5 Red Flags To Watch For When Hiring A Virtual Assistant

red flags to watch for in hiring virtual assistants

Hiring a virtual assistant can help take your business to the next level. Many companies in the United States and other countries have seen this for themselves. It has helped them bring new talent to their team, get more work done, and save money at the same time.

Typically, virtual assistant salaries are lower compared with full-time employees in your office. Plus you won’t have to spend expensively on training costs, facilities or insurance.

You, as a business owner, get to focus on things that matter most as you recruit the right virtual assistant.

As a Forbes article reminds entrepreneurs:

“If you find yourself wasting most of your hours doing time-consuming daily tasks, you need to hire a virtual assistant.”

Where to find virtual assistants online

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When hiring a virtual assistant, you can check out popular virtual assistant platforms such as:

For the most part, you can post job openings and offers on these sites and expect applications from interested parties.

That said, there are certain things you should look out for before hiring a prospective employee online.

5 red flags to watch for when hiring a virtual assistant

As you go through the hiring process, here are five red flags you should keep in mind. Remember, your goal is to ensure you don’t end up hiring the wrong person.

So if you see one or more of these signs, here’s a friendly tip: save yourself some trouble and run the other way.

1. The person is not responsive to your messages

man looking angry while on his laptop
Image source: Canva

Communication is key when it comes to successfully hiring a virtual assistant. Before the actual interview, you will probably exchange messages with a candidate you’re considering for the position.

Naturally, you should factor in the differing time zones between you and the person. You can’t expect to receive a quick reply if you’re from the US and the candidate is, say, from the Philippines. However, 2 or 3 business days without a response is just plain unacceptable.

Maybe the person isn’t really that interested in the job? Or they’ve already found another opportunity? Or they’re simply unprofessional? In any case, non-responsiveness is a no-no.

You want a virtual assistant you can easily contact, especially if they’re going to be a permanent member of your team.

2. Not on time for the scheduled interview

Of course, being late during the job interview is the most obvious warning sign. If a candidate can’t even make it on time, it may imply a lack of enthusiasm for the position. It could likewise be an indication that a person has poor time management skills and does not value punctuality.

Needless to say, both are important qualities you’d want a prospective employee to have.

Unless an applicant has a perfectly valid excuse, tardiness is definitely a huge deal breaker for most employers. You certainly wouldn’t want to hire someone who’s always late for work and constantly fails to meet deadlines.

3. Speaks negatively about their previous bosses

people making fun of their boss
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Another factor to watch out for is when the applicant loves badmouthing their past bosses. As you inquire about their previous job experiences, take time to listen and assess their tone as they answer.

If the applicant starts by talking about how terrible their boss was, then that’s not a good sign.

Besides, someone who habitually blames others for everything will likely blame you (or your other employees) when things go wrong in the future.

Negativity and defamatory remarks almost always reflect more about the person’s character than their past employers.

4. Has a shady reputation online

Hiring managers today commonly do social media background checks before they hire a virtual assistant. Doing so helps them learn more about the applicant – and if there are any red flags to watch out for.

This is specifically important if the position involves personally dealing with your customers. As the candidate will represent your brand, you want someone who does not, for example, have a history of racist or sexist online remarks.

If you’re hiring a writer or an artist, make sure that their work portfolio is really theirs - not something stolen off the internet!

And while doing your checks, do take the time to look at their LinkedIn profile, too. Can you spot any inconsistencies or discrepancies with who they claim to be in their resume? You may even go the extra mile and call references they’ve provided. That way, you can verify any important information you may have doubts about.  

5. Lies about their qualifications

person giving a fake resume
Image source: Canva

As mentioned in the example above, honesty is crucial. If truthfulness is important for you, you certainly want to hire someone reliable and trustworthy. In short, you want a virtual assistant who will match the type of workplace culture you have.   

An applicant who lies about their qualifications to get a job will likely deceive you in other matters as well. While skills and knowledge are important, a person with the right characteristics and values will contribute the most to your company.

Final thoughts

Outsourcing can truly make a big difference in the way you run your business. As you tap the available resources online and find the right people, you’ll be able to achieve more as a company. You’ll achieve greater productivity while potentially increasing your earnings at the same time.

Best of luck on hiring a virtual assistant!

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