10 red flags to watch for, when hiring a VA

Hiring a VA (Virtual Assistant) is no different to hiring any other employee. Although a VA is not an employee, the principles of hiring are the same – you need to take your time to find the right person for your business. 

However, as most of the recruiting process is carried out online when hiring a VA, you need to ensure you carry out due diligence. Also, pay attention to how they act as a business owner too. You’re looking to hire someone who is going to be helping you in your business and also acting on behalf of it too – so you need them to have the right hard and soft skills, as well as the right attitude and manner. 

Here are 10 red flags that you need to watch for if you don’t want to end up with an unsuitable candidate.

#1: Lack of responsiveness 

A VA needs to be someone you can easily get in touch with and will respond promptly. If they’re challenging to get hold of or bad at replying, you’re going to struggle to get the support you need when you need it.

#2: No boundaries 

A VA must have the right boundaries in place. This includes using client contracts, having set work hours and response times, as well as taking days off. Being able to contact your VA 24/7 and getting a reply isn’t a good thing for either of you.

#3: They don’t pay attention and/or make mistakes 

This is easy to pick up on when you have your initial contact with them. If they’re distracted during the call or making mistakes in their emails, it doesn’t bode well for long term client satisfaction.

#4: Missing track record

Hiring a VA is no different to hiring anyone else – check out their work references and history. Ensure it all adds up and that gaps are accounted for.

#5: When hiring a VA, make sure they don’t have too much on their plate

Listen for warning signs that they have too much work. You want their best work, and they can’t do this if they haven’t had a holiday for a year and are saying how heavy their workload is. Fitting you into an already full schedule is not doing you or them any favours.

#6: Watch for conflicts of interest

Confidentiality will prevent them from disclosing existing clients. But it’s worth finding out if they’re working with other people in your industry, especially if you’re in a competitive niche.

#7: A lack of discretion 

Again, this is something that can be picked up on your initial communications. If they’re sharing statuses about being annoyed with their clients or mentioning confidential information on a discovery call, walk away.

#8: Dishonest about their skills or experience 

If you’re looking into hiring a VA and they’ve embellished their skill set or the clients they’ve worked with, it’s a sign of dishonesty. Check out their testimonials and their businesses. Ask for contact details of a few clients you can talk to or email, so you can get a better understanding of the work they’ve done for other people and the experiences they have.

#9: They don’t feel right for you

Don’t discount how you feel, when talking to a potential new VA. If you feel ‘off’ about them or they don’t feel right for you, trust that feeling and walk away.

#10: They’re not taking their own business seriously 

Never underestimate this one. If they’re happy to work with any client, no matter what the niche, have no contracts, no real online presence, or are using a personal email address or profile for work purposes, it’s not good. You want them to take your business seriously – but how can they do that, if they’re not taking their own business seriously?

When looking to hire a VA, you must be aware of the above 10 red flags, but don’t get put off by them. Use them as a guideline for what to look for, when outsourcing. 

Whether you’re looking into hiring a VA, and Admin Consultant or a Personal Assistant, these red flags help remind you to do your homework, carry out checks and to speak with a candidate, before you hire them. That way, you’re not only carrying out due diligence, but you’re also going with your gut feelings too. 

If you’re wondering what the differences are between the different types of VA, take a read of Are all Virtual Assistant businesses the same? Here’s a blog that will show you how an Admin Consultant can help your business. And if you’re curious to find out how your business life might look partnering with me – book in for a free 20-minute chat to find out.



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