Hiring A Virtual Assistant? Must-Have Traits To Look For BEFORE You Hire

Hiring A Virtual Assistant? Must-Have Traits To Look For BEFORE You Hire

There is no question the industry of virtual assistants (VA) is booming. It has become a popular trend among businesses and startups for quite some time to hire VAs. Virtual assistants are being utilized by business owners for a variety of reasons including additional workforce or as a method of cutting costs. Whatever reason it is, the benefits can be very significant.

VAs can handle a wide variety of office tasks that you can expect from a traditional employee such as administrative assistant tasks, customer service, data entry, content writing, and much more. They are expected to have substantial knowledge and expertise in the job. They must be able to demonstrate that they are capable and skilled.

Virtual Assistants are valuable members of an executive team bringing order and efficiency to a company — but making the right hire can be difficult. Several months back, I made the decision to hire a virtual assistant for Ann Albrecht Consulting. When I posted the open position on LinkedIn, the results were overwhelming. Before I even began the interviewing process, I knew I had to take some time to figure out traits I was looking for and what qualities they must have to align with my business goals. To be sure I hired the best virtual assistant for Ann Albrecht Consulting, I made a list of the must-have traits and vital qualities I was looking for and what I felt would make AAC unique:


Virtual assistants work remotely and virtually, meaning everything is done online. VA’s are often the first line of IT defense for a company. Understanding of different platforms and software is key. Having the knowledge and communication skills to walk someone through using technology remotely is vital. Tech-Savviness is an essential trait you want to look for. With most businesses being conducted online, companies cannot afford to have a tech mistake. Tech know-how today is like unjamming the fax paper of yesterday.

Critical Thinking

The last thing you want is a VA that simply goes through their day checking tasks off a list without truly investing the time or effort into producing quality work.  The whole point of employing the help of a VA is to have a helping hand to carry out tasks, find solutions, and solve issues that may come up. Realize that it is unrealistic to assume your VA will be a “jack of all trades”. They should, however, be resourceful. This may involve researching material and finding solutions to the problems that clients face. It’s common for clients who are pressed on time to have virtual assistants do things like check facts, reply to emails and manage calendars. Knowing how to perform these tasks requires information that is sometimes hard to find. Virtual assistants who are ready and willing to do this work are valuable to a business owner.

When hiring a VA, look for someone who can work through issues, try different things before giving up, and always avoids “going up the ladder” with issues.

You want someone who can solve problems, think on their feet and take the initiative. This will ultimately save you time, money and your sanity.


At Ann Albrecht Consulting, handling multiple tasks and clients at the same time, is a trait we look for in our VAs. It is normal for VAs to be doing different tasks simultaneously. Virtual assistants are going to be asked a wide range of questions they may not know the answers to, but they must know where to find the answer. They will likely have multiple projects and must have the ability to stay organized, keep things moving forward, know what to prioritize, and work efficiently. Virtual assistants must excel in multi-tasking.

Flexibility and Composure

Things will inevitably get a little chaotic at times, but it’s up to the virtual assistant to never let the clients see what’s going on behind the scenes. Each client should always feel as though they are the number one priority – regardless of how hectic the workload may be.

Instances may occur where there’s a short turn-around time or a higher workload than normal, and your VA should be able to not only handle the pressure but refrain from passing on any stress or negativity to a client. When hiring a VA, you need to look for someone who understands there will be times when they will need to work within different response approaches and cultures of executives and teams. And every client is different. It is up to the VA to blend in with what they do, but give push back where appropriate.

Ability to Work Under Pressure

A virtual assistant’s job can be highly stressful at times, so the capability to work gracefully, and efficiently under pressure is an important trait. VA’s must have an effective stress management system and a hard-working mindset for every job. Meeting deadlines can be one of the most common stressors for virtual assistants.

If something unexpected occurs, exceptional VAs are still able to adjust and complete their tasks on time. Having open communication with clients at a time of stress and tight deadlines is extremely beneficial for both the VA and client to ensure all work is completed to the highest standards. At the end of the day, these work habits reflect the personality, working habits and discipline, and reliability of a virtual assistant.

Communication Skills

VAs will be taking calls, scheduling meetings, overseeing certain business functions, and managing administrative requests. They are often the first point of contact for your company. When hiring someone for this position, one trait to look for is professional communication skills. You want someone that can communicate effectively with you, other executives, clients and your employees.

Generally, there are no in-person meetings with your VA, so clients must rely on emails, phone calls, messaging platforms and video calls to communicate. Being able to write and speak clearly helps provide a positive experience to all who communicate with the virtual assistant, which results in positive impressions of your company.

Time Management Skills

Time management skills are also at the top of list of traits to look for in a virtual assistant. VAs must know how to manage their time wisely because, more often than not, they will be working with multiple clients and schedules. To make multi-tasking as efficient as possible, virtual assistants will use online calendars and prioritize tasks in a certain way so they don’t miss any important details or deadlines. When hiring a VA, ask what their style of time management is, their understanding of prioritizing. It is vital that they have an understanding of your expectations and that they could be working on many projects at one time.


Because virtual assistants typically work alone in a home environment, they must possess the discipline and motivation required to stay focused. They must understand how to prioritize time-sensitive requests and follow through with other requests while completing their work on time. When virtual assistants stay organized and follow a regular work routine, they have an easier time staying motivated throughout the day.


While intelligence, organizational skills, excellent communication and writing skills are all key traits to look for when hiring a VA – you want to look for someone you can trust to become an integral part of your business. After all, a VA will become privy to confidential information and the inner workings of your company. And just as important, you want to hire a VA who truly cares about your clients and customers.

If you are a busy CEO, trying to grow your business in the most effective and efficient ways possible, you’re probably stretching yourself and your team too thin by trying to do it all. You might want to consider hiring a Virtual Assistant. Call Ann Albrecht Consulting today to learn more about how we can help maximize your business.