How to Interview Virtual Assistants: A Business Owner’s Guide

Hiring a virtual assistant (VA) can significantly benefit your small or medium enterprise (SME). VAs can relieve your team of many cumbersome tasks, such as data entry, basic research, social media management, and customer service. Meanwhile, you and your strategic workforce can focus on enhancing and growing your business. 

Sounds great? Ready to get started? Then this guide is for you. Read on to learn the ins and outs of interviewing a virtual assistant. We’ll talk about essential interview questions for prospective VAs, effective assessment approaches for skills and competencies, and also cover some best practices for remote work interviews.

Preparing for the Virtual Assistant Interview

Interviewing is a crucial step in the virtual assistant hiring process. As such, before you dive into interviewing virtual assistants, make sure to prepare. There are a few things that you can do to get ready for this process. 

First off, outline the tasks and responsibilities you expect a VA to handle. Craft your first few interview questions based on this list. Also, think about the types of certifications or experience the candidate must have to fulfil these roles. 

Next, reflect on your company’s culture. Think about the type of person you and your team would like to work with. What are the key traits you are looking for? This might include things like punctuality, positive attitude, proactivity, efficiency, etc. Develop your following questions based on these reflections. 

Finally, set up the technology you need to conduct the interviews. Send out invitations to potential candidates for a call via Zoom or another preferred platform. You may also use a note-taking tool to compare your candidates after completing the interviews.

Essential Interview Questions for Virtual Assistants

VAs aren’t quite the same as an in-house employee but can become critical members of your team. It’s important to ask the right questions during your interviews. Some should assess their skills, while others may target the cultural fit and give you an idea of the candidate’s personality. You should also factor in the fact that they will be working remotely and potentially in a different time zone. 

Here are some essential questions you might consider: 

  • How do you manage your tasks and prioritise your workload? 
  • Can you describe a challenging project you worked on remotely and how you overcame obstacles? 
  • What communication tools are you familiar with, and how do you ensure clear and effective communication in a remote setting? 
  • How do you stay motivated and maintain productivity when working from home? 
  • Have you worked with Australian/global clients before? Can you describe your experience? 

These are some general questions to consider. You should also have a list of questions specific to your company’s needs and the tasks the VA will perform.

Assessing Skills and Competencies

Many VAs perform very specific tasks, which are relatively easy to assess with a short test. You may want to perform the test during the interview or as a follow-up with your stand-out candidates. One of the best ways to do so is to give them a task similar to what they would be doing on a daily basis and see how they perform. 

At the same time, you may want to assess their attitude and cultural fit. For this, use behavioural interview techniques such as asking a candidate what they would do in a given situation or how they have handled stressful situations in the past. 

Lastly, pay attention to the interviewee’s communication style, punctuality, and attitude during the interview.

Identifying Key Qualities in a Virtual Assistant

While hard skills are critical for a VA position, it is also crucial to understand the personal qualities a VA brings to the table. Here are some key qualities to look for in a virtual assistant: 

  • Reliability and consistency in meeting deadlines and deliverables
  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Proactive problem-solving and decision-making abilities
  • Adaptability to changing priorities and business needs
  • Cultural fit and alignment with your company’s values and mission

A person who is reliable, proactive, adaptable, and flexible is sure to evolve with your business and its changing needs. Hiring a VA with these qualities will give your business an edge today and in the future. 

Best Practices for Remote Work Interviews

VAs work remotely and are often based outside Australia. As such, it is important to prepare the right technologies and tools before you start the interview. 

Here are a few tips: 

  1. Use video conferencing tools like Zoom or Google Meet to simulate an in-person interview experience.
  2. Test your technology beforehand to ensure a smooth and professional interview process.
  3. Confirm the interview times in your and your VA’s time zones. 
  4. Prepare a structured interview plan with specific questions and scenarios to assess key competencies.
  5. Provide clear instructions and expectations for any test projects or assignments. Make sure the candidate knows how long the interview and any follow-up tests will take. 
  6. Follow up with candidates in a timely manner and provide feedback on their performance, even if you choose to go with a different candidate. 

This simple guide offers insights on how to prepare for and conduct an interview for a virtual assistant. Hiring processes, even for short-term projects, can be tedious and time-consuming. Investing the time into preparation can save you time and money in the long run by onboarding the right candidate from the start. Ready to hire a VA for your Australian SME? Book a free consultation today! Visit


What are the red flags to watch out for when interviewing virtual assistants?

When hiring a VA, some red flags to be aware of include:

  • Lack of experience with remote work
  • Poor communication skills
  • Inability to provide specific examples of past projects
  • Misalignment with your company’s values or culture
  • Not having references from previous employers 
  • Slow responses and poor punctuality for the interview or tests

How should I test technical skills in a virtual interview setting?

To perform a skills assessment for a virtual assistant, consider assigning a short, practical task that mirrors the kind of work the VA will be doing. You may want to prepare the assignment yourself or use a testing platform to assess the VA’s skills. 

Some common tests might include preparing an Excel spreadsheet, performing data entry, writing a social media post, answering a customer service email, etc. 

Make sure to provide clear instructions and expectations from the sample task. Set a turnaround time within which the candidate should deliver the task. If the task is time-consuming, paying for the interviewee’s time is also something you should consider.

Can I conduct a trial period before hiring a virtual assistant, and how should it be structured?

Implementing a trial period can be an effective way to assess the VA’s fit with your business. Clearly define the trial’s duration, objectives, and evaluation criteria upfront. 

If the VA will be performing a range of daily tasks, then the trial may last a week or two with the option for both of you to end the contract without giving a specific reason. 

If you are looking for a VA to work on specific tasks, then the trial might include performing a set number of those tasks as a trial. For example, if they are to run a social media account, then you might ask them to write several posts and schedule them on the platforms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *