3 red flags when hiring a virtual assistant

Yay! You are ready to hire a Virtual Assistant, Online Business Manager, or Social Media Manager, but now what?

Start interviewing and while you do so, look for these red flags.

I have a lot I want to say about this. I have been on both sides. I have been the Virtual Assistant AND I have been the client of Virtual Assistants and other service providers.

This topic is close to my heart because I have been on the side of NEEDING money and taking on every single client, even when I knew we weren’t a fit, and I have also burnt out as a service provider a few times too.

So I want you to look at this that you are hiring a team member so ensuring a positive and solid working relationship is a win-win for both you and the service provider.

First, follow your gut. We often know when someone is a good fit or not within the first few minutes of meeting them. But if you feel your spidey senses aren’t on point, here are 3 things to look for.

1. Responsiveness

Too much or too little of any one thing isn’t good.

1 – 2 business days to respond is reasonable. Keep in mind that freelance service providers have other clients to take care of so they don’t necessarily turn around emails or messages immediately but it is important that there is open communication.

On the other hand, if a service provider is responding at all hours of the day, this could signal a whole other set of issues. While at first this may appear to be good customer service, this could actually mean that they are working all of the time, have too much on their plate, or don’t have set office hours. You want your team members to be taking care of themselves.

There is a balance here. You want someone who will respond to you within a reasonable time frame but that isn’t overwhelmed and working constantly that they are on the brink of burnout either.

Ask on your initial call what you can expect from them in terms of response time.

2. Boundaries

To digress for a minute, I haven’t always had boundaries in business. To be honest, I didn’t know I could have them when I first started out as a freelance service provider.

I bought into the belief that the customer is always right. And while part of that is true, again, the VA/client relationship is a partnership. One in which both parties are exchanging energy.

So this mentality meant I would take on urgent, last minute tasks at the sacrifice of my sleep, downtime, or other clients.

Or it would mean that I would drag myself out of bed at 11:30 at night because I saw an urgent message come in.

And sometimes it looked like I would be playing the role of Online Business Manager but at Virtual Assistant rates.

Because of my work around boundaries, I take responsibility for the fact that I didn’t have them.

While it may seem that someone dropping everything for you, going above and beyond, etc is a good thing, we are looking to raise the standard of business and to show up for others the same way we show up for ourselves.

Look for red flags such as: “reach out to me any time of the day, I am always online”, or if they make promises that they can turnaround tasks very quickly, especially when they are a solopreneur.

3. Speaking Poorly of Others, Especially Other / Previous Clients

Let’s face it. As business owners, most of us have experienced working with misaligned clients.

But airing this out to just about everyone is a problem.

If on the first call you are speaking with a VA or service provider and they start bad mouthing their other clients or releasing more information than you are comfortable with, there is a chance they will do the same.

This list isn’t exhaustive.

And I can’t stress enough into tuning into how you feel about the service provider when you first meet and letting that be your best guide.

These were just some of the signs to look for.

What other red flags do you look for?

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