Getting to Know Your VA for a Productive Working Relationship

Asking a lot of questions during interviews is a common part of the process when looking for a new virtual assistant. But what a lot of people fail to do is find out more about how their VA works once they’re hired. 

It may be difficult to see why this is important. After all, a VA is expected to be professional, report for duty, and get the work done on time. The extent of the relationship between the employer and VA may seem pretty straightforward. 

It’s certainly not wrong to expect a VA to work independently and efficiently. But getting to know them a little better can set the stage for a more productive and lasting relationship. 

Why Should You Get to Know Your VA?

Hiring virtually has become a fairly common practice for many professionals, particularly those with online businesses. But finding someone interested in the success of your company is not an easy task. That’s why getting to know the people you hire is important. 

Finding out what makes your VA tick, how they like to work, and what they’re good at goes a long way towards helping find their place in your business. Sure, everyone may have to do some things they don’t particularly like doing from time to time. But if you can fit your employees to the tasks, they like most, you may have a team for life.

The best way to do this is by asking questions. Assure the VA they’ve already gotten the job and there are no specific expectations for their answers. Instead, let them know these questions are just a way for you to better understand how they work and how you can best cultivate a productive environment for your team.

The following questions are the best place to start.

What initially interested you about working for this company?

At first this may sound like one of those nerve-racking interview questions where the interviewee has to fake interest in a brand they know nothing about. But getting a genuine answer to this response can give you a better understanding of what motivates your VA. 

The things that drive a person can give you good insight into their passions and interests. If you can tap into that, you’ll be able to position them in the right position within your team.

How do you handle feedback?

Any time you ask this question, they’ll probably tell you they welcome feedback. But what you’re really fishing for is how they prefer to receive it. Nobody really likes being corrected, but you can find ways to do so constructively and delicately so as not to lose a good employee.

What motivates you?

Asking this question is helpful in finding ways to keep anyone on your team on task. Are they motivated by deadlines, incentives, affirmation, or something else? Obviously, you shouldn’t have to spend all your time coddling your employees, but having a good motivation strategy in place doesn’t hurt.

What are your peak working hours?

It’s a scientific fact that every individual has their own “personal pattern based on [their] circadian rhythm that influences [their] physiology and psychology.” Some theories suggest that there are three chronotypes: morning people, night people, and people who are somewhere in between.

Obviously, people who choose to work online as VAs are pretty used to setting their own schedules anyway. But if you can get to know what these ideal schedules are, it can help you delegate tasks accordingly, ensuring that you’re getting the best quality of work possible.

How do you prefer to communicate?

This could be one of the most important questions to ask your VA. The reason for this is that everyone processes information differently – verbally, orally, or auditorily. In other words, some people need to see the information listed in writing, while others need to hear it or be able to interact with another person. 

For example, let’s say your VA is more of a visual processor than anything else and you currently schedule phone calls to delegate tasks. They can probably take notes and be able to complete the task, but they might process the information more slowly and have to ask more questions. 

You could save both yourself and your VA a lot of time by just learning to communicate in the way that works best for them.

What are your 3 strongest skills?

VAs are sometimes forced to become a jack of all trades in order to get work, but everyone is better at certain things than they are others. Find out what they consider their very best strengths and play on those as much as possible. If everyone on your team is mostly doing the things they’re good at, you’re likely to have better success.

Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

The answer to this may not matter a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. It’s basically just another indicator of how they best communicate. Many people that work online are naturally introverted and don’t work as well on group projects or chats as they do individual tasks. But if they are extroverted, placing them in weekly group calls and putting teams together could be extremely beneficial.

Bottom Line

The purpose of these questions isn’t necessarily to alter the way you work, but to gauge the best way to communicate and assign tasks to your VA. It’s also a way to cultivate a positive working environment and gain loyalty from your staff. After all, the longer a VA is with you, the better they’ll learn your business and be able to help you more effectively run it. 

Many professionals find that after a couple of years with the same VA, they can trust them with responsibilities like replacing other team members or delegating tasks. In other words, taking the time upfront to develop a solid working relationship with your VA could save you hundreds of hours of work in the long run.