So you’ve decided to hire a virtual assistant – great! Bringing on a VA can work wonders when it comes to getting your time back.
Deciding to hire a virtual assistant is just the first step in your virtual staffing journey. You’ll also need to somehow whittle down the hundreds of applications you’ll receive for any given position to get to the best candidates.
Interviews are one part of the equation. Another one (which often gets overlooked) is testing.
What do you mean, testing? Why you should test VA applicants
Anyone can claim certain skills and knowledge when writing a resume – it’s a completely different matter to prove it.
Another thing to consider is that in most cases, virtual assistants will be based overseas. Thanks to the tyranny of distance, reaching references and confirming details can be a tad difficult!
Additionally, testing can help you…
Get a feel for their working style
One thing that’s hard to convey on a resume is an applicant’s working style.
Luckily, testing can give you a first-hand insight into how your applicants approach a task!
While this may depend on the nature of the test, if possible we suggest implementing a journal or activity log alongside your test. Encourage your applicants to write their thought process down as they complete your test.
Test their problem-solving skills
As with any job, your virtual assistant is likely to run into unexpected problems while on the job. For example, a web developer may encounter bugs with their code, while an SEO specialist may be confronted with an unexpected drop in site rank.
These are just some examples of everyday issues that require on-the-spot thinking and problem-solving.
By thrusting applicants into one of these scenarios, you’re testing their ability to respond to these issues and to “put out fires”.
If they are fit the job or particular task
By creating and implementing tests that fit the tasks they’ll be performing on a daily basis, you can get a better feel for their strengths and weaknesses.
For example, if you’re looking for speed and accuracy, we suggest setting up a timed task that really pushes their time management.
In addition to helping with hiring, this process can also help you decide where your VA is going to work in the future. For example, if one successful applicant returns good scores in adaptability and speed, you may be able to assign urgent projects to them in the future.
What types of VA tests should you run?
Communication is essential when you hire a virtual assistant. As such, a good grasp of English is essential!
This isn’t just limited to copywriting and customer service positions either – good English means good communication with your VA. In particular, you’ll want to focus on their:
- Spoken English
- Writing skills
- Ability to read technical journals
In addition to conventional tests, you might also decide to task them with drafting emails or other written communications. For example, if you’re hiring for a copywriting position, you may ask them to create some draft ad or brochure text.
Another test that many employers employ is a typing test.
Why does typing speed matter? While it mightn’t matter to you, typing speed is crucial for several roles. For example, if you want to hire a virtual assistant for:
- Data-entry roles
- Transcribing audio and video
Test their knowledge of specific programs
Many businesses use specific programs. Therefore, any applicants you take on will have to demonstrate proficiency with these programs too!
For example, your business probably already has a “favourite” accounting software such as MYOB or QuickBooks. If you want to hire a virtual assistant for a bookkeeping or accounting role, they’ll either:
- Already know their way around that software
- Wrap their heads around it very quickly
Thankfully, testing holds the answer!
The ultimate test
Before finally hiring a virtual assistant for good, we encourage giving them a one week or two-week trial period to give them an idea of how it is like to work for you (and for you to evaluate their abilities!)
Think of it as the ultimate trial by fire. We suggest starting with relatively low-stakes projects and assignments and closely monitoring how much time they take.
Take away the hassle of recruitment
Hire a virtual assistant with VirtualStaff365
Hiring virtual staff can be a long, time-consuming process – throw testing into the mix and you might be left with precious time to do anything at all!
That’s where we come in.
At VirtualStaff365, we don’t just find virtual staff – we look after the entire recruitment, onboarding and retention process for you.
And that includes running testing for you.
That’s just one way in which we make outsourcing easy. If you want to hire a virtual assistant, contact Virtualstaff365 today at (03) 8842 4300 or click here to find out how we can create an outsourcing solution for your business today.