Looking for a virtual assistant? What should you ask a prospective staff member before hiring one?
More financial planners, mortgage brokers and financial advisers are adapting to better business practices with the help of virtual assistants in the Philippines.
Apart from the obvious cost benefits, advisers are more productive when they hand over the administrative tasks to their staff.
If you’re reading this because you’re about to get your own virtual assistant for financial planning or a virtual assistant for mortgage broking, you’re in the right place!
Take a simple look at a video here of Team Lifelong, where the entire Australian and Philippine team are singing Happy Birthday to one of their staff member, Benson…
The Invitation to Dinner Test
Compatibility plays a crucial part in hiring a virtual assistant. After all, they will work with you directly and interact with you on a daily basis.
You don’t want someone who “just gets the job done”. Instead, you want someone who you can easily relate to and communicate with.
For every interview, ask yourself – “Is this someone I’m willing to invite over for dinner with my family?”
Are they interesting enough? Can I have a meaningful conversation with this person? Are they fun? Are they both interesting and interested?
The answer to that is your best bet at making the most out of your offshoring venture.
In this article, I’m rounding up my top 5 questions (or topics) to ask the prospective staff. These questions have worked in my favour, and will work for you too!
1. Ask them about their life outside work.
Make them talk about what happens outside work and see how easy the conversation can go. Check how interesting and engaging they can be.
Ask simple questions like, “Tell me about your daily life”, “Are you married?”, “Which flavour ice cream do you like to eat?”, or “What’s your weekend like?”…
Conversations don’t work one way, so try to share some of your stories with them too!
Ask them if they have questions for you too. This way you can gauge their interest in you.
If they’re not interesting for you, then they’re not going to be an interesting person for a client, or for a client’s client.
This awfully sounds like going on a blind date, but isn’t having a good conversation the best way to start all types of relationships?
You wouldn’t get a lifetime’s worth of knowing your staff but it gives you a good insight into what your staff values are. In return, it’ll be easier for you to make them realise the value you put in your work and business.
2. How easy are they to understand?
This is more of a question you ask yourself while conducting the interview.
How well do they respond to a question?
Do they resort to using a very thick accent? Do they talk too quickly?
Do they make it easy for you to understand what they are saying?
Are they answering in a coherent manner or do they lose the subject too often that it’s distracting?
Knowing how well someone communicates doesn’t only prove their speaking skills. What’s more useful to know is the person’s ability to think on their feet.
3. Ask why they want to work with you.
Know the reason why they want to be part of your business.
Is it because of the pay?
Personally, I think that getting “a bigger pay” is not enough reason. Simply because, if someone else lures them out with more, they tend to jump ship easily.
Is it just because of career advancement?
Or, do they just want a change in the working environment?
If they come to you because of this, then you can expect that they will probably last 2-3 years until they feel the same issue and leave.
Is it because their bosses weren’t treating them well and that makes them emotionally stressed?
Is there’s no clear guidance in the company training or some of their work expectation that wasn’t provided?
Look for a stronger motivation and reassure the staff of what you can provide them.
Your assessment should help you find staff who can stay with you for 5 years plus.
This is how you can predict how long they can work for you and what kind of commitment they’re willing to give you.
4. Ask their relationship with their previous company.
This is somehow related to question number 3, but placed in a different angle.
What you want to know is how they talk about their relationship with the previous company.
If you get a hint that you might be operating similarly to their previous workplace, or that you share a key characteristic with them and it has become crucial to why the staff left, then it’s a possible NO for that candidate.
Here’s an example:
If an applicant tells me that they left their old job because their previous company was growing too fast, I know that they’re not a good fit for VA Platinum.
If an applicant tells me that they left because their previous company was operating early in the day and I know that I operate in the same schedule, then it’s absolutely a no-go.
Also, consider how they describe their previous company to you.
If they’re too revealing about their previous workplace, or that they easily give up classified information… you might find yourself in the same threat.
You want to keep everyone happy by understanding the staff’s expectations from you and your business.
5. Ask them about their successes.
While it’s great to hear about individual achievements, it’s better to hear how well they work with a team.
This is a personal deal-breaker for me since I work with a lot of people.
I want to hear how a person performs in a team and what achievements their team had.
Ask them, “While in a team, what did your team achieve?”
What you want to hear is not about them being better than their elbow buddy. Rather, you want to understand how they help others to be better for the team’s sake.
Asking these questions help me and my clients get the best suited virtual assistants in the Philippines.
It’s wonderful to know how a “culturally fit” staff member work seamlessly for the benefit of your business.
Aside from the geographical distance, there’s really not much difference between hiring a virtual assistant and having someone in your physical office.
You should always treat and interact with your staff as if they sit beside you every day.
Building a good relationship with your virtual assistant that goes beyond what your business requires is a great investment. It’s an amazing workplace culture you will want to cultivate and enjoy.
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