Sooner or later, your business is going to grow. When you start realizing this, you will also learn that there are some growing responsibilities involved. As this happens, you will be thinking about handing over some tasks to make room on your plate. Passing off tasks to virtual employees is a good move since it will allow you to focus on bigger picture strategies for your company.
If your business is at this stage, then you have reached an exciting time for your company! You are branching out. It may feel like uncharted territory and a bad time to hand the reins of responsibility over to someone else. There will come a time, however, when you will be sitting in an interview trying to make sure your first virtual employee (or tenth) is qualified to work for you.
No matter if you have hired VE's before, or this is your first time, here are 10 helpful questions you should always have ready for your interview to determine if the person is right for the job.
#1 – What do you consider your core skills and services?
This is an important question because it allows your VE to start talking about themselves. It’s here where you give them an opportunity to shine for you and pinpoint some of the key characteristics they can bring to your business.
#2 – How do you manage relationships with difficult clients?
No matter how you try to avoid it, a difficult client will always rear their ugly head. Your VE may be excellent in understanding different responsibilities and roles which are placed before them. It is also important, however, to know whether they can handle these difficult clients when they come their way.
Give them examples of past clients and the debacles you have personally been in and learn how they would approach the problem. While there are many correct ways to do this, pay attention to how they treat the client because this should always be your top priority.
#3 – Where do you see yourself within this company in 5 years?
Asking your virtual employee this question gives them an opportunity to see the future. This is a healthy way to invite them to dream about the open doors you have placed in front of them.
Loyalty is a key factor in any successful business and you want these key people around you while you grow. It’s an ownership of sorts. If your VEs see themselves running particular branches of your company in 5 years, then they own that idea and will run your company with your vision in mind. You can’t get any better than that.
#4 – Can you work the schedule I give you?
One of the many mistakes the first interview makes is not sharing a specific time frame within which you want your virtual employee to work. Determine which time zone your worker is in and, if you haven’t already, have a set time during which you desire them to work. Approach them with this question and learn their schedule and how you both can make it work.
#5 – Do you have a backup plan for your work?
It’s always important to understand your worker’s strategy. If your VE doesn’t have a backup plan for their work, how are they going to make a virtual meeting at 3 p.m. if their internet just went down?
Make sure you implement this immediately and make the worker know a backup plan is needed in case of different natural disasters or other circumstances which would take away the internet, phone, or any other medium, leaving them disconnected from work or clients.
#6 – Where are you most comfortable communicating?
Many people have different ways to communicate remotely. As a company, you probably need several modes of communication set in place to adhere to the different preferences throughout your business.
Learn what these preferences are. Make sure your VE can be contacted through various channels throughout the day, i.e., phone number, Skype, WhatsApp, etc. It’s imperative your VE has an open line to you and the other clients that they service under you so that they can be reached when they are needed.
#7 – Ask them about characteristics that you value in a VE
This is a question where you would fill in the blank. What are you really looking for in a VE? What do you want this person to be? Loyal? Workaholic? Social marketing savvy? Ask them specifically. It’s important to know how to find the people YOU want for this job.
#8 – How would you fix an internal problem with another VE or employee?
Here you will learn how well your prospect can problem solve within your business and if they are easy going, headstrong, stubborn, etc. The internal workings of your business are built on the foundations of people who can problem solve and know when to back down or speak up.
#9 – What do you know about our company?
Asking them this question will determine how much homework they have done on your business. The more they know about you, your core values, and how you conduct business, the better they understand your main goals.
#10 – Do you have any questions for me?
A very important question. This allows your VE to interview you in a way. It opens the door for new conversation and shows that you can be flexible to what they want of you. It’s important to get their questions answered in this interview because it isn’t a one-way street going your way. Both parties must conclude positively that this is the person and job they want to move forward with. It is important to the business that you are both comfortable with your arrangement.
Hiring a VE doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re just getting started or you’ve been doing this a while, there are qualified workers out there who can do the jobs you have for them and do it all at a high level. These questions will help you weed out people and find the needle in the haystack.
Wade Harman is a content writing wizard with an M.A. in Cognitive Psychology. He shares social media psychology and other marketing tips online related to cognitive trigger response. He loves to fish and read comic books for fun, to get the creative juices flowing.