If you’ve hired staff before, you know there is an art to finding the right fit. The same is true for hiring a virtual assistant, of course. But if you don’t have experience managing a remote team, you may not realize what the basic skill-set involves. Whether you are working with a virtual assistant in administration, data entry, project management, or any other professional area, your VA should have these soft skills to fit into the online work environment:
People with poor communication skills tend to hide in certain fields where numbers are the standard currency. For in-person work, this may be okay, but when you are trying to manage a remote team, communication skills count. A virtual assistant, regardless of the core skill-set, is there to make your life easier. That can’t happen when you are miscommunicating instructions and progress reports or waiting hours for a reply to your requests.
Communication skills for all virtual assistants should include consistent and timely follow-up. Ideally, you should not have to reach out to the VA for an update. The update should be in your inbox before you have to ask. Over-communicating is also a plus in the world of remote work. Instructions should be repeated and paraphrased back to you to confirm clear understanding. Your VA should also send you pre-deadline check-ins so there are no last-minute surprises.
An acute sense of timing is an important skill for your VA to possess. Deadlines somehow become even more important when your staff is not in the office across the hall. Although your virtual assistant is probably juggling several projects for multiple clients, you should not feel the squeeze. Your VA should be on time for meetings and able to hit deadlines on your projects.
You may notice your virtual assistant asking a lot of clarifying questions around the timeline of individual projects. That is because your VA knows how important timeliness is to your business and theirs. You want to work with a virtual assistant who is focused on project timelines, completes work on time, and notifies you in advance if there is a problem meeting a deadline.
You don’t need the same level of tech skills in your administration VA as you do in your project management assistant. When you hire a data analyst or a database administrator, your expectations will be much higher. A basic level of technical proficiency, however, is required for all virtual assistants.
Your virtual assistant needs to be able to function in your project management software, for example. Not only will you manage project calendars online with your virtual staff, but you will also conduct team meetings and individual consultations via Zoom, Skype, Teams, or some other collaboration software. There is nothing worse than starting every meeting with someone who is unable to connect their sound or speak when asked a question.
Engaging a virtual assistant or an entire virtual team has many benefits as long as all of your virtual assistants meet certain basic skills requirements. People pursuing professional careers in remote positions need to have solid communication skills. They have to be able to meet deadlines and make you, the boss, feel comfortable with the timeliness of their work. They also have to have the skills to manage working in several different applications, especially the ones you use in your business every day.
At Milrich Virtual Professionals, we screen talent for you to be sure they meet the basic skills requirements for being a successful virtual assistant, as well as meeting the specific skills requirements of your project. We also provide training and support to our VAs that help them continue to exceed your expectations. Call Milrich when you are ready to hire your next virtual assistant and let us help you find the perfect fit for your business.