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What things should you look for when hiring an assistant?

Hiring an assistant can be a big move to take your business to another level. You’re probably really comfortable working alone and have a great understanding of your business and it can be stressful bringing another person in to help you, even if you really really need it. Not to mention the fact that it can require a significant financial and time investment from your end. A great assistant can not only help you gain better control of your business but also allow you to focus on more important things – like growing your business and getting in front of more people. Alternatively, hiring the wrong person can lead to even more stress and even less time on your end. You may have to do a lot of hand-holding to train your assistant and you might be spending more time correcting their mistakes than they’re saving you.

Considering the above, it is crucial that when you’ve decided to hire someone, that you hire the RIGHT someone.

There’s many things that you might look for when you’re interviewing an assistant (either Virtual or physical) but here are some of the most important factors to consider when it comes to hiring the right person for the job.

1. Communicable:

Good communication is the key to solving many workplace problems, especially if your assistant is virtual. Someone who is able to communicate with you at a high level will be able to work through obstacles as they arise much more effectively than someone who is not so great at communication. Look for people who have good communication skills and aren’t afraid to talk to you face to face.

Another important factor to consider is that they ask questions. Always ask assistants when you’re interviewing them: “Do you have any questions for me?” – and take special note of the questions people ask. Those who ask good questions will often have better problem solving abilities and will be able to grasp your business’ needs much quicker than those that don’t.

2. Punctual:

It is critical that your assistant is dependable and coordinated. They will most likely be dealing with problems and handling tasks that have deadlines and time constraints and if they are unable to manage and schedule themselves then, most likely, they will be unable to do it for you.

Its crucial that your assistant have good time management skills. Pay close attention to people who arrive at your interviews on time and those that don’t. Arriving late to an interview should be a large negative in your assessment of a potential assistant, regardless of how good an excuse they have.

3. Professional:

A professional work environment, like the one you are trying to build, requires professionals to build it. This means attire, grooming and general “well put-togetherness” in addition to being eloquent, well spoken and kind. While these qualities might not seem important at first glance, the lack of them often alludes to an underlying tendency to be disorganised and will hurt you and your business in the long run.

This is especially important with regards to Virtual Assistants as oftentimes they are working from home and the allure to wear casual, or worse, no clothing (yes we’ve seen that!) is strong. When interviewing virtual assistants, pay attention to their surroundings and whether or not they have a quiet place to sit and speak with you (and aren’t just sitting in their living room!).

4. Technologically Savvy:

Lets face it – the #1 reason business people (especially Real Estate agents) hire assistants is to help them deal with the ever increasing technology platforms that they have to support. From CRMs, MLSs and tracking systems to websites, social media and outreach – it can all get to become a bit much.

As such, its important that the person you hire is technologically savvy and is able to pick up any of these technology platforms and run with it. A great way to judge this during an interview is to give them access to a dummy account on a random technology platform and ask them to do a simple task (like importing contacts into a CRM) and see how they fare.

5. Self Motivated / Self Reliant:

You’re a busy person. It’s why you’re hiring an assistant in the first place. You will not be there to help your assistant through trivial issues they face in their daily routines. Hiring a person who has the self reliance to figure out common hurdles on their own is important. This is especially important for Virtual assistants as they will often be working with little or no live communication with you. A good assistant should be able to analyse, and put in the effort to improve the quality of their work without you having to step in to remind them of it.

Unfortunately this is also the thing that is hardest to judge in an interview. However it will become clear soon after hiring. People always require some help from you to get started with their new job but good assistants will not need you to show them the same thing more than once.

6. Qualified & Experienced:

Qualifications are important but not as much as you might think. If you’re hiring for a very specific task that requires your assistant to handle, for example, compliance for engineering diagrams, sure – go ahead and hire someone with experience and qualifications related to Engineering and Government compliance. But for the vast majority of work that assistants handle, there isn’t a whole lot that experience will teach.

This can be a trap that entrepreneurs hiring their first employees often fall into. They will be wooed by fancy qualifications and extensive experience and end up hiring the wrong person for the job. By no means does that mean you shouldn’t hire someone with fancy qualifications and extensive experience – just that it isn’t as important as you might think. Some of the other factors in this list matter a whole lot more to how valuable an assistant will be to you and your business.

RealVAs is a company focused on helping you get the best assistants for your business. If you want help hiring a VA, click here to schedule a free consultation with one of our managers who will be happy to guide you through the process of hiring a great Virtual Assistant.

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