Hiring an Effective Virtual Assistant: Essential Skills

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What are some virtual assistant skills that a virtual assistant needs to have?

Hiring virtual assistants is great because they can help you with a wide variety of tasks.

Whether you're a business owner or a job-seeker, it's important to know what are the virtual assistant skills needed in order to be successful.

Virtual assistants are an integral part of any business's success. They can help you manage your day-to-day tasks, free up your time so you can focus on growing your business, and even help make decisions for you. But how do you find the perfect virtual assistant? And what should they be able to do?

In this article, we discuss the essential skills needed as a virtual assistant and how to hire an effective one.

Read the Full Transcript

Atiba de Souza: What skills should you look for in your virtual assistant?

Hey everybody. I am Atiba and welcome to my channel! And today that's the question that we're going to be tackling. What kind of skills should you be looking for when you're hiring a virtual assistant? Well, let me just be honest with you. It depends. It really depends on the position that you're hiring for. 

There is no bulletproof set of, or list of these skills that a virtual assistant must have. And that's because you need to, and if you've watched any of my other videos, you've heard me say this, you need to hire a virtual assistant who can perform a specific set of tasks and duties. You know, I, I had a conversation the other day. It was actually, I think it was yesterday with someone and they were talking about their virtual assistant and they wanted someone who could do email management for them, manage their calendar, also take sales calls, do their accounting and then a couple other tasks in the marketing field. And they're like, "I can't understand why she can't do it". Because you couldn't do it! Because no human can do all of that. 

Okay? So the first thing in understanding what skills you need your virtual assistant to have is to narrow down the job you want them to do. Know exactly the job you want them to do. And don't start giving them things that are all over the place and all over your company. 

Keep them in a narrow field. That well-defined in that narrow field. Because then once you have that narrow field say, I need someone who can handle my accounting, my accounts receivables. Okay? Or, my payables or whatever it may be. I need someone who can handle my social media marketing and even that is too broad because what are you talking about? Are you talking about Instagram? Are you talking about Facebook? Okay? So narrow it down and be really, really specific about the job that you want done. Once you've done that, and you know that job, then it comes down to hard skills and soft skills for that position and for your company.

Now, the hard skills are going to be all about the position itself. So if I'm hiring someone to run Facebook ads for me, a hard skill is going to be that, guess what? You got to know, Facebook ads. You've had to run Facebook ad campaigns before. You have to know bid strategies. You may need to know Canva to create my creative. You may need to know copywriting to write my copy, okay? 

So it really, really depends on the job that you want done, what those hard skills are going to be. Then on the other side are all of the soft skills. The soft skill is super, super important. And so often we overlook the soft skills and it's the soft skills that end up ruining our relationships with our team members, with our virtual assistants, okay? Because it's the soft skills that define a lot of the interpersonal things, if you will, between us. Things like communication, it's a really big thing. If we can't communicate well, then this relationship probably isn't going to work out. So communication is a really, really, really big soft skill, okay? That you have to make sure that that communication, that you're communicating well. And that they can communicate well to you. 

Then after that, there's an entire list of soft skills. And actually I'm going to read some off of, this is the balancedcareers.com where I found this list. And not all of these soft skills are going to apply. For example, critical thinking. Sure, for most jobs you may think "Critical thinking! Yeah, I want someone who can think critically." But maybe it's not super high on, on the list for you. Maybe it's just a data entry position and you just need them to just enter this data. There isn't a lot of critical thinking going on there. 

Leadership is another one, okay? Positive attitude. Come on. That, you know, and, and here too guys, with these skills, you can't just say, "I want someone with a positive attitude" because guess what? My definition of positive and your definition of positive probably don't line up. So you have to really know what, what you mean and what a positive attitude looks like for you. If that's a soft skill that matters to you. If it's important to you. 

Teamwork, okay? Is this person going to work in a team? Are you going to require them to get, let's go back to the first one, communicate with others. How do they work in a team together? 

All these interpersonal skills, work ethic, what are they, you know, do you want someone who's going to go above and beyond? Of course we all want someone who's going to go above and beyond, but what does that mean? What does that mean to you? And what does that mean to them, okay? 

What does that mean? Because you are going to be paying them per hour, right? And, but you expect them to do extra work and not get paid? Well, that may not be fair to them and they may not consider that good work ethic, and you might. But guess what? If that's what you want, I guarantee you there's somebody you can find. But you have to know that work ethic is really, really big for you. 

Okay? So these are just a few guys, of the soft skills that kind of exist out there. And so remember when you're looking for what traits, what skills does a virtual assistant need to have, the first thing that you have to do is what? Figure out what are the hard skills for the task after you've narrowed down the task. And then most importantly, figure out the soft skills that you want this person to possess to be part of your team and then go look for that. Interview and try to figure out the people who actually have those soft skills. And then who have the hard skills. 

Here's a pro tip. If I find someone who has this, if I'm interviewing you, I find you and you have the soft skills? You fit in our organization, you fit with what we, how we work and what I want, but you don't have the hard skills for the tasks that you may have even applied for? I'll hire you anyway and put you, and find a place where you can fit because it's more important to hire for those soft skills first, and then the hard skills. You can teach the hard skills, but you cannot teach those soft skills. 

All right, everybody. I hope this was super helpful for you. If you have any comments, drop your comments down below and I'll see you later. Bye-bye.

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