17 Virtual Assistant Skills and Qualities to Focus On When Hiring

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What virtual assistant skills and qualities should I look for when looking for my next team member?

Hiring for a position is more than just looking for people with the right sets of hard skills to complete the tasks. You need more than a content writer who can churn out excellent articles quickly. You want more than a graphic designer who is proficient in 3 different art tools. These hard skills are great, and necessary, but you also need hires to have certain soft skills. This is what helps you to work well with them. 

In this post, we are going to talk about qualities to look for in pretty much every hire regardless of the position, and why they are essential. 

1. Communication Skills

First on our virtual assistant skills list is probably the most important – communication. Imagine what would happen if hires did not pass information clearly or concisely. The work pipeline would get clogged up. Individual team members would get confused about tasks. Misunderstandings would occur frequently and nothing would get done properly. 

Beyond speaking the same language, there are several signs that a person is a good communicator. 

  • Listens well and is attentive
  • Takes notes
  • Asks good questions
  • Clarifies
  • Can speak back instructions
  • Relays instructions accurately
  • Can give clear instructions

2. Computer Literacy

Someone typing on a laptop, representing virtual assistant skills.

VAs naturally need to be able to navigate the digital space well. This includes software, apps, tools, and search engines. They typically need to know how to do video conferencing, emails, and the like. They Should also be familiar with the tools in the Google and/or Microsoft suites. At a minimum, they need to be adept in the technologies needed to accomplish their job. A great VA will keep learning how to increase productivity. They will also take steps to become more effective by using new tools and even automation. Additionally, freelancers also need to know how to navigate virtual assistant websites and freelance marketplaces. 

3. Creativity

These qualities don’t just apply to positions that require creative virtual assistant skills. For instance, you don’t need to be a graphics designer, content creator, editor, or advertiser. Innovation is not job specific. VAs can exercise their creative muscles together with their problem-solving skills. This way, they can come up with new ways of accomplishing tasks. 

4. Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills go hand in hand with communication skills. VAs need to be able to interact and deal with people at different levels. Most VAs you hire will go under a manager. You will also hire some to be these managers. Either way, they need to be able to work well with others. They must do this to be able to complete projects and attain common goals. Arguably, the best at this are VAs that have worked with several different companies with different cultures. 

They know how to:

  • Adapt to personalities and teams
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Build connections and rapport

5. Attention to Detail

Virtual assistants need to be detail-oriented. They do this when checking emails, entering data, and creating content. They also apply this skill when assessing the job description and rundown of roles and responsibilities. Some of the best virtual assistants are those who can spot mistakes that their superiors make. Then they can point them out, ask if it was intentional, and make suggestions to solve them. These qualities should be valued. Attention to detail shows that the VA takes initiative, takes responsibility, and cares about the job being accomplished well. 

6. Time Management Skills

A man looking at his watch in front of a laptop

Time management is essential, not only in the case of getting things done in an efficient time frame. It’s more than just meeting a deadline. For VAs, there is another layer. 

A lot of VAs are hired from overseas. This means they don’t always have the same time zone as the hiring company. They need to be able to accomplish their tasks. Then, they must allow room for questions and other concerns they may not be able to ask at any time of day. 

7. Decision-Making Skills

Nobody enjoys working with passive actors. VAs need to be able to think on their feet. This is based on their prior knowledge, prior experience, and given SOPs and instructions. A VA should take initiative and shouldn’t be overly reliant on their managers for every decision. 

8. Project/Task Management Skills

Hiring a VA for a management position can be tricky. A manager needs to be able to organize teams and tasks well. This includes having skills in project management software like ASANA, Trello, Zoho Projects, etc. 

