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How To Evaluate Virtual Assistants To Find The Perfect Post-Pandemic Fit

The best way to hire virtual assistants is different than how hiring used to be done.

On-site hiring practices aren’t 100% portable to the virtual world.

Thanks to the pandemic, there’s a lot more people who have experience working virtually. If you’re in the market for a virtual assistant, on the surface, it seems like it should be easy. You have a big pool of talent to choose from.

But a larger pool doesn’t always mean it’s the best-fit pool

It could mean you have a greater probability for making the wrong choice for a virtual assistant, because being a great remote worker takes more than simply being able to work out of the home office.

Yet the post-pandemic business world is clearly sticking to a virtual path, and that means you’ll probably want to choose a virtual team sooner rather than later.

With a virtual team, profitability is directly tied to being agile and proactive. A virtual assistant is an important component in that equation. In today’s world, you need to hire for experience, skills, and mindset.

So while that huge pool of potential hires allows for more experienced and skilled people available for hire, it’s the mindset that’s the key. 

And that’s why, when looking for a post-pandemic virtual assistant, we’ll start there.

The Right Mindset For Virtual Assistants

Mindset is simply the attitude a person has or the way they respond to a certain situation. When it comes to the right mindset for virtual assistants, there are three things to keep an eye out for.

1. They can think like an entrepreneur. 

You want a virtual assistant that can think like an owner. 

You’re an entrepreneur. You think like one, you act like one. You need a virtual assistant who can put themselves in your shoes, because they are going to be an extension of you.

People with an employee mindset wait to be told what to do. That’s fine for checking off a task list, but it doesn’t really lighten your workload and help you focus on more important things.

In contrast, owners are self-starters, and so are the people committed to serving them. They know what needs to be done. They’re natural problem solvers. They’re able to make decisions on their own.

Find a virtual assistant who is able to see the big picture and not get lost in daily tasks. Encourage them to think like you do, instead of as an employee only concerned with a to-do list. Empower them to step out in confidence and have your back.

2. They fit your culture.

Culture fit is incredibly important when hiring a virtual assistant or team.

A team with discordant values, clashing personalities, operating from different scripts isn’t a team at all. It’s a battle. Without a culture fit, you can’t have a real team, and a virtual team needs a great culture just as any other team does.

At Boldly, we strongly believe in the importance of a positive virtual culture, so much so that we’ve made building one a priority. Boldly’s culture is one of positivity and flexibility. It empowers our team members to be confident because they know they’re part of a team and not isolated. And that culture spreads to where our team members work.

3. They want to grow and learn.

On a recent internal team survey, Boldly found that the #1 piece of feedback we received from team members is that they love the opportunity to learn new skills and work in new industries.

That’s a love of learning, and it’s something you want from your virtual assistant.

Why? Because your business is going to grow; demands increase. The industry will shift. Technology will change. Customer expectation is always fluid. These are all things that require a team that’s willing to learn and grow.

The way a person thinks, their values and attitudes, and their desire to learn: this is mindset. It’s not easy to see on a resume, and it doesn’t magically appear after a year when everyone was forced to work virtually.

You can train a person to get new skills, and you can help them obtain experience, but having the right mindset is a unique trait. 

The Best Skill Set For Virtual Assistants

The pandemic hasn’t only changed how we work, but it’s changed the skill sets that are most desirable. Past in-person skills still have value (i.e. a good copy editor is a good copy editor), but the landscape those skills play out on has changed significantly. 

Virtual work skills.

With the move to virtual work, which requires someone with a self-starter attitude, skill sets are geared more towards the entrepreneurial skills rather than in-person office skills. Look for virtual assistants with skills in the following areas:

  1. Technology. If a remote worker is not good with technology, and able to quickly learn new technology, virtual work will be impossible.
  2. Organization. No one can work virtually if they’re disorganized. The buffer of in-person management to keep things on track is gone. Work only gets done through self-organization.
  3. Flexibility. Virtual work requires the ability to constantly re-evaluate what is (and isn’t) working, and make changes accordingly. What worked yesterday might have to be discarded today. Virtual work is agile work.
  4. Problem solving. Part of flexibility is being able to problem-solve. Virtual assistants should be able to spot problems and figure out solutions on their own. It’s the flip-side to being a self-starter.

Incredible communication skills.

Communication skills have always been important in work relationships, but with a virtual assistant, it’s even more so. Your virtual assistant has to be able to clearly let you know what’s going on and any questions they have.

Anything less wastes time, and in virtual work, time is especially limited.

You’re not in the same room and so you can’t always pick up on unspoken understanding. If both of you can reach back and forth with ideas, sharing things freely both ways without hesitation, communication is good. And, with a growth mindset, both of you should always be working towards more effective virtual communication.

A virtual assistant can’t be a mind reader, but if their communication skills are excellent, it might seem like they are.

The Ideal Experience For Virtual Assistants

Not all experience is created equal.

At Boldly, we recognize this, and have worked to create a team of virtual assistants who have Fortune-500 and C-suite experience. Not only do they have experience working as virtual assistants, but they’ve done it successfully at a high level.

Plus, because of our culture and employment model, our team sticks around. Longevity and dedication is its own kind of experience, one that provides stability for you.

We know how quickly technology has adapted in recent years. Moving business to the virtual realm will add speed to it. As the post-pandemic world continues to emerge, and virtual work adapts to become the norm, choosing the right virtual assistant is the difference between harnessing that speed towards exponential growth, or simply plodding along.

We want to see you succeed, and that’s why we’ve removed every level of hiring headache from the process. You don’t have to fish from a huge pool of unknowns. 

At Boldly, you can get started right now, and find a highly skilled, top-notch, experienced virtual assistant fully engaged with the right mindset. It’s all just one click away.

About the author Sandra Lewis is the Founder and CEO of Boldly. She's passionate about helping Businesses, Organizations and Executives increase productivity and move their work forward with the right skills and resources. Setting an example of the efficiencies gained working remotely, she’s been leading her entire team on a virtual basis for the past decade.

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