Getting the Best Virtual Assistant is Important. How Do You Conduct a Successful Virtual Staffing Job Interview?

When a position has opened up within your business or company, you now must go through the processes of looking for that perfect replacement. But did you know that finding the right person for the job can ultimately come down to how you conduct the interview? Not everyone is as they seem in an interview. It’s your job to find the real person beneath that nervous exterior.

Below are some great tips on how to conduct a successful virtual staffing job interview.

Prepare your questions based on your requirements

As you’ve now reached the interview stage, you will have a good idea of how your potential new staff members meet your exact requirements. On paper, they seem like the real deal. However, you will now need to ascertain whether they fit the bill as the person they claim to be. At this point, you should be basing your questions largely around the job description your applicants will have read. Find out how exactly they meet your requirements.

For example, you asked for someone who could work on their own and as part of a team. So, your question should be: in the past, how have you worked well on your own, and as part of a team? Do you have examples?

If you also asked for someone who had experience leading a team, a good question would be: how did you know you were successful in leading a team?

By using the word ‘how’, it becomes an open-ended question which requires much explanation. You don’t want people to say they are something but not follow it up with proof. Your applicants need to back their statements up with past examples. The best virtual assistant is one who can confidently and accurately provide real life examples that show their skillset.

Make your applicant feel at ease

It can be difficult to break through the nervy exterior of a potential applicant. After all, this entire interview could help them become a virtual assistant, or it could not. It’s a nerve-wracking process. You can help your applicant feel at ease by providing them with a list of things prior to their interview that will help them in the process.

This could include:

 

  • The topics going to be covered – this can reduce their stress levels if they know the exact questions and topics being covered in the interview. It can also help them prepare better.
  • Providing them with the names of the people who are going to be interviewing them. This can help them become more familiar with your workplace.
  • Informing them about the need to undertake an example task to show their skillset.

 

These simple things could help you see your applicant for the person they really are, not a nervous wreck with temporarily poor social skills.

 

Provide real life situations for the applicant to find solutions for

Anyone can lie on their resume. You could be a scientist, or a doctor or an astronaut. Anyone can be anything in written form. But as they say, the proof is in the pudding. In order to know whether your applicant is really up to the job, provide them with a task. This has become common practice in several industries. Within the food industry, chefs are often asked to prepare a meal. In journalism, applicants need to write a story. In graphic design, applicants are asked to create a flyer or a brochure. If you can’t do virtual administrative assistant tasks in the job interview, how can you do it in the actual job?

Actions speak louder than words.

Have no more than three staff members present

As the main interviewer, you need to make sure it’s not just you that likes a potential applicant. You alone should not determine whether a staff member is fit for a virtual staffing position within your company. This is why it’s important to have 1-2 other staff members present to help you make an informed decision. This could include your boss, and potentially someone that has to work with that person. It pays to include no more than two other people as this can not only overwhelm the applicant, but it can also take longer to come to a decision on who to choose.

Find out about the applicant

Finding out about the applicant is not only for your benefit, but for the applicant as well. There’s no better way to make an applicant feel at ease than by asking them to talk about themselves, their hobbies and their passions. This is an opportunity for them to talk about something other than a job. It’s also an opportunity for you to find out who they are in a social capacity. Do they enjoy sports? Do they like gardening or reading or movies? When a person talks about their passions, they are often able to break free of their professional restraints to become a very relatable person, just like you. This can help relieve the tension substantially.

Take your time

There’s no need to rush interviews, people know they take a while and expect it. Don’t feel under pressure to make it short and sweet. You need to ask the applicant as many questions as possible in order to find that one person who will fit into the dynamics of your workplace with ease. Many job interviews for virtual staffing positions take, on average, 90 minutes to two hours. This is plenty of time to ascertain whether someone is fit for the role or is not. You should also factor in more time if your applicant is to undertake a task during the interview. This in itself can add on an additional 30 minutes to one hour. You want them to feel as comfortable as possible in an unfamiliar environment, even if it is virtual.

 

Have you conducted a job interview for a virtual staffing position? How did you know an applicant was ‘the one’? We would love to hear your special tips and tricks for conducting the perfect job interview.

5 Ways to Impress in a Virtual Staffing Job Interview

There are never any guarantees that any job interview – whether you do well in it or not – will land you the job. Sometimes, there’s just someone more qualified and suitable for the position. However, you can greatly increase your chances of landing that dream job, all by being prepared and knowing how best to present yourself.

It doesn’t matter whether your job is over Skype or in person – for a virtual staffing position or in a physical location; every interview technique counts. Within this article, we will show you five ways you can impress in a virtual staffing job interview.

