a plus.

There may be other questions you’d like to ask your VA specific to your industry and the tasks at hand.  These questions are general and will prove useful in knowing more about a potential VA.

Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize!

Hand sanitizer, also called hand rub and hand antiseptic, is a convenient way to keep your hands clean when you do not have access to soap and water.  In 1966 Lupe Hernandez, then a nursing student, patented an alcohol-containing, gel-based hand sanitizer for hospitals. The first alcohol-containing gel sanitizer for consumers was introduced over two decades later, in 1988.  The term “alcohol” on the label of hand sanitizers indicates the product contains ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) – one of two alcohols permitted as active ingredients in alcohol-based sanitizers; the other being isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol in hand sanitizers is a very effective disinfectant that is safe to put on your skin.

 

Although there are non-alcohol containing hand sanitizers on the market, studies have found that those with an alcohol concentration of 60% to 95% are more effective at killing germs than those with lower alcohol concentration or non-alcohol based ones.  Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can effectively inactivate many types of microbes.  The alcohol’s job is to break apart the outer coating of bacteria and viruses, thus destroying them. 

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has resulted in increased use of, and subsequent demand for, hand sanitizers. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that the best way to prevent the spread of infections and reduce the risk of getting sick with COVID-19 is by washing your hands with plain soap and water.  Washing of hands should be done often and for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating and after going to the bathroom, sneezing, coughing, and blowing one’s nose.  But, if you do not have access to washing your hands, hand sanitizers are the next best option. In public buildings, liquid hand sanitizers are easily accessible from wall-mounted dispensers.  Consumers use hand sanitizer gels since they are convenient and are a lot easier to carry and dispense on the go as it’s easier to squeeze from the bottle, or tube, without spilling.  Gels also slow the evaporation of alcohol, ensuring it has time to work against any microbes that might be present.

You need to understand that you won’t be able to wash your hands with soap and clean running water every time you touch a surface when you are outside the home.  You may want to trust that every location you visit will have a hand sanitizer dispenser, but the truth is you should always travel with your hand sanitizer in order to lower your risk of infection from the highly contagious COVID-19.