Navigating the Challenges of Virtual Assistant Management – Part II

Feb 14


Gayle Buske

Gayle Buske

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In the digital age, virtual assistants (VAs) have become an invaluable asset for businesses looking to streamline operations and enhance productivity. However, managing VAs comes with its own set of challenges. In this article, we delve into strategies for mitigating performance pitfalls and safeguarding both the employer and the VA during the hiring process. By conducting thorough due diligence and implementing protective measures, businesses can foster a successful and secure working relationship with their virtual staff.

The Virtual Houdini: Preventing Disappearing Acts

Virtual assistants,Navigating the Challenges of Virtual Assistant Management – Part II Articles much like any other employees, can sometimes vanish without notice. While this may occur less frequently than in traditional office settings, it's not unheard of. A Buffer report on the state of remote work in 2020 found that communication and collaboration are among the top struggles for remote teams, which can contribute to a VA's sudden departure.

Proactive Measures to Protect Your Business

  • Online File Storage: Utilize cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox to store documents. This ensures that you maintain control over your files and can revoke access if necessary.
  • Payment Withholding: Include a clause in your contract that allows you to withhold payment until all work files are returned.
  • Password Security: Immediately change all passwords that the VA had access to upon their departure.

Assessing Skills and Reliability

Hiring a VA based solely on their claims of capability is risky. It's crucial to verify their skills and reliability through a multi-step vetting process.

Steps to Evaluate a Virtual Assistant

  1. Job Posting: Use reputable job boards like Indeed or LinkedIn to post your vacancy or search for VAs.
  2. Typing Test: Direct candidates to and request their results to assess speed and accuracy.
  3. Computer Skills Test: Websites like ExpertRating offer tests for software proficiency. Ask candidates to share their scores.
  4. Initial Interview: Conduct a thorough interview to gauge punctuality, communication skills, and job fit.
  5. Personality Assessment: Consider using services like Total Testing for personality and integrity evaluations.
  6. Secondary Interview: Have another person interview the candidate to obtain a second opinion.
  7. Contractual Agreement: Ensure a non-compete and non-disclosure agreement is signed before work begins.
  8. Tax Documentation: Request an EIN and a completed W-9 form to avoid future employment classification issues.

Material Management: Less is More

To prevent potential losses, only provide VAs with the necessary materials for their tasks. This minimizes the risk and cost associated with replacing unused resources.

Safeguarding Against Identity and Financial Theft

Although rare, the threat of identity and credit card theft exists. To minimize risks:

  • Avoid sharing your credit card information with VAs.
  • If necessary, provide a dedicated credit card for VA use and monitor it closely for unauthorized charges.

Ensuring Availability and Compatibility

Before hiring, confirm that the VA's availability aligns with your business needs. Ask about their current client load, weekly work hours, and time they can dedicate to your projects.

Understanding the Financials

Clarify all aspects of the VA's rates and billing practices:

  • Hourly rate and task-specific rates
  • Billing increments (preferably to the nearest minute)
  • Any start-up or termination fees
  • Minimum usage requirements
  • Budget compatibility and handling of overages
  • The VA's long-term professional intentions

Conclusion: Trust Your Instincts

When hiring a VA, it's essential to proceed cautiously and trust your instincts. If a VA isn't meeting your expectations, it's often best to part ways promptly. Conversely, taking the time to thoroughly vet candidates can greatly reduce the likelihood of future issues.

For more insights on virtual assistant management, keep an eye out for other articles in this series, such as "Avoiding Virtual Assistant Performance Pitfalls."

Team Double-ClickSM offers virtual assistance services tailored for small and home-based businesses. For more information, visit Team Double Click's website or call 888.827.9129. You can also download a free report on working with a virtual assistant.