Research the business

Believe it or not, plenty of people turn up to job interviews not knowing much about the business they could be working for. This potentially could be the biggest mistake you could make in a job interview. If you’ve reached the interview stage for a virtual assistant position, you need to ensure you know as much as you can about the business. It doesn’t matter if your interview is on Skype or in person, the same rules apply.

When researching the business, you need to know:

  • A brief history of the business – how long it has been around for.
  • What products and services the business offers – including any leading brands.
  • How big the team is.
  • Who you will be answering to if you are successful in your bid for the job.
  • Who the general manager, CEO or owner is.
  • The message, morals or values the business stands for.
  • What your job description is – what you would be doing within the company if you are successful.

Without basic knowledge about the business or company, you run the risk of not being able to answer a question, or being able to provide examples of how your skill set can benefit the business.

One of the main questions asked in any job interview is “what is our business all about?”

Failure to answer this can ultimately see your name scratched off the list of potential employees.

Dress to impress

It doesn’t matter if your interview is via video or in person, you should always dress to impress. However, it pays to know the kind of role you will be working in. This can ultimately help you decide on your attire. You don’t want to dress for a formal occasion, but you do want to dress how you generally would in an office environment.

For men:

  • Tidy facial hair
  • A dress shirt
  • Dress pants
  • Dress shoes
  • A casual/formal jacket
  • Cologne (not too strong)

For women:

  • Tidy hairstyle – avoid wearing it out if it’s windy on your way to the interview
  • Dress pants or a tidy skirt or dress
  • A dress shirt
  • Blazer
  • Basic jewellery and/or a light layer of makeup
  • Perfume (not too strong)

Smile

The best virtual assistant is one who can smile and make clients feel at ease. So where better to present your smiley disposition than at your first interview? First impressions do count, and if you’re sporting a scowl that could scare off a wild animal, you more than likely will not land the job.

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, scary and overwhelming at best. But you can’t let that show. As the old saying goes: fake it ‘til you make it.

Plant the smile on your face before you meet with the interviewer and try to believe it. Fortunately, many business owners or heads of department are aware of how daunting a job interview can be. Some counteract this by making the interview process relaxing, and sometimes even humorous. That can help you provide a genuine smile – not one that’s masking genuine terror.

Unfortunately, many people lose out on jobs purely because they didn’t let their personality shine through. Although it can be hard to do so in unfamiliar territory, you have to remind yourself that a change in facial expression can be all it takes to land that virtual administrative assistant position.

Be aware of your body language

When you’re feeling nervous, angry, sad, or happy, your body can do some weird and wonderful things. The most important thing is to be aware of those quirks, and ensure they aren’t prominent in a job interview! For example, if you’re feeling unsure or nervous (as you would in a job interview), you can often fold your arms without realizing you’re doing it. Unfortunately, folded arms are often seen as being closed off emotionally, guarded or unwilling to be open. You may only be feeling nervous, but it can be perceived in a totally different way. Some people play with their face or hair when they’re feeling nervous. Although you only feel nervous, it can present you as someone who is flighty, dithery, too relaxed or uninterested in the job.

The same can be said for those who pick their nails, tap their feet, play with their sleeves or flail their arms about unnecessarily. Although they’re all signs that you’re nervous, they also just don’t put you in a good light. This is why you need to be aware of what you’re doing.

To counteract bad body language, you can:

  • Cross your legs to avoid tapping your feet.
  • Clasp your hands together on your knees or legs to avoid fiddling with clothing, hair or your face.
  • Use your hands to show expression when you speak.
  • Choose a position within the room (if applicable) that can hide any weird body movements. If there’s a table, choose the side opposite the interviewer.

Say Yes

There are two things you should be saying ‘yes’ to in the job interview, aside from being asked if you want the job! Firstly, you should be saying ‘yes’ to a drink. Whether it’s water, tea, or coffee, it can give you something to do with your hands. It can also be used strategically. If you’re struggling to answer a question, take a sip in order to buy time to come up with an answer. This can help avoid awkward silences. If you’re generally the kind of person who can’t finish a full cup of tea or coffee and don’t want to be rude, opt for water. If you think you will need to use the bathroom midway through the interview if you say yes to a drink, once again, opt for water.

Secondly, you should be saying yes to the interviewer if they ask if you have any questions for them. Even if you have gone through your job description with a fine-tooth comb and everything has been answered, try to come up with something anyway.

Failure to ask questions can reflect poorly. It can make the interviewer believe you’re not interested in finding out more.

If you’re stuck for questions, here are some basic options:

  • What do you see for the future of this company or business?
  • If successful, will I be getting handover from someone in this position before me?
  • Is this a new position?
  • When does the successful applicant find out whether they get the job?
  • How many staff members make up your team?

Job interviews can be overwhelming and sometimes downright terrifying. But they don’t have to be.

