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How To Successfully Hire A Virtual Assistant: Your First Introductory Call

Barnaby

Barnaby Lashbrooke

Founder and CEO of Time etc, author of The Hard Work Myth

9 minute read

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The way we work is changing, and so is the way we find and hire staff.

In an era where every second counts, virtual assistants have transformed from a luxury to a lifeline for many business owners. It’s no surprise that 78% of CEOs recognize the need to embrace remote collaboration for long-term business success.

With so many tasks and to-dos to juggle on any given day, having an extra set of hands can be your lifeline, saving you time and making sure that nothing falls through the cracks. They can handle a wide range of tasks, allowing you to focus on what truly matters.

The key to a successful collaboration with a virtual assistant lies in getting off to the right start. Setting up an introductory call is a vital first step that builds a strong foundation for long-term success.

Here's why this first call with your new virtual assistant is crucial, and how you can get the most out of it.

Why is an introductory call with your first virtual assistant essential?

From writing a job description and reading resumés to arranging interviews and performing background checks, we know that recruitment can take up a great deal of time and energy. That’s why we at Time etc handle it all for you.

All you need to do is let us know the type of tasks you’re looking to offload, plus any required skills or relevant experience your assistant would need, and our team will get straight to work to find the right person who ticks all your boxes. This saves you between three and six weeks compared to the usual hiring process for a new employee.

Once our team has picked out a suitable candidate, scheduling an introductory call between you is a crucial next step.

Similar to a traditional interview, it gives you a chance to get to know your virtual assistant and see if they're a good fit for your business. The sooner you can figure this out, the better. If they're a good match, you can start working together and delegating tasks to them. But if something doesn't feel right, our team will find alternative options for you to consider.

But beyond that, there are plenty of other reasons why this initial call is beneficial for everyone involved.

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Setting the foundation for trust

When was the last time you started any new friendship or working relationship without getting to know them first?

It's easy to forget that there's a real person on the other end when you only know your virtual assistant as a name on a screen, and that's why taking the time to get acquainted with each other is so important.

Plus, the more your assistant knows about you, the better equipped they are to serve your needs effectively and support you in achieving your goals.

Clarifying expectations and responsibilities

Ambiguity can be the silent killer of productivity. This initial call is the perfect opportunity to walk through the details of you're looking for from a virtual assistant, such as specific tasks and responsibilities. Plus, it gives them the chance to ask any questions they may have, so that there's no confusion down the road.

It's not just about what needs to be done, but also how you want things to be done and what the end results should look like. Clarifying your expectations and goals from the very beginning not only reduces the risk of future misunderstandings, it helps your assistant to understand your vision and work towards achieving it.

Establishing workflow and communication

As well as going through what your virtual assistant will be working on, this first call is where you can hash out all the finer details of how you'll work together.

According to a McKinsey report, teams that are well-connected are around 20-25% more productive, so establishing your preferred communication methods and frequencies early on can make things a lot smoother and more efficient when you start delegating tasks.

Questions to ask a new virtual assistant during an introductory call

When introducing yourself to a new virtual assistant, asking the right questions is key to gaining a better understanding of how they'll fit your needs.

As a business owner, chances are some questions will come naturally to you, but here are a few examples to help you get started.

Can you tell me about some of your previous experiences as a virtual assistant?

As with any interview process, asking about the virtual assistant's background is a great way to assess their compatibility for the role they will play in your business.

Their answers should give you a clearer picture of what they can bring to the table. Understanding their full range of skills could also uncover potential new areas where they could provide additional support to your business in the future, saving you even more valuable time.

How do you think you will be able to help me with my tasks?

Similar to the previous question, this allows them to demonstrate how their capabilities align with the specific requirements outlined in your job description, and how they'd plan on using their skills and expertise to make your life easier.

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What other tasks and projects are you currently working on?

Due to the nature of their work as an independent contractor, your virtual assistant may be supporting other clients in varying capacities.

While our team will have done their due diligence to make sure any candidate they put forward has sufficient availability to take on your task, you might still find it useful to get a sense of their current workload and responsibilities.

Asking this question can also give you an insight into their organizational skills, as well as how they manage their time and prioritize different tasks.

What productivity tools or software are you most comfortable using?

With an average of 12 years of relevant experience, you can be safe in the knowledge that Time etc's virtual assistants will be well-versed in a wide range of professional tools and software. But if there's a gap in their knowledge, most will be happy to train to get themselves up to speed.

Asking this question early on to find out whether you're technologically aligned can help you save time down the line by getting the ball rolling if any training is needed.

On the other hand, finding out others' tools of choice can be a valuable opportunity to discover new ways of doing things and explore platforms you may not have considered before.

How do you prefer to receive feedback?

As Elon Musk once said, “I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better.” This quote perfectly captures the importance of feedback between business owners and virtual assistants.

Knowing how and when your virtual assistant likes to receive feedback helps to create an optimized system for growth and improvement.

For example, some people might like getting detailed feedback via email, so they have a clear written record they can refer back to. Others might prefer real-time discussions through video calls for instant clarity.

Whether it's a weekly check-in, every two weeks, or once a month, regular feedback sessions help keep everyone on the same page and focused on getting the most out of your experiences.

In your experience, what can we do to ensure a successful working relationship?

This question can be especially valuable if you're new to working with virtual assistants.

Having this conversation shows that you care about creating a positive and productive working relationship. Learning from their experiences with previous clients and taking their suggestions on board can be the roadmap you need for a smooth and successful long-term partnership.

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What's the bottom line?

As a business owner, hiring a virtual assistant can make a huge difference to your day-to-day operations. But for any virtual partnership to be a success, you need to make sure you find the right fit for the support you need.

Your first call with a virtual assistant is more than a mere formality. When done right, it could mean the difference between an average working relationship and one with limitless potential.

Take the time to ask the right questions, get a feel for their personality, and determine whether they have the right attitude and skills to make a positive impact on your business.

Not only will help you make the most informed decision for who you want to hire, but a positive introductory call paves the way for a productive partnership and get the most out of the services your virtual assistant provides.

With the right assistant in your corner, you’ll be able to accomplish so much more in less time, so don’t hesitate to start the process.

Since 2007, Time etc has been a trusted partner to over 22,000 business owners, helping them unlock their full potential by matching them with top virtual assistants to tackle those time-consuming administrative tasks that are holding them back.

Want to see for yourself?

Our expert team are ready to set you up with a dedicated professional based on the skills and experience you need—at a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee. Get started now!

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About the author

Barnaby
Barnaby Lashbrooke is the founder and CEO of Virtual Assistant service Time etc as well as the author of The Hard Work Myth, recently recommended by Sir Richard Branson. Barnaby is a Forbes Columnist on productivity and is also an accomplished entrepreneur, selling more than $35 million worth of services.

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