Readers having followed Part 1, Part 2 will know that I am looking for a virtual assistant with VirtualStaffFinder, a service doing all the staffing work for you. The most important task in recruiting is not only to choose the right candidate based on hard facts but also to get a feel with who you can work together best. Read more on what you should ask during the interviews.
Steph, the project manager at VirtualStaffFinder recommended to do skype interviews with all possible candidates and that is pretty obvious. You should spend as much time as possible questioning and getting to know them, especially since they are thousands of miles away and people you will probably never meet in person.
I gave myself 30 minutes for each candidate which is a pretty good amount of time. You could do it longer but from experience, i.e. having interviewed a lot of candidates in my day job, I know that longer interviews might give you more information but hardly change the gut feel you have at the beginning.
In the skype interviews Candidate #1 posed the right questions, giving me a feel she is interested in knowing what the job is about. Her english was really good! Candidate #2 seemed a bit calmer and answered everything but didn’t go beyond that. Her english was good as well. Candidate #3‘s English was not good at all. It was hard to keep the conversation going and she didn’t seem to have the experience or mindset I needed.
Important questions you should ask
Even though a lot was already in the initial documents I wanted to hear the information from them personally. Here are important questions you should be asking, especially since you are dealing with complete strangers, i.e. remote workers. Also, make sure to introduce yourself and the company / project the VAs will be working for.
- Tell me more about yourself, your background and past work experience
- How do you go about research, i.e. finding the right information on the web
- I like your article about X, are you using it yourself, what do you think about it
- How many articles can you write per day
- BONUS: prepare a document with small tasks you can test them on
- What are your preferred working hours (keep the large time difference in mind)
- When could you start working
- What is your envisaged salary
- How do you want to get paid
- Make sure everything is clear to them and you by sending them a job confirmation and summary email with terms & conditions
Remember: good questions are open-ended, meaning they cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no”.
Interesting to note is that their salary expectations were lower than listed in the early document. After finishing off the interviews and thinking about the candidates it became clear to me. I would take candidate #1, and since I needed to get a lot of work done, I would get candidate #2 as well. At least for a two week testing period.
In the last part 4 I will write about the onboarding process and specific tools I use for training.
Have you got questions that weren’t answered in the post? Leave a comment below.