Are you an interviewer? What do you expect from people you are interviewing? Have you had a nightmare of a job interview? If you’ve got an interview experience to share, we would love to hear about it! Get in touch!

5 Ways Virtual Assistants Can Prevent Screen Fatigue

virtual assistant job

We’ve all done it – spent hours staring at a screen without a break to give our eyes a rest. Not only can long periods of screen time be damaging for your eyes, it can also increase the risk of fatigue.

You may think office work is one of the safest industries with the lowest risk of illness or injury, but it has its risks and dangers in its own way.

Below are five ways virtual assistants can prevent screen fatigue.

Blink often

As a virtual assistant, you will often find yourself staring at your computer for long periods of time. This doesn’t only cause mental strain, but it can affect your eyes in so many ways. Do you find yourself blinking less than you would if you weren’t staring at a screen? Whether you’re on a smartphone, tablet or computer, your blinking action is greatly reduced. The reason we blink at all is to help moisten our eyes. This action helps prevent dryness, redness and irritation. Are you rubbing your eyes after a hard day of work at the computer? Chances are, you did not rest your eyes enough, or blink enough, during the day.

It’s a proven fact that we blink one-third less than we would without a screen in front of us. The trick is to try get your body and brain out of this habit. If you cannot counteract the problem with brain training, you can ask your doctor for eye drops which help moisten your eyes. In the meantime, try blinking in quick succession every 20 minutes and ensure all heating and cooling appliances are out of direct eyesight.

Take plenty of breaks

It can be easy to spend hours and hours at a computer when you’re working on an important virtual assistant job. If you’re involved in what you’re doing and there’s no time to waste, it’s easy to neglect your body and forget to take breaks. Not only do your muscles, neck, and back suffer, but so do your eyes. If your eyes are only focusing on what is in front of you, they become fatigued, irritable and even itchy.

It’s important that you get up, stretch, and focus your eyes around the room at least every 20-30 minutes.

Too much screen time can alter your vision, making it more difficult to focus on items and scenes out of direct eyesight. This can have an impact in later life. You may need to get your eyes tested for glasses, or you may need stronger lenses on the glasses you already have. Over time, you may find yourself becoming short-sighted. This is why it’s so important to take plenty of breaks.

Keep a clean screen

Believe it or not, computer screens, smartphone screens and tablet screens can become filthy over time. They can build up dust, grime, fingerprints and, unfortunately, even sneeze and cough spots! Aside from the obvious unhygienic components, any mark on your screen can cause your eyes to be drawn away from the task at hand. It can even make it harder to see what you’re working on. Just as you would clean your glasses lenses, you need to clean your screen.

You can do this by mixing a small amount of dishwashing liquid with warm water on a microfibre cloth. Ensure it’s only slightly damp, and rub the screen clean. Once the screen is clean, dry it thoroughly with a dry microfibre cloth. You can also buy special screen cleaning solution which does a very effective job as well.

You should aim to clean your screen at least once a week, or more if you’re particularly prone to touching your screen. Tablets may need to be cleaned with a microfibre cloth daily.

Maximise the text size

Depending on the software or programs you are using, screen and text size can be a major problem. Eye strain, in many cases, is caused by the text on the screen being too small. However, at the time, it may not seem that way. It’s only halfway through a project that you may realise your eyes are sore or you’re feeling fatigued. The best virtual assistant is one who can pinpoint the dangers and make an effort to resolve the problem. On most computers, there is an option to maximise the page size. This, as a result, increases the size of the text. On most word processing software, you can even choose which size percentage you wish the text to be at. If, in general, you struggle with the screen size not being big enough, it might be time to invest on a larger monitor.

There is also the problem of contrasting colours. If you are going from one website to the next – all with various colour combinations, you may find yourself suffering from screen fatigue. The best colour combination – in all cases – is black text on a white screen. If content on a website is proving too difficult to read, simply copy and paste it onto a word processor document and change the colour to suit your eyes.

Reduce glare

Virtual administrative assistants largely work from a home office. This means they generally set aside a small part of their home for an office. In most cases, this is near a window. Although windows allow you to get that much needed breeze or a decent view, they can also cause glare. Depending on how your screen is positioned, glare can be a huge problem. It can highlight the dust particles positioned on your screen, and it can make reading very difficult. Instead of squinting for hours on end, you need to address the problem. There are many office product stores that sell glare covers. These reflect the glare away from your screen. You can also bump up the screen’s brightness to fight through the glare, or insert a curtain to block it altogether.
Although it’s nice to see the sunshine beaming in, it’s best when it’s hitting the room, not your computer screen.

Virtual assistants fight on a daily basis with screen fatigue, but there are plenty of ways to reduce its impact.

Have you found a way to battle through sore eyes and irritability? We would love to hear about it, so get in touch!