These individuals can:

  • Create and organize workflows
  • Plan tasks in advance
  • Communicate goals, milestones, and deadlines
  • Delegate tasks
  • Communicate with individuals and teams 
  • Set up meetings 
  • Execute tasks together with the team
  • Track progress
  • Review results before submitting the final output

9. Independence

The best virtual assistants possess independence. They take initiative and apply knowledge-backed improvisation, which is important. This is especially true in a long-distance working relationship. Managers can’t hold the hand of VAs forever. Sure, there are some types of VAs, like followers who require guidance, training, and mentoring. However, this should only be a temporary arrangement. VAs should eventually be able to work alone effectively without the need for frequent check-ins or updates. 

10. Organization

A woman using a laptop and notebook at an organized desk.

A freelancer needs to be self-organized. Organization is a quality that can be observed in several places. They should be able to manage their time and set goals, plan, and manage workflows and teams. If you hire anyone who cannot stay organized, you will be in trouble. This lack of discipline will soon seep into their work!

11. Growth-Centered

One of our favorite and essential interview questions for job candidates is, “What do you value more, money or growth?”. This question gauges whether your hire is more interested in receiving a paycheck than in growth opportunities. People that choose the latter are often more ambitious. This also means that they are more likely to care for the work they do and the business they work for. 

12. Integrity and Honesty

You need to be able to trust a job candidate you intend to hire. You need someone who delivers on the brief. This includes any promises they have made to you about their capabilities. You should be hiring someone who does their job with consistent quality. Plus, this should be backed up by consistent morals.

A flaky team member can be a nightmare. Look for someone who exudes an air of professionalism. This is most likely someone who will keep their word. You can count on this type of person to accomplish the tasks you assign them. Moreover, you can count on them to take care of your company.

Even if they make a mistake, most people would rather their hires be upfront about it rather than try to hide it. Most people prefer honesty about their capabilities to a “fake it ’til you make it” attitude. 

13. Research Skills

A lot of VA positions require at least basic research skills. VAs should be able to find information from credible sources. They need to be able to recognize what information is essential. Part of these skills is also the ability to condense and summarize the gathered information. This is particularly useful for roles such as content writing and marketing. 

14. Customer Service Skills

Two females at a checkout counter with a POS terminal, representing customer service.

These skills are essential for VAs that interact directly with customers. This can be through email, live chat support, comment sections, review pages, and the like. Customer service is among the virtual assistant skills that require interpersonal, communication, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. All of this must be paired with a patient attitude of service and empathy. 

Questions have varying levels of depth. A customer service VA needs to be able to quickly provide a solution regardless of the complexity of the problem. 

15. Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving occurs when knowledge meets wisdom, critical thinking, and initiative. An excellent VA is not just able to recognize a problem. They use logic, creativity, and intuition and assess the situation to come up with one or more solutions. We give extra points to a VA who can think on the spot for problems that require immediate attention. 

16. Self-Learning Capabilities

Self-learning is one of the overlooked skills for virtual assistants to have. The ability to teach yourself is so valuable because it shows that you are adaptable, flexible, eager to learn, and focused on growth. A VA who continues to increase their knowledge, expand their skillsets, and is motivated to pursue continuing learning and training, is someone you want on your team. 

17.  Great Attitude

Last but not least on our virtual assistant skills list is a great attitude. This quality is often overlooked but is essential to a positive and peaceful work environment. No matter what comes their way from the job or within their personal life, a VA that maintains a great attitude is a light to everyone around them. When there is an issue that requires solving, this VA is a team player who encourages others, keeps morale up, and pushes forward until the job is done. They are patient, respectful, kind, upright, positive, hard-working, and responsible individuals. 

What Is Outsource School?

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Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

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Now you see why these virtual assistant skills shouldn’t be easily glossed over during the hiring process. We have tons of experience with bad hires and want to teach others how they can avoid the pains that come with that. Hopefully, this list will be a helpful guide to healthier, more productive, and more successful working experiences in the future. 

Want help outsourcing & hiring virtual assistants? We make it easy! Learn More, Speak w/ an Expert, or Request a Callback



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