10 Virtual Assistant interview questions and answers

Find and hire talent with confidence. Prepare for your next interview. The right questions can be the difference between a good and great work relationship.

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What do you consider your core skills and services? Which ones are outside your scope?

Because there are many different kinds of virtual assistants, it’s important for you to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Do you need someone to organize your schedule, book travel, and arrange meetings? Or are you looking for someone to help with bookkeeping and data entry?

What timezone are you in and what hours are you available?

Because virtual assistants may be based anywhere in the world, it’s important to make sure you’re able to communicate. If you're based in New York and your virtual assistant is in India, for instance, they may be almost 10 hours ahead of you. What matters is that you clearly establish their availability and your needs so that you can tell whether it's a good match.

How do you handle a situation when you may not know how to complete a task?

This question should give you insight into the candidate’s work style. Generally speaking, it’s better to ask questions than make mistakes, but good candidates should also be independent and proactive enough that they try to solve many problems without coming to you first.

What methods do you prefer for communication?

This question is about making sure your work styles are aligned. Are you tied to your email all day? Or do you prefer to text while on the go? Do you like talking face-to-face over Skype or Google Hangouts? The ideal candidate will be comfortable communicating with you through the channels you use most naturally.

Tell me about a professional setting you’ve worked in where people had different communication styles.

Whether or not you consider your company to be “corporate,” this question should give you insight into a candidate’s maturity, professionalism, and communication skills. Great candidates will have organizational experience, as well as a high level of comfort with different work and communication styles. For this reason, candidates with a few years of office experience tend to make more effective assistants than people right out of school.

Let’s say your inbox is flooded with messages. How do you prioritize which ones to respond to first?

Hiring a virtual assistant should help you become more effective and efficient. To accomplish that, they need to be able to prioritize tasks based on your particular needs and goals. A good candidate should be able to identify which messages are time-sensitive and which can wait.

What do you do when a client has trouble articulating their needs?

A good virtual assistant should be able to pick up on your needs and be perceptive enough to identify the source of a problem. This comes from understanding both you and your business. Asking questions to better understand the problems you’re facing is a good sign.

Let’s say you have a deadline and your computer suddenly crashes. What do you do?

Sometimes things go wrong. When this happens, you need a virtual assistant who’s resourceful and dedicated. Good answers might include switching to a phone or tablet while they get their computer up and running, as well as checking to make sure that their work has been backed up online.

How do you manage relationships with difficult team members?

Depending on your business needs, you may rely on a virtual assistant to coordinate with other team members. However, some virtual assistants consider working with other team members to be outside the scope of their assignment. Make sure your expectations are clear. Again, having diverse past work experience is generally an asset.

Tell me about a time you proactively addressed a client’s need.

This question is pretty open ended and good answers will vary depending on your business needs and the candidate’s specialties. Great examples include identifying and streamlining inefficient processes to cut down on meetings, or identifying more cost-effective vendors for particular goods or services. The best candidates won’t just solve problems when you assign them; they’ll be constantly looking for ways to streamline and improve your workflow to help you save time and money if possible.

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