Questions to ask virtual assistant candidates

August 10, 2023
Questions to ask virtual assistant candidates

What you need to know before hiring a virtual assistant

You've made the savvy choice to work with a virtual assistant – kudos! After drafting a clear job description and spreading the word online or via platforms like Runnovate, which conveniently matches you with suitable virtual assistants, you've now got a bunch of interested candidates. But what's the next move in finding that perfect fit? Don't worry; we've got you covered.

In this article, we'll walk you through a set of interview questions designed to help you uncover the best virtual assistant. This professional partner will not only understand your goals but also contribute to your business success. These questions work best when you chat with potential virtual assistants for the first time, whether it's an initial talk such as a discovery call or a formal interview. Let's kickstart your journey to finding the right virtual assistant using these questions.

Ask these questions before deciding to work with a new virtual assistant

Tell me about yourself

Goal: Getting to know each other 

Asking this question allows you to understand the virtual assistant's personality, interests, and motivations. This question also helps you find out who they are, what they care about and why. This will be particularly important because you want to hire a virtual assistant whose personality and skills match to what you are looking for. Furthermore, you want to choose a virtual assistant whom you can cultivate a good rapport with so this is your chance to evaluate if the virtual assistant will be a good fit to your company’s culture and your values. This question also opens up opportunities to connect on various levels and establish a good foundation for the rest of the interviews. 

Tell me about your previous experience working as a virtual assistant

Goal: Understand work history

Learning about the virtual assistant’s previous experience is crucial in assessing their suitability for your specific business needs. Depending on your needs, you might seek virtual assistants with varying levels of expertise. For instance, if marketing is an area where you lack proficiency, hiring a virtual assistant seasoned in marketing can be invaluable. Conversely, if you excel in marketing but require hands to execute tasks, a less experienced but efficient virtual assistant might suffice.

Keep in mind that being new to the virtual assistant field with limited experience doesn't necessarily mean that they can’t quickly learn and that they won’t be able to be good at the job. Stay receptive to assessing the eagerness to learn and the inquisitiveness of candidates who are in the early stages of their careers. If they align well with your requirements, consider offering them an opportunity to prove their capabilities.

Consider asking follow up questions like "What accomplishments stood out in your previous roles and what challenges did you face?" These questions will help you have a better understanding of the virtual assistant’s experience. 

What specific skills do you have that make you a great virtual assistant?

Goal: Know core competencies 

This question gives the virtual assistant candidate a chance to sell themselves and their skills. Are they specialists or experts in certain domains? Are they generalists who excel in different skills? What hard skills do they possess? What about soft skills? 

To get more information, ask follow up questions that will encourage the virtual assistants to elaborate on their skills and give specific instances where they have applied those skills successfully. For example, if a virtual assistant says that they have great communication skills, you can ask them to recount instances when their great communications skills led to successful client engagement.  

This question helps you identify the virtual assistants’ core competencies so that you can evaluate whether they are the right fit for you and for the role that you want to fill. 

What are your weaknesses?

Goal: Know what they are not good at

After gaining insights into the virtual assistant's strengths, it's equally important to know their weaknesses. Inquiring about their weaknesses reveals their self-awareness and honesty. A conscientious virtual assistant will candidly address areas where they lack proficiency or are actively refining their skills. This transparency assists in shaping your decision-making process.

Once you're aware of their shortcomings, you're better equipped to chart your course. For instance, suppose you require a virtual assistant for content creation, but they admit to having challenges in writing. This scenario presents an opportunity: you can decide whether to proceed and potentially offer guidance to enhance their writing skills or whether this aspect is a critical deal-breaker.

It's essential to remember that perfection is elusive, and continuous learning and improvement are universal. Be open to considering the holistic picture before turning down a virtual assistant who might be lacking in specific skills. 

Do you have experience using X certain tools?

Goal: Assess tool proficiency

Tailor this question to align with the specific tools or software that is integral to your business uses or what that you plan to use in the future. When you are bringing a virtual assistant, you will have a smoother and faster onboarding process if they are already acquainted with the tools that you use for your business. This familiarity expedites their ability to hit the ground running eliminating the need for a steep learning curve during onboarding. For example, if you use Hootsuite for your social media management, then getting a virtual assistant who is familiar with Hootsuite would be an optimal match. 

However, it's prudent not to discount a candidate solely due to unfamiliarity with your specific tools. Sometimes a virtual assistant candidate might have experience using similar tools and so they will be able to quickly learn and adapt. In some other instances, the virtual assistant candidate might not have the experience using the tools but they are quick learners who can swiftly adapt to new software. Therefore, when evaluating potential candidates, consider this question as a valuable gauge, but embrace a holistic appraisal to make a well-informed decision. 

Do you have experience in the X industry? 

Goal: Establish industry familiarity

Inquiring about a virtual assistant's industry background provides insight into their grasp of the industry's language and dynamics. While industry experience isn't mandatory, it holds distinct advantages. A virtual assistant well-versed in your industry brings a profound understanding of its intricacies, leveraging their existing knowledge to enhance your business pursuits.

Moreover, their industry familiarity streamlines the onboarding process, ensuring a seamless integration. Opting for a virtual assistant with industry experience offers a strategic advantage, as they can swiftly contribute to your business goals through their pre-existing insights.

How do you communicate with your clients? 

Goal: Understand communication approach

Solid communication is the bedrock of fruitful collaboration. Unveiling the virtual assistant's client communication style provides insights into their manner of interaction, offering a glimpse into your potential working relationship. This juncture can also serve as an opportunity to align your communication preferences and expectations.

It's crucial to explore whether their communication style aligns with your business's communication framework. This conversation lets you discuss whether you prioritize asynchronous or synchronous communication. Establishing clear communication expectations is pivotal, as misunderstandings in this area can lead to unproductive collaborations between virtual assistants and clients.

How do you handle multiple tasks and clients simultaneously without compromising quality?

Goal: Assess time management and organization skills

A lot of virtual assistants work with more than one client at a time. This means that they will be having different tasks from different clients at the same time. This question is designed to shed light on their capacity to adeptly navigate working with multiple clients without compromising the excellence of their work. 

From their response you will learn more about the virtual assistant’s ability to balance multiple commitments, prioritize effectively, allocate time efficiently, and ensure each task receives the requisite attention. Ensuring that you get a virtual assistant who will ensure that your projects consistently meet the desired quality standards is paramount 

Can you provide examples of challenging situations you've encountered as a virtual assistant and how you handled them?

Goal: Assess resourcefulness

This question serves as a robust litmus test for evaluating a virtual assistant's problem-solving acumen, resourcefulness, and resilience. The role of a virtual assistant often presents hurdles, and understanding their approach to navigating these challenges provides insights into their adaptability.

Even after onboarding, your virtual assistant may encounter obstacles in their work. Their ability to narrate past challenges and elucidate their strategies for overcoming them underscores their resourcefulness and creativity. These traits are pivotal for a successful virtual assistant who can deftly surmount obstacles, ensuring the continuity of seamless support.

How do you ensure data security and confidentiality when handling sensitive information?

Goal: Evaluate commitment to confidentiality

Given the frequent exposure to private data, it's important to understand a virtual assistant's approach to data security and the safeguarding of sensitive information. This question delves into their strategies for upholding the confidentiality of entrusted data, shedding light on their dedication to this critical aspect.

In certain scenarios, your virtual assistant might require access to your personal accounts or email for task execution. Consequently, the onus lies on hiring individuals who exemplify trustworthiness. Establishing their approach to data protection ensures that the virtual assistant aligns with your stringent confidentiality requirements, offering peace of mind in an environment where the secure handling of information is non-negotiable.

You can also use this question to see if they use password encryption tools like Lastpass. This way you will know that your accounts and confidential information will be safe.

What's your work availability? 

Goal: Assess matching availability

Understanding the virtual assistant's availability offers a pivotal glimpse into their potential alignment with your operational needs. If you require 20 hours of weekly support, a virtual assistant with a matching availability is the ideal fit. Moreover, clarifying whether you will be operating synchronously or asynchronously is crucial.

In synchronous collaborations, ensuring the virtual assistant's presence during your working hours is paramount. This factor is particularly significant when partnering with virtual assistants across varying time zones. Gauging their availability assures a harmonious workflow, fostering seamless communication and collaboration.

What are your rates? 

Goal: Determine financial compatibility

Addressing the financial aspect of the working relationship is crucial. You need to know your virtual assistant’s rate in order to establish if it falls within your budget. You also need to understand their expected mode of remuneration. Are they charging per hour, per day, per week, per month or per project? Ensuring transparent expectations regarding their rates is vital. This not only facilitates effective financial planning but also ensures that there are no ambiguities when it comes to compensation for their services.

What are your long-term goals as a virtual assistant?

Goal: Explore long term alignment

This question serves as a window into the virtual assistant's professional aspirations, unveiling their envisioned path and potential contributions to your business down the road. Beyond assessing their personal career goals, it also offers a gauge of their alignment with your company's values and objectives.

Moreover, delving into their long-term trajectory provides valuable insights into how you can play a role in their growth. This insight can facilitate the cultivation of a symbiotic relationship, where both parties benefit from mutual support and collaborative advancement. By delving into their future plans, you not only gain clarity about their trajectory but also lay the groundwork for a harmonious and mutually beneficial partnership.

Do you have any questions for me? 

Goal: Gauge curiosity and engagement

This query provides a valuable gauge of the virtual assistant's inquisitiveness and level of engagement in the hiring process. It not only grants the virtual assistant a platform to seek clarifications about your business or the role but also showcases their proactivity in understanding the nuances.

Furthermore, this question offers insights into their genuine interest in the position. An eager and invested candidate will likely have thoughtful inquiries, reflecting their commitment to comprehending the responsibilities and expectations. Their questions can provide a deeper understanding of their alignment with your needs and objectives. Embracing their queries as a two-way exchange underscores their enthusiasm and proactive approach, fostering a promising foundation for a productive partnership.


By using these thoughtful questions in your virtual assistant interviews, you'll be better equipped to find the perfect fit for your business. Remember, it's not just about skills and experience – it's also about how well they fit with your work style and company culture. Don't forget to customize the questions to match your specific needs and industry. You can even add questions that relate to any unique challenges your business might face. These questions will help you assess if the virtual assistant is the right match for your business, ensuring a successful partnership that supports your growth and goals.

Are you wondering what questions virtual assistants will be asking to assess if a client is the right fit? Check out our blog “Questions to ask potential clients”.

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